#1: The Case of the Purloined Tab
Peter and Jenny owned a 6-pack of Tab. It was a collector’s piece and they hoped to sell it on eBay. Recently they noticed that one of the cans had gone missing. It was determined that the can had disappeared sometime in the last year. Suspects were questioned, beginning with Peter and Jenny’s roommates. Both were exonerated when they pinky-swore their innocence. Peter and Jenny then turned their attentions to houseguests who had visited within the last year. Those who had visited in the winter were eliminated, because everyone knows that’s hot-beverage weather. Unattractive visitors were also eliminated, because Tab Cola is a beautiful drink for beautiful people.
This left a small pool of suspects. Examining the list, Peter and Jenny realized they had found their perp. The crime was clearly committed by Mr. W——, because he is a bastard.
#2: The Case of the Missing Centerpiece
A conversation with some newlywed friends revealed that the centerpiece from the head table at their wedding had been stolen. “We’d put out some little mementos, that guests were supposed to take,” the bride told Peter and Jenny. “But everyone knew they weren’t supposed to take the centerpiece, because I asked them not to. I’ve questioned everyone who was at the head table, but they are sticking together.”
“We think we can solve your mystery,” Peter and Jenny told her. “What we’ll need is a list of everyone who was at the head table, and their phone numbers.”
The bride declined to cooperate. She also refused to authorize strong-arm tactics. Peter and Jenny decided to proceed with the investigation, pro bono, because they still hadn’t given her a wedding present and they felt badly. They drew up a list of suspects based on their recollection of the wedding and the guests they met there. They eliminated those who had struck them as nice, upstanding individuals. They also eliminated themselves. They quickly found their culprit and phoned the bride to inform her the mystery was solved. “The thief must be your friend Mr. F——, because he does not respect you.”
#3: The Case of the Grapefruit Pound Cake
Jenny made a grapefruit pound cake from scratch. It was very dense so it was hard to eat more than a sliver at a time. When they went to bed, there was a two-inch chunk of cake left. When they woke up, it was gone.
(What follows is fiction) Peter and Jenny spent the morning going over possible suspects. Was it one of the two of them, sleepwalking and sleep-eating? Was it their roommate Daniel, who, though he has a small appetite, has a demonstrated affection for baked goods? Or was it an intruder?
(What follows is true) Peter and Jenny slept late. They did not notice the cake was gone because they were not awake. At 10:00 a.m. their roommate Angela woke Jenny up when she called to confess she’d taken the rest of the cake.
The Case of the Grapefruit Pound Cake was solved. Two mysteries remained: 1) Why Angela thought it was okay to call and wake Jenny up before noon; and 2) Why the cake didn’t turn out very well in the first place, when Jenny had followed the recipe exactly.
#4: The Case of the Unpleasant Smell OR The Case of the Mouldering Leftovers
STATUS: Investigation Suspended
Two weeks ago Peter and Jenny noticed a very unpleasant smell emanating from the refrigerator. They ignored it for another week, each hoping the other would decide to solve the mystery “solo.” When neither did, they agreed to investigate the source together.
It was quickly determined that the smell could not be coming from anything recently purchased or prepared. Thus the tonic water, the avocado, and the eggless egg salad were all exonerated. It was likewise determined that the smell could not be generated by any substance that was adequately preserved, thus ruling out the condiments.
A thorough investigation of the refrigerator’s third shelf produced a Styrofoam takeout container that had burst open, assumedly when the number of microbes growing on its contents had increased to such a level that they could no longer be contained. Peter and Jenny agreed that the “host” food was a piece of sea bass their roommate Angela had brought home from her birthday dinner in January. The investigation was suspended when Peter and Jenny determined that the real mystery was why Angela hadn’t disposed of her leftovers yet.
#5: The Case of Peter’s Puffy Face
Peter woke up on the afternoon of March 17, 2000. He proceeded to the bathroom, where he noticed in the mirror that he looked fat. Jenny confirmed that his face did indeed look puffy. What had caused this sudden, shocking change in appearance?
Jenny pointed out that Peter had recently received a haircut. Perhaps the shorter hair made his face look bigger. Peter countered that he had had short hair before. Had he looked fat then? Jenny replied in the negative, after some consideration. Peter concluded, “Ergo, it is not the haircut.”
Jenny announced, “I have a theory. In order to test it, I will need you to follow my instructions carefully. Write down everything you ate and drank last night. Exclude nothing.”
Peter complied. Jenny studied the completed list, nodding. “This confirms my theory. Last night you drank more Manhattans than is your usual practice. And your dinner was very, very salty. I believe the solution to our mystery is that you are a bloated drunk.” With that the case was closed.