Back in August of 1999, I wrote a series of stories about a fictional SQL Server mystery solver named SQL Sam. The stories were based on real SQL Server mysteries I encountered in my SQL Server consulting work.  Back then, SQL Server 6.5 was the de-facto standard, with version 7.0 just coming out. Although the stories deal with version 6.5, the principles still apply to later versions.

I’ve brought back the original stories here for your enjoyment.  I hope to add new stories in the future.

Here’s what I wrote about the origin of the stories, way back then:

When I was a boy, I enjoyed reading the Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective series by Donald J. Sobol. Encyclopedia Brown was a kid my age who had read the entire encyclopedia, and, using his knowledge and powers of observation, solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could solve.

Being a wanna-be writer at heart, and having a love of solving SQL Server problems, I decided to combine some of my real-life SQL Server experiences with the fictional character of SQL Sam, SQL Detective. Each case presented here is based on actual events, with the names and details changed to protect the, ummm, less-enlightened. (And, by the way, the examples shown here have been simplified for presentation and don’t necessarily represent runnable code. In other words, don’t try this at home…)

Enough details are presented in each case so you can try to solve the mystery yourself.  The solution on the final page shows how SQL Sam solved the mystery.

If you’re curious about the story behind the stories, and want to know the secret “jokes” I planted in each story, go to Behind the SQL: The Making of SQL Sam.