Back in May I talked about the codes you can solve in Joe Meno's novel, The Boy Detective Fails. One of the decoded texts ends with an email address. I emailed the address, but never received a reply. A few weeks later I stopped by a talk-back after a performance of the play The Boy Detective Fails and asked Joe Meno himself what was up with that. He said that since the book was still in pre-release, it was likely that no one at the publisher was checking that email yet. So I forgot about it until Kathy asked in a comment if I had solved a further code received from that email address. I sent off an email yesterday and got back a message in code.
So, some hints for solving that code after the jump:
The code in the email is, like the one at the bottom of the pages, a substitution cipher where each letter represents another. But unlike that other code, it's not a simple rotation through the alphabet. Instead, the substitution letters were chosen, it seems, randomly. Basically, we're going to have to start guessing at letters to substitute and then see how those play out. But we've got two big boosts when we start to guess -- the spaces and punctuation have been left in (there are only so many two letter words in English, for example) and our correspondent has signed his full name. So by starting at the end of the message and trickling those decoded letters up through the message, it starts to become like solving a crossword puzzle -- "what's a 5-letter word that ends in 'ing'?".
Oh, and there are two words misspelled. Don't let that drive you crazy.
I got an email from someone saying that the email mentioned in the code is no longer active. So for everyone who might want to solve the final puzzle, here's the message you would have gotten back had you emailed that address:
Derek Argo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To ensure secrecy, I have encoded the following message.
It may aide you to remember where my brother is living.
Sekx, Bvjnkp Akdyhpyscyp!
Akjlpsrtfsrnkjq kj qkfunjl ix mtzzfy. Gkp xktp espd vkpc, n vktfd
fncy rk qyjd xkt s qisff lngr-s rkcyj kg ix fsqrnjl smmpyansrnkj gkp
xktp yggkprq. Nj kpdyp rk dk qk, n jyyd xktp sddpyqq! Mfysqy gtpjnqe
nr mkqr-esqry, qk n asj esuy s cnjd mkqrsf yimfkxyy hpnjl ix lngr rk
Qyy xkt kj rey qysq,