Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 34-138


AMBER LOVE 06-JAN-2020 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. We are in YEAR THREE still because we started cataloging our criminal investigations in the spring. But turning the calendar is still exciting.

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Where We Left Off:

Gus captured Vole Fielding and encouraged the rodent to become a confidential informant for the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.

A Christmas Story:

John Vandermole expected to live a quiet life in the countryside using his time to follow his artistic endeavors. Gus had other ideas. Vandermole could have been an essential part of the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency team as a much-needed sketch artist. We’ve never had one and we trust the true renditions of artists above the software available. Artists know how to capture the soul in the eyes and the glint of natural oils on hair and fur. Vandermole was the most sought after in this field.

This particular story does not have a happy ending. Not for the humans and not for John Vandermole.


It was a warm Christmas Day in New Jersey. Almost all the snow had melted and the grass was beige and wet. The branches of the bushes and trees no longer looked like they were encased in glass. We began the holiday with breakfast and coffee. Gus and Oliver went to the observation deck as the sun rose over the hills. Oliver poked his head through the railing to catch every scent on the breeze. Had I known death was coming, I might not have found the morning so pleasant and peaceful.

Having a day off from other obligations was rare. All of the humans were home and even the butler was here on duty. The boys loved their pile of presents for the most part. They were only interested in the toys and not so interested in the new teeth-scrubbing devices nor the collars. However, even though Gus hates wearing collars, he got a couple new ones for when he’s patrolling. The authentic Crime Scene Investigator collar was put on him along with his safety orange harness for an extra long shift outside. I think he looked handsome in a “uniform.”

crime scene actor

Oliver was given a brief carriage ride up the privet drive to where the snow still covered the asphalt. The butler seemed to enjoy having some time in nature as well. While they ventured their way, Gus and I took a new brick of birdseed and a can of peanuts out to the distribution sites. The blue jay gang is more overbearing now that only winter birds are in the neighborhood. The only birds larger in size around here are crows, hawks, and vultures so that means the blue jays get to scare the tiny birds off the feeder. The sparrows, nuthatches, and titmice seem accepting of this pecking order.


Gus covered a lot of territory. Eventually Oliver went back inside and Alfredo Pesosvalor joined me and Gus near the Pit — the city of burrowing critters. On occasion I leave some peanuts at the base of large tree which borders the Pit and weaves some of its roots down into the miniature rock city. There was a previous case on this sunken neighborhood called Lithodom.

There are couple of medium sized rocks where Gus can perch when he’s not on the long wooden beam (none of us why that’s there). Those rocks at the top of the small of incline seem like perfect doorways into burrows. One would assume that rodents have such strong senses that they would be able to notice the scent of large (chunky) feline in the vicinity. Maybe they do, but they aren’t fast enough to escape Gus. He knows when something is moving under the dirt. It’s one of the few times he shows any patience. When he thinks the burrowing critter is in a vulnerable spot, he pounces and digs them out.

That’s precisely what happened with Mr. John Vandermole. He was a mole of petite build and not much of an opponent for Gus. At this point, I didn’t know who Gus had. The butler wanted to free the critter from Gus’ jaws. The cat maneuvered around and would not let anyone take his prisoner.

When he finally freed the mole, I scooped it up and carried it back to a spot close to the capture site but not the exact site so Gus wouldn’t find him right away.

“Do you know who that was? Do you know what you’ve done?”

“No, Gus. I don’t. It was a tiny little mole and I’m really proud of you, which is why you aren’t in trouble. But, we want to focus on the critters living inside any of the buildings or vehicles.”

“That, human, was John Vandermole. Oliver asked me to find him and bring him in. We want to convince him to be our sketch artist since you haven’t been networking with artists lately!”

“Geez, Gus. I didn’t know!”

“Now I have to go find him again.”

Gus with mole collage

Gus walked away from me and navigated back to the stones near the Pit. I told him it might be best to use a less aggressive approach. That only irritated Gus. Well, that plus having his prisoner taken away. He was in full hunting mode and there honestly wasn’t any point trying to reason with him. He’s sort of like the Hulk.

Gus with mole

Alfredo Pesosvalor and I had a little sidebar while Gus went back over near the edge of Lithodom. He didn’t want Gus to recapture the mole at all, but we agreed that if the mole got caught a second time, Gus could keep it. It seemed fair. He was working hard. It only took about five minutes for Gus locate Vandermole in his release spot and take him back into custody. Only this time, Gus was not interested in keeping the mole-of-interest alive in order to employ him.

Gus and butler

Until Gus gets tired, there’s basically no way to reason with him. He violated Oliver’s objective of hiring Vandermole and went right to destroying the petite rodent. The next day, Gus and The Grumpy Old Man went back to that scene and Gus wanted nothing to do with the body lying there. Days later, he led me to the same place. He gave the body a sniff and walked over it. Jeez, Gus. So disrespectful. I was also surprised nothing else had scavenged the body.

Gus and Grandpa

Case Findings:

Renowned artist John Vandermole was on our radar. Oliver Winchester wanted Gus to seek out Vandermole and convince him to work for us. Instead, Gus murdered the target.

Status: Closed

Slow-motion videos of the capture and questioning were uploaded to Instagram:


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