The Missing Painting: Part 1


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I’m on my way to work, and the sun is just peeking out over the treetops. I can already feel the temperature rising as I check into the main office before running to the Governor’s Palace to make sure it’s ready for visitors. When I reach the palace, I can tell something is amiss, but I’m not sure what. I pull my shoulder length honey blonde hair off my neck as I glance around.

After a few moments of silently looking around, I notice that one of the paintings is missing! I immediately begin searching for clues. I pull my miniature fingerprint powder out of my pocket (I always carry it with me) and start brushing a little bit on the spot where the painting had been. I also sprinkle a little on the floor below the missing painting to see if I can get a shoeprint. I excitedly pull in my breath as I see there is a perfect man’s shoeprint right underneath where the painting had been, and a very large handprint on the wall.

I start zipping around the governor’s palace to see if there are any broken windows or picked locks. Nothing. That would mean one of the staff members had probably taken it. In my mind, I go through all of the men who have keys to the governor’s palace. There aren’t very many. After a minute, I conclude that there are two large men who have a key to the governor’s palace. Their names are Gavin and Luke. I decide to find out where Luke had been first.

A few seconds later, once I’m in the main office, I start talking to the volunteer manager, Sophia. “Do you know where Luke White was yesterday, Sophia?” I ask.

“Maddie Archer! Good to see you this morning, honey. Luke has been in Hawaii for a week, and he’ll be gone a week longer,” she replies, smiling.

“And what about Gavin Baker?” I inquire. “Where was he yesterday?”

“I believe he was giving tours at the governor’s palace,” she answers.

“Do you know how late he stayed?” I ask. “And where does he live?”

“Oh, he stayed late. I don’t know what he was doing. I do have his address, though,” she replies, handing me a slip of paper. Smiling, she added, “Solving another mystery for us this morning?”

“Yes, and I’ll tell you about it as soon as I can!” I call over my shoulder as I zip out the door.

Once I’m out of the main office, I find a quiet spot behind the main office, where nobody is in earshot and pull out my phone. I call my Dad, who is a sheriff at the local police station.

“Hi, sweetie!” Dad answers a moment later. “How’s my favorite twelve-year-old this morning?”

“Hey, Dad!” I reply. “I think I’m on the trail of a thief! Can you send a few of your men?”

“A thief, huh?” he asks. “And you want a few men? Sure, I’ll send you my two best. Where should they go?”

I look down at the paper Sophia gave me. “325 Cobble Drive, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185.”

“Okay, sweetie! My two best men should be there in a few minutes.” Dad replies.

“Thanks, Dad. I’ll meet them there!”

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