The silent alarm announced a break-in at the home of Jordan Marsh, the famous collector. When a patrolman arrived, he found two men waiting for him in the backyard of Marsh's suburban home, standing by a broken window.
"My name's Digby Dunne," the first man said. "Jordan's next-door neighbor. I caught this man red-handed, breaking in and stealing the Cleopatra coin."
"I caught him red-handed," the other man countered. "I'm Kenny Johnson, Jordan's other neighbor."
"Jordan's been away for a month," Digby explained. "He gave me house keys and the alarm code. Every five days, I go in to water the plants. I was just about to do that this afternoon. I was in the process of unlocking Jordan's front door when I looked in. Kenny was in the living room, taking a small plastic frame from the display cabinet. It was Jordan's prized Cleopatra coin. Kenny saw me and rushed out into the kitchen. I raced around the house and caught up with him in the backyard."
"That's a lie," Kenny said. "I was in my second-floor office. When I heard the sound of breaking glass, I looked out. Digby was in Jordan's yard, by the kitchen door. He must have just broken a windowpane. In his hand I could see the plastic holder for the Cleopatra coin. I raced downstairs and surprised him before he could leave the yard. He must have gotten in with his key, stolen the coin, then faked the break-in to throw off suspicion."
The patrolman entered Jordan Marsh's house and found an empty spot in the display cabinet. By the doorway of the sunlit kitchen, he examined a potted plant. The soil was dry and the lush, long leaves were bent toward the darkened living room. Re-emerging into the yard, he found the morning rain had left muddy patches. Rows of brown footprints trailed across the flagstones.
Both men insisted on being searched, but the patrolman refused. "I don't need to search anyone. I know which one of you is lying."
Whodunit? And where is the coin hidden?
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.