Untitled Bee Book by Kit Williams
A few years after Masquerade‘s hunt for the golden hare came to an end, Kit Williams produced a new puzzle book featuring a golden bee.
Having learned from experience that inciting people to dig up England wasn’t a wise move, this time the puzzle was a postal competition: work out the title of the book, represent it artistically and mail it in within the 1 year time limit. Kit chose his favourite solution and awarded the prize of a mahogany box containing a titled copy of the book on a special edition of the Terry Wogan show in 1985.
As with Masquerade, the art is gorgeous. Rather than straight paintings, Kit Williams shows off his marquetry skills with beautiful and imaginative frames, set with gems and carvings. Sometimes, as on the cover, the painting itself is only a tiny part of the whole work. Everything is beautifully photographed to show off how 3-dimensional each piece is.
The story is whimsical and timeless, though lacking the quest narrative impact of Masquerade.
And the puzzle itself is accessible and readily solvable. With a keen eye and a dedicated afternoon or two, it is a joyous experience to piece together the clues and find the solution for yourself. So many books in the armchair treasure hunt genre, including Masquerade, are frustratingly difficult and cryptic but this one really does live up to the promise that a bright child could solve it.
For this reason, I’m not going to give away the solution and, if you’re new to the book, urge you not to trawl the Internet any further since spoilers are everywhere. Instead, I will just guide you to the starting point: the first painting in the book features a horse with the head of a mouse and a toad with the head of a cat.
Now go find a copy of the book and take the rest of the journey yourself!