The Mystery at the Fun-Fair
Gerald & Darla were joined by their cousins Violet and Justin
this summer. Their aunt and uncle were busy redecorating 'Russet
Villa'. The neighbourhood of 'Snowhite Cottage' was
getting geared up for a fun-fair. The money raised would be used
for the upliftment and improvement of the various parks in the township.
Every member of this small town was pitching in to make the coming
event a huge success.
tell us how we can help during the fair," said Justin. "Yes,
I want to help you aunt in whatever you are going to do at the fair,"
added Violet. "Well, I have decided to make book-marks and
greeting cards to sell at the fair. You can help me decorate them
together with Moira, Gerald and Darla," said Susan. "I
don't think Darla should help. She is so clumsy," spoke up
Justin in a hurry. "No, I'm not," sulked Darla. "Oh!
Alright! Don't start fighting you two," said Moira.
The children spent
a good part of each day helping Susan prepare book-marks and
greeting cards. Violet has a flair for sketching and Moira was
good at painting and colouring. The pile of greeting cards were
looking beautiful and so were the bookmarks. Gerald, Justin and
Moira were busy making envelopes for the greeting cards.
One early afternoon,
Mrs. Baxter from next door arrived at 'Snowhite Cottage'. She was
a sweet, short and stout woman in her mid-fiftees with short, curly
hair and a smiling, cheerful disposition. "Hi children! How's
it going? How many cards have you got ready?" "Come, come
Mrs. Baxter. You are just on time for some freshly bakes cashwenut
and honey cookies," invited Susan.
"What are you
making to sell at the fun-fair Mrs. Baxter?" asked Violet.
"I have prepared embroidered handkerchiefs to sell at the fair,"
said Mrs. Baxter. "I have finished making three dozen hankies
and hope people will want to buy them," smiled the sweet old
lady. "Oh yes, aunty, you embroider very well. Surely, you
will be able to sell all of them," piped in both Justin and
Violet. "Thanks kids. I hope so too."
"What are Beth
and Judy going to sell at the fair Susan?" asked Mrs. Baxter.
Beth and Judy were two sisters who lived nearby in two identical
houses. Beth's husband was the local librarian and Judy's husband
was the local policeman. "Well, I think Beth and Judy are going
to surprise us on the day of the fair. They have kept everything
under wraps," said Susan, pouring hot delicious tea for her
guest. "I am sure Beth and Judy aunties are going to bring
something really nice. They are good at all types of handicraft,"
said Violet happily.
"Shall we go
over and try and peep through their window to see if we can find
out what they are preparing?" asked Darla excitedly. "No,
you will not be able to see anything. There are curtains on all
doors and windows," replied Justin making a disappointed face.
"Well, never mind kids. We will come to know very soon. The
fair is on next Sunday, isn't it Susan?" asked Mrs. Baxter.
"Yes, so it is," replied her hostess. "I better be
going. Thanks for the lovely tea and cookies," smiled Mrs.
Baxter. "You are welcome. Bye for now," Susan said bidding
goodbye to her guest.
At last, the day
of the fun-fair dawned bright and clear. Guest from the neighbouring
towns and villages started coming to buy whatever they needed at
the various stalls. Susan was ready with the bookmarks and greeting
cards, nicely displayed at her stall. All the children were dressed
in fine clothes and could hardly contain their excitement. Mrs.
Baxter had her stall next to Susan.
Beth and Judy arrived
with big packets and started arranging their stall a little distance
away. The five cousins gasped in awe when they saw what the two
sisters had prepared. There were handmade dolls of all sizes
dressed in various costumes.
The dolls were wearing
traditional outfits of different countries. The sisters had also
made extra garments for the dolls, together with shoes, handbags,
clips, hairbands and other accessories. The colourful stall looked
too good to be true. The children decided to buy a doll each from
their favourite country.
Jackie and her sister-in-law
Julie made all types of confectionery items including cakes,
pastries, patties, quiches, cookies, buns, sandwiches,
tarts and marzipan. Their stall had people gathering very soon to
taste the goodies.
Linda and her neighbour
Wendy had put together all types of handmade products such as pen-stands,
gift-bags, hand-bags, cell phone covers, coin pouches, sandwich
covers, jewellery boxes and stationery boxes. Some more stalls
at the fair had handmade artificial flowers, table cloths, bed sheets
and bed covers, tea cosy and tray covers. One of the ladies had
made blankets for children. They had motifs of Tom & Jerry,
Mickey & Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, etc.
Soon, large groups
of visitors could be seen at the fair. Mostly there were all ages
of kids with parents, grand parents, aayas with babies in prams
and young couples holding hands.
By late afternoon,
most of the morning visitors had departed, their hands full of packets
and boxes. Most of the dolls at Beth and Judy's stall were sold
out. Mrs. Baxter had made quite a lot of dough because all the ladies
were fond of embroidered kerchiefs. The food stall was half empty.
All five kids with their favourite dolls were munching goodies from
Jacky and Julie's stall.
Early evening saw
more visitors at the fair and by 5:30 pm, the stall owners decided
to pack up. Just then, Jackie screamed, "Where's all the cash?
Julie, have you kept the cash box?" "No, I was packing
the leftover food. I didn't even see the box." Mrs. Baxter
spoke in her soft melodious voice, "You are right Jackie. My
money has gone too."
All the cash boxes
at the various stalls had been fleeced by a clever thief. There
was commotion at each and every stall as all the owners looked and
looked in boxes, packets and the ground around them but there was
no sign of any cash.
Moira and the gang
decided to get to the bottom of this mysterious disappearance. They
went to Judy and Beth and asked, "Did you see anyone coming
near the cash box Aunty Beth?" "No Moira, I didn't."
Judy joined in, "The cash box was kept absolutely near us.
No one could have taken it." They received the same answer
from all the stall-owners. "I wonder who could have done such
a horrible thing. The money collected was going towards a good cause,"
said Susan, feeling very bad indeed. "We must find the thief
and hand him over to the police," said Linda.
The children had
a quick meeting and decided to search the near-by area to see if
they could find a clue. Moira, Gerald and Darla went behind the
stalls. Voilet and Justin searched the grounds.
"Any one of
the visitors could have stolen the cash," said Beth. "I
don't think so," said Mrs. Baxter. "After all, the money
being collected was for the benefit of everyone living in this neighbourhood."
"That's true but it could have been someone from the neighbouring
villages," said Judy. "Well, everyone who visited my stall
was known to all of us. We meet them regularly at church meetings,
picnics and parties," said Jackie. "Exactly. Each and
everyone came and ate one of our delicacies," added her sister-in-law.
Meanwhile, the children
were busy searching for clues. Just then, Justin whispered, "Look,
Violet there is someone behind those bushes. Let's go and investigate,
but be very quiet." Both of them peeped behind the overgrown
bushes. They saw a middle-aged man sitting and counting bank notes.
Near him, sat a small girl. "Good job sweetie. I will buy you
a gift when we go back." The girl smiled and spoke, "No
one will ever guess it was me who emptied the cash boxes papa."
and get Uncle David and his friends. I'll keep watch. Don't make
a sound," said Violet, getting really angry. Just as Justin
left, the father and daughter also started getting up with their
loot. Without wasting a minute, Violet moved towards them and started
screaming, "Moira, Gerald, Darla, come quick. Here are the
thieves." Voilet caught hold of the man's right leg, stopping
him from leaving.
Hearing Violet scream,
Moira, Gerald and Darla came running towards them. Darla held the
girl's hands and Gerald & Moira caught hold of the man's shoulder
and hands. By then, David and the others arrived. Justin had told
them what had happened.
They pounced on the
man and the children caught hold of the girl. Hearing the commotion,
all the women arrived to inquire what had happened. "How on
earth did you manage to steal the cash from right under our nose?"
asked Susan. To everyone's surprise, the girl answered truthfully,
"I was very, very
careful. When everyone was busy packing up, I quietly crept near
the cash box and pulled out the money, keeping it in my bag."
"My God! We didn't even notice you!" said Judy.
Soon, the police
arrived and took charge of the girl and her father. Everyone got
back their cash and thanked the kids for their quick thinking. Everyone
went back happily talking about the mystery at the fun-fair.
in the Series
Mystery on the Paradise
Mystery of the Missing Man
Mystery at the Circus
Story Teller: Amita
enjoys writing stories and poems, especially for kids. She has
strong editing and translation skills. [email protected]