Title: While the cat’s away …
By Author: Tracie Rae Griffith
Tag line: Taking advantage of residents’ absences someone – who? – had burgled several houses in the neighborhood …
Police characters: Detective Kristine Kay, Sgt. Bill Morgan
The gist: Three houses within a mile radius were broken into while the residents were away. The crimes took place over a period of about a week. Same MO: entry gained through a broken window. No fingerprints left. All items taken were small.
House #1: The resident had stopped his mail and paper delivery while he was out of town. His travel agent and his ex-wife knew about his trip. Missing: iPad.
House #2: The resident did not stop her mail and papers, and they were noticeable on her steps. She didn’t tell anyone that she’d be gone. Her trip was spur of the moment. Missing: laptop.
House #3: The lady told her elderly neighbor so she could pick up her mail and papers, and she had a timed nightlight. Her theft occurred on a Sunday. Missing: jewelry.
What did they all have in common?
Crime scene: Residential homes.
Clues: Property was small. All received mail and paper delivery.
Suspects: Mailman or the paperboy.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: The paperboy knew who was out of town from the stop-paper order on one home, seeing the piled up papers on another, and observing the old lady taking in her neighbor’s paper. The mailman was eliminated as a suspect because one of the burglaries occurred on a Sunday.
My two cents: This was a decent little who-dunnit. I was leaning towards the mailman because we don’t have paperboys anymore here so I didn’t think of that, but I did miss the Sunday clue. I guess it would be odd to see the mailman in the neighborhood on a Sunday.
Clue: Good clues. They were believable and different enough to make you think about them.
Motive: None given, but it was a kid doing the stealing. Kids don’t really need a big motive.
Police Work: No problems that I could see.
Writing: The story moved along well. The author discussed the first theft, the one where the burglary involved a stop order for the paper, at the end of her story, sort of sneaking in how the paperboy began his thought process . Very clever.
Characters: The police characters are not memorable, but they’re not terrible either. The other characters were believable.