Click the cover to order your copy!
Illustrated by Ian Baker
This book was
in the UK as
How to Make Them
and Break Them

by Scholastic Ltd 1999

The Secret Life of CODES

Suitable for ages 10 upwards

Practise your codes and download FREE print-outs here!

Did you ever want to send a message that only your friend can read? Or did you want to try and crack a secret message from someone else? If so, then here's everything you need to know about codes, from the simplest substitution messages to the secrets of the incredible RSA code used for internet shopping!

The book includes:

You'll also find out how we keep the Evil Gollarks at bay, how the Fogsworths get their revenge on cheating Rodney, why the Gangsters try to rob a bank with no trousers on and best of all, Professor Fiendish gets squashed by a falling piano.

Don't forget to click the EXTRA links for more details that we didn't have room for in the books!


A Sneaky Start

The very first sentence of the book is in code - but can you crack it and see what the evil Gollarks are planning? Find out all the basic rules of making codes and the difference between an algorithm and a key!

Disguised Messages

How to put a coded message onto a postcard so no one notices, and how binary and morse codes work. Professor Fiendish sends a message using smells!

Scrambling Codes

Riverboat Lil hides the secret to Toothpick's gold stash by shuffling a pack of cards! You too can learn to mix up a pack of cards and then miraculously put them in the right order again. There's how to scamble messages with the Rail Fence and grid codes, and Blade and the gangsters get a message on a belt that can only be unscrambled by Dolly Snowlip's waist!

Substitution Codes

Here are the basics of how to make secret messages using code stips, code wheels and your own special keywords, and then there's a section on cracking these codes using frequency analysis (and you'll find out how that lead to Mary Queen of Scots being executed!). Once you know the basics, you meet Blaise de Vigenere and his code table for really secure messages - perfect for encoding the mystery ingredient to Pongo McWhiffy's cheese burgers!

One Time Pads

At last, the secret to really uncrackable codes is explained! These pads are used by spies across the world... and evil Gollarks from another world.

Grid Codes

Blade and the gangsters are planning a bank robbery, but they need to leave a secret in Luigi's diner using an old school table and a table cloth! Grids and masks are explained along with instructions on how to make your own.

The Enigma Machine

This chapter tells you all about the code machine used by the Germans in the second world war. Although the orginal machines were electric, there's full instructions here on how to make your very own MM Enigma Machine using paper wheels! You'll also find out about the brilliant code breakers Marian Rejewski and Alan Turing, and why cracking enigma was like solving a massive jigsaw in the dark.

Number Messages

Once you've turned the letters into numbers (a=1 b=2 c=3 etc.) you'll find even more ways of coding messages! There's also a way you can send codes just using a normal book or newspaper.

Pig Pen Codes

If numbers and scambling confuse you, why not encode your messages with a series of cute doodles?

Double Codes

If you're worried that Professor Fiendish is intercepting your keywords, here's how to fool him. But beware, as the Prof finds out, if it goes wrong then it goes very wrong!

The Uncrackable Credit Card Code

When you put a credit card number into the internet, can you be sure that only the right people can read it? Relax because the fantastic RSA code uses prime numbers hundreds of digits long, and the utterly nutty Pure Mathematicians can't wait to explain it to you!

Go THIS way Go THAT way


The Murderous Maths Bookshop

The Murderous Maths Books

Murderous Maths Main Index Page