Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mystery Corner


#1 The Case of the Archaeological Dig
"I've finally earned my place as assistant curator of the museum", said Bob Hobbie to Max, the chief administrator of the Belgra Archeological Museum. "I moved West of the Pakistani dig site and we've just unearthed some wonderful coin artifacts."
"Why did you start digging in a new location?" asked Max.
"One of the local natives told me that, for many generations, his family had passed down a legend of a lost village and he found a map among his father's things," said Bob. "His father recently passed away", he added. "The native followed the map and led me to this site on the condition that if we discovered anything of value he would be paid one thousand dollars", explained Bob.
"And what is it that you found buried,?" asked Max.
"It's just terrific," exclaimed Bob, "we found 3 gold coins of various sizes dated 400 B.C., and after properly dusting them off I found them to be in excellent condition." "I quickly paid the native to complete our verbal contract and keep him from trying to claim a portion of the discovery," concluded Bob. After considering for a few moments, Max told Bob that when he returns home he should look for another job!!  Why?

#2 The Case of the Murdered Wife
Detective Palumbo had just finished examining the body of Debbie Layne which was lying on couch in her plush living room.
"Mrs. Layne was hit on the back of her head 3 or 4 times with the butt of that pistol," the sleuth said.
The .45 lay on the floor near the body. Sheriff Hobbs was dusting the weapon for fingerprints.
"I've telephoned her husband at his office and only told him to come home, I dislike breaking bad news.  Will you do it?", the sheriff said.
"I'll do it," said Palumbo as he watched the body being removed from the scene. Then he took a seat in a lounge chair to wait for Mr. Layne.
The Ambulance drove away just as Mr. Layne arrived. He came into the living room and asked, "Where's Debbie? What's happened?"
"I'm sorry to have to tell you that she was murdered about 3 hours ago," said Palumbo. "Your cleaning lady found the body and called the sheriff."
"I can't find any fingerprints on this gun," said the sheriff. "I'll send it to the lab."
Mr. Layne's face flushed as he got angry and said, "please find the fiend that clubbed Debbie to death, I'll put up a twenty-five thousand dollar reward!"
"Save your money," said Hobbs. "The murderer won't be that hard to find."  Why?

#3 The Case of the Knife Wielding Gangster
Detective Hobbs found the notorious gangster Scarface Joe found lying face down on the bar room floor. A bullet had entered his left ear and must have lodged somewhere in his brain as there was no exit wound.
The bullet matched the gun that was owned by Bernie the Bull, another hoodlum, and Joe's rival gang member. It was well known that they hated each other but frequented the same bar.
Bernie said that he was the only customer in the bar when Joe came in and started yelling at him. "He was like a madman," said Bernie. "He pulled out a knife and started coming at me. I shot him in self-defense as he charged head-on at me swinging that knife." Joe's body lying close by still had the knife clutched in his left hand. "He just wouldn't stop coming at me," exclaimed Bernie. "I had to shoot, I had no choice."
The only witness was the bartender, another shady character, who agreed with Bernie's story.
Detective Hobbs just smiled and said, "you boys will have time to think of something better than that story on the way to the slammer."  Why didn't he believe them?

#4 The Case of the Late Night Suicide
Detective Hobbs was on his way to the big Detroit auto show when he decided to visit his old friend, Dr. Sam. At Sam's home he was shocked to learn that just two days earlier his long time friend had hanged himself.
"Sam was in excellent health and spirits when I heard from him last week," Hobbs told the sheriff. "I can't believe he committed suicide."
"But he did---I investigated it myself," said the sheriff. "Here's how it all happened."
"Pete Porter, Sam's manservant, was returning to the house late that night when he spotted a light in the attic. As Porter got out of his car, he saw through the open attic window Sam knotting a rope around his neck. The other end was tied to a rafter. Then he saw Sam calmly kick away the small stool he was standing on, and that was the end.
"Porter found the house locked. He had forgotten his key; so he went to the neighbor to call me."
"He repeated to me exactly what I've just told you," said the sheriff.
"When I arrived at Sam's house, I had to force the front door open." Porter and I then ran up the three floors to the attic. Sam was dead. The coroner has no doubt that death was from hanging."
"The attic floor was clear except for the little stool that lay overturned by the door," concluded the sheriff.
"Let's go out to the house," said Hobbs. "From everything you've told me about Porter's story, I can tell you he's lying!" How did Hobbs know that Porter was lying?

#5 The Case of the Gold Digger
Detective Palumbo had just ordered a drink at the bar in the Tahoe motel when a young man with sun-bleached golden hair and tanned cheeks sat on the stool beside him.
After ordering a scotch and water, the sunburned man nodded toward the gaming tables. "My name is John Patmos," he said genially. "It's great to be back in civilization and hear people and money talking out loud."
Palumbo introduced himself. "I guess you've been out in the desert?"
"Yeah, I got back yesterday," said Patmos. "Washed the dust out of my ears, had a barber shave off my seven months of whiskers and trim my hair. Then I bought a whole wardrobe on credit. All I had to do was show my assay report. Boy am I going to celebrate."
"You found gold?," inquired Palumbo.
"Yes sir. Hit the big load." Patmos stroked his bronzed chin thoughtfully; then in a low voice he said, "if I can find a backer, I'll take enough out of those hills to buy ten pleasure palaces like this one. Of course, I'm not trying to interest you. But, if you know someone who'd like to get in on a sure thing, let me know. I'm staying in room 510. Can't give out the details here, you understand."
"I understand," said Palumbo, "that you'd better improve your story if you want to sucker someone into a deal that's worthless."  How did Palumbo know the story was fictitious?

#6 The Case of the Untimely Blackmailer
"I'm telling you, Hobbs," said John Dough, "inheriting the Dough millions has had some nerve racking moments. Do you remember Frack, the butler?"
"A smiling and mild mannered chap," said Hobbs
"That's the guy. I fired him after inheriting the house in the Hamptons. Well, two days ago he came to my office and demanded one hundred thousand dollars. He claimed to have been in the study when my father drew up another will, naming his brother sole heir."
"You believed him?"
"I confess the news was quite a shocker. Dad and I had an argument over Marilyn sometime during the last week of June. Dad opposed the marriage, and it seemed possible that he had cut me off."
"Frack said he has this second will, which he said would be worth a lot more than the blackmail money he was asking for. He said the new will was dated June 31, only one day newer than the old will, but it would be legally recognized he claimed."
"You didn't pay him, I hope?" asked Hobbs.
"I paid---with my boot to the seat of his pants."
"Perfect," agreed Hobbs. "Imagine trying to peddle a story like that!?  Why did they decide not to pay Frack?


#1 The Case of the Archaeological Dig
Max realized that Bob had been taken in by the local native because there couldn't be any coins dated B.C. How would anyone have known it was B.C?

#2 The Case of the Murdered Wife
Palumbo knew that the sheriff had only told Mr. Layne to come home, and not what had happened. When Mr. Layne saw the gun, he said that she had been clubbed to death. A normal reaction would have been to assume that she had been shot with a gun, not clubbed.

#3 The Case of the Knife Wielding Gangster
Hobbs knew the men were lying because the bullet entered the dead man's ear. That couldn't have happened if he had been charging Joe head-on.
#4 The Case of the Late Night Suicide
Hobbs knew that Porter was lying because Porter said he saw Sam kick the small stool. If he had been looking from the driveway up to the attic, he would never have been able to see a small stool on the floor. The house was 3 stories high!!!

#5 The Case of the Gold Digger
Palumbo had no doubt that the whole story was fabricated. Patmos said he had a barber shave off 7 months of whiskers, yet his face and chin were tanned. If he hadn't shaved for seven months, his face would be white where the whiskers were not tanned!!

#6 The Case of the Untimely Blackmailer
Hobbs and Dough both know there is no June 31!!


#1 The Case of the Balloon Man
"The whole force is looking for Izzy the Balloon Man who kidnapped little Doug Merril, " Inspector Winters said to Dr. Hall.
"Doesn't anyone know where Izzy hangs out?"
"Nobody knows anything about him," replied the inspector. "Once a week he stops his old truck by the Merril estate and gives out popcorn and mouse-shaped pink balloons. The kids love the funny faces he makes as he puts the balloons to his lips and huffs and puffs.
"Last Thursday Izzy made his usual stop and drove off -- or so it appeared. Later, Seth Motts and the Reverend Brown were in Seth's backyard, which abuts the Merril property. Seth noticed one of Izzy's balloons stuck high in his oak tree.
"Since there was no wind to blow it loose, Seth got a long ladder and climbed into the tree. From that height -- about twenty feet -- he could see over the Merril's twelve-foot wall.
"Sam says that as he released the balloon he glanced into the Merril yard and saw the Balloon Man put young Doug into his truck and drive off. He told the minister what he'd seen. Neither man thought much of it till they heard that Doug was missing.
"Yesterday," concluded the inspector, "Dougs's father received a note stating that Doug was being held for ransom, and that instructions would follow."
"Putting together everything you've told me," said Hall. "I think both Doug and the Balloon Man have been kidnapped!"  Why?

#2 The Case of the Last Karan
"From the smirk connecting your ears, I assume you've hit upon a new scheme for making a million dollars," Dr. Hall said to Brian Ford.
"Not quite a million," corrected Brian, a young Englishman with more ways to avoid work than aces up the sleeve of a Mississippi gambler.
Brian opened his briefcase and showed Hall a pen-and-ink sketch of a bearded man.
"Looks like a Rudy Karan!" Hall marveled.
"Precisely," gloated Brian. "All the world knows the great artist died in Alaska three years ago. The details were never divulged till his friend, Kiako, meeting hard times, came to me.
"The facts are," continued Brian, "that Karan injured his hip in a storm that buried his and Kiako's supplies on the trail. The weather had been far below freezing for days, and moreno, his hip injured, failed rapidly.
"Kiako got him to an abandoned shack. He stopped up the broken window with his gloves. As he tore apart a chair to build an fire, Karan called to him. There was no time. He wouldn't live half an hour.
"Karan asked for drawing materials. Kiako found an old pen and a bottle of ink in a cupboard. Karan sketched his faithful friend, and died.
"The prices of morenos have soared since his death. His last picture should be worth a quarter of a million. I can buy it from Kiako for twenty thousand," concluded Brian. "Have you twenty, old boy?"
"For that portrait? Not twenty cents!" snapped Hall. Why Not?

#3 The Case of the Rescue at Sea
"Thank heaven you saw me!" exclaimed Ted Long as he feebly helped make fast his battered yawl to Dr. Hall's chartered fishing boat.
Hall reached over the side and assisted the bedraggled yachtsman aboard.
Long staggered into the shade of the cabin and sagged upon a berth. He removed his cap to wipe the perspiration from his brow, revealing a bald, freckled head.
"Drink this," said Hall, holding out a cup of water.
Long gulped it frantically, asked for a second, and when he had downed it, told of his ordeal.
"Bill Smith and I were sailing for Bimini when the storm hit us. The sails, rudder, and radio went in the first five minutes. We barely managed to keep afloat.
"We drifted five days, lost. Three days ago our fresh water supply gave out. Bill went crazy with the heat and thirst. He started to drink the ocean water. I tried to restrain him -- I hit him. He -- he struck his head against the starboard rail. He's dead! It's my fault!"
Hall climbed into Long's disheveled yacht. In the little cabin he found Bill Smith laid out on his back, dead. The criminologist studied the bruise on Smith's jaw and the one at the base of his skull.
Back on the fishing boat, he warned Long grimly, "You're going to have to tell the police a better tale than the one you told me!"   Why didn't Hall believe Long?

#4 The Case of the Open Door
Working calmly and efficiently, Pete Jordan hanged Martin John in the attic of John's rented house. It was not until Jordan tried to shut the front door that he hit a snag. The lock was jammed.
"Better get out of here," he thought, casting anxious glances at the dense woods surrounding the house.
Two hours later he was driving back to the house with Dr. Hall.
"Martin's been morose since his divorce. I should have visited him, but nobody knew where he was hiding out. I got his address this afternoon when he telephoned me to say he was contemplating suicide. I thought you'd better come with me and perhaps have a talk with him.
"He said it was a white stucco house, 5228 School House Avenue, over the phone," went on Jordan.
"Here we are."
Hall left the car first. Finding the front door ajar, he entered and switched on the lights. Five minutes later the two men found Martin John in the attic.
As they stood silently staring at the body, a door chime sounded downstairs.
With Hall right behind him, Jordan hastened to the back door. There stood a teenage girl. "Mother asked me to return this bottle of milk to Mr. John," she said.
Hall took the milk and after she had gone he called the police.
"You'd better arrest Mr. Jordan on suspicion of murder," he said when they arrived. Why?

#5 The Case of the Dead Boxer
Tony Jack's worldly possessions were laid out on a small table in police headquarters. They consisted of a T-shirt, sneakers, and white cotton trousers. In a pocket of the trousers was a card.
The card read: July 28. Your wght, 173 lbs.; Your fortune, You will enjoy a long life.
"His life lasted 22 years," Inspector Hobbs told Dr. Hall.
"Late last night," said the inspector, "we got a call to come to the carnival. Somebody had started up a Ferris wheel. We found a male corpse jack-knifed over a strut. At first I thought the guy had been beaten to death -- his face was so battered. Then I recognized Tony.
"Last night Tony fought Killer Malone for the state middleweight title," he continued. "Tony took a pounding. We know he left the arena still pretty dazed. He must have come out to the carnival. He used to be a roustabout, and he knew his way around.
"It looks like he got here after closing," said the inspector, "used the scale, and then started up the big wheel. He took a ride and fell out. The medical examiner says he died instantly,"
The famed criminologist contemplated Tony's possessions.
"He might have been killed elsewhere and hung on the strut," said Hall. "I heard rumors of a fix in the Malone fight.
"It looks to me like Tony refused to take a dive and the mob made him pay the full price. The killers apparently did a clumsy job. To avoid giving themselves away, they changed his clothes and staged the scene out at the Ferris wheel." How did Hall know?

#6 The Case of the Lookout
Dr. Hall was the only customer in the little drugstore when the shooting started.
He had just taken his first sip of black coffee when three men dashed from the bank across the street, guns blazing.
As the holdup men jumped into a waiting car, a nun and a chauffeur sought refuge in the drugstore.
"You're both upset," said Hall. "Let me buy you a cup of coffee."
They thanked him. The nun ordered black coffee, the chauffeur a glass of root beer.
The three fell to talking about the flying bullets and had barely touched their drinks when sirens sounded.
The robbers had been captured and were being returned to the bank for identification.
Hall moved to a front window to watch. As he returned to the counter, the nun and chauffeur thanked him again and departed.
The counterman had cleared the glass and cups.
"Sorry, mister," he said to Hall. "I didn't know your weren't done."
The counterman looked at the two coffee cups he had just removed from the counter, and passing Hall the one without lipstick, said, "What do you think a chauffeur was doing around here? There isn't a limousine on the street."
Hall thought a moment. "Good grief!" he cried. "We had the gang's lookout right here!"
And he dashed out to make the capture.  What aroused Hall's suspicion?

#1 The Case of the Balloon Man
Hall realized Seth Motts had used the innocent clergyman to confirm a tale of kidnapping which never occurred as he reported it.
Motts had obviously stuck the balloon high in the oak as a prop. On a day without a wind, a balloon blown up by breath could never rise high enough to get into a tree that high.

#2 The Case of the Last Karan
As "the weather had been far below freezing for days," and the shack had a "broken window," the ink would have been frozen solid and impossible to draw with.

#3 The Case of the Rescue at Sea
Hall knew that Long's story of hitting Smith and accidentally killing him while retraining him from drinking ocean water was false. If the supply of fresh water had given out "three days ago," as Long claimed, he would have been dehydrated, and therefore could not have wiped "the perspiration from his brow."

#4 The Case of the Open Door
Although Jordan carefully built up the impression he had never visited the John house before, he knew while standing in the attic that the chime was from the back door.

#5 The Case of the Dead Boxer
Tony could not have gained 13 pounds in one day. He fought on the night of his death for the state middleweight -- 160 pounds -- title. When found, he had on someone else's clothing, for the card in his pocket gave his body weight as an impossible "173 lbs."

#6 The Case of the Lookout
The woman dressed as a nun admitted being the lookout after Hall had seized her down the block.
Hall, too, had noticed the lipstick on her coffee cup and knew she was not a real nun, since nuns don't wear lipstick.


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