My sister and I ran the wildly successful CarMich Detective Agency when we were kids. However, we never solved the mystery of the purple martin.
The Mystery of the Purple Martin
The CarMich Detective Agency was thriving. Our five detectives had paid employment dues of three dollars each, and our agency had earned an additional dollar by solving the Case of the Sofa Cushion Cash. Kerri, one of our detectives, had been unhappy with the outcome of the sofa cushion case, and she had quit and subsequently been rehired. The rehiring cost her three more dollars in employment dues, bringing us to nineteen dollars.
Five detectives, one case under our agency belt, and nineteen dollars “banked” in a tin box we had buried in the backyard. Pretty sweet, all told. Now we were aching to take on a new case and earn some more cash.
“We should use some of our money to buy snacks at 7-Eleven to help us think,” my sister Michele said.
What she said made sense. The five of us dug up the tin box, and I counted out the money.
I pulled a mini-notepad out of the tin and double checked my math. Yep, no doubt about it. Three dollars were missing.
“Why would someone only take three dollars and leave the rest?” I asked.
“They were probably hoping nobody would notice,” Kerri said.
We were ready to investigate the crime, but first we needed someone to hire us. Kelli, one of our detectives, ran next door and collected a buck in change from her sofa cushions.
I logged the cash and deposited the money. After we reburied the tin box, we paced the backyard in search of clues.
We found nothing, not a footprint, unlatched gate, or neatly written admission of guilt. Until, that is, Michele reached down and lifted up a large, blue-black feather. She waved it in the air.
“I think it’s a woodpecker feather,” she said.
“It’s from a hawk,” Connie said. The newest member of our detective agency took the feather from Michele and studied it. “Or maybe an ostrich.”
“Or a cardinal,” I said.
“Cardinals are red,” Kerri said.
“Not the girl cardinals,” I said. “Except for their noses.”
“Bills,” Kerri said.
“Exactly,” Michele said. “Whoever dropped this feather stole our money.”
That much we agreed upon, but we couldn’t decide what to do next. Michele and Kelli wanted to spend some of the remaining money at 7-Eleven as originally planned. Connie and I wanted to save our money and bury the tin box somewhere else in the yard to throw the thief off the scent. That made Kerri the tie-breaker.
We stared at her, waiting to hear the verdict.
“This detective agency is stupid,” Kerri said.
“You’re fired,” I told her. “And good riddance. The four of us are going to spend some of the money at 7-Eleven and bury what’s left somewhere else in the yard.”
“I want to go to 7-Eleven, too,” Kerri said.
“You can,” I said, “but first you’ll need to join the CarMich Detective Agency, which will cost you three more dollars in dues.”
Kerri pulled three dollars out of her pocket and handed it over.
I logged the cash. We were up to twenty dollars, a dollar more than before we had been robbed. An all-around good day of detecting as far as I was concerned. We dug a new hole for the tin box, buried eighteen of the dollars, and headed to 7-Eleven.
Check Out Tea, Tonic, and Toxin
More adventures of the CarMich Detective Agency to come …
Until then, check out my book club and podcast, Tea, Tonic, and Toxin, which I launched with my friend Sarah Harrison. We’re reading and discussing the best of the best mysteries and thrillers, starting in the nineteenth century and moving forward.