Title: The tip-off
By Author: Monica A. Andermann
Tag line: A hundred-dollar bill was missing from TJ’s wallet – and he knew exactly who to blame for the theft!
Police characters: None.
The gist: TJ gets a burger at a diner. It was greasy and overcooked. When he complained, the waiter just turned and walked away without an apology. So TJ didn’t tip him. He paid for his food and went to go buy antacid tablets at the pharmacy. When he was at the cashier’s station, he realized he didn’t have his wallet. It must still be on the table at the diner. All he had left in there was one $100 bill. TJ storms out of the pharmacy, heads back to the diner, bursts through the door and marches up to the hostess asking about his wallet. Ms. Hostess is friendly and told him the waiter found his wallet and put it in the Lost and Found box which is located in the manager’s office. Sure enough his wallet was in the box, but when he opened it, his $100 was missing. “Where’s my money?” he demanded. Ms. Hostess claims to not know anything about any money. TJ’s gaze swept the room and he spotted his waiter. He yelled, “You! Get over here!” About that time the manager comes out to see what all the commotion is about. TJ accuses the waiter of taking his money. The waiter quickly defended himself and said when he found the wallet he took in straight to the Lost and Found, and even though he didn’t get a tip he would never steal TJ’s money. The manager claims the wallet was in his office from the time the waiter placed it there until it was claimed. All eyes turned to the hostess, the only other person who had access to the manager’s office. “Don’t look at me,” she said. “I didn’t take your hundred dollars.” TJ apologized to the waiter.
Crime scene: A diner.
Clues: The dollar amount of the bill.
Suspects: The waiter, the hostess, and the manager of the diner.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: The hostess was the only one who knew it was $100.
My two cents: The lesson learned here for WW writers is that WW loves three suspects. We see it time and again. The solving clue is also an old favorite: “only the perp would know some tidbit of info”. Overused? Sure. But a steady seller.
I don’t know why this TJ guy had to be so rude. It didn’t add to the story for me. In fact, I sorta’ hoped he never found his money and the heartburn ate a hole in his esophagus. (Is that mean? Can’t help it. I don’t like him.)
Other than that there’s really not much to say. I can’t imagine why they chose such a humdrum story with an overused formula and an unlikable main character. And to put the ‘solving clue’ at the very end of the story? They didn’t even try to hide it or slip it in. It doesn’t seem like much effort went into this week’s offering. That the editors highlighted the word ‘exactly’ in the tag line was the only mildly clever thing about the whole page.