The following is a Whodunit by Hy Conrad featuring Sherman Oliver Holmes, a mysterious crime solver and great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes. Can you solve the crime?
(Image credit: Flickr user Mark Somma)
The teenagers sat around the bare table in the small, bare room. All three chewed and snapped their gum and looked sullen. Sherman Holmes and Zach Alban, the jewelry store owner, stood by helplessly, watching the two boys and the girl as all of them continued to wait for the police.
Zach led Sherman out into the hall where they could talk privately. "Are you sure they stole the ring?" he asked with a nervous twitch.
Sherman sighed. He almost wished he hadn't gotten involved. He had walked into Alban Jewelers that morning to have his pocket watch fixed. Almost immediately, he became suspicious of the girl and her two friends hovering over the ring counter. As a matter of habit, Sherman made a quick perusal of the display case.
While Zach Alban was examining Sherman's century-old timepiece, the three teenagers started heading for the exit. Sherman threw another quick glance toward the ring counter. The centerpiece of the display, a sapphire and gold ring, was not where it had been just a minute before. It was gone.
For a short, heavyset person, Sherman could move surprisingly fast. "They're stealing a ring," he shouted as he raced to block the door.
The teenagers vehemently denied the theft and threatened a lawsuit if they weren't allowed to leave.
"I can't search them until the police arrive," Zach moaned. "Maybe it's all a mistake. Maybe I didn't put the ring out this morning. Or maybe someone stole it earlier and I didn't notice."
"The ring was there," Sherman assured him. "One of them stole it."
Red and white lights flashed through the windows as a police cruiser pulled into the handicap parking space. Two officers entered, were briefed on the situation, and were led into the small back room.
The female officer searched the girl, Hanna Bright, while the male officer frisked both Josh Ingram and Timmy Bright, Hanna's brother. Their possessions were searched as well. A quick visual inspection of the room showed no place where the ring could have been hidden.
Zach Alban was profuse with apologies to everyone except Sherman. When the teens complained of being hungry, Zach ran out to the fast-food restaurant next door and returned a few minutes later with mounds of food. Hanna and Josh removed the wads of gum from their mouths before sinking into the hot double cheeseburgers.
"We came in to buy a present for Josh's mom." Food was sticking to Hanna's braces as she spoke. "Is this how you treat customers? We're telling everyone not to shop here."
"Maybe we'll organize a boycott," Josh added. "How would you like a picket line, Mr. Alban?"
Sherman took Zach aside. "I wasn't wrong," he insisted. "One of those kids took the ring. And what's more, I can prove it."
WHO STOLE THE RING?
WHERE IS THE RING NOW?
The whodunit above was provided by American mystery fiction author Hy Conrad.
In addition to his work in mystery and crime puzzles, Hy was also one of the original writers for the groundbreaking TV series Monk.