Just Riddles and More...!








Here you will find more short tales that will test your ability to interpret information, gather data and solve the crime!!!  Once again, try to determine how, where, or why the perpetrator has make a critical mistake, thus exposing the guilty party.


#1 The Case of the Balloon Man

"The whole force is looking for Izzy the Balloon Man who kidnapped little Doug Merril, " Inspector Winters said to Dr. Hall.

"Doesn't anyone know where Izzy hangs out?"

"Nobody knows anything about him," replied the inspector. "Once a week he stops his old truck by the Merril estate and gives out popcorn and mouse-shaped pink balloons. The kids love the funny faces he makes as he puts the balloons to his lips and huffs and puffs.

"Last Thursday Izzy made his usual stop and drove off -- or so it appeared. Later, Seth Motts and the Reverend Brown were in Seth's backyard, which abuts the Merril property. Seth noticed one of Izzy's balloons stuck high in his oak tree.

"Since there was no wind to blow it loose, Seth got a long ladder and climbed into the tree. From that height -- about twenty feet -- he could see over the Merril's twelve-foot wall.

"Sam says that as he released the balloon he glanced into the Merril yard and saw the Balloon Man put young Doug into his truck and drive off. He told the minister what he'd seen. Neither man thought much of it till they heard that Doug was missing.

"Yesterday," concluded the inspector, "Dougs's father received a note stating that Doug was being held for ransom, and that instructions would follow."

"Putting together everything you've told me," said Hall. "I think both Doug and the Balloon Man have been kidnapped!"  Why?



#2 The Case of the Last Karan

"From the smirk connecting your ears, I assume you've hit upon a new scheme for making a million dollars," Dr. Hall said to Brian Ford.

"Not quite a million," corrected Brian, a young Englishman with more ways to avoid work than aces up the sleeve of a Mississippi gambler.

Brian opened his briefcase and showed Hall a pen-and-ink sketch of a bearded man.

"Looks like a Rudy Karan!" Hall marveled.

"Precisely," gloated Brian. "All the world knows the great artist died in Alaska three years ago. The details were never divulged till his friend, Kiako, meeting hard times, came to me.

"The facts are," continued Brian, "that Karan injured his hip in a storm that buried his and Kiako's supplies on the trail. The weather had been far below freezing for days, and moreno, his hip injured, failed rapidly.

"Kiako got him to an abandoned shack. He stopped up the broken window with his gloves. As he tore apart a chair to build an fire, Karan called to him. There was no time. He wouldn't live half an hour.

"Karan asked for drawing materials. Kiako found an old pen and a bottle of ink in a cupboard. Karan sketched his faithful friend, and died.

"The prices of morenos have soared since his death. His last picture should be worth a quarter of a million. I can buy it from Kiako for twenty thousand," concluded Brian. "Have you twenty, old boy?"

"For that portrait? Not twenty cents!" snapped Hall. Why Not?



#3 The Case of the Rescue at Sea

"Thank heaven you saw me!" exclaimed Ted Long as he feebly helped make fast his battered yawl to Dr. Hall's chartered fishing boat.

Hall reached over the side and assisted the bedraggled yachtsman aboard.

Long staggered into the shade of the cabin and sagged upon a berth. He removed his cap to wipe the perspiration from his brow, revealing a bald, freckled head.

"Drink this," said Hall, holding out a cup of water.

Long gulped it frantically, asked for a second, and when he had downed it, told of his ordeal.

"Bill Smith and I were sailing for Bimini when the storm hit us. The sails, rudder, and radio went in the first five minutes. We barely managed to keep afloat.

"We drifted five days, lost. Three days ago our fresh water supply gave out. Bill went crazy with the heat and thirst. He started to drink the ocean water. I tried to restrain him -- I hit him. He -- he struck his head against the starboard rail. He's dead! It's my fault!"

Hall climbed into Long's disheveled yacht. In the little cabin he found Bill Smith laid out on his back, dead. The criminologist studied the bruise on Smith's jaw and the one at the base of his skull.

Back on the fishing boat, he warned Long grimly, "You're going to have to tell the police a better tale than the one you told me!"   Why didn't Hall believe Long?



#4 The Case of the Open Door

Working calmly and efficiently, Pete Jordan hanged Martin John in the attic of John's rented house. It was not until Jordan tried to shut the front door that he hit a snag. The lock was jammed.

"Better get out of here," he thought, casting anxious glances at the dense woods surrounding the house.

Two hours later he was driving back to the house with Dr. Hall.

"Martin's been morose since his divorce. I should have visited him, but nobody knew where he was hiding out. I got his address this afternoon when he telephoned me to say he was contemplating suicide. I thought you'd better come with me and perhaps have a talk with him.

"He said it was a white stucco house, 5228 School House Avenue, over the phone," went on Jordan.

"Here we are."

Hall left the car first. Finding the front door ajar, he entered and switched on the lights. Five minutes later the two men found Martin John in the attic.

As they stood silently staring at the body, a door chime sounded downstairs.

With Hall right behind him, Jordan hastened to the back door. There stood a teenage girl. "Mother asked me to return this bottle of milk to Mr. John," she said.

Hall took the milk and after she had gone he called the police.

"You'd better arrest Mr. Jordan on suspicion of murder," he said when they arrived.  Why?



#5 The Case of the Dead Boxer

Tony Jack's worldly possessions were laid out on a small table in police headquarters. They consisted of a T-shirt, sneakers, and white cotton trousers. In a pocket of the trousers was a card.

The card read: July 28. Your wght, 173 lbs.; Your fortune, You will enjoy a long life.

"His life lasted 22 years," Inspector Hobbs told Dr. Hall.

"Late last night," said the inspector, "we got a call to come to the carnival. Somebody had started up a Ferris wheel. We found a male corpse jack-knifed over a strut. At first I thought the guy had been beaten to death -- his face was so battered. Then I recognized Tony.

"Last night Tony fought Killer Malone for the state middleweight title," he continued. "Tony took a pounding. We know he left the arena still pretty dazed. He must have come out to the carnival. He used to be a roustabout, and he knew his way around.

"It looks like he got here after closing," said the inspector, "used the scale, and then started up the big wheel. He took a ride and fell out. The medical examiner says he died instantly,"

The famed criminologist contemplated Tony's possessions.

"He might have been killed elsewhere and hung on the strut," said Hall. "I heard rumors of a fix in the Malone fight.

"It looks to me like Tony refused to take a dive and the mob made him pay the full price. The killers apparently did a clumsy job. To avoid giving themselves away, they changed his clothes and staged the scene out at the Ferris wheel." How did Hall know?



#6 The Case of the Lookout

Dr. Hall was the only customer in the little drugstore when the shooting started.

He had just taken his first sip of black coffee when three men dashed from the bank across the street, guns blazing.

As the holdup men jumped into a waiting car, a nun and a chauffeur sought refuge in the drugstore.

"You're both upset," said Hall. "Let me buy you a cup of coffee."

They thanked him. The nun ordered black coffee, the chauffeur a glass of root beer.

The three fell to talking about the flying bullets and had barely touched their drinks when sirens sounded.

The robbers had been captured and were being returned to the bank for identification.

Hall moved to a front window to watch. As he returned to the counter, the nun and chauffeur thanked him again and departed.

The counterman had cleared the glass and cups.

"Sorry, mister," he said to Hall. "I didn't know your weren't done."

The counterman looked at the two coffee cups he had just removed from the counter, and passing Hall the one without lipstick, said, "What do you think a chauffeur was doing around here? There isn't a limousine on the street."

Hall thought a moment. "Good grief!" he cried. "We had the gang's lookout right here!"

And he dashed out to make the capture.  What aroused Hall's suspicion?