Six Questions with Murray Bailey: Author of the Map of the Dead: An Armchair Treasure Hunt
How exciting it is to get to chat with Murray Bailey! He has created a fascinating Armchair Treasure Hunt with a prize worth over $13,000 dollars (£10,000)! Who will be the one to follow all the clues hidden within his novel, Map of the Dead: The gripping thriller and treasure hunt, and discover the Golden Pyramid!
All on its own, Map of the Dead, is a captivating adventure story. Readers are taken on a shadowy and dangerous journey, all while learning about the many mysteries appearing within Egyptian history. Murray then weaves a real life treasure chase for readers on top of all this!
Let’s hear and try to learn more about this exceptional opportunity to find an actual treasure from the creator himself: Murray Bailey. Enjoy!
- 1Q) There have been various armchair treasure hunts published over the years. The first is attributed to the 1979 treasure hunt entitled Masquerade. Had you taken part in any of these type of hunts during your life, or what inspired you to create such a treasure hunt of your own?
I remember Masquerade. In fact my parents bought the book and I remember spending many hours trying to figure it out. Frankly I didn’t have a clue!
I was totally unaware of the growth of armchair treasure hunts until after I’d created the one in Map of the Dead. The inspiration came from conversations with a friend—the creator of the ISIS Adventure. After I sent him the draft of my first book, I Dare You, he asked why I hadn’t written one on ancient Egypt. It was his puzzle that gave me the idea for part of the story. Inserting a treasure hunt seemed to be a natural extension.
- 2Q) It’s mentioned the Prize for winning the hunt is a Golden Pyramid. Can you tell us a little bit more about this enticing treasure and is this what you have buried?
I’d love to tell you what I’ve buried but I can’t. It’s the second of the four questions to solve the puzzle! However, since many people enjoying the hunt are not based in the UK, I decided that you only need to know where the item is buried to claim the prize.
The pyramid is made of 18crt gold and has an 8cm by 8cm square base. I’ve had hieroglyphs engraved on each side plus the name of the book and the Eye of Horus.
- 3Q) Where does your interest in Egyptian history, artifacts, and life originate? It certainly does seem to capture many people’s attention. I for one love it. What most attracts you or what do you find most fascinating about the past Egyptian culture? What secrets would love to discover?
I think it began as a child reading about Tutankhamun, seeing an exhibition and later visiting the British Museum. At the time I wrote the book, I was researching the New Kingdom and find the political and religious turmoil of the time totally fascinating. Since then I haven’t had much time of research due to writing other novels.
I would love to know what really happened to Nefertiti and the power struggle with the short-lived pharaohs who followed Akhenaten. However there are two mysteries that I would most like to know the answer to: Firstly how and why the “Cave of Swimmers”, painted a few thousand years before the first Egyptian Dynasty features what looks like an Egyptian solar barque. My theory is that ancient Egyptian history stretches back much further than is evidenced by the King List. The second is the origin of the ancient boats at Abydos. The theory is that they are tombs but I believe they were a shrine which were later used as tombs. A shrine for what though? Could there be a connection to the Noah story? Maybe. Or maybe that’s pure wishful thinking.
- 4Q) It’s curious how archaeology, nor writing, is your main field of work. It seems to be Math. What do you love most about ‘numbers’ and how do you find balance with your seemingly different and multiple pursuits?
I was educated as a physicist and applied mathematician but I have always written as a hobby—both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve now written five thrillers and realized that they all feature codes of some kind. That wasn’t actually my intention, believe it or not!
I guess numbers and codes are the core of most puzzles and I see myself as a problem solver more than anything. In fact my job as a risk consultant is mainly problem solving. How do I balance all this—including spending time with my family? Well, I’m lucky enough to work for myself and try to write or do research for at least an hour a day. However, it’s a constant juggling act but when I have to choose, building sand castles with my kids wins every time.
- 5Q) Do you feel the puzzles/questions to solve within Map of the Dead are difficult for the normal person to complete? How long are you thinking it will take someone to progress through all 4 stages of the treasure hunt and discover the Golden Pyramid? Will you be providing clues along the way, and if so, will these be needed in order to make a solve, or could it be solved without them?
Great question. When I decided on the puzzle, I deliberately wanted it to be accessible to everyone. So you don’t need to be a mathematician or have a phD. In fact since I’ve not done any other treasure hunts or similar puzzles, I can tell you that I haven’t been influenced by any.
There are pointers in the book but I will be providing guidance along the way. You don’t need anything else. Thinking back to Masquerade, it was frustrating that no one legitimately solved and unearthed the treasure.
I’m determined that someone will solve and win the golden pyramid.
- 6Q) It seems you fill your life with remarkable projects and have fun with work. What other things do you enjoy doing and are you working on any other future projects you’d like to share? Do you think you might like to create another treasure hunt once this one is found?
Singapore 52 will be published in September. It’s been a labour of love since it was my first concept as a thriller and loosely based on my father. He was a British military policeman in Singapore in the 50s. It’s the first to feature my protagonist Ash Carter and there will be at least three in the series.
Another treasure hunt? The prize won’t be as impressive as a golden pyramid, but to mark the launch of the book there will be another armchair treasure hunt on my website.
Sounds exciting, Murray! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering Six Questions with MysteriousWritings! Many of the readers here (and all over the world) are in active pursuit of solving the puzzle! It is quite the adventure! Thank you!
For more information on this hunt, please visit the Mapofthedead.co.uk. You can also order the book on Amazon.com and join the treasure hunting community trying to capture this awesome £10,000 reward!:
Best of luck to all that you seek and always TREASURE THE ADVENTURE!
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