Top mahjong sleuths for 2017. From left Menno Deij (3rd), Nicole Haasbroek (1st), Cyrille Rak (2nd).

LONDON - It was ten unsolved mysteries that evaded a verdict for ten challenging weeks, while twenty-seven detectives were hot on the trail of clues. In the end, it was elementary, my dear readers, coming down to time-stamps to break the unprecedented seven-way tie for first. Ms. Fortune solved the most puzzles in the shortest amount of time, awarding her 1st place as the 2017 Sherlock Holmes of Mahjong.

This was an excellent redemption for Ms. Fortune considering she was also tied for 1st place in the 4th season but missed out on prizes due to the time-stamps back then. She also solved yet another mystery, revealing her own true identity as Nicole Haasbroek from the Netherlands, coming forward to claim her place. Her winning time-stamp was followed closely by 4th Season champion Cyrille Rak, who this season now places in 2nd, and Menno Deij in 3rd. Honorable mention must be made to the four other contestants vying for first place who were edged out narrowly only by the "photo-finish" time-stamps; Oh Yong Sing, Sylvain Malbec, Jinbi Jin, and Kingfloche.

A special thanks also to Mahjong Collector Magazine, and Holiday Mahjong Online for their generous support of Mahjong News and for the donation of prizes for the top three contestants.

Final Ranking in the 5th Season Sherlock Holmes Contest

1 Nicole Haasbroek Netherlands
2 Cyrille France
3 Menno Deij Netherlands
4 Oh Yong Sing Singapore
5 Sylvain Malbec France
6 Jinbi Jin Netherlands
7 Kingfloche France
8 Oleg Oshmyan Latvia
9 Anh-Vu Tran France
10 Marco Montebelli Italy
11 Quentin France
12 Matthieu Pfeiffer France
13 Massimo Italy
14 Maria Belyalova Russia
15 Denl Russia
16 Timur Hahn Germany
17 Cédric France
18 Pavel Anokhin Russia
19 Ow Zhong Ming Singapore
20 Axel Germany
21 Alberto Italy
22 Bert Claessen Netherlands
23 Vincent Barreau France
24 Bernard Ang Singapore
25 Daniel Leblanc Germany
26 Raise the Red Lantern Netherlands
27 Martha Netherlands



1st Place will receive one year of Mahjong Collector Magazine, and two beautiful color-changing saki bottles.

2nd Place will receive two beautiful color-changing saki bottles.

3rd place will receive a beautiful color-changing saki bottle.

Prizes generously provided by the publishers of Mahjong Collector Magazine, and by Holiday Mahjong Online.

In order for winning contestants to receive their prizes, they will need to provide proper shipping addresses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Congratulations again to the winners in a tight-fought contest.

Special thanks

Congratulations to Vitaly Novikov, author of the riddles and coordinator of the contest, for his most successful season of mysteries to date, and for a contest excellently done. Editing and images by Scott D. Miller. Thanks for a great job!

Staff of Mahjong News

Scoring criteria

Typical full score for the mystery is 2 SHP () plus 1 bonus SHP () for acting within 3-days after publication (please, note that bonus is scored regardless of the solution being correct or not). Typical partial score for the solution is 1 SHP (), there are no "halfs" or "fractons" of SHP. So, it is up to the author to decide how much each solution deserves when solution is not full. Whenever the contestant is on the right track but with a solution that is not perfect, the author will send e-mail asking for clarification or to recommend reconsideration of the solution. So, please, write correct addresses for you to be able to receive any feedback in time.

For mysteries with multiple questions or mysteries allowing different complexities of solutions, additional criteria of scoring may be set.

Mysteries of Season 5

The first mystery is posted here: Bamboo Image Tile, and the solution here.

The second mystery is posted here: Dr. Watson's Mahjong Dreams, and the solution here.

The third mystery is posted here: Let's Score, and the solution here.

The fourth mystery is posted here: Three Men in a Boat, and the solution here.

The fifth mystery is posted here: Irregular Maximum, and the solution here.

The sixth mystery is posted here: Charleston, and the solution here.

The seventh mystery is posted here: Chow Duel, and solution here.

The eighth mystery is posted here: Trap for a Dragon, and solution here.

The ninth mystery is posted here: Final Session Duel, and solution here.

The tenth mystery is posted here: One for All, and solution here.