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A team of academics has been studying the 83 detective novels written by Agatha Christie and have been able to identify certain variables for which when you put them in an equation can reveal who the killer is.

These are variables describing where the murder took place, how the victim died, the murder weapon, the setting and even the type of vehicle being driven. The sex of the killer is another important variable since female murderers are usually introduced more adversely than if the killer was a man.

Credit: Taylor Herring

When these are put into a simple formula, it will give you the answer to who carried out the murder.

The formula was devised by the team led by Dr. Dominique Jeannerod who is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queens University, found that the culprit was always introduced within the first half of the book, and was likely to be emotionally involved with the victim, often being spouses or relatives.

If the victim is strangled, the perpetrator is more likely to be male and if the setting is a country house, there is a 75 percent chance they will be female.

Agatha Christie was a British crime writer who lived between 1890 – 1976 and is one of the world’s best-selling authors.

How to spot whodunnit: academics crack agatha christie’s code