by Debra H. Goldstein
Chief Rollins had waited for weeks to watch his beloved Eagles face off against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, but the call that the mayor’s diamond bracelet was stolen during her 2023 party upended his plans. “At least,” he said to Detective Tabitha Stephens, “We’ll only miss the half-time show. We’ll catch glimpses of the game on her TVs.”
Detective Stephens laughed. “Being honest, I’m more into the commercials than football.”
“That’s a sin.”
“Not really. The Superbowl commercials are the best. Do you remember when Betty White was tackled and her alter-ego didn’t play like himself until he ate a Snickers? How about the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials? Sadly, I read they’re only showing the horses for a few seconds this year.”
Three TVs blared so loudly, that Detective Stephens and he could barely hear the mayor. “The clasp on my diamond bracelet broke. Before I could put it away, the doorbell rang. I dropped the bracelet into the bowl on the entryway table. After my guests were watching the game, I went to retrieve it, but it was gone. I called you immediately.”
Glancing around, Detective Stephens counted at least thirty people glued to the various TVs. “It looks like we have quite a few possible suspects.”
“Not really,” the Mayor said. “From the driveway, my guests come in through the kitchen. Only three people used the front door: Kelly, who is my son’s new girlfriend, my aide, Ralph Smith, who kindly ran out for extra bags of ice, and my publicist Suzannah Martin. All three are watching the game in the den.”
“Please ask them to meet us in the living room. Hopefully, Detective Stephens and I can get to the bottom of this before the game ends.”
Kelly was first. Chief Rollins asked her about her arrival. “Mike and his mother let me in. He introduced us, but I was tongue tied. I finally said the bowl on her table was beautiful. Thankfully, another guest distracted her while Mike and I escaped.”
Next, Chief Rollins called to Ralph, who was in the doorway watching the game. He finally sauntered over.
“Ralph, you’ve been here before. Why did you come through the front door?”
“The driveway was full when I came back with the ice, so I parked on the street. I made two trips to get the bags in. Luckily, I finished just before the end of the commercials.”
“Which ones did you see?” Detective Stephens asked.
“The Chevy truck ad and the Budweiser one spotlighting those magnificent Clydesdales.”
“I see you left the best to the last,” Suzannah said. “I swear the mayor’s bracelet was still in the bowl when I went to watch the game.”
The chief raised an eyebrow. “You saw the bracelet?”
“I noticed it. Then, I went into the den, caught the few seconds of the Clydesdales in this year’s commercial, and began watching the game.”
Chief Rollins ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t know…”
“I do.” Detective Stephens said.
The chief stared at her.
“It was Ralph Smith. The Clydesdales weren’t spotlighted in the commercial. Rather they were only in it for a few seconds. That means Ralph lied.”
“Let’s see what he has to say for himself down at the station,” Chief Rollins said.
It didn’t take long to crack a sweating Ralph in the interrogation room. “I saw the bracelet when I brought in the first bags of ice. I grabbed it immediately. Taking the bracelet outside when I went to get the rest of the ice, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then, it dawned on me that the diamonds would blend with the chipped ice. I put it in the one bag I left in my car.” He hung his head before shifting his gaze from Detective Stephens to Chief Rollins. “You’ll find it there.”
And they did.
Several of Debra’s short stories have been featured on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast. You can find them all by clicking here, and you can listen to one of them on the player below.
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