The Most Mysterious Book in the World

Women bathingAndrea here, musing about . . . mysteries. I’m in the beginning stages of plotting my next Wrexford & Sloane mystery, and starting a new story always makes me reflect on conundrums and why the urge to solve them seems to be coded in our DNA. Whether it’s finding the perpetrator of a crime, learning the identity of a nameless portrait or cracking a code, we seem to driven by a certain primal curiosity to find answers . . .

Voynich_manuscript_recipe_example_107r_cropNow it so happens that I was recently chatting with some librarians and the subject of bibliographic mysteries came up. And one of them mentioned the biggest of them all—The Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century codex (codex is defined as an ancient manuscript in book form) that has bedeviled all attempts to decipher its mysterious text to this day. So . . . as books and mysteries are two subjects near and dear to my heart, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at the history of this beguiling codex—many call it the most mysterious book in the world— and why it has stumped all experts cryptographers, linguistic experts, bibliophiles and problem solvers who have taken a crack at it.

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