Can you solve this mini-mystery?


THE PHONY PROFESSOR


By Richard Ciciarelli



Alicia Wentworth placed her mop into its bucket, leaned on the handle, and observed the four people who had entered the student cafeteria.

"I'm supposed to be cleaning here," she said. "Is there somewhere else you can go?"

"No," a man said, flashing a badge. "I'm Sergeant Samuels. The president of this college called me today to say he thinks one of these people is a fake."

"I don't understand."

"You don't have to. Just keep mopping." Samuels turned to the three people he had escorted into the cafeteria. "I've been told the college does a lot of research into the field of medicinal chemicals. There are a lot of companies who would pay someone a great deal of money to learn if anything important has been found."

"And you think one of us is trying to steal secrets?" the lone woman in the group asked.

"Yes. The dean thinks one of you is only pretending to be a professor in order to have access to the campus all summer. Then, when classes start in the fall, you'll disappear with whatever knowledge you've acquired and sell it to the highest bidder."

"Well, money is the root of all evil, as the Bible says," a tall man said sarcastically.

"What's your name?" Samuels asked. "And what do you teach?"

"My name is John Patton. My expertise is nineteenth century authors. You know, Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens, people like that."

"And what about you?" Samuels asked the woman.

"I'm Mary Clay. I was hired to teach about what are called the Romantic poets. Those were people like Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Are you at all familiar with Childe Harold's Pilgrimage or Adonais?"

Samuels leered at the woman.

"No, lady, but I am familiar with fingerprints and gun shot residue. Now," he turned to the remaining man, "who are you and what do you teach?"

"My name is Carl Dearborn. My special field is Shakespeare. I'm sure even you have heard of him. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar?"

"Yeh," Samuels said. "I remember 'Beware the Ides of March.' Maybe you should beware the ire of Samuels."

"Very clever," Mary Clay said, "but I have work to do. I have to see what books will be available to my students at the campus library and then see to it that the bookstore has available anything else they'll need."

"Me, too," John Patton said. "This sort of thing takes a lot of time, and the fall semester starts soon."

"Maybe to speed thing up I should get some search warrants," Samuels said. "My men will go through your homes and offices looking for anything that may have been taken from the school's medical research department."

"I can save you a lot of time," a voice said.

All four people turned their heads to look at Alicia Wentworth, who was leaning on her mop again.

"I can tell you which of these three is a phony."


WHO IS THE PHONY PROFESSOR?

Please click here to reveal the answer.


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