Can you solve this mini-mystery?

Half-Baked in Fairview

A Sheriff Marge Crump Mystery

By S. Furlong-Bolliger

Crime was never a good thing, Deputy Harvey thought to himself. But if it had to happen, what better place than in a pastry shop?

He and his boss, Sheriff Marge Crump, had been called to a crime scene at one of Fairview's newest businesses, Make My Cake. This was the first time Harvey had been in the bakery and he was practically salivating over the elegant cream puffs, light-as-air cannolis, chocolate-drizzled éclairs...

"Harvey, if we're going to solve this crime, you'll have to move away from the pastry case," Marge teased.

Harvey straightened up, cheeks reddening. "I was just looking for evidence."

Marge rolled her eyes and pointed toward a table where several employees were seated. "Well, how about we start by conducting interviews?"

As they approached the group, a young girl with red-rimmed eyes spoke up, "I'm Amanda Bowles. I called you as soon as I discovered my engagement ring had been stolen."

"Why don't you explain from the beginning?" Marge prompted.

"I came in around five this morning to start mixing batter for an order of red velvet cupcakes. I didn't want to ruin my ring, so I put it in the office. I discovered it was missing after my shift. Luckily, I just had it insured."

"It must be worth a bundle," interrupted an older man. "If I had that type of money, I'd invest in something important like updated fixtures for the bakery."

"Are you the bakery's owner?" Marge asked.

"Yes. I'm Frank Morelli."

Harvey spoke up. "Did you see Amanda's ring this morning, Mr. Morelli?"

"No, but she usually puts it on my desk when she's working."

"Where's the office?" Marge asked, her eyes skimming the bakery.

Frank thumbed toward the back. "It's way back there at the end of that hallway. You can't see it from here."

"We'll want to take a look at it in a minute," Marge commented.

The owner shifted in his seat. "Whatever I can do to help. I feel horrible about this. At least the ring was insured," he added.

Marge turned to another worker whose nametag read Gretchen. "How about you? Did you see Amanda's ring this morning?"

"No, I never got near the office. I was too busy up front with customers. Plus, I had a catering order to package."

"That's right," Frank, the owner, beamed. "A hundred pastry puffs for the woman's auxiliary luncheon. My biggest order yet." He patted Gretchen's shoulder. "And, I have Gretchen to thank for the business. Her sister is the head of the auxiliary."

"Would those have been crème filled puffs?" Harvey asked, practically licking his lips.

Marge shot him a warning look. "I don't think that's relevant, Harvey." Then looking at Frank, she asked, "Who had access to the back office today?"

"Just us," he replied.

"You forgot Jake," Gretchen reminded him.

"Jake?" Harvey asked.

"Jake Turner, the dishwasher," Frank responded. "He's in the kitchen right now."

Gretchen leaned in and whispered. "I saw him in the office this morning talking on the phone right before Amanda's ring went missing. That's probably when he took it."

Harvey placed his hands on his hips. "Is that so? Well, Sheriff, looks like we need to talk to this guy."

"No need," Marge stated matter-of-factly. "He doesn't have the ring."

Why was Marge so sure of Jake's innocence?

Please click here to reveal the answer.

Copyright © 2014 S. Furlong-Bolliger. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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