Title: Flight of the sparrows
By Author: Wendy Hobday Haugh
Tag line: When a valuable heirloom flew the coop, the sheriff was stumped!
Police characters: Sheriff Paul Marco and Deputy Barb Grant.
The gist: At 7:00 the book club met at Shirley’s home. The book club members were Bess Long, Tanya Piper, Claire Hoover, Josie Burns, and Shirley Denton. The book discussion began and at 8:30 Kenny Drake, the pizza delivery boy, arrived at the kitchen door with the usual half-time order. Shirley left Kenny in the kitchen while she went into the living room to collect the money for the pizza. When Shirley brought the dishes out to the kitchen later she realized her valuable set of silver salt and pepper shakers, in the shape of sparrows, was missing. She had dusted them just this morning. She called the police. When the sheriff questioned who else had been in the kitchen beside Kenny, Claire said that she had used the powder room that was just off the kitchen. Bess said that she too had used that bathroom. Tanya and Josie both had gone into the kitchen for sodas from the fridge. Tanya added that Shirley herself had been alone in the kitchen several times and suggested Shirley may have hidden them herself for the insurance money.
The sheriff drove to the pizza shop and spoke to Kenny. A search of his person and his car revealed nothing. After delivering the pizza at Shirley’s house Kenny had made 5 more stops before returning to the shop. His delivery list of names read: Denton, Baron, Mosher, Long, Crandell and Reynolds.
The sheriff had Kenny hop in the cruiser and they retraced his delivery route. Sheriff Marco found the sparrows.
Crime scene: Shirley Denton’s home.
Clues: Timing of the deliveries and the names of the patrons.
Suspects: Shirley Denton, Bess Long, Tanya Piper, Claire Hoover, Josie Burns, and Kenny Drake.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Bess Long paid Kenny Drake $50 to pinch the sparrows and put them in her prepaid pizza box. Sheriff Marco found the pizza box with the silver sparrows in it behind a bush at Bess’s home.
My two cents: I’m having déjà vu here. Didn’t we have a story about some guys, some salesmen or something, over to Kip’s house for football, and one of them was a slob and had to clean up, and one of them went into the kitchen for chips, and one guy went into the garage for something, and the pizza guy came, and they collected the money for him, and then the host realized his Rolex watch was missing? And it was the pizza guy. Right? November 2013, Tracie Rae’s story.
It sounds like this author just changed up the players a bit. And WW coughed up $500. I’m gonna start doing that. Every story that comes out I’m going to copy (but change) and send it in. Let’s see… I think I’ll make my story about a bunch of women who meet every week to do arts and crafts, and I’ll have Chinese food delivery, and the delivery guy will snatch a valuable Bedazzler and stick it in the lo mein, and then one of the ladies will volunteer to take the rubbish out. (wink wink) She digs into the garbage, snatches up the goods, sticks it in her pants, and waddles home. She gets caught because her husband now has Bedazzled hearts on his boxers.
Hey, it’s just as good as the story that sold.
The solution on this story was a whopping, astounding, mind boggling 130 words long. In my opinion when you have to explain something at that length, then the story didn’t work.
Why have Deputy Barb there? She didn’t do anything.
I hope Sheriff Marco got permission to search Kenny’s person and his vehicle. The cops can’t just frisk a person or look in their car without a search warrant or the owner’s permission. I would say that perhaps the short story just didn’t have time to add ‘with his permission’, but I suspect the author just didn’t know any better.
The tag line doesn’t work. It says the sheriff was stumped, but he wasn’t. He figured it out ‘right quick’ as they say in my area.
One star. It was an old rehashed story. You could figure out it was Ms. Long from the story, but adding the pizza guy on in the solution doesn’t seem fair. The solution was waaaaay too long.