(Image credit: Flickr user MAURO CATEB)
Mrs. Emery was disappointed. She had assumed that dealers at a gem exposition would know how to dress. But the room was filled with fashion mistakes. Rodney Dipp from Boston had on a polyester shirt; not the good, new kind of polyester, but something left over from the seventies. Julia Kidd from Atlanta wore sneakers and something resembling an upscale jogging suit. Even Klaus Braun from Diisseldorf, usually known for his style, was wearing one brown sock and one blue sock.
"Well, at least I'm maintaining my standards," Mrs. Emery huffed as she laid out her unmounted gems.
The display was not as impressive as it had been in years past. The only great gem she had left for sale was an exquisite emerald. She did her best, nestling the brilliant stone in an arrangement of loose gems—aquamarines, sapphires of poor color, lowly garnets, and a few bloodstones—hoping that the emerald's luster might somehow reflect into the lesser stones.
The theft took place during a diversion. A minor but noisy traffic accident drew the crowd out onto the street. When the insatiably curious Mrs. Emery returned to her display table, she found it all gone—everything from the almost worthless garnets up to the most prized gem at the show, her beloved emerald.
The captain opened a cloth pouch and Mrs. Emery gasped. There were her gems, dozens of bright, glittering stones. All of them were there, except the emerald.
"We found these in an alley two blocks away," the captain reported. "Looks like the emerald was the only one they wanted."
Mrs. Emery looked at the gems, then smiled. "It had to be another dealer. We were the only ones in the room. And I'm pretty sure I know who it was."
Whom does she suspect? And why?
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.