When that phone rings, you never know what awaits on the other end; recorded messages from politicians, pitches for charities you never heard of, or a hundred other intrusions you could do without. Last night, however, the phone brought a real life mystery. On the other end was a woman who had just moved to California from Hong Kong. It seems that when she unpacked one of her boxes, she found that some ham-handed customs official had played mix and match with her possessions. Some of her stuff was missing and in its place were items owned by someone else!
O.K. It’s an interesting story, but how do I fit in?
It seems that one of the “mystery items” was a handwritten journal. (This is starting to sound like a Sherlock Holmes story.) In the interests of protecting the other person’s privacy, she couldn’t disclose what was in the journal, but it did contain handwritten notes containing my name and phone number in connection with the words “Master Detective” and “Lindbergh kidnapping”. There were also a few references to another state, a summer camp, and some books, but no name of who wrote the journal. The woman who called was particularly interested in tracking down the owner, because he might have HER missing items.
Using my vast deductive skills (also known as seeing the obvious) I realized the journal must belong to a documentary filmmaker I know. This person is working on a possible movie based on my book Master Detective, the story of a detective involved in the Lindbergh kidnapping investigation. (The detective produced a signed confession from another suspect after Bruno Hauptmann had been tried and convicted, but that’s another story.) The fact that the filmmaker was also in the process of moving to California seemed to clinch the case.
I fired off an email to the filmmaker and he confirmed that the journal was his, although they haven’t unpacked enough to notice it was missing. He and the woman who called me are now in contact to try to sort out who has what. So if you follow the clues, sometimes you can solve the case.