(Star Trek Cookie Jar from the NeatoShop)
Valerie stretched her six-foot frame to the top shelf, looking for a hiding place. Taking down an old cookie jar, she slipped in the roll of hundred-dollar bills, then lifted it back up to its spot above the kitchen cabinets. Valerie flipped aside a lock of golden hair. It was a shame to have to hide things in her own house, but with this bunch of sorry losers visiting for the weekend, it was better safe than—well—sorry.
It was a horrible thing to think about her best friend. Sometimes she didn't know what she saw in Glenda. Glenda was strikingly homely, dumpy, and of dubious moral character. But she seemed to admire Valerie and made her laugh.
It was even worse to think about her own twin brother, but Valerie had to be honest. Ever since childhood, Victor had regularly stolen from any purse that happened to be lying around.
The third guest, Morton Flyer, had been a basketball star in the NBA. Caught red-handed in a betting scandal, Morton had been thrown out of the sport. He and Victor were now best buddies sharing their mutual hobbies of gambling and drinking.
Just as Valerie finished putting the jar back in place, a slight noise caught her attention. She spun around, but no one was there. All the same, she felt uneasy.
In the middle of a restless night's sleep, Valerie thought she heard a noise. Going downstairs to check it out, she stubbed her toe on a chair, out of place by the kitchen counter. Immediately, Valerie feared the worst, switched on the light, then checked the cookie jar. The money, all of it, was gone.
She examined the kitchen. An empty beer bottle was in the sink, and on the counter lay a short strand of blond hair, not unlike her own. She remembered emptying the garbage right before bedtime. But in the trash bin now were another beer bottle and two bottle caps.
Valerie scanned the kitchen again and suddenly she knew.
Whodunit? And how did Valerie know?
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.
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