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by Ruth Hymel

Shaun tapped his notebook thoughtfully with a felt-tipped pen. The pages were marked with his scribbled notes. Over the past month since his wife dubbed him amateur detective extraordinaire, he’d spent his free time interviewing the good citizens of Evening Shire. As yet he knew when the necklace went missing, that the house bore no sign of break-in, Miss Matty claimed she admired the necklace at 7PM the evening previous on her usual walk, Jayne thought she remembered seeing it at 10:08 before going to bed, a noise was heard in the wee hours of the morning, and Peter confessed to leaving the kitchen window unlatched, where it was possible a very small person could squeeze through. No suspects and no clear progress. 

Turning from his notes with a sigh, Shaun looked across at his youngest in her highchair. Her blonde little brows were crunched down in imitation of his. He let out a laugh, “That’s what your da looks like, eh? You have any insights on the case?” She babbled happily back at him. 

“Rose!” he called out. “Come look after your sister. I’m going out.” 

Rose, Shaun’s sixteen year old daughter, poked her head into the room . 

“I thought I might go by Mr. Colin’s. Ask him about how the hoe I sold him is holding up.” 

A frown passed over Rose’s face, “Ah.” 

“What is it, girl? 

“I dunno, da. Perhaps I shouldn’t say anything,” Rose replied uncertainly, tugging on her braid. 

“Well, out with it.” 

Pausing and stumbling over words, Rose told her story. On the night the necklace went missing, she was out past curfew. A girlfriend’s older sister told them that if you went into the woods at midnight on a night with a full moon and threw a coin backwards into the stream, you would meet your true love within the year. On their way home they’d heard something ahead of them, and becoming frightened, and decided to hide in the ditch by the lane. Soon, they espied Mr. Colin plodding along toward them. He was shoeless and keeping to the shadowy side of the road. He startled at a dog’s bark, and looking suddenly left and right, he picked up his pace and hurried on toward his shop. 

“I see,” Shaun said at the end of her tale. “And you’re certain it was Mr. Colin?” 

“I’m sure , da.”

“It certainly looks fishy. I’ll go and talk to him and figure this out.” Grabbing his hat, Shaun said over his shoulder, “And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the missed curfew.”