Whodunit: Good Neighbor Policy

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese 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 Peter Kemmer)

 "I was trying to be a good neighbor," Jake Spado told the sergeant. "I was watching TV at about midnight when Shamus started barking next door. The Whitakers were away. So out I went in the driving rain. I made a circuit of the Whitaker house. Everything seemed safe and secure, so I went back home." Jake bristled. "And here's the thanks I get, being suspected of burglary."

The other neighbor told a slightly different story. Millie Overlock had been awakened by the barking. "I finally got up and looked out. By the light of a street lamp I could see Jake disappear around the side of the Whitaker house. A few minutes later he came around the other side, then went back toward his own house. Since I was up, I made myself a cup of tea. The rain was just stopping as I got back into bed."

Millie leaned over to the sergeant. "It had to be Jake. Shamus barks when anyone comes near, even the Whitakers. I would have heard if Shamus had started up again."

The sergeant went from Millie's to the crime scene. As expected, the Rottweiler let out a chorus of barks. Jimmy, the Whitakers' nephew, quieted Shamus, then invited the officer in to inspect the damage in the rear living area.

"When I came by this morning to walk Shamus, I found it like this." He pointed to an open window and the broken pane of glass just above the window latch. "Shamus has a killer bark, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. The thief obviously knew this. He also knew about the diamond earrings my aunt just bought. They were in the Chinese box on the mantel."

The sergeant knelt down under the open window. The fluffy carpet was marred only by broken shards of glass and a series of muddy footprints leading to and from the mantel. "Those shoe prints could be a clue," Jimmy suggested.

"I have all the clues I need," the sergeant replied confidently.

What had the sergeant deduced?

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!

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