Category Archives: Mysteries

The Cat Who Didn’t Finish

I love mysteries.  I’ve enjoyed a series called “Two-Minute Mysteries” since I was in elementary school (and as it turns out, so has my wife).  And I’ve also been a Sherlock Holmes follower for years (something I may have already mentioned before).  My wife enjoys those stories, too.  So much so that I have “Love Watson” engraved inside my wedding ring and she has “Love Sherlock” engraved inside hers.

She eventually got me going on a mystery series that she had been collecting since before we were married.  The title of every book the author wrote began with, “The Cat Who…” and involved a man who more or less inherits an extremely smart Siamese cat whose cat senses help him solve various mysteries.  Now, I need to make it known that I don’t really care for cats.  (In fact, as a side story, my grandparents’ neighbors had pesky cats that would come through the tree line and go after my Grandpa’s pheasants.  Us grandkids would come running to let him know that the cats were coming through the tree line again.  He’d grab a red plastic whiffle-ball bat from the garage, us kids trailing like a pack of hungry hyenas as he walked out to the tree line and hit the cats on the head with the whiffle-ball bat.  It didn’t hurt them any, but it sure was funny to see there feet scurry on the ground, yet going nowhere–just like a cartoon–and then they’d tear off into the yard from whence they came.  I know; if you like cats, your opinion of me just plummeted.  I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not.  Oops, it happened again).  So at any rate, initially, my interest in this series was scant at best.  But the more I read, the more I liked what was happening and found that it was actually a very good series to follow.

Here’s the thing:  the author has been writing these mysteries since the 70’s.  She was belting them out hot and heavy through the late 70’s, the 80’s and well into the 90’s.  Then it’s evident that the stories start tapering off.  Obviously she’s getting older.  More and more time passes between books.  It’s now well into the 2000’s.  I’m getting concerned.  How old is this woman?  Is she going to live long enough to write one more story?  What is she going to resolve?  What is she going to leave hanging?  The suspense is growing by each book I eventually see.  It finally gets to the point where it’s obvious that the book I’m waiting for is going to be the last one.  The author is in her 90’s now and not doing well.  The last book is finally published and, like Smeagol, I start referring to myself in the plural and mumbling something about “my Precious”.

So I begin reading.  A very enjoyable time!  I’m savoring every page, knowing this is the last time I will ever be able to do this with this series.  But as I am working my way towards the end, I’m starting to get nervous.  I’m going to be running out of pages soon, and nothing seems to be resolving itself.  Nothing.  What the….?  No way!!  By the end of the book, there are more questions than answers:  instead of getting the woman the main character has been interested in for so long, she moves away; somebody burns down the huge and gorgeous barn-house that the main character lives in (and no one knows who did it); and then there’s whatever else was left hanging in the air, unresolved and unaccounted for.  I felt like Gollum when he lost his ring.  “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!  My Precioussssssss!

Shortly after I read the book, she died.  I was devastated.  No one can fix this.  This stinks.  I was so disappointed that I eventually got rid of the whole series we had collected.  “Why would you do that??“, you ask?  Sure, I could start over with the series and read them all over again some time down the road (that’s why you collect a series, right?).  But why would I want to do that when I know everything ultimately ends the way that it does?  Yup…I think you get it.

Sigh.  Oh well.  There are worse things to have happen to you. Continue reading The Cat Who Didn’t Finish

Mysteries

I have always loved mysteries.

I can remember there being quite a few mystery-type series that got me going on this path so long ago.  As with just about any young boy from the late 70’s and early 80’s, a staple mystery starter was The Hardy Boys (and a few Nancy Drew thrown in).  Do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series?  I didn’t get into a whole lot of those, but the first (and favorite) was “The Mystery Of Chimney Rock”.  How about “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators”?  I have found very few who have read that one.

This has progressed over the years into a love for the Sherlock Holmes stories.  The movies that have Robert Downey Jr. are good entertainment, but obviously don’t follow the actual stories.  If you want to see what is arguably the best rendition of the 221B Baker Street stories, you must watch  the Sherlock Holmes series that Granada (an English T.V. production company) put out over a ten-year span (1984-1994) that stars Jeremy Brett as the best Sherlock Holmes ever portrayed.

But I would have to say that what truly started my love of mysteries was a series that I found somewhere around 2nd/3rd grade called “Two-Minute Mysteries”.  These are short mysteries with the solution upside down at the end of each one.  I absolutely loved these (and still do)!  In fact, shortly after my wife and I met, we discovered that we both found the first book of this series (there’s three of them) around the same young age–and that we both still had our own copy of it!   I loved these stories so much that I modeled a mystery of my own after this “Two-Minute Mystery” format back in 5th grade for an assignment we had to do.

So, compadre, walk in my hiking boots for two minutes and enjoy, word-for-word, my original 5th grade two-minute mystery!  The wording and punctuation are that of a 5th grader, so keep that in mind.  I’ll let you in on the solution next time we meet up.  And one more thing….if you think this might be a waste of time, you should know that I stumped the whole class–including the teacher:

The Case Of The Missing Dog

It was one of those nights with a very heavy fog.  Suddenly their came a scream,  “My dog’s been stolen!” screamed Mrs. Hernandez.  A policeman came up to her.  “What’s the matter?”  “My dog’s been stolen!” she said.

“I went down to feed my dog and discovered he was missing.  I went out the front door just to see a man, with my dog, turn the corner and get into a car.”

“A very good alibi, Mrs. Hernandez.  But not good enough!”