Now that I've solved my first case, I'm stationed by the phone, ready to accept the flood of calls I'm sure are coming. My discovery of the Waskotts' criminal deeds landed my picture on the front page of the local paper. I am still amazed that my first mystery has been hanging over my head for a long time. I never would have guessed that I would expose the heinous doings of someone in my own apartment building.
Sometimes, as I lie on the rug in my basement room, my deductive genius astonishes me. I pick up today's paper and, smiling, re-read the black type.
"Local private investigator exposes unauthorized ketchup factory," reads the headline. "Mr. and Mrs. Waskott had a permit to grow organic tomatoes. What they didn't have was authorization from the FDA to bottle and sell a product ..."
I never could have forseen that discovering a diamond ring in the Waskotts' trashcan, buried in red-stained rags, would lead to such a glamorous conclusion. The strange familiar smell in the apartment building, the odd transfer of crates to trucks, the persistent request of french fries "for testing" - it all makes sense. The odd banging my landlady heard was the sound of a ketchup-making machine exploding. The seemingly blood-soaked sheets, curtains and towels (a minor misinterpretation on my part) were only used to sop up the ensuing mess.