The Case of the Housesitter
A Shirley Holmes Fan Fiction

by HA
        5,400 words

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 1

"Here's your...peanut butter and blue cheese sandwich, Shirley," Alicia Gianelli said as she gave Shirley Holmes her order. Alicia gave her a funny look.

"Thanks, Alicia." The young detective was hanging out with her friends at the Quazar Cafe. Alicia was working there today as a waitress, but she took the time to talk to her friends. Alicia left, much to her relief, to take another customer's order.

Bo Sawchuk watched with disgust as Shirley bit into her sandwich. He expressed his uneasiness with Shirley's taste. "Ugh, Shirley. How can you eat that?"

Shirley chewed and swallowed. "It's an acquired taste," she stated just before taking another bite. While she ate, she continued to read the newspaper she had in front of her.

Bespectacled Bart James stared at Shirley as she ate her sandwich. "And people call me weird," he commented. Bart was well-known for his strong beliefs in the paranormal, especially ghosts and aliens.

Sterling Patterson, better known as Stink to his friends, was about to offer his input when he spotted someone who just entered the Quazar Cafe. "Hey, Shirley," he teased. "Your boyfriend's here." He giggled a little as he placed something on his hand underneath the table.

Shirley looked up to see Blake Hewitt walking towards her and her friends. Blake was a newcomer to Redington; he had recently moved there from California. He was rather tall with neatly-cut brown hair. He was essentially a loner, but eventually Shirley and Bo became his first friends, and in turn they introduced him to their friends.

Although Shirley and Blake went out once on a movie date, she did not really consider Blake her boyfriend. She did find him cute, and they did have a lot in common, like a love of mysteries. They also had parents who were presumed dead, but were actually alive. In Shirley's case, it was her mother, a world-renowned virologist. In Blake's case, it was his father, a police inspector with Interpol.

Stink got up from his seat and walked up to Blake. "Hey, Blake, how're you doing?" he asked in a friendly manner, holding out his hand to Blake. Blake did not make a move to shake his hand and just stared at it silently. "Aw, come on," Stink said, acting hurt. "Shake."

"Only if you remove the hand buzzer from it," Blake said with a smile. Stink was dumbstruck. Shirley was impressed. "How'd you know?" Stink asked, revealing the buzzer on his palm to Blake.

"Well, Stink, you looked rather happy to see me. Too happy," Blake explained. "I also recall when the first time we met, you pulled that gag on me." "Oh." Stink returned to his seat, speechless.

"Whoa," Bart remarked as Blake took a seat next to him. "Blake, you're quite good," he said with admiration.

"I learn from the best," Blake commented. He smiled and looked at Shirley, who tried her best not to blush.

Bo looked uneasy and he suddenly had an urge to throw up, but he controlled himself. "So, Blake," he started, sounding friendly, "what brings you to the Quazar Cafe?"

"Well, since you guys kept telling me about this place, I decided to see it for myself," Blake answered.

"Where have you been all this time?" Shirley asked, curious. "Ever since your father came here, we haven't seen you outside of school.

"Basically, my dad and I have been trying to reconnect. We've been doing stuff together, like fishing and going to sports events." Blake paused for a moment. "Especially fishing," he said, sounding troubled.

"You don't like fishing?" Stink asked.

"Nah. I'm actually quite good, although the smell does sometimes get to me." Blake grinned briefly. "So what's the problem?" Bo asked.

"My dad's been taking me out fishing for two weeks now," Blake recalled. "When I was younger, when my dad had a tough case, he would do something that relaxes him, like fishing, and he wouldn't stop doing that activity until he solves the case. However, while we were fishing, my dad looked really bothered. He didn't care if he got a bite, and if he did, he didn't try to reel it in."

"What case has he been working on?" Bart asked.

"The jewelry thefts at Derrick's on Main Street," Shirley announced matter-of-factly. All eyes were on Shirley. "How did you know?" Blake asked.

"It's in the newspaper. In fact, it's been in the news for two weeks now," Shirley stated.

"Oh yeah," Bart remembered. "Someone has been stealing jewelry from Derrick's."

"Derrick's?" Stink whistled. "That is a top-notch store. Only the extremely wealthy go there."

"So what exactly has been stolen from Derrick's?" Bo asked.

"Rings and earrings," Shirley replied.

"Just rings and earrings?" Bo looked puzzled. "Why just rings and earrings?"

Shirley shrugged. "Listen to this." She read out loud part of the article she was looking at.

"'So far, there has been no developments in solving the jewelry robberies at Derrick's on Main Street. Police reports show that the stolen items, namely rings and earrings, were gone from the storeroom the next day. At this time, the police have found no signs of forced entry. It is believed that the security alarms were never triggered.'"

"Any suspects?" Bo asked.

Shirley read on. "'Arthur Brock, 18, a part-time employee of Derrick's, had been suspected because he, with the owner, was present as Derrick's was being closed for the night. A police search on Brock's house, however, has turned up nothing. Brock maintains his innocence, as does Jason Derrick, the store's owner. "He's a good kid," Derrick declared. "He couldn't have done it."

"'"We are still puzzled by this crime," admits Inspector Chris Hewitt, head of the investigation. "But we will not give up until the culprit is caught."'" Shirley finished reading.

"That's my dad," Blake stated, smiling weakly. "He never gives up."

"Shirley, did you mention an Arthur Brock?" Bo asked curiously.

"I did," Shirley acknowledged. "Why do you ask?"

"Arthur Brock's one of the meanest, sneakiest guys I've ever heard of," Bo started to explain. "He used to be with the Bisons until the police nabbed him two years ago. The guys I used to hang out with kept talking about how he shoplifted twelve toothpaste boxes without anyone noticing."

"So why isn't he in juvenile hall still?" Shirley asked.

"Got out on good behavior," Bo answered. "He's been keeping his nose clean ever since. I've heard that he helps out occasionally at old people's homes and orphanages."

"What about the owner?" Stink pointed out. "Why wasn't he suspected?"

"My dad took him off the suspects' list," Blake said. "Mr. Derrick always leaves before Arthur." "That leaves Arthur Brock," Bart stated.

"But nothing was found at his place," Bo said.

"That's what's been bugging my dad," Blake admitted. "He's sure Brock's the thief, but he's got nothing but a hunch."

Shirley sat back and thought for a moment. "We need to find out if he's the thief."

"How?" Bo asked. "We don't know where he lives."

"Well, count me in," Blake said. "I think I can help you guys out."

"Thanks, Blake," Shirley said. "Your help would be greatly appreciated." Alicia walked up to the table. "Hi, Blake. Can I get you anything?" she asked, smiling.

Blake looked at Shirley. "I'll have what she's having."

Shirley grinned while everyone else stared at Blake wide-eyed.

"What?" he asked, puzzled.

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 2

"Was that the right one?" Shirley asked Bo after he hung up the phone.

"Nope," Bo answered. "And that was the last Brock in the phone book."

It was the next day and the two friends were in Shirley's attic. They had just called up all the Brocks listed in the phone book. Watson, Shirley's pet basset hound, lazily watched them from a chair.

"Thirty people named Brock and none of them has a son named Arthur who works at Derrick's," Bo recalled. "Let's face it, Shirley, we're sunk."

"Not if Blake has better luck," Shirley said.

"Speaking of Blake, where is he?" Didn't he say he was going to help us out?" Bo asked.

"Well..." Before Shirley could finish, she heard her mother cry out from downstairs, "Shirley, Blake's here to see you."

In a flash, Shirley bolted down the attic steps followed by Bo and exited via the bookcase. She found her mother, Dr. Joanna Holmes, standing near the house's entrance with Blake.

"Ah, here she is, Blake," Dr. Holmes said, seeing her daughter. "Shirley, look who I ran into at the door."

"Hi, Shirley. Hi, Bo," Blake greeted with a wave and a smile.

"Hi, Blake," Shirley greeted back. "Did you bring the 'school assignment?'"

"Right here." Blake patted his pants pocket. "Shall we go look at it?"

Shirley led the way to the attic. "I take it you couldn't find Arthur Brock's address?" Blake asked.

"Too many Brocks in the phone book," Shirley answered.

"And not one of them was the right Brock," Bo added glumly.

Once the three friends were in the attic, Blake took a piece of folded computer paper out of his pocket. "Good thing I did this for you, Shirley," he said as he handed the paper to her.

"Was it too hard?" Shirley asked.

"Nope. It was a cinch." Blake saw the look of worry on Shirley's face. "Don't worry. I didn't get caught and I carefully covered my tracks."

Shirley opened the paper and looked at its contents. "Yes!" she exclaimed.

Bo pointed to the paper. "What is that?"

"Arthur Brock's home address," Blake answered.

Bo looked at Blake suspiciously. "Just how did you get it?"

"I just hacked into the police department's computer system and found Brock's criminal record," Blake said matter-of-factly. "I found his address there." Bo's eyes bugged out. "You did what?"

"I also looked at Mr. Derrick's financial records to make sure," Blake told Shirley, producing another folded piece of paper and handing it to her. "He's not in debt or anything else bad, so this isn't aninsurance scam."

Shirley nodded and looked at both papers. "Good job, Blake. Brock's definitely our man."

"I don't believe this." Bo was trying to take it all in. "You broke into the police department's computer system AND someone's personal computer files?" "Blake's an accomplished computer hacker," Shirley revealed.

"You knew?" Bo looked at Shirley in disbelief. Although he once hacked into someone's itinerary, he did not practice hacking on a regular basis.

"He mentioned it during our date," Shirley admitted.

"How do you think I learned about the probe into my dad's 'death?'"Blake said.

Bo sighed. "Great, I'm now friends with a probing detective AND a computer hacker."

Blake simply smiled. Shirley put the papers away.

"I believe it's time to meet this Arthur Brock," she said.

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 3

"So what are we going to do?" Bo asked.

The three friends made their way downstairs and went out through the swinging bookcase. Shirley was wearing her brown fedora and had her backpack slung over her shoulder. Dr. Holmes was on the living room couch reading a book.

As Shirley was about to open the front door to leave, she heard her mother ask, "Where are you going, Shirley?"

"Oh, Bo, Blake, and I are just going to hang out together for a while at Blake's house. To discuss the assignment," Shirley answered innocently.

"When will you be back?" Dr. Holmes asked her daughter.

"Before dinner, Mom," Shirley answered.

Dr. Holmes thought for a moment. "Well, okay," she finally said, returning to her book. As Shirley and her friends left, Dr. Holmes shouted,

"And try to be home in time for dinner!"

"So, what if your mom calls Blake's house and she finds out we're not there?" Bo asked Shirley as they left the Holmes' house.

"Got it covered," Shirley said, looking at Blake.

"I told Rosa to tell anyone looking for us that we're studying and that we can't be bothered right now," Blake answered. "If my dad comes home, Rosa will tell him the truth."

"Is that wise?" Bo asked.

"My dad won't tell on us," Blake said.

"Besides, I think Inspector Hewitt will want a little unofficial help," Shirley said.

"What about your mom?" Bo asked Blake. Blake's mother, Dr. Hewitt, was an archeologist who now worked at the Redington Museum.

"She's working overtime at the Museum," Blake explained. "A shipment of Mayan artifacts came in this morning, and she's helping to organize them. There's a lot of them, so she'll be there probably until later tonight."

"See? Nothing to worry about," Shirley told Bo, who simply shook his head and groaned in response.

It turned out that Arthur Brock lived a few blocks from Shirley's house. The Brock house reminded Shirley of one of those picturesque houses found in old 1950s TV shows. The sides were painted white; the roof shingles were painted blue. A well-kept flower garden was in the front. There was even a low white picket fence surrounding the lawn. The lawn itself was well-cared for, as shown by its trimness and its healthy green color.

"Nice place," Bo said dryly. "If I see the Beaver, I'm leaving."

Shirley, leaving Bo and Blake standing on the sidewalk, walked up the walkway and the porch stairs and stood before the door. Before ringing the doorbell, she pulled out a pair of red-tinted glasses and a short, black wig and put them on. A red-haired woman answered the door after she rang the doorbell.

"May I help you?" she said in a friendly manner.

Shirley smiled, showing her teeth. "Hi," she greeted cheerfully in a high-pitched voice.

"I'm Trisha Brown, and I'm representing the Kids for a Better World organization. I was wondering if this is the residence of Arthur Brock?"

"Why, yes it is," the woman said. "I'm his mother. How may I help you?"

Shirley's eyes lit up behind the red glasses. "Your son, Mrs. Brock, is one of our candidates for 'Teen-ager of the Year' because of his volunteer work," she announced with a touch of excitement.

Mrs. Brock gasped in surprise. "You must be proud of your son, Mrs. Brock," Shirley said.

Mrs. Brock took it all in, then said, "I am. Arthur's such a good boy. Ever since he got out of juvenile hall, he's been on the straight and narrow. His pay from his job at Derrick's really helps us out. Being an office clerk doesn't really pay much. When he's not working or helping out the elderly or the orphans, he's always helping out here. He helps me tend our flower garden; he's got quite a green thumb.

He's been a big help since Frank, my husband, died."

Shirley nodded and took out a small notepad and a pencil. "I need to interview Arthur so that he'll still be in the running. Is he home?"

"Oh, I'm afraid he isn't. He went to check on the Bautistas' house," Mrs. Brock said regretfully.

"The Bautistas' house?" Shirley asked.

"Oh, the Bautistas have been good friends of ours for a long time now. Well, Mrs. Bautista's mother, who lives in the Philippines, died of old age, I believe. Mrs. Bautista was devastated. The poor thing."

Mrs. Brock bowed and shook her head. "The whole family went to the Philippines to pay their respects, and I agreed to take care of their house. Arthur volunteered to do this for me."

"How long has Arthur been house-sitting?" Shirley asked.

"Oh, I believe it's been two or three weeks now," Mrs. Brock recalled.

"In fact, Mrs. Bautista called about two hours ago. She said that they'll probably be back tomorrow."

"And when will Arthur come home?" Shirley asked.

"Well, since he's off from Derrick's today, he'll be there for a while. He said that he was going to do some yardwork over there as well as other stuff," Mrs. Brock answered.

"He said that he'll probably be back a little after nine or ten."

"Oh dear," Shirley said gravely. "I must turn in my interview tomorrow. If I don't talk to him today, he'll be out of the running."

"Oh my." Mrs. Brock looked worried. She thought for a moment before speaking again. "I suppose it'll be all right if I gave you the Bautistas' address so that you can see him." She told Shirley the address and how to get there. Shirley wrote it all down in her notepad.

"Got it," Shirley acknowledged when Mrs. Brock was finished. "Thank you for your time, Mrs. Brock, and once again, congratulations on raising such an exceptional son." Once Mrs. Brock said "Goodbye" and shut the door, Shirley muttered under her breath, "...who's an excellent thief."

"Well?" Bo asked as Shirley rejoined him and Blake.

"Arthur's been doing some house-sitting for a family friend," Shirley said, using her normal voice. "He's over there right now."

"House-sitting?" Bo said.

"How long has he been house-sitting?" Blake asked.

"Two or three weeks," Shirley answered.

Blake thought for a moment. "Hmmm..."

"Exactly what I was thinking," Shirley said knowingly.

Bo simply looked at both of them. "Huh?" He had no clue until he realized something.

"Wait a minute, you don't think...?"

"That the stolen items are at the Bautistas' house?" Shirley completed.

"It makes sense. There was nothing found at Brock's house, so if he's truly the thief, then hiding the stolen jewelry at the Bautistas' would be a clever way to avoid getting caught."

"How can you be so sure?" Bo asked.

"We're about to find out," Shirley said.

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 4

Shirley, Blake, and Bo eventually arrived at the Bautistas' house. Shirley noticed how dirty the doormat was and spotted the old cigarette butts on the ground. She rang the doorbell. A minute later, the front door opened, and a tall, muscular boy in a white T-shirt and jeans stood in front of her. He had long red hair and he was sweating.

Shirley noticed the dirt spots on the boy's shirt and jeans.

"Yeah?" he asked, looking at Shirley.

Shirley made a loud sniffle. "Hi, there!" she said in her high-pitched voice.

"You're Arthur Brock, right?"

The boy wiped his sweaty brow. "Yeah, that's me. Who wants to know?"

"I'm Trisha Brown and I represent the Kids for a Better World organization," Shirley introduced herself.

"Never heard of them," Arthur responded.

"Well, we're not exactly a big organization," Shirley responded.

"Anyway, I'm here to tell you that you're a candidate for our 'Teen-ager of the Year' Award."

She adjusted her red-tinted glasses.

"We've heard about your charity work with the orphans and the elderly."

"What exactly is the award?" Arthur asked.

"Oh, not much. About $1000 in cash," Shirley said.

Arthur's eyes lit up. "I'm just trying to do my part," he said modestly.

"These days, most people have a 'me first' attitude. I believe in a 'people first' attitude."

"Right," Bo muttered under his breath.

"Well, I need to interview you so that you'll still be in the running," Shirley explained.

Arthur looked at Bo and Blake. "Who are these guys?"

"Oh, two of my colleagues," Shirley answered. "They're with me to confirm that I interviewed you."

"That's right," Blake said.

"Gotta make sure Trisha does her job," Bo said, patting Shirley on her shoulder.

Arthur motioned toward the door and smiled. "Come on in. I'm taking a break from working in the backyard."

Shirley, Blake, and Bo followed Arthur into the living room. As they walked through the hallway, they saw the pictures of the Bautista family that lined the walls. A table with statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, rosaries, prayer books, and a Bible was located next to the hallway closet. The floor was covered with red carpeting. The living room was lit by sunlight streaming through the open blinds of the windows. Arthur showed Shirley and the others to the couch.

"I'll be with you in a sec," Arthur said as Shirley and her friends sat down in the couch. He wiped his sweaty brow.

"I need to take a shower. Don't want to offend you with my bad smell," he said with a grin.

"No prob," Shirley answered.

"Make yourself at home." Arthur picked up a nearby plastic bag filled with spare clothes. He went upstairs and a few minutes later, the sounds of the shower running and off-key singing were heard.

Shirley got up from the couch. "Shall we do a little investigating?" she asked Bo and Blake.

Shirley spotted a black leather jacket hanging on a nearby chair. She walked up to the chair and examined the jacket. "Hmmm...what do you think?"

Blake touched the jacket. "Very expensive. I'd say $500 tops.

No way he could've gotten that from a part-time job."

"I'd say the same for this," Bo said, pointing to a portable stereo on the ground.

Shirley looked at the stereo. "Brand new," she remarked.

"So are these," Bo said, showing the others a pile of CDs.

Blake let out a whistle. "Somebody's a big spender."

Shirley walked up to the back glass panel sliding door and looked at the backyard.

The backyard was surrounded by a tall brown wooded fence. A lawn mower stood in the middle of the lawn along with a small pile of cut grass. The ground near the edge of the fence was dug up; a shovel leaned against the fence near piles of uprooted weeds and dirt and a large bag of fertilizer.

Bo and Blake joined Shirley at the door.

"Well, the guy likes doing yardwork," Bo commented as he looked at the backyard.

"Should we check out the back?" Blake asked Shirley, who was walking towards the downstairs bathroom.

"Hmmm..." Shirley looked inside the bathroom and found a sink, toilet, and a bathtub with a shower nozzle and curtain.

She reached for the light switch and flipped it on. Nothing happened.

"Shirley?" Bo asked as Shirley stepped out of the bathroom.

"Find anything?" Blake asked.

"Maybe..." Shirley started walking around, looking at the carpet underneath the hallway light. "Hmmm..."

Both Bo and Blake watched as Shirley walked up to the hallway closet and opened it. She tested the light switch for a moment, then closed it.

"Any idea what she's doing?" Bo asked. Blake shrugged.

"What did you find?" Bo asked Shirley.

Shirley was about to say something when she heard the shower turn off.

She motioned to the couch and just as Arthur came down the stairs dressed in clean clothes, Shirley, Bo, and Blake were back on the couch.

"So, shall we begin?" Arthur asked as he sat down in the chair with the jacket.

Shirley took out her pencil and notepad and started to ask Arthur some questions she made up. She listened as Arthur told her how he turned his life around, how he got into his charity work, and how he loved gardening. She quickly jotted down his answers. The interview ended after three minutes.

"Is that enough?" Arthur asked.

"That's enough," Shirley said as she put away her pencil and notebook.

"Thank you for your cooperation, Arthur. We'll let you know if you won."

"No prob." Arthur rose from his seat. "I've got to get back to my yardwork."

"Didn't you just take a shower?" Blake answered.

Arthur shrugged. "I can take another. I'm really doing some heavy work in the backyard. Mowing, removing weeds. Heck, I'm planting some flowers for the Bautistas."

Shirley, Bo, and Blake got up from the couch. As they were about to leave, Shirley slapped her forehead. "Oh, I almost forgot!" she exclaimed. She turned to Arthur. "Arthur, I have a message from your mom."

"A message from Mom?" Arthur said. "What did she say?"

"She said that the Bautistas will be back later this afternoon," Shirley reported.

"She wanted to call here and tell you that, but she decided to have me tell you instead."

She slapped her forehead again. "I can't believe I nearly forgot..."

Arthur thought for a moment. He looked around the house, then at the backyard.

"Guess I'd better tidy up quickly, huh?"

"I'd recommend that," Shirley said as she and her friends went out the front door.

"By the way, nice jacket," Bo cried out.

"Oh, thanks," Arthur replied.

As soon as they were away from the house, Shirley commented, "He's a clever one, that Arthur Brock."

"Definitely lives up to his reputation," Bo added. "He sounded so fake during the interview."

"He's got to be the thief," Blake said. "That stuff he's got is good proof."

"Plus the proof of his buyers," Shirley said.

"What proof?" Blake asked.

"The doormat is dirty, showing that there have been people over. Also, the cigarette butts. Arthur didn't smell of tobacco smoke," Shirley explained. She took out her cellular phone and handed it to Blake. "Do you know your dad's work number?"

"Got it memorized," Blake said, pointing to his head. "So what's the plan?"

"Tell your dad to first get a search warrant for the Bautista residence," Shirley instructed. "Then have him..."

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 5

Carrying a large grocery bag, Arthur Brock returned to the Bautistas' around 5:30 PM, two hours after his interview. He put the bag down and took the house keys out of his pocket. He was about to unlock the front door when he heard someone behind him.

"Don't worry. It's unlocked." Arthur spun around to face Inspector Hewitt.

"Not YOU again," Arthur said angrily. "You already searched my house and found nothing. Now what?"

"Come inside and you'll find out," Inspector Hewitt said.

Arthur was about to respond when he heard someone call out his name.

He saw Shirley, still in her Trisha Brown disguise, Bo, and Blake coming from down the street.

"Hey, Arthur," Shirley greeted. "I forgot to..." She stopped when she spotted Inspector Hewitt.

"Hey, what's going on?"

"Well, it seems that Mr. Brock here is indeed the one behind the thefts at Derrick's," Inspector Hewitt answered.

"We got an anonymous tip from someone who said the stolen items were here."

He briefly looked at his son and winked quickly so that Arthur did not see him.

"What?" Shirley acted surprised. She took out her notebook and pencil.

"This isn't good for you, Arthur," she said as she jotted something down.

"Not good at all," Bo said, trying not to smile.

"A real shame," Blake added, shaking his head solemnly.

"It's a bum wrap," Arthur declared defensively. "He's got nothing on me."

"We'll see, won't we?" Inspector Hewitt said as he led Arthur into the house.

Shirley and her friends followed the inspector and Arthur into the house.

Arthur was shocked to see his mother and three policemen waiting in the living room. Mrs. Brock looked upset.

"Mom?" Arthur was astonished.

"I can't believe you did it, Arthur," Mrs. Brock addressed her son, trying not to cry.

"But I didn't, Mom," Arthur denied.

Shirley watched with amusement as Inspector Hewitt made his move. "Oh really, Arthur?" he said. "Guys, please shine a little light on this."

One policeman flicked on the switch for the living room light, and the light came on. Another policeman walked into the downstairs bathroom and turned on the light. Inspector Hewitt went to the hallway closet, opened it, and flipped the switch. The closet light lit up.

Arthur's eyes widened. His defiance disappeared. He did not say another word; he knew the game was up.

"We found the stolen jewelry in those dead bulbs you had in the light sockets," Inspector Hewitt revealed.

One of the policemen showed a plastic bag full of rings and earrings.

Inspector Hewitt pulled out a piece of paper from his coat pocket and showed it to Arthur.

"Don't bother crying 'illegal search and seizure' on this. This is a legally issued search warrant."

Arthur simply responded by looking down and frowning. Mrs. Brock finally broke out in tears. She sat down in the couch and buried her face in her hands.

One of the policemen went over to comfort her.

Inspector Hewitt gestured to one of the other policemen, who was getting out his handcuffs.

"You know, I'm used to reading out the Miranda rights. I hope they apply here in Canada," he commented as the policeman handcuffed Arthur.

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

You have the right to an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, then the court will provide you with one."

"I believe you've been disqualified, Arthur," Shirley told Arthur as he was led out the front door. She grinned behind his back. Bo held back the urge to laugh.

The Case of the Housesitter: Part 6

After Arthur was taken down to the police station and Mrs. Brock was escorted home, Inspector Hewitt stood on the Bautistas' porch with Shirley, Bo, and Blake. Shirley looked through the bag Arthur left.

"Ah, just as I thought," she said. "New light bulbs."

"And I was ready to dig up the backyard," Bo admitted.

"A very clever way to hide stolen goods," Blake said.

"How true," Inspector Hewitt said. "If it weren't for you three, it would've taken forever to find the missing jewelry."

"Shirley deserves all the credit, Dad," Blake said. "She figured it all out."

"Once I put it all together, it was easy," Shirley said. "The items stolen, the fact that Arthur didn't shower downstairs, the nonworking lights, the impressions of a footstool on the floor underneath the hallway light, and the footstool itself in the closet all added up to Arthur hiding the stolen jewelry in the house's light bulbs. Simple deduction."

"What about the stuff that Arthur sold already?" Bo asked.

"We confiscated a small notebook from Arthur. It details all his sales. We'll start looking maybe tonight or tomorrow," Inspector Hewitt answered.

"Well, another case solved," Blake stated.

"Thank goodness," Bo said, relieved.

Shirley looked at her watch. "Well, I've got to get going." She started to leave.

"Where are you going?" Blake asked.

"Home," Shirley said. "I did promise Mom that I'll be back in time for dinner."

"Well, Blake, your dad did it again," Shirley said as she showed the newspaper article to Blake. The headline read "MONA LISA HERO CAPTURES JEWELRY THIEF."

"He sure did," Blake said with a smile, knowing who really solved the case.

It was the day after Arthur Brock's arrest and Shirley and her friends were once again relaxing at the Quazar Cafe. Alicia was with them; she was not working today.

"How did he do it?" Stink asked.

Bo looked sideways at Shirley, who read from the article. "'Inspector Hewitt was told by an anonymous caller that the stolen jewelry was in a house Brock was taking care of.'"

"So once again, Inspector Hewitt was helped by unnamed persons," Bart commented.

"Interesting. Could it be...?"

"I doubt it was a ghost or an alien that called Inspector Hewitt about the house," Alicia said, anticipating what Bart was thinking.

Bo stifled a laugh. "I'm sure it was just a concerned citizen, Bart," Shirley said.

"Hmmph." Bart crossed his arms and leaned back in his seat, feeling insulted.

"Looks like Arthur's going back to jail," Bo commented, smiling.

"This time to a regular prison," Shirley pointed out. "He's legally an adult now."

"That's too bad," Alicia said. "I heard prison food was yucky. And the clothes. Don't get me started on the clothes."

Her mind wandered as she pondered prison fashion a moment; however, her attention was snapped back with the aroma of Shirley's favorite order, a peanut butter and blue cheese sandwich. It was a smell she had encountered many times before, and, judging by the fact that the waitress had two of them, it looked like Blake had strange tastebuds too.

"Then again," she remarked with a smile on her face. Shirley and Blake took up their sandwiches and bit into them at the same time. Everyone else at the table stared at them.

"Mmmm," Shirley said. "Quite good."

"Very," Blake remarked, smiling. He took another bite.

Bo shook his head. "Oh boy."

The End