Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:
Case File No. 46-202
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Where We Left Off:
Gus and Amber found an intriguing machine inside the workshop and it should probably be put in a Museum for Enchanted Objects.
A Study in Scarlet:
The melting snow did more than perk up Gus and Oliver who couldn’t wait for long adventures in the warm air and sunshine. As the snow disappeared, evidence was revealed. Gus and I headed up the private road to see if we could get all the way to the top. There were still two spots where the shade kept it icy, but passable.
We paused at the intersection of a couple of trails. Gus was leery of going ahead, but he pawed his way and realized that the ice would not be more than a minor inconvenience. I lagged behind for a moment because something caught my eye in the dazzling white snow illuminated by the sun. I reached down and found two large bright red chips of paint. Where did they come from?
I took the necessary photos, but didn’t bag the evidence. I presented the photos to Gus at the top of the hill. We agreed to open a case file due to a specific reason: The Grumpy Old Man had put up a rope and No Trespassing signs. We hadn’t seen any vehicles go up in months.
Gus and I took a break at the top and then he continued snooping around. We reveled in the view and relative peace before I figured we had to get our butts back home before I was completely exhausted and trapped up there.
At this point, Oliver hadn’t resumed his patrols and adventures on the ground. He was finding enjoyment on the observation deck where he had nearly a full view of the property from up high. From up there, Oliver and Gus frequently put their heads through the railings and could see another porch below.
Oliver’s keen observation skills is why this particular case was closed lickety-split (do people still say that?). I put the photos up on the case board so we could talk through theories and what we did know.
February kept us rather isolated because of all the snowstorms. The private road was the subject of ire between us and the neighbors who refuse to pay towards plowing. They said it was part of their legal agreement when buying the house that they wouldn’t have to chip in for maintenance even though it’s three houses using one road. They didn’t make the agreement with anyone who lives here, that’s for sure. The man who owns it has been in a nursing home for years so his nephew has power of attorney. He’s not local. In fact, he’s overseas somewhere in the US Navy. They have four-wheel-drive vehicles and simply drive over the snow, packing it down which turns tread marks into sheets of ice.
This struggle over maintaining the road during the worst winter we’ve had in several years, became our burden. I tried to shovel but would come close to collapsing after only a short distance. I offered to learn how to use the snowblower which is a huge machine. The Grumpy Old Man said I wouldn’t be able to handle it so he took care of the road by himself while suffering from flares of gout. He footprints showed how one leg was being dragged. I was angry a lot about this situation, but my blood pressure is already out of control.
Fortunately, the Butler was able to stay here more nights than he usually would have. He would clean off the cars and shovel around them. Oliver took advantage of the extra hours the Butler was able to put in. Oliver had his epiphany about the paint chips one of the nights he was able to get special treats from the Butler.
Oliver can yell when he wants to. He yelled at us to gather around for his announcement. He laid out the facts: the paint chips were bright red. No one had gone passed the No Trespassing sign in a vehicle. The Grumpy Old Man had been the one to spend the most time working on the road. Oliver noticed that the snowblower matched the bright red color of the paint chips! He was right. Gus and I walked by the machine every time we went out the back door and mostly ignored it. He would smell around it occasionally, but it wasn’t that interesting to him.
Case Status: Closed