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Mystery of the Stolen Manoot Part II

by Hans Bluedorn

Since I sent out "Mystery of the Stolen Manoot," many people have responded with bits of advice for Constable Dobson. If you will remember, Mrs. McLeary's prized painting "The Picnic" was stolen from her country mansion and Constable Dobson was called to investigate. While Pinkie the vagrant is being held in the jail, the painting still hasn't been recovered. Constable Dobson has interviewed Brinkley the Butler, Mrs. McLeary, Mrs. Norton, and Pinkie the Vagrant.

STIR PLOT UNTIL THICKENED

Where we left things:

Back at the mansion, Mrs. McLeary has become distraught over the loss of her painting.

Mrs. McLeary: Constable, I insist that you do something to recover my painting. I am telephoning my son, Fonsworth, to come down from London by the first train. If something isn't done soon, I will tell him to bring a private detective.

Q:  Do you have any suggestions for Constable Dobson?

"I think the window area as well as the picture frame should be dusted for fingerprints." – Karen S., Logic Loop reader

Good idea. Constable Dobson went to the library with his brush and baby powder, and started dusting. Unfortunately, the results only turned up a few fingerprints on the window sill and one or two old ones on the picture frame; all of them were from either Mrs. McLeary or Brinkley the Butler .

Brinkley the Butler: Mrs. McLeary and myself are the only perosns allowed to handle the paintings, sir. It is my duty to dust them every morning, and Mrs. McLeary makes occasional adjustments.

Constable Dobson: Is the picture that was stolen very different from the rest of the paintings?

Brinkley the Butler:  Yes sir. Mrs. McLeary's other paintings were inherited from the family collection, but the particular painting in question, "The Picnic" by Manoot, was purchased by Mrs. McLeary about a year ago, sir. As you can see, the original paintings are from a more classical period, while "The Picnic" was of a somewhat, shall we say, "modern" taste.

Constable Dobson:  You seem to know a lot about paintings.

Brinkley the Butler:  Yes sir. I fancy myself somewhat of a connoisseur. I have been responsible for the collection for many years, even preceding the current Mrs. McLeary's ownership.

Q:  Any other suggestions?

"We were told the painting is worth practically nothing, but how much is it insured for?" – Julie L., Logic Loop reader

Insurance Company [on the phone]:  That particular painting was appraised at a very low value and, therefore, could not be insured. However, there is a large insurance policy on the picture frame that the painting was in. The frame is very old and of Italian design, and so would command a high price on the art market.

So, the picture isn't insured; it's the FRAME that is insured!

Mrs. McLeary:  I want you to know, Constable, that no insurance company in the country could insure my Manoot for what it is truly worth.

Brinkley the Butler : Excuse me Constable; Mr. Fonsworth has now arrived. Is it your desire to speak with him for the purpose of gaining necessary information?

Constable Dobson:  Huh, what? Oh yes! Show him in.

Fonsworth McLeary:  What's this all about? Some poor chap made off with mother's cherished painting, what? Poor burglar doesn't know what he's in for. I can imagine his face when he looks at the thing in broad daylight; it's enough to curdle blood.

Constable Dobson:  So, you would not say the painting is beautiful?

Fonsworth:  Beautiful? No! The thing looks as though it were created by a inebriated orangutan on the back of a running camel.

Constable Dobson: Indeed! Have you any idea who might have stolen it?

Fonsworth:  No idea who would want the thing. As I told you, one look at that ghastly thing will knock at least a week off your life.

Q:  Interesting. What do you think the Constable should do next?

"Has the Constable conducted a search of the entire house to look for the painting?" – Anni W. Logic Loop reader

Brinkley:  Constable, I believe a search would at this time be unnecessary as the painting, or rather what remains of the painting, has been recovered.

Constable Dobson:  What? Where?

Brinkley:  Yes sir. The maid discovered a charred corner a few moments ago in the library fireplace. She recognized it by its peculiar color, sir."

YOUR TURN

Now it is your turn to solve "The Mystery of the Stolen Manoot." Who stole the painting and burnt it in the fireplace? When deciding on the answer, keep these things in mind:

1. You have all the information necessary to solve the mystery. All you need to do is decide who has the strongest motive for the crime. Use a process of elimination to eliminate those who have little or no motive.

2. Nobody in Part 2 is lying.

Below is a list of the possible suspects with profiles.

Fonsworth W. McLeary (son of Mrs. McLeary). 30-something. Friendly, and happy-go-lucky. Had Danish and tea for breakfast.

Brinkley the Butler. Over 50. Calm and cool. Disciplined. Apt to use elaborate language. Sensitive in matters of taste. Had "Bacon and eggs, sir," for breakfast.

Mrs. McLeary. Over 65. Interested in art, but with odd taste. A little excitable and imaginative. Had nothing for breakfast;  too upset.

Mrs. Norton. Around 50. Appears to dislike Mrs. McLeary. Intelligent. Gardens as a hobby. Had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast.

Pinkie the Vagrant. Age: Nobody knows. Uses bad grammar. Curious. Not overly intelligent, but able to put two and two together. The jailer gave him bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Write me back and tell me who you think did it.

Next time I will send you, "The Mystery of the Stolen Manoot, Part III: The Conclusion."

Hans Bluedorn

Copyright May 07, 2004, all rights reserved. 3636 views


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