The Clue Detective’s Story

My Clue Detective story began back in 2002.  Like millions of other people around the world, I found myself in the middle of a dark, disabling depression.  This would be eventually be diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder.

I was forced to give up a (librarian) job I loved and was also told by my GP that I could only work 8 hours a week in “mainstream employment!” But I knew I had to do something.  I’m not good at sitting still!

A time of reinvention…

I have always been something of an entrepreneur, and a keen puzzler. While on the road to recovery, I discovered the pleasure and challenge of writing my own (crossword and codeword) puzzles. Not only did it help my brain function, it gave me an immense sense of satisfaction. I decided to share my love of puzzling with the world.  In 2004, the Clue Detective Puzzle Agency was born.

I have found creating puzzles provides benefits for me the setter as well as the puzzler. Creating problems for other people to solve, is a (positive) challenge for me. “Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and then writing the clues is a mental work out for me, just as it is for the puzzler trying to solve them. In many ways, and it’s a form of escapism. All clues need to be researched and are somewhat eclectic. I am always learning something different.

Over the years, I have worked to develop the Clue Detective Online Puzzle Portal. My range of puzzles includes crosswords, codewords, ‘decryptocodes’ (cryptograms), sudoku and trivia quizzes. As a puzzler, you can sign up to an annual subscription.  The portal is also used as an electronic resource in a growing number of public libraries. Several libraries have established their own Clue Detective clubs for their patrons to promote the benefits of puzzling for good mental health, as well as stimulating entertainment.

I have also been given the opportunity to design puzzles in a freelance capacity.  My codewords have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and I am passionate about promoting small business through the medium of the puzzle.

Gratitude and giving back…

In 2006 I was asked to speak at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Drysdale about crossword compiling, and an invitation to join soon followed.  It was not long after I became a member, I heard the words Australian Rotary Health (and their work in mental health research) being mentioned.  It was at that moment, I made a resolution with myself, that ARH was an area of Rotary I wanted to support.

This opportunity presented itself when I served the club as President in 2017-18 and set up the IGKNIITE (Knitting) for Mental Health project.  In July 2019, I took on the role of (9780) District Chair for Australian Rotary Health.

I have found that my puzzling and mental health advocacy have become intrinsically linked.  It has given me a new focus and purpose in life for which I will always be deeply grateful.


Catherine Eagleson

Founder, Clue Detective Puzzle Agency

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