My idea to use fiction and a mystery format to teach debugging skills evolved over time. When I first planned to write a book on debugging embedded systems, I created an outline of typical bugs and debugging techniques, but it seemed kind of boring.


Who would read this? I wondered. Then I tried explaining the problem-solving thought process in terms of a real life problem, like an industrial over that overheats. This lead to the test case publication, “A Feynman Approach to Debugging,” that appeared in Embedded Systems Design magazine ( in 2004. This article was written in second-person, and it was my first attempt to place the debugging challenges into a mystery format.

It was well-received, but when it came time to write an entire book of mysteries, I wasn’t sure keeping the second-person style would keep readers interested. After some research and trial-and-error for my first foray into fiction, I changed the mysteries to third person, making the move from non-fiction to fiction complete.

Read the test case article,“A Feynman Approach to Debugging,” here.