Key & Compass presents:
The Mysterious Case of the Acrobat and His Peers
by Amanda Tien

The Mysterious Case of the Acrobat and His Peers is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2009 by Amanda Tien.

In this interactive adventure, a greenhorn detective must find a missing acrobat and solve the mystery by exploring the circus and questioning everything from tiger trainers to monotone ringmasters to sad clowns.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 2 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


Backof theCoaster BoardCoaster CoasterOperatorBooth BlackTent House ofMirrors FerrisWheel TechBuilding horsecorral BlueTent PurpleTent GreenTent Acrobat'sOffice YellowTent Kitchen ampa-theater SteelPlatform Midway CarnivalEntrance Old Oak duck pond u d


Some notes before you start:

Carnival Entrance

> x me. i. (nothing. Your badge is not actually implemented.)

> n.

Yellow Tent

> x desk. x Ringmaster.

> say hello to Ringmaster.

> ask him about the acrobat. (He says the missing acrobat is Li, that Jetta was with him, to visit the Green Tent, and to visit the fortune teller.)

> ask him about this morning.

> ask him about Jetta. (She paints faces and cooks.)

> ask him about the green tent.

> s. w.


> x booth. x photo. take photo.

> n.

Green Tent

> x shiny. (It's broken glass.)

> take shiny.

The green door is miscoded. It should be coded as east of the Green Tent and west of the Acrobat's Office, but as written, it is no barrier to entry. This walkthrough will pretend the door is coded correctly and we will not enter the Acrobat's Office until this door is unlocked.

> open green door. (locked)

> u.

Steel Platform

> x seat. d. w.

Purple Tent

> x Essa. say hello to Essa.

> ask Essa about the acrobat. (She wants Li's jacket; Marvin has it.)

> ask Essa about Jetta. (Those two are like brother and sister.)

> show photo to Essa. (She starts crying.)

> e. n.

Tech Building

The toolbox acts as your player's carry-all in this game.

> x toolbox. open toolbox. x hammer. take toolbox.

> n.

Black Tent

> x Marvin. x tiger. x key. x locker.

> say hello to Marvin.

> ask him about the acrobat.

> ask him about this morning.

> ask him about Li's jacket. (It's in his locker.)

> take key. unlock locker with key.

> open locker. take jacket. drop key.

> x jacket. take all from pocket.

> x plastic key. x reeds.

> put plastic key and reeds in toolbox.

> s. s. w.

Purple Tent

> give jacket to Essa. ("Only a great tragedy could change [Li's] path.")

That's not very helpful, Essa.

> e.

Green Tent

> unlock green door with plastic key. e.

Acrobat's Office

> x desk. x nose. x box. (No description for any of them!)

> take nose and box.

> w. n. n. e.

House of Mirrors

> x lady. say hello to lady.

> ask lady about the acrobat. (She thinks Charlene was involved because she's bitter. Then she says to get the flashlight from her purse.)

> ask lady about Charlene. ("Wicked")

> ask lady about Essa. (Suggests asking Essa about her history.)

> open purse. take flashlight. x it.

> w. n.

Back of the Coaster

Nothing to see here, yet.

> e.

Board Coaster

> x Annie. say hello to Annie.

> ask Annie about the acrobat. (Granpa liked Li.)

> show photo to Annie. (Of Li and her grandfather.)

> s.

horse corral

Note that although you may ride the bicycle to other locations, you have no need to. You may not ride the horse.

> x horse. x bicycle. x Charlene.

> say hello to Charlene. ask her about the acrobat.

> show shiny to her. (She says that was her camera!)

> ask her about Essa.

> ask her about Jezebelle.

> n. e.

Coaster Operator Booth

> x Mr. say hello to Mr.

> show photo to Mr. (That's Li and ol' Charlie.)

> show shiny to Mr. (He says it's a broken photo lens that could've started a fire.)

> s.

Ferris Wheel

> x man. x woman. say hello to Antonio.

> aak him about the acrobat.

> ask her about the acrobat.

> ask him about the trapeze seat.

This once, you must TELL someone about something:

> tell Michelle about the trapeze seat. (She agrees the seat was tampered with, and Li could have landed in the tent folds and removed by someone there.)

> ask her about Annie. (She loves that kid.)

> show toolbox to Antonio. (It's his, but you can keep it.)

> show hammer to him. (It's his, but you can keep it.)

> s.

Blue Tent

> say hello to Efrain.

> ask Efrain about the acrobat.

> ask Meno about acrobat. (You get a riddle.)

> x Efrain. x book. x Meno. x radio.

> show photo to Efrain. (He took that photo.)

> s.


> x Sebastian. say hello to him.

> give reeds to him. (He says Li was trying to encourage Billy to ask out Jetta, and to check Li's office.)

> w.


> x woman. say hello to woman. (She's Jetta.)

> ask Jetta about the acrobat. (The trapeze seat swung back into the light without him.)

Note: Showing things to Jetta doesn't work as well as giving things.

> give nose to Jetta. (She says give it to Billy.)

> give box to Jetta. (She says she can't accept that.)

> ask Jetta for turkey. (You get it.)

> ask Jetta for sub. (You get it.)

> ask Jetta for pita. (You get it.)

For the liquids, just take them. Refer to the matzaball soup as either "thermos" or "matzaball soup".

> put all in toolbox.

> take lemonade. take coffee. take thermos.

> e. n. n. n.

Coaster Operator Booth

Mr Debowski enchanges gossip for food.

> give turkey to Mr. (He says Charlene and Li used to date.)

> give sub to Mr. (He says Sebastian loves coffee.)

> give pita to Mr. (He says Michelle and Antonio are married but can't have children.)

> give thermos to Mr. (He tells you Billy loves Jetta.)

You earn BONUS ENDING: Operation Food.

> s. s. s.


> give coffee to Sebastian. (Let him know if you need anything.)

> s.

duck pond

> x duck. x Billy. say hello to Billy.

> ask Billy about the acrobat.

> give nose to Billy. (He's now happy.)

> give box to Billy. (He goes and gives it to Jetta.)

You earn BONUS ENDING: Love Story.

> w.

Old Oak

You must be holding the flashlight directly to find this key:

> take flashlight.

> look under tree. (You find the wrought-iron key.)

> w. n.

Yellow Tent

The Ringmaster has left; if you explore, you'll find him at Midway now.

> unlock upper drawer with wrought-iron key.

> unlock middle drawer with wrought-iron key.

> unlock lower drawer with wrought-iron key.

> put all in toolbox.

> open lower. x teddy bear. take it.

> open middle. take funeral. read it.

Very unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you what the funeral arrangements say. By cheating, I learned that the description of the funeral arrangements should read:

A couple of papers in a black folder are secured together with a paper clip. You glean that Charlie, the old acrobat, died a day or two ago from a freak accident in which the ropes of his trapeze were burned through. His funeral is to be held: tomorrow. The same day that Li planned on leaving the circus and the day the circus would leave town. The papers also explain that Li was named to inherit Charlie's possessions, save for a teddy bear that was to go to Annie. The papers detailed that if Li, for any reason, was not able to collect Charlie's possessions, they would go to the other Circus members.

> open upper. x Li's file. take it. (Strong hint to ask Sebastian about the acrobat's location. Also, a new stage of the game has begun.)

> s. e. e. n.


No "the" this time:

> ask Sebastian about acrobat's location. (He saw something at the back of the coaster.)

For what it's worth, Sebastian also gives you the empty mug back.

> put all in toolbox.

> n. w.

horse corral

This isn't important, but I thought you'd like to know:

> ask Charlene about Efrain. (His real name is Arnold.)

> n.

Board Coaster

> ask Annie about Billy. (So funny.)

> ask her about Antonio. (So helpful.)

> ask her about Michelle. (So cool and nice.)

> give bear to Annie. (She accepts it and runs to the Ferris Wheel.)

You earn BONUS ENDING: A New Family.

> w.

Back of the Coaster

There's now a large crate here.

> x crate. take crate. (heh)

> open crate with hammer.

> open crate. (Li is inside, gagged with a rag.)

> take rag. (Li says, "You get Jezebelle, I'll get the Ringmaster!")

> ask Li about Jezebelle.

> ask Li about the Ringmaster.

> s. e.

House of Mirrors

This is the endgame. The house is dark. Don't bother turning on your flashlight; that will only confuse you because the room hasn't really changed at all, only what was said when you entered.

Also, the game doesn't recognize the verb ARREST?

> take shiny. throw shiny.

You arrest Jezebelle. Li rewards you with acrobatics training. You're also told to go back in time and ask Essa about "lady in the moon" for another gift.

*** You have won ***

> restart

Carnival Entrance

> w. n. w.

Purple Tent

Jezebelle suggested "her history", I assume to stir up trouble.

> ask Essa about her history. (She glares angrily.)

> ask Essa about lady in the moon.

You earn BONUS ENDING: Fortune Teller. The fortune that Essa tells you is randomized.

*** You have won ***


Bonus Endings

These are optional achievements that you can earn in the game. Most of them do not end the game when you earn them, but do tell you about events that will happen after the events of the game are over.

Er, about Annie's happy ending: I'm glad she got one, but if Antonio and Michelle were able to adopt her, that suggests Annie was an orphan (Little Orphan Annie?!) and had no mother or father when the game happens. That suggests Charlie was Annie's sole guardian until his death two days ago. And if that's so, why didn't Charlie will his estate to her, to ensure her future? He only left her a teddy bear? Charlie, what the heck were you thinking?






You have an inventory limit of four items, but you can use the toolbox as a carry-all to get around that limit.

Note that when people give you items, your inventory limit isn't checked, and you can have five or more items that way. Explicitly put everything into the toolbox at such times; otherwise, you won't be able to take any new items.

Food and drink
Other items

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