#33: The Case of the Greedy Birthday Girl
Status: Solved

Hi, Jenny. Hi, Pete. Here’s a mystery for you: where the hell is my birthday present? You may recall that my birthday was THREE MONTHS AGO. You may also recall that I got you both really nice presents this year. I’ve seen Peter enjoy his foot spa on many occasions, and Jenny, I know you love harassing passersby with your laser pointer.

Why don’t you get on the case right now. Here’s a clue: my wish list is on Amazon, and I spent $25 on each of you.

—Vicky [Jenny’s sister]

This was no mystery at all. Vicky’s gift, at that very moment, was sitting in the Shut-Ins’ DVD player. They’d bought her a copy of The Scorpion King and then decided they’d rather keep it for themselves. “We’re kind of jerks that way,” Peter said. “Agreed,” Jenny nodded. “But you have to admit that Rock fellow is really good.”

It was then that the cousins spied the VHS copy of Leprechaun 2 being used to prop up the wobbly coffee table. Sure, the tape was a little beaten up, and there was that five-minute period where their roommate Daniel had accidentally taped “The Three Tenors” over it, but it still offered nearly ninety minutes of solid entertainment. The cousins agreed that it was a fine present. They slipped it into an envelope and left it on the mail table to send to Vicky’s house, where it would arrive, postage due, no more than four months late.

- - -

#34: The Case of the Precocious Pet
Status: Suspended

Dear Peter and Jenny:

Hello, you two. It’s Dizzy. Yes, Dizzy the family dog. It turns out I have the capacity for language. Go figure. But smart as I am, there are some things I cannot figure out, so I come to you, dear kin, with a mystery.

The mystery is this: At every family gathering, several pounds of my kibble go missing. Poof. Gone. I notice that the theft occurs right around the time the two of you are mixing up a batch of Chex Mix.

I don’t know if you think this is a funny joke on the rest of the family, or if you actually enjoy the crunchy nuggets, but I must warn you that there will be repercussions if you do not stop immediately. I have many talents besides communication. I think you know what I’m talking about here, but if you don’t, I’m referring to the talent I perform on the carpets when I’m feeling angry or insecure. And I think we can all agree we don’t want that.


“Huh,” said Jenny. “I think the real mystery here is which one of our relatives thinks we’re dumb enough to believe the dog can write.” Peter replied with a dark and troubled sigh. “No, dear cousin, the real mystery is more disturbing than that. It’s the question of how, exactly, the relative in question was planning to exact his excretory revenge.”

The mental pictures this prompted were so disturbing the detectives decided to immediately suspend both the investigation and their practice of livening up the snack mix with nontraditional food items. In the meantime, they would regard all their relatives as suspect, and at future family gatherings, they would carpet the house with newspaper, and remove Dizzy from the guest list, just to be safe.