Middle-Grade Mystery Monday: The Foil of the Fowl Felon
Melinda T. Falgoust
“Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!” Tom Putt announced jovially. The Freyburg Chief of Police beamed from ear-to-ear as he carried a magnificent 22 pound, crisply browned bird into the lobby of the Freyburg police station.
“Wow, Chief! Let me help you with that!” Bailey Sweet rushed to the chief’s aid, taking the big turkey and setting it on the food-laden table.
In a town as small as Freyburg, the entire police force worked on the holiday, but Chief Putt was always quick to point out that didn’t mean they couldn’t celebrate. So, every year, each member of the force brought a personal specialty dish into the station and they all shared a little holiday spirit along with a wonderful meal. For Katie Putt, sharing was the best part of the holiday.
Turkey wasn’t the only thing the freckle-faced ten-year old shared with her Chief of Police father. Katie also had a head for mysteries and an eye for detail. On more than one occasion, she had helped her father solve a particularly perplexing case over the family dinner.
“Why, thank you, Bailey! What a wonderful show of holiday spirit. And in spite of someone breaking your window.”
Bailey had rushed into the station a few minutes earlier to file a vandalism report. Bailey ran a food truck in the town square. Katie even noticed a ketchup stain on the cuff of his sleeve as he had filled out the paperwork.
“I’m just thankful that’s all it was. Probably just a kid with a baseball too scared to admit it.”
“Well, then,” the Chief declared. “Who wants a leg?”
“An arm!” The station doors burst open. Arthur Turner exploded into the lobby, clutching his chest. The portly Turner heaved with struggled breathing. "I mean armed. Armed robbery! Someone just held me at gunpoint and stole a diamond necklace from my store!”
Katie lost all interest in her pumpkin pie and focused her attention instead on the gasping jewelry store owner.
As for her father, Chief Putt certainly loved his turkey, but police work came first. He gave Arthur one-hundred percent of his attention.
“Tell me what happened, Arthur.”
Arthur wiped the beading sweat from his brow. “I was just finishing preparations for tomorrow’s big sale before I went to dinner at my cousin’s. Suddenly, this guy burst in with a baseball bat, smashed the case with my most expensive necklace, snatched it and ran away. I tried to chase him, but I lost sight just as he rounded the corner. I just know he came this way.”
Chief Putt raised one bushy red eyebrow. “The only people here are police officers, Katie, and Mr. Sweet. Are you suggesting one of us did it?”
“I don’t know about your people, Chief, but I wouldn’t put it past Sweet. He always has that big, lumbering truck parked in front of my store. It’s an eyesore! I’ve been threatening to have the City Commission close him down!”
The chief looked between Arthur and Bailey, uncertain how to proceed. Bailey shrugged.
“I certainly have nothing to hide, Chief. So, if you need to search me, go right ahead, then maybe I can help you get back to carving that beautiful bird.”
The chief took Bailey up on his offer and patted the food truck operator down. Arthur lost a bit of the smug smile he’d been beaming as the search turned up crab apples.
“I was so sure!” he moaned.
The chief gave him a supportive pat on the back. “Don’t worry. We’ll take your information and I’m sure we’ll find the real culprit. Now, go to your cousin’s and try to enjoy a good meal.”
Katie stepped forward. “I’m not so sure about that, Dad. I think Mr. Turner might like our stuffing better. As for Mr. Sweet, I call ‘fowl’ play.”
What did Katy mean? (SOLUTION)