NECKLACB 8' Detective and the case of the stolen necklace

Michaela went into her bedroom and kicked off her shoes to get
ready for bed. Suddenly, the phone rang. A moment later,
Michaela's mom brought her the phone asking, "Who on earth would
be calling you at this time of night?"

Michaela knew it was probably an emergency. So, she slipped her
shoes back on before taking the phone.

"Hello?" she said.

"Michaela, you have to help me!" said the woman's voice.

Michaela held her hand over the phone and said to her mother,
"It's the old lady. I'll bet someone stole her necklace again."

The old lady continued, "Three robbers stole my necklace! They
tore it right off my neck!"

Michaela listened for a moment, then asked, "I hear traffic
noise. Where are you?"

The old lady replied, "I'm at the opera house. I wore the
necklace to celebrate opening night at the opera."

Michaela said, "Stay where you are. Don't sit down. And don't
let anyone touch you."

She packed up her investigation kit and had her mom drive her
downtown to the opera house. While Michaela examined the old
lady's clothes with the magnifying glass, she asked the old lady
several questions. Here's what Michaela learned so far:

At the same time as the old lady's limousine drove up to the
curb in front of the opera house and the old lady began to get
out, two man-hole covers in the street nearby flipped open and
three men dressed in black jumped out of the storm drain wearing
masks. Two of the men held her by the arms, while the third man
grabbed the back of the necklace with both hands and pulled
hard, breaking the clasp. Seconds later the three robbers jump
down into the open manholes and disappeared.

Police tried to follow the robbers, but they had to immediately
stop and climb back out of the manholes because the storm sewer
was filled with tear gas that irritated their eyes so much that
they couldn't see. By the time they put on gas masks and went
back into the sewers, the robbers were gone.

"Aha!" exclaimed Michaela as she examined the sleeves of the old
lady's dress.

"Did you find something?" asked the old lady.

"Yes," replied Michaela as she brushed some white powder into a
plastic bag, "There's a small amount of white powder on your
sleeve. Do you know where it came from?"

"Not from me." replied the old lady, "It must have come off of
the gloves worn by the robbers."

Michaela asked, "ALL of the robbers wore gloves?"

"Yes." she replied.

"What else did you notice about the robbers?" asked Michaela.

The old lady closed her eyes and thought for a while, then
replied, "One of them smelled like watermelon. Another one
smelled like strawberries."

"Are you sure?" asked Michaela.

"Yes. All three of them were just inches from my face. I'm sure.

Michaela examined the white powder under the microscope. Then
she did some chemical tests.

"Aha!" she exclaimed when the liquid containing some of the
powder turned blue.

"What is it?" asked the old lady.

"That white powder on your sleeve was corn starch." replied

"What do you make of that?" she asked.

Michaela thought for a moment, then she flipped a few pages in
her picture book.

"Yes, there it is!" exclaimed Michaela.

"There what is?" she asked.

"Corn starch is used to make jelly beans." replied Michaela.

"You think the watermelon and the strawberry I smelled was jelly

"Yes," replied Michaela, "I'm quite sure the robbers spent some
time in a candy factory that makes jelly beans."

She found a phone book and looked up "Candy Manufacturers" in
the yellow pages, then pointed, "That's the one!" Michaela

"Which one?" asked the old lady.

"Snidely Candy Company. The factory is four blocks away."
replied Michaela.

They drove to the candy factory and circled the building.

"There!" exclaimed Michaela pointing.

"What do you see?" she asked.

Michaela replied, "There are wet footprints next to that manhole
cover by the factory. It looks like the robbers came out of the
storm sewer there and went in the back door of the factory."

When Michaela pulled on the back door, it came open. But she
waited for the police to arrive before they went inside. But the
robbers were already gone. Everyone searched for a vault or a
safe, but there wasn't anything that even looked like a safe.
There were motors and machines, pipes and wires, electrical
boxes and air compressors, but no vault.

Michaela left the group and walked toward a huge machine.

"Find something?" asked the policeman.

"Just a hunch." replied Michaela.

Remembering the corn starch on the old lady's sleeve, Michaela
inspected the machine that used corn starch to make the soft
centers of jelly beans. Powdered corn starch is light and easily
blown around. The factory floor and all of the equipment had a
light coating of it... everywhere except the name plate on an
electric motor.

"Aha!" exclaimed Michaela.

"Find something?" asked the policeman.

"Yes," replied Michaela, "The corn starch on this motor's name
plate has been wiped off. The metal named plate on electric
motors usually has information about the motor and the
electricity. But this name plate just has a list of words."

Here's the list of words:











"What do you think they mean?" asked the policeman.

"Probably a combination to a vault lock." replied Michaela.

"But there is no vault!" replied the policeman.

"Oh, there's a vault, alright." said Michaela, "Lucifer Snidely
is just getting better at hiding it."

Michaela copied the words from the electric motor, backed away
and turned in a circle looking for a vault in disguise.

"There are ten words on this list." explained Michaela, "We're
looking for a control box or a machine that has ten push buttons
on it. THERE!" she shouted and pointed.

The police looked and shrugged his shoulders, "That's not a
safe. The sign on the front says there's an air compressor in

Michaela pushed one of the ten push buttons on the door of the
compressor. Immediately, all ten of the push buttons lit up,
showing pictures of body parts:


A knee

An ear


A big toe

A chin

A wrist

An eye

A nose

A backbone

Michaela explained, "I'm sure that the robbers hid the necklace
inside of this steel box. All we have to do is push the buttons
in the proper sequence and the door will open."

"How do you know what order to push the buttons?" asked the

Michaela explained, "I've seen this kind of thing before, but
Lucifer Snidely is getting more clever. I'll have to work harder
to understand how the pictures go with the words."

Michaela studied the list and the pictures for a few minutes,
then said, "This is another word-within-a-word code."

(can you see the body parts within the words?)

"But this time," continued Michaela, "Lucifer Snidely hid the
SOUND of the body parts inside of the words on this list. In
other words, someone has to read the words out loud to hear the
body part."

"I don't get it." replied the policeman.

Michaela pointed and explained, "Well, here, for example, the
word POTATO has the sound of the body part TOE in it."

(can you see the body parts within the words now?)

Since the word "potato" was first on the list, she pushed the
button with the picture of a toe first. And so on...

florist... wrist

honey... knee

share... hair

slippers... lip

irritate... ear

item... eye

urchin... chin

splash... lash

baccalaureate... back

CLICK, BUZZ, a green light went on and the door of the steel box
opened by itself. And instead of an air compressor, inside the
box was the world's most expensive necklace.

And the world's greatest detective solved yet another mystery.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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