the golden mystery (part fourteen)

This story started here.

My employer got the reaction she wanted. The teachers jumped. Corey and Phoebe jumped. Ms. Tumolo looked furious, once she had collected herself, as if this was a show-off stunt. The Golden smiled very slightly, but they hadn't jumped. Ron just grinned, apparently not surprised at all. Of course, it is possible that she'd heard what I had heard, and had known what it meant, as I had.

I had heard a tap from the hallway, just as Dan had started retracing the crime. I thought I knew what it meant, but I didn't look and I didn't react. It had been, I thought, the tap of a cane on linoleum, and the fact that it had been followed by silence told me a few things.

A certain well-known amateur detective, tall and thin and impeccably dressed, had been approaching the room. But when she had heard what was going on, that the investigation was proceeding without her, she had decided to wait, and listen, and see what was going to happen.

This was why I'd closed the door and pulled down the shade, and why I'd made sure Dan and I spoke to Phoebe in the back of the classroom, rather than out in the hall.

"Where did you find the answers?" Dan asked.

"In Audrey's office," my employer replied. She stood in the front of the room, hands crossed on top of her cane, looking at everybody through her large, horn-rimmed glasses. She was wearing a three-piece dark blue pinstripe suit, a pale blue silk shirt, and a burgundy ascot. The handkerchief in her breast pocket was pale blue, matching her shirt.

"Wait a minute–" Audrey said.

"Hang on!" Dan said, continuing to look at my employer. "Why did you expect to find them there?"

"Because the answers were not stolen to be used. The theft was intended to be noticed – that was the point. How could anybody have thought that the test would be delivered, that the theft would be undetected, when the answers had been clipped to the test copies?"

"So, who took them?"

She looked at me, and I knew this was my show.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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