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Problem Sleuth: Volume 1

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The first volume of Problem Sleuth is divided into five chapters. This volume introduces the members of Team Sleuth, the world they live in and how it operates, and their attempts to leave their offices while simultaneously exploring the imaginary plane.

Click the "Mspa icon" to open the page from Problem Sleuth. Second-level bullets represent branching paths; branching paths in italics result in dead ends.

Chapter 1Edit

Compensation, Adequate
Ps001
You are one of the top Problem Sleuths in the city. Solicitations for your service are numerous in quantity. Compensation, adequate. It is a balmy summer evening. You are feeling particularly hard boiled tonight.

Start

Page 1Mspa icon

End

Page 83Mspa icon

Length

83 pages

Next

Chapter 2: Too Hot to Handle

  • Mspa icon Problem Sleuth stands in his office. The concept of weapon/object duality is introduced when PS attempts to retrieve his handgun and it turns into a key.
  • Mspa icon PS punches the glass panel of his door and discovers that it is actually just a piece of paper taped to the door. Further investigation reveals that the door is locked, and PS's attempt to call a locksmith fails when he notices his phone is missing its rotary dial and receiver cord.
  • Mspa icon PS searches for the phone parts but cannot find them, though he does find two pieces of candy corn in his pocket. After taking his key/gun, he decides to keep his candy corn in the office's safe and goes to open it with a combination written on the piece of paper. This does not work, however, as the safe is merely a non-functional facade placed over a clown painting.
  • Mspa icon PS finds a flask of whiskey under his "desk" (actually some wooden panels propped up by cinder blocks). He allocates it to the weapon slot of his inventory so he can drink it, but putting it in the weapon slot forces him to use it as a weapon and he hits himself in the face with the flask. The attack knocks him backwards into the desk, breaking it in half.
  • Mspa icon As he contemplates using his last bullet to blow the door lock open, PS spots a business card taped to his phone and his finger slips, destroying the lock. The business card is for a brothel named Busts-R-Us. PS tries to leave through the now-unlocked door but discovers that it was never locked to begin with: it was obstructed by a giant bust of Ben Stiller as Starsky from the Starsky & Hutch movie. A Busts-R-Us employee who was polishing the bust was hit by the bullet and lies dead in the hallway.
  • Mspa icon Investigating the clown painting, PS discovers that the clown's eyes are actually peepholes looking into the room next door, but the lights in PS's office make it too bright to see anything. In anger, PS lobs a cinder block at the door, which fails to open it but does reveal a key hanging on the other side.
  • Mspa icon PS looks out his window at the street below and tries to get the attention of passersby. When this doesn't work, he suspects that the window is fake and lobs another cinder block through it. The cinder block lands in the middle of the street. PS takes a shard of broken glass.
  • Mspa icon Looking in the reflection of the glass, PS observes the other side of his office and turns toward it. It features a mural celebrating ethnic diversity and a coffee heating unit. Taped to the coffee heater is another business card, this one promoting a "Madame Murel."
  • Mspa icon PS makes a fort out of his broken desk and imagines himself being a hard-boiled detective. The fantasy is abruptly ended when the phone starts ringing, though PS still cannot answer it due to the missing parts. He angrily lobs the receiver through the window; it lands on the street next to the cinder block.
  • Mspa icon An attempt to open the window reveals that it works like a light box, is powered by an electrical cord, and can be removed from the wall. Behind it is a safe. After taking a curtain rod from the window, PS uses the combination on the safe, but it only causes the dial to pop open and reveal a keyhole.
  • Mspa icon PS unplugs the window, removing the only source of light in his office, and checks the clown painting again. On the other side, he can see another ethnic diversity mural. He pushes the curtain rod through one of the holes, knocking over the mural and giving him an unobstructed view of the other room. It is the office of Ace Dick, another detective and Problem Sleuth's hated arch-rival. Ace Dick has two other Starsky & Hutch busts in his office and has PS's phone parts on top of the stand reserved for the Starsky bust.
  • Mspa icon After plugging the window back in, PS unsuccessfully tries to dislodge the safe key on the door by kicking it and throwing a cinder block at it. Checking the back of the false safe, he finds an unpleasant note he wrote to Ace Dick with another safe combination written on it.
  • Mspa icon PS is finally able to get the safe key by throwing his coffee heater at the door, then grabbing the key with his hat as it falls. A compartment opens in the coffee heater, revealing a secret recording device. PS puts the candy corn in his hat for safekeeping, opens the safe to discover a hidden passage, and climbs inside.

Chapter 2Edit

Too Hot to Handle
Ps084
You enter your secret chamber. It's a dark alcove you use to store a few modest valuables, and duck into whenever you're on a case and things start to get too hot to handle (which is never).

Start

Page 84Mspa icon

End

Page 183Mspa icon

Length

100 pages

Previous

Chapter 1: Compensation, Adequate

Next

Chapter 3: Persecuted by Unscrupulous Whores

  • Mspa icon PS enters his hideout and looks at some of its items, including an unpleasant note from Ace Dick to him and a business card for horn-polishing company 2nd Hand Hornography. He then gets inside the dumbwaiter, goes down as far as he can, and tries to look through a slit.
  • Mspa icon Through the slit, PS can hear Ace Dick talking on the phone with Busts-R-Us, a bust-making company. He had apparently intended to call the identically named brothel but got the wrong business card. PS feeds the brothel business card through the slot and pees on it. AD finds the card, calls the brothel, and a short time later two whores arrive in his office.
  • Mspa icon Angry that AD has shown him up once again, PS leaves the dumbwaiter and swigs some whiskey, increasing his Imagination level. In this state, he cannot perform normal activities until he uses up his Imagination, so he goes back to the fort and enters the imaginary universe.
  • Mspa icon PS interacts with some of the items in his imaginary office, gaining some Pulchritude by eating from a bag of imaginary candy corn and acquiring an imaginary gun. He leaves his office and enters AD's, but AD is not using his imagination and thus the room is totally empty. Going back outside (but not before peeing on AD's floor), PS goes down the hall and tries to enter the office labeled "P.I.;" however, the door is locked. He walks out to the street and finds the items he threw out the window, but his Imagination wears off and he returns to reality.
  • Mspa icon PS drinks some coffee to sober up, reducing his Imagination and boosting his Vim. He finds two more pieces of candy corn under the coffee pot and stuffs them in his hat. As the phone starts ringing again, he comes up with ideas for getting his items out of the window, eventually creating a lasso out of the tape reel from the recording device and a cinder block. He lobs it through the window and it lands next to the other items.
  • Mspa icon Inspecting the mural, PS discovers that it also possesses two peepholes and looks inside. On the other side is an unpleasant note written by the office's owner to insult PS - and it also has the combination "star-heart-horseshoe" written on it.
  • Mspa icon Using the curtain rod again, PS opens a fake safe in the other office, letting him look inside. It belongs to Pickle Inspector, another detective, who appears to be trapped inside his dark office. Suddenly, PS hears noises coming from AD's office and uses the other set of peepholes. The whores have left after tying up AD and breaking open his bust of Huggy Bear to steal the riches inside. PS dances with joy as AD begs his neighbor for help.
  • Mspa icon PS sets up the recording device so that the lasso will be reeled back into the office once it is tied to a lighter object than the cinder block. He then goes back into the dumbwaiter and slips AD the shard of glass, which he uses to cut the ropes and escape.
  • Mspa icon AD becomes a playable character, and he decides to end his rivalry with PS and help him escape. He tries to remove the piece of paper on his door by throwing his bust of Hutch at it; this time, however, it actually is a glass panel, and the bust fatally hits a Madame Murel employee who was setting up a scaffold in the hall. The scaffold rolls in front of AD's door and stops, trapping him in his office as well.
  • Mspa icon After weapon/object duality prevents him from picking up his tommy gun/ring of keys, AD takes the phone parts and pushes them through the dumbwaiter slit. PS had already gotten out of the dumbwaiter, though, so the parts fall down the dumbwaiter shaft. AD finds a hammer inside his Huggy Bear bust.
  • Mspa icon PS considers climbing halfway through the window, then unplugging it while still inside.
    • Mspa icon He does so, deactivating the window's portal properties and cutting him in half, killing him.
    • Mspa icon He decides not to and instead checks out the clown poster affixed to the dumbwaiter shaft. On the back is a save state code for Problem Sleuth itself.
  • Mspa icon AD finally gets his weapon and he and PS make an exchange, with PS receiving AD's business cards and AD getting PS's unpleasant notes. Using the safe combination on one of the notes, AD unlocks a compartment on the safe featuring three keyholes.
  • Mspa icon AD unplugs his window so he can spy on PS, but PS has anticipated this and made himself a "candy corn vampire," using two pieces of candy corn as fake fangs. The startling sight causes AD to fall backwards into his desk, breaking it and revealing it to be wooden panels supported by smaller busts.
  • Mspa icon AD throws a Snoop Dogg bust at the unplugged window to break it, but windows are only breakable when plugged in, so the bust shatters harmlessly against the glass. Amid the bust fragments are a small key and some candy corn.
  • Mspa icon AD plugs the window back in, takes a cruet of brandy and some rope, and opens the safe by shooting it. He throws the hammer out the window and it lands next to PS's items.
  • Mspa icon To get revenge on PS, AD takes the key and candy corn so he can perform his own candy corn vampire act. When PS starts spying on him, though, he eats both the candy corn and the key instead.
  • Mspa icon AD builds a fort out of his desk pieces, then stacks two bust stands in front of the safe so he can climb up and go inside.

Chapter 3Edit

Persecuted by Unscrupulous Whores
Ps184
It's your secret hideaway, a great place for ducking into when being persecuted by unscrupulous whores.

Start

Page 184Mspa icon

End

Page 229Mspa icon

Length

46 pages

Previous

Chapter 2: Too Hot to Handle

Next

Chapter 4: Hairpin Trigger

  • Mspa icon AD enters his own secret hideout and rides the dumbwaiter up the shaft, elevating the phone parts up to a spot where PS can grab them. PS installs the parts but still needs to get the receiver back.
  • Mspa icon Exiting the dumbwaiter, AD attempts to open a padlocked door in his hideout by throwing the ring of keys at it; unsurprisingly, it doesn't work. He then uses the rope to climb out his window and walk across a fire escape to another rooftop with a skylight. Through it, he sees Pickle Inspector's office: PI is inside his fort and his window is not powered.
  • Mspa icon As AD ponders the consequences of being on the other side of an unpowered window, dark clouds begin to form and a frightening beast appears next to him. Sensing his ally is in danger, PS tries to warn PI about the unpowered window by pounding on the wall. PI doesn't notice, so PS decides to drink some whiskey and discuss the matter with PI on the imaginary plane.
  • Mspa icon AD attempts to deal with the beast.
    • Mspa icon He does the Truffle Shuffle in an effort to appease the monster, but it immediately kills and devours him.
    • Mspa icon Opting to exercise more restraint, AD shoots the beast with his tommy gun. It does no damage and wastes most of his ammo. He flees back through the window and returns to his office, where he drinks some brandy and enters his fort.
  • Mspa icon AD arrives in his imaginary office; all of the imaginary objects look like poorly-drawn renditions of their real counterparts due to AD possessing a shitty imagination. He takes his imaginary gun and goes out into the hall, where PS is already trying to enter PI's office. AD breaks open the glass panel of PI's door and looks inside, but PI is annoyed by the visitors and imagines a solid steel door to replace the old one.
  • Mspa icon AD exits the building and finds PS tying the phone receiver and hammer to the tape lasso. PS has also brought a sack of candy corn from his office and left it on the sidewalk. He lets go and the items are reeled back into his office, but the hammer catches on the window's electrical cord and unplugs it.
  • Mspa icon A second, larger beast appears. AD temporarily placates it by feeding it an imaginary corpse, then he and PS open fire, doing minor damage. AD moves in closer to fire and his gun jams, causing a lethal explosion that costs him one of his three imaginary lives. He returns to the real world and vomits, regurgitating the small key.
  • Mspa icon PS is also killed by the beast. After drinking some more coffee, he plugs in the window and reassembles the phone. He wants to call PI but cannot do so because the phone uses symbols instead of numbers. The "star-heart-horseshoe" combination is a valid phone number, but due to gameplay restrictions he can only dial it if he has the piece of paper with the combination on it.
  • Mspa icon AD picks up the small key and opens the door in his hideout. Simultaneously, PS uses the hammer to remove the boards covering a door in his own hideout and opens it.

Chapter 4Edit

Hairpin Trigger
Pickleinspectorsoffice
You are now Pickle Inspector.

Start

Page 230Mspa icon

End

Page 327Mspa icon

Length

98 pages

Previous

Chapter 3: Persecuted by Unscrupulous Whores

Next

Chapter 5: The Degenerate Gamblers

  • Mspa icon Pickle Inspector becomes a playable character. Looking around the office, he notices that the lock has been blown off his door and picks up his hairpin/machine gun. His Vim is too low to continue holding it, though, and he is forced to put it back down.
  • Mspa icon Through the hole in the door, PI can see a trombone has been wedged between his door and the hallway, trapping him inside the office. A 2nd Hand Hornography employee who was polishing the trombone was shot dead when PI blew open the lock. He cannot close the fake safe (because of his low Vim) or become homoerotically interested in his electric fan (because the office has no electricity). In his first MSPA self-insert, Andrew Hussie becomes homoerotically interested in his fans.
  • Mspa icon The back room of AD's hideout is revealed. It contains two large stills for making liquor and hot sauce, a painted target on the ceiling, and another door. PS enters his hideout's back room. It contains a piano, portraits of legendary jazz musicians, and another ceiling target and door. PI examines the bottles in his office and determines that they contain moonshine, hot sauce, and his own excrement.
  • Mspa icon AD picks up some handgun bullets that are incompatible with his weapon, then fires at the ceiling target with the last of his tommy gun ammo. The room one floor above above is shown to be a speakeasy operated by the Mobster Kingpin, the local crime boss. AD's gunfire causes the patrons to flee out the exit doors, which are barred up by an automated security system. Meanwhile, the gunfire has ignited fumes coming from the stills, setting the still room on fire.
  • Mspa icon PI tries to break the glass panel of his door, but it doesn't have any glass in it and he falls through. Instead of entering the hallway, he arrives in a small chamber occupied by an elf. He lacks enough Pulchritude to make the elf do anything, so he exits through the door and goes back in his office.
  • Mspa icon Using a rubber tube and tea set, PI siphons some hot sauce into the teapot and some moonshine into a teacup. Sipping the hot sauce gives him a Vim boost and he picks he machine gun up again. Unfortunately, the gun's hairpin trigger goes off and it unloads into the bottles, destroying them. Their contents combine into an unpleasant slurry that catches fire. Luckily, the sprinkler system behind the skylight kicks in and douses the flames. The skylight is now hanging by its cord near the ground.
  • Mspa icon PS examines the jazz musicians' portraits and plays an improvised jazz tune on the piano. The music reveals three icons of musical instruments under the portraits. PS and AD try to open the doors of their back rooms at the same time, but cannot get them open: the doors are directly across from each other and an oboe has been wedged between them.
  • Mspa icon AD and PI both drink some alcohol and return to their forts. Meanwhile, PS ignores his ringing phone to gather the musical instruments in his hideout and give each portrait the instrument depicted in their icon. A switch appears and PS flips it, restoring power to PI's office (making the fan turn on and blow the fake safe closed) but shutting it off in his own office. The phone still works, so PS answers it and tells the woman on the other line that he's too busy dealing with weird puzzle shit to help her, then drinks some whiskey and enters his fort. Not realizing that PS has hung up on her, the woman begs for help, as she has been trapped in her apartment for hours.
  • Mspa icon Back in the imaginary realm, PS spots AD and PI talking in the hall and assumes they are talking about him behind his back. He charges down the hall while shouting profanities, an act that convinces the other detectives to make him their leader. Reminding them of the beast out on the street, PS asks PI to conjure up new weapons for them. PS, AD, and PI arm themselves with the candy corn handgun, Tootsie Roll shotgun, and PEZ Uzi, respectively, and they pose as a team because SHIT JUST GOT REAL.
  • Mspa icon A boss battle begins between Team Sleuth and the beast. After dodging an attack, PS opens fire on the beast, doing heavy damage. PI and AD join in and AD's attack blows the beast's head off, killing it. Team Sleuth levels up and gains new abilities.
  • Mspa icon While PS uses the beast's corpse as power armor and patrols the street, PI picks up the polished horn dropped by the beast and PS's bag of imaginary candy corn. He conjures up a peanut brittle dumbwaiter that can take himself and AD back to the rooftops. When they get there, the first beast is still waiting for them.
  • Mspa icon PS goes to help his friends but gets distracted by a dancing figure inside a store display, with the face of a woman visible through a window behind it. AD is unable to deploy the Belly of the Whale attack due to his lack of sufficient Elf Tears, so he instead uses a level 2 Truffle Shuffle against it. It does little damage and the beast kills and devours AD, costing him another imaginary life.
  • Mspa icon The window in the store display goes dark and a third, even larger beast appears next to PS.
  • Mspa icon PI kills the first beast by creating and firing a jawbreaker cannon. The third beast kills PS and puts on his hat. PI takes the burnished horn dropped by the first beast and enters AD's office through the window. His imaginary body cannot be sustained on the material plane, however, so he dies and all his collected items are scattered on the floor.
  • Mspa icon The detectives return to the real world. A nauseated AD puts on the flames in the still room by vomiting on them. PS drinks the last of his coffee.

Chapter 5Edit

The Degenerate Gamblers
Ps328
Pickle Inspector returns to the material plane. The office is flooded. The outlet's electricity is shorted out.

Start

Page 328Mspa icon

End

Page 385Mspa icon

Length

58 pages

Previous

Chapter 4: Hairpin Trigger

Next

Chapter 6: More Weird Puzzle Shit

  • Mspa icon PI discovers that the sprinkler is still running, flooding the office and shorting out the electricity. Water has also flooded into the elf chamber and the elf drowns before PI can save him. The poker-playing elves in PI's painting beckon him to join them. He picks up the hairpin.
  • Mspa icon PS finds a more pleasant left for him by AD and remembers that he can view PI's unpleasant note again now that the fake safe is closed. He is now able to remember the star-heart-horseshoe combination. Suddenly, the safe opens to reveal PI being a "Tootsie Roll Frankenstein" (using two Tootsie Rolls as fake bolts in his neck) and the startled PS topples backwards, crushing his fort.
  • Mspa icon Unable to stop the flow of water, PI enters the painting and joins the elves. The elves close a shutter over the entrance to PI's office. PI spots a hidden hatch under the poker table and threatens the elves in an effort to make them cry. The elves are unmoved by the threats, but one of them starts crying after seeing a gay pornographic playing card. PI collects his tears in the other teacup, then plugs in his skylight and accidentally drops the hairpin through it.
  • Mspa icon PS inputs the star-heart-horseshoe combination on his phone and a secret compartment opens. It contains the sheet music for Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
  • Mspa icon PI climbs up the poker room's chimney and enters the speakeasy. He proves to be very useless: he can't remove the oboe between the still room and jazz room doors, can't move the bust of Mobster Kingpin onto an X on the floor, and lacks the Vim or Pulchritude needed to convince whoever is on the other side of the double doors to let him in.
  • Mspa icon AD takes the bag of candy corn from PI's imaginary corpse and climbs out the window. He takes the hairpin/machine gun and drops a rope through the skylight. It lands on the elves' poker table.
  • Mspa icon PS plays Moonlight Sonata on the piano, opening a compartment in the speakeasy containing an industrial-sized fan. It easily blows the bust onto the X.
  • Mspa icon PS and AD exchange weapons: PS gets the tommy gun and reloads it with ammo in his hideout, while AD gets the handgun in addition to the machine gun and reloads it with the ammo he got in the still room.
  • Mspa icon Using the rope, PI creates a pulley system tied to the bust and the oboe. AD starts making liquor out of the imaginary candy corn and PS fires in a circular pattern around his ceiling target, but the floor fails to collapse. As the still starts to violently shake, AD runs out the window and ducks for cover.
    • Mspa icon AD rides the still like a mechanical bull and dies.
    • Mspa icon AD waits outside as the still explodes. The fiery blast consumes the still room, AD's hideout and AD's office, destroying the office's front wall and allowing AD to leave. The resulting reverberations cause the floor to collapse under the Mobster Kingpin bust; it crashes into the piano as the pulley dislodges the oboe.
  • Mspa icon AD drops the handgun through the skylight for PI (as well as his own imaginary skull, which makes the elves cry). Inspecting the aftermath of the explosion, AD and PS discover that their hideouts have been covered in debris, so AD cannot enter the still room and PS cannot enter his office. PS goes upstairs and meets PI for the first time on the material plane.
  • Mspa icon PI goes back to the poker room, takes the handgun, and replaces the contents of the teapot with more elf tears. After filling PS's flask with elf tears, PI enters the still room and fills the teapot with candy corn liquor.
  • Mspa icon AD steps out into the damaged, burning hallway and tries to leave the building. Unfortunately, the door is locked and can only be opened with the Megaton Key, a legendary key that can only be lifted by the strongest man in the world. AD dislodges the trombone and the water in PI's office floods into the hall, putting out the fire.
  • Mspa icon PS convinces the individuals behind the speakeasy double doors to let him and PI inside.
v·d·eProblem Sleuth Chapters
Volume 1 Chapter 1 ·

Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

Volume 2 Chapter 6 ·

Chapter 7 · Chapter 8 · Chapter 9

Volume 3 Chapter 10 ·

Chapter 11 · Chapter 12 · Chapter 13

Volume 4 Chapter 14 ·

Chapter 15 · Chapter 16 · Chapter 17

Volume 5 Chapter 18 ·

Chapter 19 · Chapter 20 · Chapter 21 · Chapter 22 · Epilogue

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