|artwork by Jane F., Grade 8|
“Ms. Scarlet, I believe it has come to the point where we need your assistance,” my advisor says to me in a low voice. Everyone in the room glances up from his or her computer, trying to get an earful of our conversation. I turn around in my chair, leaning back nonchalantly. However, I suppose I should introduce myself before I continue on. I am Scarlet Hooverguard. I work for the FBI but not in the way one might think. I leave all the dirty work to the agents. I am simply here for when the agents come to the point of desperation, and they need my assistance. I am what one might call a detective. I have been trained how to fight, for one never knows what could happen in the FBI business, but I prefer not to do those kinds of activities. I simply investigate crime scenes, searching for clues one may have missed during their sweep through the area. When I am not investigating, I am a journalist for the local paper; I’m the best in the business, actually. I suppose I am getting a bit ahead of myself; I have a story to tell. I glance up at my advisor, whose name is Malcolm Fielder III. I suppose one might call him a bit disorganized. He has wild eyes and hair that never seems to stay smooth. I smooth my own hair into place before speaking to him.
“Is this the case of the missing diamond necklace?” I ask tiredly. Malcolm nods.
“There is no trace of him or her to be found.” About three days ago, in a museum, a diamond necklace was stolen out of its display case. The glass was shattered, and the necklace was ripped from its place, sounding the alarm. The robber escaped before security could even show up. The FBI found barely any clues, including an open air vent that leads to the outside, which the robber must have gone through, and a smudge of red lipstick on the display case. Neither of the clues seems like they will be much help to my case. The way the robber came in normally is not much help, and matching the lipstick is a very difficult and tedious task.
“We have three suspects, Miss, all of which are women and wearers of red lipstick. The first is Mrs. Irene Walker, the owner of the shoe store next door. She owns a museum key in case of emergency. The second is Ms. Liliana Doolittle, the woman who works the night shift at the coffee shop three blocks down. The third is Molly Chalmer, the owner of the cosmetic shop. They have all been interviewed, but there are no signs of them bearing guilt.” I nod, solemnly before thinking over my choices.
“Alright,” I say, “I’ll take a look.”
Malcolm was right; there is no trace of the robber. There are glass shards on the floor from the smashing of the glass and an open air vent. That’s it. I have each woman’s file. There are definitely some clues about each one that leads me to believe that one may have stolen the diamonds, but I don’t have any good proof to prove any of them. I examine each shard of glass. Several of the shards are too small to have any clues. There is nothing to be found on the glass, but as I’m on my hands and knees on the floor, I notice something shoved between the wooden display case and the floor. It’s wedged under there so much that nobody would see it unless they were really searching. Most of the FBI agents are not as skilled at catching small details. I crawl over, and place my fingers around the object. I wrench it from its hiding place with a sharp yank. It’s odd, really. It seems to be the heel of a high- heeled shoe. I quickly shove it in my coat pocket before I walk up to the front desk where a woman sits. Her name tag reads Wanda. I take a glance at her face -- no red lipstick.
“Hello,” I say politely.
“Hi,” she says, her voice clipped. I peer over the desk at her.
“I was wondering if I could take a peek at your surveillance,” I ask.
“You can’t,” she says, “The cords were cut.” I drop my pen on the ground and fall to my knees. As I’m down on the ground, I see nothing but Wanda’s size 9 beat up flats—no other clues. I quickly stand up, brushing off my pencil skirt.
“I was just wondering,” I say, “When is your trash picked up each week?” Wanda looks up at me slowly.
“Every Thursday,” she answers in a murmur. Today is Wednesday—the trash has not been picked up since the robbery. I mumble a quick thanks before I go to the back door by the Ancient Greece exhibit. I quietly slip through the heavy door. In the back, just as I suspected, there’s a large dumpster. Most of the dumpster is covered in rust, but that shouldn’t affect my work. I know I said I don’t normally do the dirty work, but digging through dumpsters wasn’t exactly what I meant. I throw open the large black lid, cringing at the loud squeal from the hinges. After digging around for a few moments, I find exactly what I’m looking for: a pair of broken high heels. Perfect. I lift them out of the dumpster and take the heel I found earlier out of my coat pocket.
It fits beautifully.
Ah, so it appears that neither the lipstick nor the open vent provides me any information about the robber. They are simply red herrings. If one were to glance inside the soles of the shoes, they would see a small sticker labeled with the shoe size. In case two and two has yet to be put together, allow me to further explain. Before the robber went to steal the multimillion dollar necklace, she made some very smart moves indeed. She cut the camera cables, smeared red lipstick on the case even though she doesn’t wear it, and she opened the vent to make detectives such as myself believe she came from outside. But she didn’t.
When she was stealing the necklace from the case, her heel snapped off, sliding across the floor and wedging it beneath the display case. The robber removed her shoes and proceeded to steal the necklace. But her smart moves stop there. She was inept enough to toss the remains of her shoes into the garbage bin outside, unable to find the broken heel that snapped off. The size sticker clearly was still on the sole. If you were to look closely at that sticker you can make out the size. And that size, is a size 9. The thief of the diamond necklace is obvious. She had easy access, and she knew the best quick getaways through the museum by being an employee. Miss Wanda, the keeper of the reception desk, is guilty for stealing the diamond necklace.
-- By Courtney S., Grade 8