Whodunit: A Quali-Tee Theft

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 Kamal Hamid)

"I can't give you anything for this. It's junk." Abe Ketchum pushed the watch back across the counter. The Quali-Tee Pawn Shop was a class establishment and, as the manager, Abe had to maintain certain standards. The would-be customer, a shabby young man who smelled of liquor, took back the worthless item and shuffled dejectedly out onto the street, lingering in front of the windows to inspect the shiny display of abandoned valuables.

Abe's assistant bustled out from the back room. "I'm leaving," Mark said. That was nothing unusual. Mark Price was the owner's nephew and was always either coming in late or leaving early. Abe felt particularly overworked and under-appreciated as he watched his privileged assistant breeze out the door.

Abe had one more customer that day. A well-dressed woman walked in and timidly offered an emerald brooch. Abe instantly recognized the quality of the piece and offered her as much as he was permitted. He was surprised when she accepted. Like many of his customers, she seemed desperate.

That night, a burglar alarm echoed through the neighborhood. The police arrived just a few minutes later, but the deed was already done. A thief had broken a display window, jumped inside the crowded shop, and left with many of the most valuable items.

"He was a quick one," an officer said to Abe with begrudging admiration. "Half a dozen rings from the jewelry case, some rare coins that didn't even have price tags on. He even broke the lock on the bottom drawer of your file cabinet. What was in there?"

"Loose diamonds," Abe sighed. "Let me check something."

Abe crossed to the cash register. It was open and empty, but when he pulled the drawer out all the way, he saw a flash of light. "Aha! Something our thief missed." And he pulled out the emerald brooch. "I didn't have time to put it in a display case. I guess that's what saved it."

Within a week the police had tracked down some of the stolen items and made an arrest. Whodunit?

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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