Key to the crimeBy Tracie Rae Griffith
Appearing in January 14, 2013 issueFor sale date: January 4th
Tag Line: Detective Kay began to wonder if the thief had managed to make a clean getaway …The police: Detective Kristine Kay.
Overview: Antique 24-carat gold earrings are missing from a guest’s room.
Crime Scene: Hotel room.
The suspects: Front desk clerk, the housekeeper and the handyman.
Clues: Room 181 still had the maid service card dangling from the knob when the detective arrived. There was an unmade bed, waste basket full of paper, and wet towels in the bathroom to indicate the maid had not been in there yet. The victim claimed she had worn her earrings the night before to an event and had left them on the bureau before she retired and they were still there in the morning. The victim rose at 8:00 AM, made tea in her room and turned on the weather channel. She tried to do some work at the desk but the lamp did not work. The victim took a shower, hung the maid sign on the door, and went downstairs for breakfast. She was gone for about an hour. When she returned to her room, the earrings were gone. The handyman stated he had been tied up on another floor and hadn’t had a chance to fix the lamp yet. The housekeeper maintained that she hadn’t been in room 181 to clean yet as she arrived late for work and was behind in her duties .
Detective Kay noted that the two people who had door keys alleged to have not entered the room to do their job. While the detective mulled over the case, she turned on the TV in the room via the remote and watched a hockey game in progress. This act gave her the information she needed to solve this crime.
Red Herrings: The desk clerk told the detective there were no signs of a break-in even though he was not asked. The words ‘clean getaway’ in the title send the message that it was the maid. Upon hearing there had been a theft, the desk clerk paled and called the police. Yet later he stated that the victim must be mistaken and that the hotel has a flawless reputation. The desk clerk surely has access to the master key that opens every room on the property.
Solution: The handyman did it. He had gone to the room to fix the lamp, had turned on the sports channel to check the score for his favorite team, saw the earrings, stole them, then left without fixing the lamp so he could say he had never been in the room.
My two cents: I was not able to figure out how a hockey game on the TV fit it. My weather channel has sports and news clips in between the weather bits, so I didn’t think anyone had changed the channel. Perhaps it should have read the 24-hour all weather channel. And the hockey game didn’t lead me to the handyman. That part was a bit stereotyped. The maid couldn’t be a big hockey fan? My daughter is.
All in all this was a good story. Worthy of WW. It read well, was consistent and was not easy to solve.
NOTE: The author of this story advised me that WW changed a lot of her details, including the title and the clue that solved the crime. This happens all the time with WW. “My Two Cents” critiques the story as WW presented it.