Woman's World

Solve-it-yourself mystery

uncovered. ultimately was body Ezra’s where it, beneath just freezer, or box,” “the checked she and sign, SMOKING” NO “the on variation a was it that realized Potts Angela herself, to times several clue the Repeating office. Jones’ Sheriff to delivered po

- — John M. Floyd

Angela Potts sat on the corner of her former student, Sheriff Jones’ desk, examining his mail while he examined the inside of his eyelids.

“Wake up,” she snapped, shaking him by one of his propped-up shoes. “You’re supposed to be working a missing-persons case.” “I was thinking,” he sighed. “Sure you were.” Angela picked up a stray envelope. “That’s funny—this one doesn’t have a return address.” “You don’t say, gumshoe…” Angela glowered, slitting the envelope open to reveal a handmade card. On the front was a heart, pierced by an arrow. She frowned. “What is it?” he said. Angela pointed to the drawing. “The missing guy—ezra Williams. He’s a bow hunter, right?”

“He is, Ms. Potts,” the sheriff said, stretching. “But that doesn’t mean the card is connected. There’s also an arrow on my keyboard. Are you suspicious of that too?”

Ignoring him, Angela began to read the card: You’ ll find your quest will come to rest in a small café a mile away.

“What?” Sheriff Jones asked, reaching for the paper.

Angela leaned away from him. “There’s more. Listen!” The proof is locked Inside a box That’s just below The King: Nosmo. Now the sheriff was frowning. “Nosmo? What’s that?”

“Beats me,” Angela said. “But that arrow—it looks like a real one, that hunters use.” “And the poem?” “A clue?” she shrugged. “Maybe someone’s trying to tell us where to look.”

“Perfect: another mysterious clue from an anonymous source. Whatever happened to folks just calling the police?”

“Maybe the poet doesn’t want to get involved,” Angela said, her eyes narrowing. “Either way, we should check it out.”

“You mean, go look for this ‘proof ’ a mile away?”

“Why not? It doesn’t look like you have any better leads.”

Sheriff Jones couldn’t argue that. As they climbed into his cruiser, he took out a cigar. “Mind if I smoke?”

“Not a bit,” she said. “I’ll drive…and you and your cigar can run alongside the car.”

A few minutes later, Sheriff Jones parked in front of the Greasy Goose Restaurant, the only café a mile from his office.

The owner, Sam, grudgingly told them they could look around the place. But after 10 minutes, Sheriff Jones and Angela found themselves leaning against a large chest freezer, shaking their heads.

Again, the sheriff took a cigar from his pocket. But before he could light up, Angela pointed to a no-smoking sign on the wall behind him. Grumbling, he put his cigar away as the pair headed outside. “That was a bust,” Sheriff Jones said. “What do you think it means, all that stuff about the King?”

“Don’t know,” she said. “Only people named King I can think of are Joe, Brenda, Joe Junior and Ethel.” “No Nosmo?” “Not unless it’s a nickname. And I know most of those.”

Suddenly, she brightened. “A locked box,” she murmured, “below Nosmo King.” She grinned. “Come with me.”

They re-entered the café, heading straight to the back room, as Angela convinced the now-nervous owner to unlock the freezer they’d been leaning against. Inside lay the frozen body of Ezra Williams, with a circle of dried blood on his shirt. The owner bolted and was halfway to his truck when Sheriff Jones caught him.

“Ezra threatened to blackmail me,” he wailed as he was handcuffed. “We were out hunting…what could I do?”

“You could’ve turned him in, or made sure nobody saw you do it,” Angela said, grinning at the sheriff. After the owner had been locked up, the sheriff turned to Angela.

“Okay, Ms. Potts, I’ll bite,” he said, with a smile. “How’d you figure out the clue?”

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