Six Questions with Duck Miller: Author of the Whistle Pig Armchair Treasure Hunt

whistle pig treasure huntSince 2003, Duck Miller has been challenging readers to search for a hidden ‘Key’ through his Award Winning Armchair Treasure Hunt book entitled The Whistle Pig. The 10 compelling and beautifully written short stories within the book are enjoyed by all, but do offer clues for a certain Key’s discovery.  Through the stories, Duck Miller encourages readers to explore all possible angles towards solving his literary puzzle. Will you dare to take up the Quest?

Mystery surrounds the puzzle.  Over the past 14 years, many searchers have pondered the book’s allusions and questions abounded. Each year, originating from the release of The Whistle Pig, searchers would wish each other ‘Happy Groundhog’s Day’.  They would hope to learn more and reflect on a time lost….or is it?   Will some of the shadows be cast to the side and spur this hunt into an exciting new light.  Will the fire intensify to eventually find the KEY!   I am so excited to ask the following Six Questions to Duck Miller!  Enjoy!

Six Questions with Duck Miller:

  • 1Q) Although there were a few treasure hunts around before The Whistle Pig, they were not as prevalent as they are today. Plus, the internet not as dominant. What inspired you to write The Whistle Pig stories and create the Treasure Hunt within the book? 

The Whistle Pig (TWP)has always been an innovative endeavor.  The physical book and its stories are the ground work for a bigger and more involved project to create the first truly interactive movie.   Imagine a movie where viewers can leave the theater and actually participate in the same search as the cast!  The book is the map! The stories are the instructions.  And the reader is the student and the main character 😊.

I guess I have always been a bit jealous of Indiana Jones or the characters of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!  TWP is just the first step.  Every year the key remains hidden we get one step closer to creating a screenplay that combines facts, fictional characters, a real book, and thousands of participants.


  • 2Q) Congrats on receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award for The Whistle Pig. The award recognizes editorial and design excellence, and so it must have been quite the honor.  The short stories are brilliant and charming to read; whether reading as a searcher or not.  Have you written any other books, or would you like to do so in the future?

Thank you. I am very proud of our Benjamin Franklin Award.   I spend a considerable amount of time writing but not near as much fiction as I would like.  As mentioned, the next step in the TWP project is to partner with a professional screenwriter to create a script where characters can share TWP experience in another medium.  I am thinking we should try to get this completed for the 20-year anniversary.


  • 3Q) So many have wondered if the ‘Unmistakable Key’ found on accessible public property is a physical object to find or if the ‘Key’ is more spiritual and is found by realizing the journey itself is the ‘Key’.  Can you offer clarification as to what exactly searchers are to find?  For example, is it a physical Key that can be moved, or is it an immovable item to recognize as the Key?

There is a physical key.  I placed it myself. And believe me or not — I have never shared the location with anyone. However, I do agree there is a spiritual/intellectual journey that can be realized whether the physical key is located or not.  Because: “If there wasn’t anything to find out, it would be dull.”


  • 4Q) Over the years, has anyone found or been close to finding the Key?  Have searchers solved more pieces to the puzzle than just the celebrated discovery of ‘Bare the Cross, Leave the Center, Find the Fruit’? Are there more puzzles within the book to find and solve like the definite ‘Bare the Cross’ solution, or are the pieces to the puzzle more ambiguous and only confirmed once final solution is recognized? 

With the great sharing opportunities of the internet–TWP fans have done a wonderful job of investigating many of the possibilities.  Some of the most far-fetched fan theories have some validly and some do not.  And although, I have a sincere desire to help TWP students along, I never have.  The mother bird pushes the baby out of the nest –maybe a feature film will help create new fans and motivate our original readers to seek a little harder?


  • 5Q) Would you be willing to offer any advice for hunters; besides the guidance you provide in the introduction and back cover? Are you surprised the hunt continues to entice puzzlers? What has been the most satisfying aspect of The Whistle Pig for you so far? 

Creating a unique interactive form of entertainment is my greatest joy.  TWP is special because it is novel, different, exciting and mysterious.  It creates those same attributes in those who read and think a little deeper or maybe think more laterally than in everyday life.  No new advice.  No extra clues, but keep searching.


  • 6Q) As The Whistle Pig has been a joy and has kept searchers pleasantly busy since publication, I wonder what you have been doing?  Have you yourself been involved in trying to solve other treasure hunts? What other hobbies or travels do you enjoy?    

I enjoy all types of hunting. I always have. Lots of outdoor time to relax and reflect! Thank you for your interest in my interests.   If you know an innovate, eager, want-to-be screen writer send then a copy of TWP and get them thinking!


Lots to consider, Duck!  Thanks so much for taking time and answering the above Questions.  Very much appreciated.  The interactive project you have in mind sounds exciting too, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.  Besides looking for the Key (and thanks for clarifying/confirming the fact it is actually a physical Key), I will be keeping an eye out for screen writers who might be interested in pursuing and creating such a fascinating adventure with you!

Thanks again for creating a wonderful treasure hunt for us to challenge ourselves with! How awesome it is to know The Whistle Pig’s KEY is out there to be found yet!  Who will solve the puzzle and FIND IT?!  



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3 Responses

  1. Domino says:

    Thank you JK and DM.
    I’ll stay in tune with folks in the film community I am involved with and, if there is a good fit, info will be passed along.
    Cheers! DI

  2. Beth says:

    Great interview! I’ve always liked this mysterious little book, but have wondered if the hunt was still active. I guess it is time to get this one off the shelf again.

  3. Madesquare says:

    One of the leading theories is that the key was hidden at the Mellon Arena, which has since been torn down and paved over. I wonder if Duck Miller could speak to that?

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