(Image credit: Nino Barbieri)
"Your regular two o'clock appointment is here," came the secretary's voice over the intercom.
Alicia Bonwit looked up from her cluttered desk. "What? Is it Wednesday already? I don't have time." Then she got a glimpse of her frazzled hair in the mirror. "Well, perhaps I'll make time. Send them in."
The team trooped into the editor's office— Fernando, a blond, clean-shaven hair stylist; Dodo, a tall, red-headed manicurist; and Mr. Mark, a distinguished, gray-bearded dress designer. Alicia pushed aside the stacks of work. "What a day!" she exclaimed with a sigh and delivered herself into their care.
"I've been so busy, I haven't even looked at the Queen Glendora photos." Alicia pointed to an unopened, padded envelope sitting among the editorial debris. "The paparazzi have been working overtime trying to catch a shot of the Albanian queen and her secret lover. Other magazines would pay a fortune for such pictures, but I got 'em. And I haven't had a free second to open the envelope. Oh, well, first things first. What are we going to do with my hair?"
For the next hour, the editor-in-chief of the fashionable tabloid Scoop Weekly allowed herself to be pampered. She gossiped, looked at fabric samples, and watched as her hair and nails were returned to their usual luster. It was only after the entourage had left that she noticed the missing envelope. "The Glendora photos," Alicia shrieked and immediately rang Security.
In the main lobby's trash can, right by the men's room door, a guard found the empty envelope, the reinforced paper neatly cut in a short, scalloped pattern. A week later, the pictures popped up in True Gossip Monthly.
"I had no idea they were stolen," the TGM publisher said with a shrug. "The photos were brought to us by a man wearing dark glasses, a fake beard, and a wig. Not unusual for us. We paid half a million in cash."
The police followed their one solid lead and quickly captured the thief.
What was the lead and who was the thief?
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.