NECKLACS 9' Detective and the case of the stolen necklace

Michaela was awakened suddenly in the middle of the night by
what felt like a bee sting on her neck. But she fell back asleep
immediately. When she woke up, the room was dark but, she was no
longer in her bed. She was lying on a cold hard floor in her
pajamas with no blanket. She heard the sound of a big engine and
felt a vibration of the floor.

She shook her head and closed her eyes, thinking this was a
dream. But when she opened her eyes, she was still lying on a
cold hard floor.

So she sat up and looked around. The only light in the room was
coming from a crack under what looked like a door. It was a wide
door -- wider than her bedroom door.

Where was she? She made a list of possibilities in her head.
Hard floor, engine noise, vibrating floor.

She could be: On a train, on an airplane, on a boat or in the
back of a truck.

She felt her way to the wall opposite the door and held her ear
against the wall to listen for clues. She heard the sound of
water gurgling and splashing on the other side.

She was now sure she was on a boat.

She reviewed what she remembered about her situation: the bee
sting, being taken from home without waking up, ending up inside
of a large moving boat.

(Can you guess what happened to Michaela so far?)

She concluded that the bee sting was an injection needle
injecting her with some kind of sleep medicine. Someone had
sneaked into her home and kidnapped her.

But why?

Her guess was that Lucifer Snidely was involved. During his last
robbery, he made the police think that Michaela was the robber
by planting false clues at the scene of the robbery and in her
backpack in order to keep her from helping the police. But why
would he have her kidnapped?

(Can you guess why Snidely had Michaela kidnapped?)

Michaela concluded that he had hired one person to steal the
world's most expensive necklace from the museum again. At the
same time, he hired someone else to kidnap Michaela to keep her
from helping the police. With her out of the way, Snidely could
finally keep the necklace for himself.

She tried to open the big wide door of the dark room, but the
door had been locked from the outside. She felt around the
entire room to see if there were any tools she could use to
escape but there weren't any. So, she finally decided to find a
place to hide when the kidnapper came into the room. She found
that she could climb up the door frame and hide on a steel ledge
above the door.

Suddenly, the engine noise quieted, telling Michaela that the
boat was slowing as it approached its destination. When the
engine was finally turned off, Michaela hid on the ledge above
the door and waited quietly for the kidnapper to enter the room.

Less than a minute later, she heard heavy footsteps coming down
the stairs and down the hall. The door latch clicked and a beam
of light from the hallway lit the middle of the floor where
Michaela woke up just moments before. 

"Where did you go, you little brat!" shouted a big man dressed
in black as he stepped into the dark room beneath where Michaela
was hiding, "Where are you?"

When he walked over to the wall switch to flick on the light,
Michaela jumped down from her perch and ran out of the room,
pulling the door closed behind her.

"Why, you little brat! Come back here!" he shouted as he
scrambled back to the door.

But it was too late. Michaela had already locked him in. She
went up on deck to look around. The boat was tied up to a dock
along side another boat. The dock was at the base of a steep
cliff which she didn't recognize. But across the water she saw
two mountains that she had seen before, Old Baldy and Saddleback

"I live over there! So, this must be an island in the ocean.
This is Santa Catalina Island!" she exclaimed, "We came out here
on a big boat last summer!"

She ran to the pilot house of the boat and looked for a radio.
Finding it, she read the sticker on the radio looking for
emergency instructions. She twisted the dial on the radio to the
emergency channel. then spoke into the microphone.

"Hello? Hello? Can anybody hear me? This is an emergency!" she

A voice replied, "This is the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
department. What is your emergency?"

"I've been kidnapped. The kidnapper brought me to Santa Catalina
Island." explained Michaela, "But I'm okay now, so that's not
the emergency. The emergency is the robbery at the museum."

The voice replied, "I'm sorry. I'm confused. How did you know
about the robbery at the museum? It hasn't been on the
television news yet."

Michaela explained, "My name is Michaela. I helped Detective
Sanchez in Los Angeles to recover the necklace from all the
other robberies. I think the robbers kidnapped me so I couldn't
help them get the necklace back this time. Could you please call
Detective Sanchez and tell him that I'm probably at one of
Lucifer Snidely's houses on Catalina? I'm pretty sure the
necklace is here on the island."

Michaela didn't wait for an answer. She dropped the microphone
and jump off the boat. She ran off the dock and up the path
toward the house. When she rounded a curve she saw a man running
out of the house and down the path toward her. She hid behind a
large rock until he ran by her. A minute later she heard the
engine of a boat down at the dock start up and drive away.

So, she turned and ran to the house. She searched the house for
hidden vaults, especially under the carpets in all the
upstairs closets, but found nothing. When she heard the sound of
the police helicopter landing she started down the stairs.

As the policeman came in the house he pointed up the stairway
and commanded to the two policemen with him, "Check upstairs for
a vault, especially under the carpets in the closets."

"Don't bother," replied Michaela as she came down the stairs, "I
already checked up there. The necklace isn't up there."

"Michaela!" exclaimed the policeman, "Are you alright? They said
you were kidnapped right out of your bed! Are you alright?"

"I'm fine. But I haven't been able to find the necklace yet."
she replied.

"Maybe the robber hid it somewhere else on the island." replied
the policeman. How do you know it's even in the house?"

"I saw the robber running out of the house as I was coming up
the path." explained Michaela, "The necklace is in here
somewhere. I'm pretty sure of that."

Suddenly Michaela pointed to a vase full of silk flowers on a
small table exclaiming, "There!"

The policeman looked puzzled and said, "That's a vase, not a

Michaela explained, "You can tell that noone has lived in this
house for a long time because there's dust on all the furniture,
EXCEPT for a little area on the table next to that vase."

"So?" asked the policeman.

(Can you explain what Michaela concluded from that clue?)

Michaela explained, "That small area where there's no dust tells
me that the vase has been moved. I think the vase is actually a
clever vault."

"But there's flowers in the vase." replied the policeman, "How
could there be room in it for a necklace?"

(Can you explain how the robber made room in the vase for a

The policeman took hold of the vase with one hand and the
flowers with the other, then pulled them apart. The flowers were
fake and they ended in a clump only two or three inches deep in
the vase, leaving most of the vase empty.

The policeman looked inside the vase and said, "I don't know how
to tell you this, but the empty part of this vase is sealed off
and there's no way to get at it."

Michaela pointed to the circle on the bottom of the vase and
replied, "That's the lock there."

"It's a circle." replied the policeman, "How will a circle get
me into the empty space?"

"Look again." replied Michaela.

"Oh!" exclaimed the policeman, "It's not a circle it's a bunch
of small holes in the shape of a circle. Are you saying that
something fits into these holes?"

Michaela pointed to the bottom clump of flowers still in the
policeman's hand saying, "Whatever they are, they're probably
hidden in there"

Sure enough, among the stems of the flowers were several small,
straight wires with brightly colored plastic coatings. The ends
of all the plastic were removed from all the wires, leaving both
ends of all the wires with bare copper. The policeman took one
of the wires and poked it into one of the small holes in the
bottom of the vase.

"It fits perfectly!" he exclaimed, "But how do we know which
wires go into which holes?"

Michaela sorted the wires into colors: red, yellow, blue and
green. There were 3 red, 4 yellow, 5 blue and six green wires.
All wires of one color were all the same length. But the three
red wires were longer than the yellow wires, which were longer
than the blue wires which were longer than the green wires.

She thought for a moment, then looked carefully at the bottom of
the vase again.

"There!" she exclaimed as she pointed, "See these tiny letters
near some of the holes?"

Sure enough, scattered around the outside of the circle of holes
were four letters: R, Y, B, and G.

"I see them." replied the policeman, "But I still don't see how
four letters tell us how to open this vault."

(Can you guess from these clues how to arrange the wires in the

Michaela explained, "First, each color of wire will end up as a
different shape. For instance, the three red wires will make a

(Can you guess from this clue what shapes the other colors will

"I think I've got it!" exclaimed the policeman, "If the three
red wires make a triangle, four yellows will make a square, five
blues will make a pentagon and six greens will make a hexagon!"

"Exactly." replied Michaela.

"But I still don't know exactly how to poke the wires into the
holes." he said.

Michaela explained, "The corners of all the shapes will start
and end at the letter."

(Can you guess from this clue how the shapes will fit into the

Michaela explained, "Every corner of every shape will be at the
edge of the circle. Watch!"

With that, Michaela poked the first red wire into the hole
marked R and the other end into the hole that fit across the
circle. The wires were the exact length needed to make a perfect
triangle within the circle.

And immediately, a red light went on inside the nearby hole.
Next, she started and ended a perfect square withing the circle,
and a yellow light lit up. Next, she made a pentagon and a blue
light went on. Last, she made a perfect pentagon within the
circle and the green light went on.

There was a click, a buzz and a hum and the bottom of the vase
swung open. Inside of the vase was the world's most expensive

In spite of being kidnapped, Michaela, the world's greatest
detective solved another mystery!

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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