NECKLACP 7' Detective and the case of the stolen necklace

Michaela answered the phone, "Hello?"

"Michaela, you have to help us! We're desperate!" exclaimed the

"Let me guess," replied Michaela, "Lucifer Snidely hired someone
to steal the necklace again."

"Not really." said the policeman, "It's worse than that."

Michaela asked, "What could be worse than stealing the world's
most expensive necklace?"

The policeman replied, "Apparently, Lucifer Snidely got tired of
paying people to steal the necklace only to find out that YOU
got it back the same day. Instead, this time, he hired two guys
to break into the museum and cover the display case with a thick
steel box. They left a ransom note that said they would remove
the steel box, if the museum owner pays a one million dollar

When Michaela arrived at the museum, the museum owner showed her
the steel box.

"Well, what do you think?" he asked, "How do we get this off my
display case? I think I should hire a welder to cut through the
steel with an acetylene torch. What do you think?"

Michaela replied as she walked all around the steel box, "I
don't know anything about welders or acetylene torches. But it
seems to me that a torch uses fire. And if the fire is hot
enough to melt the steel, it will burn everything inside."

The policeman nodded, "That's what I told him."

The owner of the museum followed Michaela closely begging,
"Please tell me, tell me I won't have to pay a million dollars
to get my necklace back!"

Michaela examined the rest of the steel box through her
magnifying glass for a few more minutes then replied, "You won't
have to pay a million dollars to get your necklace back!"

"I won't?!" exclaimed the museum owner.

"He won't?!" exclaimed the policeman.

"No." said Michaela, "I can open the box."

"Without a torch?!" asked the museum owner.

"Without a torch." replied Michaela.

"How?" asked the policeman.

"I'll need a computer and a USB cable." she replied.

The museum owner ran at full speed toward the office shouting,
"I'll be right back!"

"What good will a computer do?" asked the policeman.

Michaela explained, "The steel box is not solid steel. There's a
door with hinges on the back side."

The policeman walked around the box to the rear and inspected it
carefully saying, "Well I'll be! You're right! There are hidden
hinges along the edge."

Then he kept inspecting and asking, "Wait a minute. I see
hinges, but I don't see a door knob or a lock. How do you get
this door open?"

"That's what I need the computer for." replied Michaela.

Just then, the museum owner ran back into the showroom carrying
a notebook computer and a cable, saying, "Anything you need,
anything at all! You just ask me. I'll do anything to avoid
paying a million dollars!"

"What good is a computer?" asked the policeman.

Michaela replied, "Lucifer Snidely always locks the necklace in
a vault with an electronic lock."

"Oh yes!" replied the policeman, "Like those locks with the
ten-key pad and the cell phone! You think you can use the
keyboard in place of a keypad?"

"Yes." replied Michaela.

"But where do you plug it into the steel box?" asked the

Michaela handed her magnifying glass and the USB plug to the
policeman saying, "It's just below the middle hinge."

The policeman went around behind the steel box and looked along
the edges of the door until he found the center hinge.

"Well, I'll be!" he exclaimed as he plugged in the USB, "It's a
USB connector!"

Then Michaela plugged the cable into the computer. A few seconds
later, a message printed on the computer screen, "ENTER

Looking over Michaela's shoulder, the policeman exclaimed, "Oh
no! We don't know the combination!"

"Look on the edge of the middle hinge." said Michaela

The policeman went behind the steel box again and squinted into
the magnifying glass at the hinge, saying, "There's no
combination here. It just says, 'SYMMETRICAL LETTERS', whatever
that means! There's not even a clue here to tell us which
numbers to push!"

(can you tell from this clue what keys to push on the computer

Michaela explained, "First of all, the combination is not

"What in the world are symmetrical letters?!" asked the

(Do you know what SYMMETRICAL means?)

Michaela explained, "Symmetrical letters are letters that
look the same whether you look at them straight on or in the

"Oh!" exclaimed the policeman as he ran down the hall pulling
out his pen and memo pad.

"Where is he going?!" asked the museum owner.

Michaela replied, "I think he's going to write down all 26
letters in the alphabet and then look at the list in the mirror
to see which letters look the same in the mirror."

At that moment, Michaela finished typing the letters into the
computer. Immediately, a message appeared on the computer screen
that said, "ACCESS GRANTED" and the door of the steel box

"You did it already!" exclaimed the museum owner as he ran
behind the steel box to see if the necklace was there.

"It's there and it's okay!" he exclaimed, "You did it! Michaela!
You did it! I won't have to pay a million dollars! Thank you!"

Just then the policeman came running back into the showroom
exclaiming, "I've got it! I've got the combination."

(Can you guess all the symmetrical letters?)

Here are all the symmetrical letters on the policeman's list:


(Did you guess all ten letters?)

Michaela examined the policeman's list, then replied, "You
missed one letter."

"Oh!" exclaimed the policeman, "Which one?"

"The U." replied Michaela pointing to the U on the computer

"Oh, yes, replied the policeman, "The U on the computer doesn't
have a tail on it. So, it's symmetrical too!"

Just then, the policeman noticed the message on the computer

"ACCESS GRANTED!" he exclaimed, "You opened it already?!"

"Yes," replied Michaela.

"Wait a minute!" exclaimed the policeman, "The letters you typed
in are not the same as mine. Where did I go wrong?"

(Do you know where the policeman went wrong?)

Michaela replied, "Go look at your list in the mirror."

(Do you know NOW where the policeman went wrong?)

So, the policeman went back into the men's restroom and held up
his list of symmetrical letters in the mirror.

"Backward!" exclaimed the policeman, "The letters are backward!
The letters are backward and the list is backward too!"

(Do you know now what letters opened the steel box?)

Here are the letters Michaela typed into the computer:


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

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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