Whodunit: The Party's Over

Neatorama is proud to present a new series of Whodunits from Hy Conrad. The new mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Xipe Totec39)

Tony had promised to help clean up after the party and Tony was a man of his word. Still nursing a hangover, Tony dragged himself over to Fernando's house. The two men had coffee, then walked into the fenced-in yard, scene of last night's birthday revels.

The lawn was strewn with blown-up balloons and bottles and streamers, but after an hour of work, they managed to get it cleaned up.

"Darn," Fernando said, pointing up to a tree by the edge of the eight-foot-high wooden fence. A balloon was stuck in a top branch. "I'd wait for a breeze to blow it off, but there hasn't been a breeze in days."

Fernando climbed the tree. He was just a few inches from knocking free the balloon when he glanced into a window of Gil Dover's house next door. "Looks like a robbery," he yelled down. "Broken window. A big mess. Tony, my phone's not working. Go to the corner and call 911. I'll meet you by Gil's rear gate."

When the police arrived, Tony and Fernando were waiting outside the splintered gate to Gil Dover's backyard. "That's how we found it," Fernando explained. "We didn't go in." Upon entering, the police found what Fernando had said: a broken window, a big mess in the den— plus ten missing rare coins worth $100,000.

Gil Dover wasn't too disturbed. "The coins were insured," he reported. "My uncle left me the collection, and frankly I'd rather have the money. I usually put the alarm on. But today's cleaning day. I don't put it on when the house cleaner comes."

But the cleaner had never come. Al, of Al's Domestic Service, was at his own house across town. He said he got a message from his answering service asking him to skip this week.

A sergeant checked his notes. "Dover says he left home at his usual time, 11 A.M. Fernando looked over the fence at 11:30. Anyone could have broken in during that half-hour period."

"Maybe," his captain replied. "But I have a good idea who's responsible."

Whodunit and how?

Show Answer

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.

Currently, Hy is working on mystery novel series "Abel Adventures" as well as the Monk series of novels, starting with Mr. Monk Helps Himself (published by Penguin, order from Amazon here)

Check out Hy's official website and Facebook page - and stay tuned for more whodunits puzzlers on Neatorama from the master of whodunit mysteries himself!

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

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Maybe the treed balloon was there all night or a mylar balloon. And the other balloons had helium in them but it leaks out at a slow rate. Haven't you ever gotten a bunch of helium balloons and after a day they are just barely floating or not floating at all. They still look filled but helium will escape thru rubber balloons at a faster rate than mylar balloons.
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Jeez guys, you posted this same one a couple months ago, but it was kids playing baseball. Exact story otherwise, right down to the missing coins. If you're going to run a puzzle series, could you try not to repeat yourself so soon, and try to make them even slightly tricky?
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