Solve-it-your­self mys­tery

Woman's World - - Contents -

De­tec­tive Anne Blake en­tered the jew­elry store to find the foren­sics team at work as the mall se­cu­rity guard, Bob Shaw, watched at­ten­tively from the door­way.

“What hap­pened here, Shaw?” De­tec­tive Blake asked.

“I’m not com­pletely sure,” he ad­mit­ted, scratch­ing his head. “Tonight was the mall’s an­nual trick-or-treat event where kids from town dress up in their cos­tumes and go from store to store to get candy. Af­ter all the stores shut down, I made sure all the lit­tle ones had left. I was mak­ing my rounds when I no­ticed the glass door to the jew­elry store was still open. I walked in and there was a girl ly­ing on the floor, un­con­scious. I found that white cloth by her head,” he sighed.

“Chlo­ro­form?” Blake asked. Shaw nod­ded. “Then what hap­pened?”

“I picked the girl up, took her into the back room where there’s a sofa, and then I called the po­lice. I did a quick look around and no­ticed the dis­play case at the front of the store was empty, but the key was still in the lock.”

“Any idea who could have done this?” Blake asked.

“No way to be sure,” Shaw an­swered rue­fully. “Be­sides the kids and their par­ents here tonight, there were a lot of se­nior ci­ti­zens walk­ing the mall, as usual. Maybe one of them saw some­thing.”

“Could one of the se­niors have been our thief?” Blake asked cu­ri­ously.

Shaw shook his head. “Likely not, but I sup­pose it’d be worth it to ask around.” Blake nod­ded. Just then a young woman came out from the store’s back room, walk­ing un­steadily and hold­ing her head.

De­tec­tive Blake stepped for­ward and gen­tly shook her hand. “May I ask your name?” “Lucy Cray.” “Could you tell us what hap­pened here, Miss Cray?” The girl drew a long sigh. “I was in the back room putting to­day’s sales money in the safe af­ter the trick-or-treaters left. I guess I for­got to close and lock the door. It was a care­less thing to do, I know, but I’ve only worked here a week and the mall seemed like a safe enough place.” She glanced down at her hands. “Any­how, while I was back there, I heard a noise out front. I thought it might be a late cus­tomer. Be­fore I’d taken two steps out of the of­fice, some­one grabbed me from be­hind and held a cloth over my face. I passed out and just woke up a minute ago.” “Did you see who grabbed you, by chance?” “No. I’m afraid not.” “Could you tell any­thing about this per­son?” She paused. “Well, when my face was cov­ered with that cloth I saw the hand hold­ing it was wear­ing a glove. And now that I think of it…my head was pulled back­ward and held against a man’s chest.” “That gives us an idea of how tall your at­tacker was. Now would you be able to tell us what was in that empty dis­play case?” Blake asked, ges­tur­ing over Lucy’s shoul­der.

“That’s where we keep our top-of-the-line watches, and some of the most ex­pen­sive ear­rings in the store.”

“Eas­ier to pawn than di­a­monds or other jew­els,” Blake ob­served. “And where did that key come from?”

“He must have taken it off me,” Lucy said, ges­tur­ing to her wrist. “I al­ways keep it here on an elas­tic band where it’s handy.”

“Thank you,” Blake said. “If that’s all you can think of, you’re free to go home.”

“Thank you,’ Lucy said. “And thank you, Mr. Shaw, for tak­ing me to the sofa where I’d be safe. I don’t know how I’m go­ing to tell my boss.”

“Don’t worry,” Blake said. “We’ll do that.”

“Now what?” Shaw asked. “Do we in­ter­view the se­nior mall walk­ers to see if they no­ticed any­thing?”

“That won’t be nec­es­sary,” Blake said, smil­ing. “I al­ready know who did it.”

— Richard Ci­cia­relli

Q: Who is the jew­elry thief?

“No, I didn’t re­model the kitchen. I washed the away” dishes and put them

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