Masquerade, by Kit Williams was fundamental in popularizing armchair treasure hunts. The book featured a golden hare, which was buried as the prize that readers were searching for.

The book consists of a story as well as illustrations. Each of the illustrations has a border with a phrase. Letters from each border, when properly arranged and interpreted led to the exact location of the prize.




A summary of the main components of the solution:


On the title page was a poem:

Within the pages of this book there is a story told
of love, adventures, fortunes lost, and a jewel of solid gold.
To solve the hidden riddle, you must use your eyes,
And find the hare in every picture that may point you to the prize.


The solution begins with matching the colors of the letters in the paper in the Isaac Newton picture with the numbers of the magic square in the Penny-Pockets picture.



By doing this you get 1 = red, 2 = yellow, 3 = green, 4 = blue.


Using these colors on the puppet rings in the Isaac Newton picture, you find that the strings go to:
  • the longest finger on the left hand of the puppet
  • the left big toe
  • the longest finger of the right hand
  • the right big toe


Using this in conjunction with the riddle on the title page, you then draw lines (yes, draw in your book!) from the left eye through the left longest finger, from left eye through left big toe, from right eye through the right longest finger, from right eye through right big toe.

This is done to all people and animals shown in the illustrations.


When done, you get the following sentence:

CATHERINES
LONG FINGER
OVER
SHADOWS
EARTH
BURIED
YELLOW
AMULET
MIDDAY
POINTS
THE
HOUR
IN
LIGHT OF EQUINOX
LOOK YOU


Taking the first letters of each phrase gives you

CLOSE BY AMPTHILL

The magic square on the last page confirms this. When matched with the penny-pockets square, the numbers given correspond to the numbers of letters in each word of the sentence above.

This message indicates that the location where the prize is buried is near Catherine of Aragon's cross in Ampthill Park. the exact spot being at the tip of the shadow at noon n the equinox.



About the Finder

Unfortunately the winner of Masquerade had cheated. He claimed the prize under the alias "Ken Thomas". Thomas was a business partner of John Guard, who was the boyfriend of Veronica Robertson. Veronica Robertson had been Kit Williams' girlfriend.

During the time that Robertson lived with Williams, she was able to ascertain the general vicinity of where the hare was buried. Guard got the information from her, and he and two assistants began searching for it using metal detectors. These attempts didn't work, because the hare was encased in clay.

Thomas ultimately sent a sketch of the location to Williams, which Williams confirmed as the first correct solution.

Shortly thereafter the book was correctly solved by Mike Barker and John Rousseau, a pair of physics teachers.