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NECKLAC1 6' Detective and the case of the stolen necklace

There was a knock at the door. Seven-year-old Michaela answered
it.

"I'm looking for the person they call the world's greatest
detective," the old lady said.

"That's me," replied Michaela.

"YOU?" the lady shouted. "No. I mean the real one."

"My name is Michaela and my grandfather calls me the world's
greatest detective." Michaela explained. "How may I help you?"

"Somebody stole my necklace!" the old lady exclaimed.

"Was it valuable?" asked Michaela.

"Actually, it's one of the most valuable necklaces in the
world!" The lady boasted. "It had 300 karats of diamonds and 100
karats of emeralds. If I sold it at auction, it would be worth
millions. Not that I would ever sell it."

Michaela asked, "May I see the safe it was stolen from?"

"Ah, well, actually, I didn't keep it in a safe." The lady
confessed.

"You didn't?!" Michaela asked.

"Oh, well, the necklace is one of the most beautiful creations
in all the world." The old lady replied, "I love to look at it,
so I keep it on a black velvet display in my bedroom."

The old lady led Michaela to her house and showed her the
bedroom where the necklace was stolen from. Michaela inspected
every inch of the bedroom with her magnifying glass.

"Aha!" Michaela exclaimed.

"What is it?" Asked the lady.

"There's a dirty footprint on the window sill. The robber got
into the house through the window. He undoubtedly got the dirt
on his feet my stepping in the soil in the garden down below."
Michaela concluded.

The ladder was still leaning against the back of the house.
Michaela went down to investigate. She examined the ladder with
her magnifying glass.

"Aha!" Michaela exclaimed.

"What is it?" Asked the old lady.

Michaela sniffed the small multicolored paint flakes left behind
on the ladder by the robber, then she concluded, "The robber
wore work gloves, but the gloves were covered in paint dust, OLD
paint dust."

"Paint dust?!" The lady puzzled.

Michaela replied, "Whoever stole your paint handles old oil
paintings. He probably works in an art gallery or an art
museum."

Michaela noticed the footprints in the newly mowed lawn and
followed them to the back fence, over the fence, and out to the
street. She went next door and questioned all the neighbors.
"Did you see a truck parked right there recently?" Michaela
pointed.

One of the neighbors replied, "Why, yes, as a matter of fact,
there was a truck parked there late last night."

Michaela already knew the answer but she asked anyway, "Was the
truck from the art museum?"

"Why, yes, how did you know?" the neighbor asked.

"No time to explain." Michaela said as she hurried to the art
museum.

It was a Sunday. The museum was closed. This would be the best
time to get back the necklace without the owner of the museum
getting away.

The museum was guarded by the best computer controlled locks in
the world, but nothing that the world's greatest detective
couldn't crack. The locks on the museum door had know key hole,
just ten numbered push-buttons. If Michaela could push the right
buttons the door would open. Beside the buttons were three small
pictures. The top picture was a spider.

Michaela thought that the first number must be the number of
legs on a spider. And she was about to push the 8 button, when
she took one last look around her to see what might happen if
she pushed the wrong button. When she looked down, she saw that
the steel plate she was standing on had a hinge on one side. She
now knew that if she pushed the wrong button, the steel plate
would fall away and she would probably fall down a slide into
the river next to the museum.

Michaela took a deep breath and pushed the 8. (click) A green
light lit up the 8.

The next picture was a grasshopper. Michaela decided that a
grass hopper was an insect and all insects have six legs. So she
pushed the 6. (click) A green light lit up the 6.

The last picture was the most difficult. It was a centipede.
Michaela couldn't even see all the legs. But she was the world's
greatest detective, so she remembered that centipedes have one
hundred legs. This picture needed three numbers. So, she push
the 1. (click but no light)

Michaela stepped back, thinking that she was about to get wet.
But the steel plate under her feet stayed put. So, she pushed
the 0. (click but no light) Then, she pushed the 0 again. (click
but no light)

Michaela was puzzled. But after a second or two, the green light
lit up the 1 and 0. Then Michaela heard a buzzing sound coming
from the door. A second later, the door clicked and hummed as it
swung open.

Michaela stepped inside, then turned on her flashlight and
pondered, "If I was the owner of this museum where would I hide
a valuable necklace? In the vault. Where would the vault be? In
the basement."

And that's where she went. When she arrived at the vault, she
noticed that it too was locked without keys. But this time the
push-buttons had no numbers. They were all colors of the
rainbow. Beside the rows of push buttons were a row of black and
white pictures of animals.

Once again Michaela took one last look around her to see what
might happen if she pushed the wrong button. When she looked
down, she saw that the steel plate she was standing on had a
hinge on one side. Once again if she pushed the wrong button,
the steel plate would fall away and she would probably fall down
a slide into the river next to the museum. So, Michaela decided
to be very careful.

The top picture was an elephant. Michaela pushed the gray
button. (click) Next picture was a zebra. Careful. That's two
colors. Michaela pushed the black button (click), then the white
button. (click) Next picture was an egret. Michaela pushed the
white button again. (click) The next picture was a tiger.

Michaela pondered. Is a tiger orange with black stripes or black
with orange stripes? She pushed the orange button. (click) Then
the black button. (click, clank, buzz, hummmm) The vault door
swung open. There on a black velvet display was the most
beautiful necklace Michaela ever saw! She put the necklace in
her backpack and returned it to the old lady.

The lady was so overjoyed that she began crying. "How can I ever
thank you?" She asked.

Michaela smiled, "You can lock your necklace in a vault."

And the old lady promised she would.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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