The Intern File: Will this book lead you to buried treasure?
You wouldn’t know it by looking at this five-sided, seemingly children’s-oriented, picture book, but it may hold the key to your early retirement. The book, The Clock Without a Face by Eli Horowitz, Mac Barnett, and Scott Teplin, from McSweeney’s, is a mystery-cum-interactive nationwide scavenger hunt. If that’s too confusing, here’s a brief synopsis from the McSweeney’s Store:
We’ve buried 12 emerald-studded numbers–each handmade and one of a kind–in 12 holes across the United States. These treasures will belong to whoever digs them up first. The question: Where to dig?
The call comes in from the shadowy Ternky Tower: 13 robberies, one on each floor, all the way up to the penthouse, where obnoxious importer Bevel Ternky has been relieved of the legendary Emerald Chroniker, his priceless, ancient clock. Readers must conduct their own investigations, scouring detailed illustrations for hidden clues and knotty puzzles. All the answers can be found within these 13 floors: whodunit and how…and where they are now.
So is this real or a literary hoax? The book’s main site encourages readers to post pictures of the jeweled numbers (created by New York based jewelry designer Anna Sheffield) once they’re recovered, and even suggests the best tool for the job at Ace hardware. Also, this is the first FAQ on the central site:
Is there really buried treasure?
So, all indications are that authors Horowitz, Barnett, and Teplin intend this to be the real literary-emerald-scavenger-hunt deal. Additionally, the first review, at School Library Journal, sums it up quite well: “Enter the world’s weirdest book.”
As an aside, savvy Eggers readers may remember that a similar (though more rudimentary) treasure map/scavenger hunt ploy was described in his second novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, but that probably won’t help you solve this puzzle, unfortunately. So how will we know when the puzzle, or part of the puzzle, is solved and one of the clock face’s jeweled numbers is found? It could be when the book’s Amazon page gets its first 5-star rating.