Mini-Mystery #2…Become a Master Sleuth and Win a Kindle Fire

So if you caught my blog last Monday, you know I’m currently running a contest to promote the incredible new murder mystery by Hy Conrad (the writer/producer of TVs MONK) called RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE, which is available now wherever books are sold! 

The rules of the game are simple. Solve some crimes for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. But just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, let me be a little more specific: Essentially, the way the contest works is that for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting four different mini-mysteries written by Hy Conrad himself. If you think you know the answer, you email me at and tell me your solution. If you get it right, your name goes into a pool from which I’ll draw a single name to win the Kindle Fire. Also, if you didn’t get the answer right, you still have a chance to get your name in the pool by telling me how you shared the blog post with your friends. In theory, a person could actually earn up to eight (8) entries in the pool if they get all the mysteries right and share each of the mystery posts! That’s eight chances to win! You’ve got nothing at all to lose, so give it a shot!

We’ve already posted the first mystery (and I gave the solution for it on Saturday). So you now kind of have a feel for the way it all works. Last week’s mystery was a doozy! I’m going light on you today. This one’s a bit easier. Here’s Mystery #2 (once again, I’ll post the solution this coming Saturday!):


On a Sunday spring afternoon, for the first time in months, Amy and her mother sat on their back patio, sipping iced tea and gazing into the garden, a hidden gem guarded on all sides by a few dozen similar brownstones.  

It was one of the few communal gardens left in New York, carved out of the center of their block, with access available only through the houses.  On this particular afternoon, it was nearly empty, just the Abels and two kids from the Grove Street side.  Tommy O’Malley awkwardly rode his skateboard along the meandering paths, crossing in front of them every few minutes.  Meanwhile, Megan Graeter played by herself, sometimes vanishing behind a rock, sometimes racing among the trees and bushes.

“She’s playing hide-and-seek with her imaginary friend,” Amy explained.  She had played the same game in the same garden 25 years before.  “It’s more challenging than it looks.” 

Fanny was just refilling their iced teas when Mrs. Pelegrino came marching around the fountain and straight up to their cast-iron table.  “Did you see anyone go into my kitchen?  One of the children?”

Mrs. Pelegrino’s brownstone stood directly opposite but was hidden from view by a low-hanging pine.  “One of those brats stole my gold earrings.”  And without a word of invitation, she sat down.  “When I got home from church, I left them on a handkerchief on the counter.  When I came back from the powder room, they were gone.  My kitchen door was open.  This used to be such a safe garden.”

“You think it was Megan or Tommy?”  That was the logical conclusion.  True, Amy and Fanny were also possible suspects, but they served as each other’s alibi.  Plus neither was fond of Mrs. Pelegrino’s taste. 

“Tommy O’Malley,” Fanny shouted across the garden.  “Megan Graeter.  This is Mrs. Abel.  I want the two of you over here.  This instant.”

It took over a minute.  Then they sauntered into view: Tommy with his skateboard; Megan walking hand in hand with thin air.  “Megan,” Fanny said, “leave your friend.  This is just you and Tommy.”

Mrs. Pelegrino smiled.  “Thank you, dear.  I know your daughter is very clever about crime.  I’ve seen her name in the paper.”

Amy heard this and felt a twinge of jealousy.  Not her own.  She felt it coming from her mother; it was that strong.  “We’ll see who’s clever,” Fanny growled then stood to formally greet the suspects.

Tommy had put on his best manners, stepping up and shaking Fanny’s hand.  “Ma’am,” he said.  “What can I do for you?”

Megan wasn’t as polite.  She stood a little distant, glancing back at her invisible friend standing – or sitting perhaps; no one else knew – by the base of the pine tree.  “What’s the matter?”

“The matter,” said Fanny, “is that one of you stole from Mrs. Pelegrino.”  She went on to explain that stealing was wrong.  But if the culprit gave the earrings back, then parents would not be notified. 

The children denied the accusation.  Megan even volunteered to be searched and Mrs. Pelegrino took her up on it.  The elderly woman frisked them both with the expertise of a TSA employee but came up with nothing.

“Not surprising,” Amy said.  “When you called them, there was that tone in your voice…”

“What tone?” Fanny asked, using that tone.

“That tone.  I’m sure whoever took the earrings stashed them.  There are dozens of hiding places.  I remember being their age…”  She paused.  Then her mouth curled up at the corners. 

It didn’t take Amy long.  She went straight for the pine tree, disappeared around the trunk and emerged a few seconds later, holding a lace handkerchief.  “There’s a hole in the trunk,” she said, “the perfect height for a kid.  It was stuffed down inside.”  

Mrs. Pelegrino’s handkerchief was sticky with spring sap.  But Amy placed it on the table and gently opened it.  There they were, a pair of round gold earrings.  Tommy and Megan turned to each other, eyes locked, ready and willing to deny everything.

“Don’t even start,” Fanny told them.  “I know who it was.”

“You do?”  Mrs. Pelegrino was impressed.  “I guess this is where Amy got her detective skills.”

“You do?” Amy chimed in.  “Really?”

“Really,” Fanny said.  Amy could see she was serious.    

And this presented a puzzle.  Her mother wasn’t any smarter than she.  She wasn’t more clear-headed or perceptive.  Yet, somehow, she knew which child had sneaked into Mrs. Pelegrino’s kitchen, stolen the earrings and stuffed them in the tree.  How could she know? 

“Oh, wait,” Amy said, hitting her head with her palm.  “Duh!  I know, too.”

“You’re just saying that,” Fanny shot back.  “You couldn’t possibly.”

But Amy did.  And she proceeded to sit down and explain.


Think you know the answer? Be sure to email me what you think at Don’t be shy! The only way you can win the Kindle Fire is by playing. And remember…you can earn extra points by sharing this blog post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or even at the office water cooler! The more’s the merrier!

And if you want to support an incredibly talented author, be sure to pick up a copy of Hy’s book, RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE or just share the link below with your friends:

Once again, the solution will be posted this Saturday, but come back sometime mid-week for a special blog post review of Jeremy Robinson’s latest thriller SECOND WORLD!

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