Middle-Grade Mystery Monday: The Case of the Bungled Bagels
Melinda T. Falgoust
The Case of the Bungled Bagels
All the customers of Melba’s Munchies were hanging from the ceiling.
Katy Putts’ cheeks pinked to the color of the varietal apple that shared her name. She pursed her lips. She twitched her button nose. Finally, she cocked her head to the side and scowled.
“It still looks upside down,” she complained. She kicked her feet over until her head was her top again and her feet were her bottom. The customers were back on the ground where they belonged.
The flush drained from Katy’s cheeks until the freckles dotted across her nose were the only prominent color.
“It’s supposed to look upside down,” Melba McIntosh stated. The owner of the sweet shop closed the blue cake box and secured it with a length of neutral twine. “It’s a pineapple upside down cake.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Chief Tom Putts commented. “I think it’s all in how you look at it. Right-side up or upside down, I’m sure it will taste delicious at the Policeman’s Picnic. Thank you so much, Melba.”
“It’s the least I can do to show my support, Chief. You and staff do such a wonderful job keeping Freyburg safe.”
The Chief smiled and shared a secret wink with his daughter. Little did Melba or the rest of Freyburg know that Chief Putt had a secret weapon to help him foil any would-be felons or crafty criminals. Ten-year old Katy was a sneaky little Sherlock!
Quite often, Katy had helped her father solve some puzzling cases at the family dinner table. Somewhere between roast chicken and mashed potatoes, clever Katy had spotted some important clues.
“MY BAGELS HAVE BEEN BURGLED!” Buster Braeburn blustered into the sweet shop. The little bell on the door jangled in discontent. “I needed those bagels for the morning rush at my coffee shop this morning! Imagine my surprise when I discovered all MY bagels at Cripps’ Coffee Corner! That no good thief Carl Cripps must have stolen them from my stoop this morning!”
“I’ve no idea what you’re ranting about, Buster! Freddie delivered that batch of bagels this morning. I wrote the address down for Freddie myself!”
“And that’s why I say Cripps is a thief, then! When I got there this morning, there were NO bagels! No bagels, no customers! Everyone went to Cripp’s Coffee Corner instead! Chief, I demand you arrest Carl Cripp immediately!”
“Now, hold on there, Buster,” Chief Putt soothed. There was a long-standing feud between the two coffee shop owners. They were each always trying to do something to aggravate the other’s business.
“I think you’re going a little overboard, there,” the Chief continued. “Let’s see if we can figure this thing out. Melba, where’s Freddie?”
“He’s in the back, Chief,” Melba replied. “But, I’m certain this is all just a big mistake.”
Melba called to Freddie, who came shuffling from the back storeroom. His long hair hung over his eyes giving him a shaggy sheepdog look.
“Freddie, did you deliver a batch of bagels for Miss McIntosh this morning?” Chief Putts asked.
“I sure did, Chief. Right to the address Miss McIntosh wrote down on the slip of paper,” Freddie replied.
“Impossible!” Buster bellowed.
“No, it’s not!” Freddie countered. “I have the slip right here!”
Freddie slapped the scrap of paper down on the blue box containing the Chief’s pineapple upside down cake. Katy winced, imagining a squished pineapple mess inside the cake box.
The Chief picked up the slip of paper and read the numbers written on the lined face. “Hm. Well, this is the address of your store, Buster.”
“I never got the bagels!” Buster insisted.
“But, I delivered them!” Freddie shot back.
The Chief removed his hat and scratched his head in puzzlement. “This situation is completely tospy-turvy! One of you is not being truthful, but which one?”
He set the paper back on the squashed cake box.
Katy looked at the slip, and suddenly tilted her head to the side. She tugged on her father’s sleeve.
“You’re wrong, Dad. They’re BOTH telling the truth. But, you’re right about one thing. It’s definitely topsy-turvy.”
She leaned in and whispered in father’s ear.
What did Katy notice? (SOLUTION)