“The Writer’s Lie” / Memorable Fancies #1139

Introducing his long-awaited autobiography, the noted writer announced that everything in his book was the truth, except for one single outright lie. A statement appeared on the last page that he would give $100,000 to the first reader who could correctly identify that single lie.

Enormous interest was aroused. Several hundred readers guessed that “autobiography” was the lie, that the book had been penned by an anonymous hack hired for the purpose. But that wasn’t it.

Some readers cited, almost at random, other statements in the book, but all were told they hadn’t caught the lie.

After a year, the noted writer cancelled the competition, saying that no one had won. Asked if he would then finally identify the lie, he said, “Certainly. The lie was ‘I will give $100,000 to the first reader who…’.”



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