Who Stole the Violin?
Editor’s Note: The following story is fictitious. It is presented for amusement and to stimulate thought and discussion.
A world-renowned Israeli violinist was invited to perform in France in order to improve cultural relations between the two countries. After a virtuoso performance in a Paris concert hall, a lavish reception was held to honor the violinist. Following the reception, the violonist returned to his room at the concert hall. When he opened the closet door to hang up his coat, he noticed that his priceless violin was missing. The Paris police found no evidence of a break-in so they arrested four French citizens who were employees of the concert hall. Their names were Ahmed, Nabil, Waleed, and Shiqar. Under interrogation, each of them made only one statement. The police inspector knew that the guilty one’s statement was false, but the other suspects spoke the truth. The suspects made the following statements:
Ahmed: I couldn’t have stolen the violin. I was at a meeting at my local mosque where we discussed the tragic kidnap, torture and murder of a French Jew.
Nabil: Waleed is the one who stole the violin.
Waleed: Nabil is lying
Shiqar: Waleed is telling the truth.
Which one is guilty?
Hint: The guilty suspect’s statement is false, the other statements are true. Assume that each suspect in turn is guilty. In each case, is this consistent with the statements by the other suspects? For solution, click here:
Solution: Assume that Ahmed is guilty. If so, his statement is false. That would mean that the other three suspects made true statements. However, Nabil says that Waleed is guilty. If Ahmed is guilty, then Ahmed and Nabil both made false statements. Therefore, Ahmed is not guilty.
Assume that Waleed is guilty. If so, Nabil’s statement indicating that Waleed is guilty, is true. Howevr, if Waleed is guilty, then his statement and Shiqar’s statement are both false. Therefore Waleed is not guilty.
Assume that Shiqar is guilty. If so, Nabil’s statement indicating that Waleed is guilty, is false. Therefore, Shiqar is not guilty.
Nabil is guilty and the other three made true statements.
Summary: Ahmed, True. Nabil, False Waleed, True Shiqar, True.
The police searched Nabil’s house, recovered the priceless violin, and averted an international incident.