The Case Of The Missing Hope Stone
Your legendary training from the illustrious Sherlock Holmes has proven successful once again. As suspected, the name on the vase receipt was none other than the roofer, Tarvish Cladding. But what were the series of events preceding the loss of the Hope Stone that allowed you to reach your deductions?
Let us review.
There was considerable activity at the Goodwill home on the day of the Hope Stone’s disappearance.
Work on the home began early, with Tarvish Cladding and Aldrich Tarps arriving shortly after the break of day.
Mr. & Mrs. Goodwill were busy packing for a short overnight trip to see Mrs. Goodwill’s sister in Traverse City. Entrusting the local contractors with their home, the couple finalized their tasks and left the two contractors with instructions to lock up the home. In addition, Mrs. Goodwill wrote a short note to Tarvish, asking for a small favor. For Aldrich, she left a business card from La Maison on the kitchen counter, confirming her paint selection for the front parlor.
A third note was addressed to Otto Joiner, who she knew would be coming to the home to drop off furniture samples.
Before their departure, Dr. Goodwill also let Aldrich know that he had left the borrowed book, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, in his office and asked if he could return it to Serendipity Books.
With the house quiet, Aldrich went straight to work painting the room directly outside of the doctor’s home office.
Tarvish, while ostensibly also completing his tasks, was secretly plotting to identify an opportune time to make his heist and frame his co-worker Aldrich Tarps in the process.
Around half-past nine, Zelda Eggler arrived with her weekly delivery of farm fresh eggs. In addition, she brought a special surprise for Mrs. Goodwill. Her birthday was just around the corner. The doctor had asked Zelda to stop at Farm Sudz and pick up a container of Lemongrass scented Body Butter for Mrs. Goodwill as a birthday gift, and to place the surprise gift on his desk in his home office, a room he knew Mrs. Goodwill never visited. Zelda entered the Goodwill’s home with her hands full of fresh eggs, Lemongrass Body Butter, and a fresh glass of Kombucha ordered directly from the tap at Agricole. After placing the eggs in the refrigerator, she headed to the doctor’s office to hide the birthday gift from Farm Sudz, setting the container of Body Butter onto Dr. Goodwill’s desk, alongside a mountainous pile of papers and the borrowed book, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’
Exiting the office, Zelda passed Aldrich, where the two had a brief discussion about how excited she was to be picking up beautiful new wind chimes at the Garden Mill the following day, as her chickens loved the pleasing harmony produced by the chimes. Zelda then left the Goodwill home, forgetting her half drunken glass of Kombucha on the kitchen counter beside the Goodwill notes for the two contractors and Otto Joiner.
Hours after Zelda’s departure, Mr. Joiner appeared with his antique furniture delivery. He was flustered, trying to run several errands before returning home in time to take his family on a promised afternoon trip to the circus.
Seeing Otto’s hurry, Aldrich asked if he could assist in bringing the sample furniture selections from the porch and into the home. Otto was most obliged and walked eagerly out to the truck, parked nearly a block away, to retrieve the sample furniture.
Otto’s absence presented Tarvish Cladding the opportunity he was looking for. Precipitously, Cladding rushed into the office to grab the Hope Stone. In his rashness, he knocked over the container of Lemongrass body butter, slinging the buttery substance over the entirety of the doctor’s desk. The borrowed book, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, sat on the top of the messy paper pile, and as a result, was an unintended victim of the careless spillage, being completely submerged in the lemongrass fragrance.
Quick wittedly, Tarvish saw this disaster as another opportunity. He would also steal the book, along with the La Maison business card left by Mrs. Goodwill for Aldrich, and use both of these additional thefts as evidence to frame the unsuspecting painter.
With the Hope Stone and book in his possession, Tarvish bolted from the office, his hands still covered in the buttery, lemongrass scented substance, grabbed the business card from the kitchen counter, and stashed his loot into his work bag, knowing he would have to find a clever hiding place for them all until he could properly stage the stolen evidence, thus framing Aldrich Tarps.
As the two other men returned to the home with the sample furniture, Travish regained his composure enough to appear as though nothing out of the ordinary had taken place. He said his daily farewell to Joiner and Tarps, and left the home with his workbag and its stolen contents.
Having finished with his furniture staging, Joiner stopped in the kitchen to retrieve his own note and sped off to take his family to the circus.
With the day coming to a close, Aldrich Tarps remembered the request from his employers. First, he stopped in the kitchen to collect the La Maison business card that Mrs. Goodwill had left for him. Peculiarly the card was missing….and oddly enough, there was a strong scent of lemongrass in the room. Perplexed, he decided that he would at least collect the book that he had promised Dr. Goodwill he would return to Serendipity Books. Upon entering the doctor’s office, the same lemongrass fragrance permeated the room. The source of the scent however was clear. A fresh container of Farm Sudz Lemongrass Body Butter had been spilled over the entire desk. Worse yet, there was no borrowed book in sight.
Totally confused and bewildered by the event, Aldrich took a moment to gather himself. What could have happened? Then it dawned on him. Zelda had left the doctor’s office earlier that day, and to his dismay, she must have not only spilled the buttery substance, but she must also have been the source of the missing book.
Totally distraught at what appeared to be the blatant mistrust of a family relationship, Aldrich left the home, promising himself he would confront Zelda the next day where he knew he would find her….at the Garden Mill, buying the wind chimes for her precious chickens. In addition, he hoped to recover the missing book. Little did he know that Zelda was completely innocent and that she would be beside herself at the thought of being accused of betraying the trust and confidence of her life-long friends the Goodwills.
The next morning would indeed be fortuitous. For as your training has taught you, criminal anxiety always eventually reveals itself.
Meanwhile, Tarvish Cladding was eager to find a hiding spot for his recently accumulated spoils. Cladding had started a new roofing job at the Potting Shed, where he had been given a spare key by the owner. To his delight, he had noticed an ancient full-wall safe at the top of the entranceway stairs. Nefariously, he placed the Hope Stone and the stolen book in the safe, retaining the stolen La Maison business card so that he could ‘plant’ the card at the exact location and time to bring maximum attention to his targeted victim, Aldrich Tarps.
Perhaps all would have been well, but as he left the Potting shed still under the cover of darkness, his diabolical plot came unhinged.
A Washtenaw County Sheriff Deputy spotted the culprit exiting the Potting Shed. Upon the Deputy’s call, the larcenous roofer fled off east-bound down Middle Street in a clear display of guilt and culpability. As he fled, the stolen La Maison business card, now covered in the lemongrass scented, buttery substance, fell from his pocket, leaving the first of a series of clues that would lead to his demise.
With Cladding’s plot thwarted, and the Hope Stone returned to Dr. Goodwill’s possession, the possibility of the gem’s divine properties solving one of mankind’s most enduring challenges may be restored. Sadly, there is no hope for the sodden copy of ‘Charlie and Chocolate Factory,’ but Serendipity Books assures us this was a new copy and easily replaceable. As for Mrs. Goodwill, one can but hope that Dr. Goodwill will replace her favorite birthday gift with another tub of scented body butter lotion.
As for yourself, the Chelsea Community and all of humanity thanks you for your investigative prowess and investigative abilities in solving the case of the missing Hope Stone!