Category ArchiveMystery fiction

Mystery fiction 04 May 2010 05:07 pm

Sixty-Second Solutions #2

Here is the second in my series of children’s mystery stories that originally ran in The Review in 2006.

                The paper football skipped across the lunchroom table, landing squarely in Samantha Spade’s applesauce.

            She looked up, and there stood Andy D’Brillo, the meanest kid in Sallami Middle School’s sixth-grade class.

            “Hey, new kid,” Andy sneered. “Word around the playground is that you’re some kind of detective. Well, solve that!”.

            Using her fork, Samantha fished out the folded paper and shook off the applesauce. As she carefully unfolded it, she invited Andy to sit down. The only other people at the table were Billy Archer and Flo Mason, the two friends that Samantha had made during her first few two months at Sallami.

It was hard being the new kid, but Samantha was used to it. Her father traveled around the country installing computer systems and always brought Samantha along. Even if it meant starting at a new school in January, which is what had happened to Samantha last month.

She looked out the cafeteria window at the swirling snow flurries and sighed. Her dad’s last job had been in sunny California.
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Mystery fiction 28 Apr 2010 06:58 am

Sixty-Second Solutions #1

  Back around 2006 or so, I wrote a series of twelve mini-mysteries that were published in The Alliance Review. Kids were the target audience, and my inspiration was the series of Encyclopedia Brown mysteries written by Donald Sobol. Steve Wiandt, then my co-worker at The Review, provided illustrations.

When my freshman classes were studying mysteries last week, I got to thinking of my series and decided to dust off the inaugural installment for publication here. Although it was tempting to go through and rewrite and edit, I didn’t. Looking back, I see many things I would change if I had to write them again, but that’s all part of the process. If interest warrants (hi, Mom!), I’ll run a few more here, too.

I don’t have Steve’s pictures (and wouldn’t run them without his permission, even if I had them), but maybe if he’s out there reading, he will upload them on his blog.


           Samantha Spade was the world’s greatest detective.

            Unfortunately, she was the only person in the city of Sallami who knew it.

            Since she had been old enough to read, Samantha had devoured the mystery books on her father’s bookshelf. She read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes from cover to cover, admiring how the master detective untied knotty clues. She loved writer Edgar Allen Poe, whose stories were full of giant apes and poisoned letters. She especially enjoyed tough guy stories by Dashiell Hammett; his character, Sam Spade, had inspired her father to name her “Samantha.”

            After exhausting her father’s bookshelf, she went to the library to find real-life stories of police officers, detectives and other experts. By the age of eleven, she knew more about police procedure and science than any child her age, and was better than most adults at applying observation and deduction.  She worked hard to be a good amateur detective, and it showed.

            But it hadn’t showed in Sallami – yet.
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