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The Case of the Missing Manuscript
Sir William Chancery awoke before dawn in his London mansion. Not a naturally cheerful man, he arose in an especially good mood for he had recently acquired the manuscript of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of Baskervilles." After decades of searching, he had finally added it to his private collection. In celebration, he invited a few friends and business associates to stay at his home for the weekend.
The night before, after dinner, he led his guests to the library where he showed off his treasure. The manuscript was displayed in a glass case equipped with a sophisticated anti-theft system, which included laser beams that would trigger a silent alarm and an immediate phone call to Scotland Yard.
Mr. Elijah Jones, a bank president, had yawned at the sight of the manuscript until Sir Chancery told the group it was priceless. Ms. Emily Yarbury, a librarian, wondered what it would be like to read such a rarity. Mr. Hammon Fitzgerald, also a book collector, was secretly upset that he hadn't gotten the manuscript. And Ms. Anita Chancery seethed that her brother, who had refused to give her $10,000, would spend a fortune on some old pieces of paper.
Eventually, the host and his guests left the library and went to sleep. But the next morning, when Sir Chancery walked into his library, he was shocked to find the glass case empty. "I've been robbed!" he exclaimed, silently wondering which of his guests has stolen his beloved manuscript in the middle of the night...
|Then, as Sir Chancery gazed upon the dark, empty corner where his prized possession had once rested in peace, a shiny object caught his eye. He moved closer to find a small, round locket. As he examined the locket, he noticed an engraving on the smooth, backside of the silver, antique locket: the initials AMP.
"What woman, with whom I am aquainted, bears the initials, AMP?" Sir Chancery asked, rubbing his chin in deep thought.
|Sir Chancery put the locket in his pocket and reached for the phone to call the police.
"Hello... yes... I've been robbed... my manuscript...yes...thank you," Sir Chancery said. Then he hung up the phone and ran outside.
A couple minutes later, police detectives arrived and followed Sir Chancery to the library. He showed them the empty case where his manuscript should have been.
"I found a clue though," he said, pulling out the locket he had found.
Detective Martin looked at it and said, "We will try to figure out this mystery. If you find any more clues, call me."
The detectives went out the front door and drove away. Sir Chancery looked at the locket once more and then put it back in his pocket. He decided it was time to question his guests.
|As he was questioning his guests, there was a knock on the door. "Hello, is this Sir, uh, Chancery?" a detective asked.
"Yes, yes I am Sir Chancery. Why?"
"We have found many more clues to the dissapearance of your manuscript."
"Please come inside. I am interviewing some people who were at my house when my manuscript disappeared. Now maybe you can help."
"We are glad to help you on your case," the detective said.
Suddenly, they heard a loud scream
|Hurriedly the two men rushed towards the sound and found a solid stone wall in front of them from which the screams were coming.
Sir Chancery frowned, studying the individual bricks. Then he said, "Aha! 'Tis not difficult, my dear detective...Samuelson, is it? This is the secret room that has been here for centuries--someone's found it at last!"
As he searched for the entrance, a feminine voice called out, "Sir Chancery, sir, 'tis etched onto the stone--the key! Trace 'twith your finger the middle stone! Hurry--" She let out a strangled scream and didn't finish her sentence as a man yelled furiously, "Nasty little sneak, you are, bloody Amelie! Now he shall know everything!"
Sir Chancery noticed a faint etching in the stone of a tiny key. Cautiously he ran one finger over it; the wall suddenly slid outward, revealing a tunnel. Sir Chancery and Detective Samuelson run as fast they could and rounded the corner just in time to see a man dressed in a butler's suit vanish.
Sir Chancery muttered under his breath, "Why, 'tis my loyal butler, Emmett Piper, who apparently it not so loyal after all. Are you all right, Miss..."
"Amelie Mora Piper, sir. Your niece. And yes, I am all right," the woman said, who was actually no more than sixteen. "My mother is your sister."
"I never knew I had a niece!" said Sir Chancery, astonished. "But where does the 'Piper' part come from?"
"My mother's been secretly married for years, sir," came the answer hesitantly, "she just never told you."
"All this time...sixteen years...and I never knew. She never told me..."
"You wouldn't give her the money," continued Amelie boldly, "so she asked my father, Emmett your butler, to steal it."
|"Emmett? My butler? How disappointing! Amelie,is this your locket?" Sir Chancery asked, holding out the locket.
"Why yes it is!"Amelie cried. Then she snatched it away from Sir Chancery and ran up the secret tunnel.
"Wait!" Sir Chancery yelled as he ran after her.
"Hmmmm..." said Detective Samuelson.
"What?" asked Sir Chancery, stopping in his tracks.
"If she went through the same tunnel that we entered, she would be close to the living room!"
|Quietly the two men went into the tunnel hoping to catch up with Amelie. Soon they men arrived at the other side of the tunnel and gasped. There was Emmett and he was holding the manuscript.
"Emmett," Sir Chancery said in his proudest voice, "you should be ashamed of yourself! YOU ARE FIRED!!!"
With that, Detective Samuelson took Emmett to jail and the butler wasn't seen for a long, long time.