By Author: John M. Floyd
Appearing in issue #23, June 10, 2013
For sale date: May 31, 2013
Tag line: The high school mascot was missing. Was one of the students a thief?Police characters: Sheriff Jones and his old school teacher and amateur crime fighter Angela Potts
The gist: The school mascot, an otter, is stolen from the gym. Teacher Teresa Garver gave the sheriff a list of students that attended a meeting in the gym on the night the mascot was stolen. The cleaning crew reported the otter missing when they came to clean one hour after the students had left. There were no security cameras in the gym, nor in the parking lot.A note was left on the scene that read “For Sheriff Jones. I’m vacation-bound. But if I’m to be found, just whittle me down, and then turn me around. Nora Michael”. There were no fingerprints on the note.
Sheriff Jones is studying the note when Ms. Potts drops in. She figures out who stole the mascot.Crime scene: School gym.
Clues: The poem and list of seven names.Suspects: The list of seven attending students: Jo Nell Gorman, Kevin Higa, Stuart King, Brittany Raw Bourgeois, Joseph Cook, Leah Jean Cimaron, and Allison Wingo.
Red herrings: None. It is not this author’s style to throw in red herrings. His interactions between the sheriff and Ms. Potts are what make the story interesting.Solution: Leah Jean Cimaron. Her name, when whittled down to remove the Jean and turned around, spelled backwards is Nora Michael.
My two cents: These two characters appear in WW often. This time the sheriff keeps calling the mascot a weasel and he seems a bit cranky. Ms. Potts feels the thief wanted to embarrass the school or maybe even the sheriff, but really students nab each other’s mascots (and even their own) and hold them for ransom just for the fun of it. It happens almost every year. The student even left a clue. This wasn’t really a theft, it was more of a prank. As soon as I saw the list of names I started reading them backwards and found the culprit quickly. The story was mildly entertaining but not memorable.