The Winner of the 2004 Seventh Annual Imitate Keeler Competition:

The Twelve Tiles of Keeler

by Fender Tucker

The jaded editor took another hit off his office bong and stared desperately at the screen. Would he be able to solve the Mystery of the Twelve Tiles of Keeler in time to win the grand prize offered by the Keeler Kartel? He had been working on it for days. He knew he had the inside track because of his possession of the Keeler Kanon, a file on his PC with the text files of every novel Harry Stephen Keeler wrote during his prolific writing life. But was it enough to propel him past the Keeler scholars around the world who seemingly had every word ever written by Harry tattooed on their chests? The editor fingered his spit-curl nervously and read for the tenth time the contest flyer he had received earlier that week.

In 1919 young Harry Stephen Keeler stumbled upon an ancient Chinese box hidden in the attic of an old Chicago brownstone he had recently rented. The box contained 12 tiles, each about one inch square and on each was carved a letter of the English alphabet. On the lid of the ornate box these words, in English, were found:
He who uses the magic words formed by the 12 Tiles of Confucius as a phrase in at least 17 novels will be rewarded with great fame when the two towers fall and a moron rules the world.
The twelve tiles in the box were: U R E V P L O R L E P U. To win, send us the words formed by the twelve letters that Harry Keeler used in at least 17 of his novels to insure his fame when those two unlikely events come to pass.

The editor had wracked his brain for the words and had come up with several combinations, such as OUR PULP LEVER, PURE PULLOVER, PUP LOVER LURE and PROVE PER LULU, but he could find none of them in the 90 Keeler novels using the Keeler Kanon. Now time was running short and the Keeler scholars around the world were having storms of synapses. Surely at least one of them would find the words. The editor took another hit, then grabbed his hat on his way out the door. Maybe if he took a walk around the block ... A half hour later he burst through the door, flung his hat at the cat, and shouted at the top of his lungs, "I've got it!" It was another joyous day at Ramble House.



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