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Can You Solve This Crime?

Hopefully this case won't be too ruff.

You're a private detective. One night, you receive a frantic call.

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"This is Mrs. Alice Barnes. My dog has been kidnapped! The police won't do anything! Please, help!"

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The caller tells you the dognapper left a ransom note, printed in neat cursive. You ask her to come in right away.

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When Mrs. Barnes arrives, she seems frightened and upset.

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She hands you a photograph of her dog, Bugle.

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"Tonight someone entered my house, but I didn't see who it was. I was getting ready for bed upstairs and most of the lights in the house were off."

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"I heard Bugle bark downstairs, and then I heard the front door close. I assumed it was my husband coming home from work and taking Bugle out...but I remember thinking his footsteps sounded louder than usual. When I went downstairs, Bugle was gone, and my husband wasn't home yet."

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The next day, you dust for fingerprints in the Barnes house. No unusual fingerprints are found, and nothing in the home is missing except Bugle.

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You take Alice's husband, Warren, aside for an interview. You find out he's a journalist. "I love the little fella. I miss him, even with my dog allergy. Last night I was working late at the paper. News has been real slow lately, so we've all been working overtime looking for stories...anything to keep us going."

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"Last night I came home and Alice was hysterical. That's when I found out about Bugle. I plan on writing up the disappearance in the paper today to see if anyone comes forward. We're both so broken up about it."

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You have a quick chat with the Barneses' neighbor, Norma. "That dog was always making noise. I haven't gotten proper beauty sleep in years. But that doesn't mean I believe in taking someone else's pet. I dog-sit whenever the Barneses go out of town, and I've taken real good care of him. Just ask! They trust me. I have my own key and everything."

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The next day, news about the dognapping is on the radio. "An eyewitness claims to have seen Bugle outside the Victory Hotel the night of the disappearance." You visit the station to get more information from the radio announcer, Valerie Milton.

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"I'm the eyewitness, actually. I'm almost certain I saw Esther Russell and Delores Stuart with the dog. I know because I see that dog at the park all the time. Esther and Delores sing at the Hummingbird Dance Hall, you know. I've auditioned there before...they already had Esther and Delores on the lineup, so I was turned down."

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You stop at the Victory Hotel, where you request a meeting with Esther and Delores. While you're waiting, you ask the front desk if the hotel allows pets; you find out it does.

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"Esther and I don't really have time to talk. We're getting ready to sing over at the Hummingbird Dance Hall. If you want to ask Esther a few questions, go ahead, but stay out of our room."

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"Me? I don't even like dogs. And what would I do with one? I work all the time. If anyone took that dog, it was Loretta, the piano player at the Hummingbird. She's a kleptomaniac and a liar! I can't stand her."

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That night, you head to the Hummingbird.

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You step inside the dimly lit club.

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You find Loretta at the piano. "I don't know anything about a dog. My husband left me a few weeks ago; that's all I care about right now. I've been so lonely, in need of company. If you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work now."

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A man at a nearby table hears your conversation with Loretta and calls you over. "Alice and I used to go steady. I bought her that dog when it was just a pup. That's how much I loved her. She thanked me by marrying another man. I've never gotten over that."

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You take a smoke break in the alley, where you find a couple chatting in low voices. You approach them and find out they're fellow private detectives.

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"We're working this case too. Unlike you, we weren't hired, but that doesn't matter. You know there's a reward, right? I've always wanted to see Europe."

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"Get this: We got a tip that they've been looking for dogs at the Army base. Apparently they're training ’em and taking ’em overseas. Go ahead and check it out if you want. We're gonna investigate some more credible leads."

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The following day, you're able to schedule a short conversation with two members of the local Women's Army Corps. "Do you really think we'd resort to something like that? I know times are tough, but that's just ridiculous."

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"Huh. My sister co-owns a boarding house. They just had a robbery a few weeks back, and she mentioned something about wanting a dog to guard the place. I'll give you the address."

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You meet with the two owners of the boarding house, Paulette and Anita. While Paulette seems confident, Anita seems a little nervous. "Alice is a good friend of mine," says Anita. "I hope they find Bugle soon." "I've been following the story on the radio," says Paulette. "I don't know anything, though. Betty is the only boarder home right now; you can ask her, if you like."

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"First room on the left. Please stay out of the other boarders' rooms, though. We respect privacy around here."

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You find Betty on her bed, carefully writing in her diary. "I was out of town until today," she says calmly. "See? I'm still unpacking my suitcase."

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Betty's open suitcase is on the floor.

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"I'm sorry, but I'll have to cut this short. I have a date tonight." You leave the house and head back to the office.

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With all your interviews concluded, it's time to decide on a prime suspect.

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  1. Who do you think
    took Bugle?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    It was Paulette, Anita, and Betty!

    After the robbery at the boarding house, Paulette decided she needed a dog to guard the house against future intruders. Anita begrudgingly agreed, providing the name and address of her friend Alice. Betty carried out the actual dognapping, writing with the same neatly printed handwriting that she was using in her diary during her interview. The unusually loud footsteps Alice heard during the dognapping were Betty's high heels, seen hastily placed next to her suitcase in an attempt at an alibi for the night in question. The gloves she put on during the interview were the same ones she was wearing when she took Bugle, which is why no fingerprints were found at the scene. Finally, at the time of your visit, Bugle was in another bedroom, which is why you were asked not to look around. With this new hypothesis, you return to the house and retrieve Bugle, returning him to the Barnes household safe and sound.

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