Title: I spy
By Author: Marianna Heusler
Tag line: Had the person who’d stolen the brooch been seen by the neighborhood watch?
Police characters: Detective Kevin McCarthy and Detective Lola Wheeler
The gist: Mrs. Middleton came home to find her valuable brooch had been stolen. There were no signs of forced entry. The home at been locked and the alarm activated. Three people had keys and alarms codes; Iris, the housekeeper; Larry, the contractor; Alison, the dog walker. While Mrs. M was speaking to the detectives a neighbor came over and reported that she saw someone dressed in all black with a black baseball cap and sunglasses come out of Mrs. M’s house this afternoon. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman but she believed the perpetrator saw her in the window watching.
The detectives speak to the dog walker and asked where she was between 1:00 and 2:00 today. She said she picked up a customer’s dog and took him for a 45-minute walk, then went to her next job. She was at Mrs. M’s at 10:00 in the morning to walk her dog. The police told her someone had broken into Mrs. M’s home and stolen several pieces of jewelry including a brooch and that there was a witness. The dog walker said she had nothing to worry about with regard to a witness because she wasn’t there.
The detectives next spoke to the contractor. Again the cops told him what was stolen. He claimed he wasn’t there today and that he was waiting for some kitchen cabinets so he could work on her kitchen. He said he saw the brooch when he was last there. He said that Mrs. M was showing it to the cleaning lady and then left it on the window ledge, which he thought was odd as it looked expensive. He claims he saw the cleaning lady pick it up and examine it closer. He said today he had been working on another customer’s house but that he left for lunch. When told about the witness he said, “Well, she didn’t see me because I wasn’t there and the diner is in the opposite direction.”
The housekeeper admitted to seeing and handling the pretty brooch last week when Mrs. M showed it to her, but denied stealing it. She said she was home today cleaning her own home. She said Mrs. M was careless with her jewelry and perhaps misplaced it herself. When told about the witness, she said, “Then that clears me.”
Crime scene: Mrs. Middleton’s home.
Clues: Only the real thief would know it was a woman who was the witness because he saw her, and that the diner was in the opposite direction of where she was.
Suspects: The three people with keys and the alarm code.
Red herrings: Mrs. M was careless with her valuables.
Solution: The contractor took the jewelry. He referred to the witness as she, something only the burglar would know.
My two cents: So the neighbor sees someone suspicious, wearing all black, coming from her neighbor’s house but she doesn’t call the police? Hmpf. Thanks neighbor.
The cops are running around telling everyone what was stolen. That’s just not done.
This was pretty easy to figure out. The solution didn’t mention that the diner was in the opposite direction of the neighbor who saw him. Maybe they ran out of words? This is not the author’s fault. This is poor editing.
I think the tag line was supposed to be funny. Not sure. It wasn’t.
Other than the police blabbing about what was stolen, there were no other real problems with this story. It read well, the pacing was good. I thought the clue was too obvious but at least there was a red herring and three suspects. I can’t give it 5 stars because it’s quite boring, but I can’t give it less than 4 either.
Old women and their brooches. Can’t we come up with something more modern? How about having the bad guys steal a Wii?