Friday, May 31, 2013

Title: Gone goes the weasel!
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.


Mary Jo said...

Jody, I have to disagree. Usually I have no patience with the busy-body Miss Potts, but I found this story delightful, memorable, fun, and the perfect package. I could hardly wait for you to review it, and now I am so disappointed that you didn't like it, too.

Jody E. Lebel said...

That's funny. I usually have patience for the fussy Ms. Potts, but not on this story. I don't like how she insists on calling him Chunky. I'm thinking he used to be fat in school. And of course she has to remind him he didn't really make the team. It all comes across as mean. He never really is happy to see her and he whines a lot. I also thought this story was a bit slow, the pacing was off for me. Oh, well, every story can't be a winner for everybody.

PAM said...

I'm with you Mary Jo. I loved this story. I knew the clue had to be in the names but couldn't figure it out. I was so glad John got me this time around. I've been reading Mrs. Potts and Chunky from the very beginning in WW. Loved them right from the start.

Chris said...

Glad to see the change to the comments box, Jody. It's far easier to join in now.

I actually like the relationship between the detective and Mrs Potts. She reminds me of a Jessica Fletcher, or Miss Marple, but a bit less fluffy. Wasn't so keen on this particular story, though, as I found the sheriff's constant confusion of the otter for a weasel silly. I'd have been tempted to whack him with it by the end - if it hadn't been stolen, of course. I also didn't like that the student's middle name had to be dropped in order for the reversal solution to work. I've read a few John Floyd stories now, thanks to you and others sending them to me, and this wasn't one of my favourites. Good job we all like different things, eh.

Jody E. Lebel said...

Chris, thanks for stopping by. The middle name had to be dropped (whittle me down) but I see your point. John is trying to make his characters unique and likeable, but sometimes I think the sheriff is too whiney. Like you said, you can't please everyone. John is so prolific ... it must be hard to keep writing fresh. Here's to US having that