by Morgan M.
It was sunset, and a couple was rowing down the Tay River in Blair Gowrie. They were two-thirds down the Tay when, as the man knelt down to propose to his fiancé, he lost his balance and tipped the boat over. The ring fell overboard.
Despite losing the ring he did get married and had children and grandchildren. He loved to tell his granddaughters, Angie and Kate, of when he lost their grandmother’s ring. As a result of all the stories, his oldest granddaughter, Angie, was determined to find the diamond ring. She spent every spare minute searching the river for it.
It was now Angie’s eighteen birthday and they were celebrating it on the Tay River. Angie loved to swim, and went down by the river’s edge preparing to go for a dip. Her family was having a cup of tea when they heard an ear-piercing scream! They ran down to the river’s edge only to find their beloved daughter floating in the water, face down, with blood surrounding her.
The police said that she must have fallen in by accident and hit her head on a sharp rock. Kate thought otherwise, because her sister had earned the title of professional ballerina and would never just lose her balance.
Kate was now in her mystery solving mood, which she was in often. She had solved many mysteries before, but this one she was determined to solve because this time….they had taken her sister! One of her most precious things had been ripped away from her. She felt that it was now up to her to solve the mystery of her sister’s death.
First, Kate examined her sister’s head and took a blood sample. She decided that whatever had hit her sister’s head must have a dent or a blood stain left on it. So she set out, hoping to find a dent or a stain. She set off on main street studying each car she came across. She came across a red car with a head-like dent in its bumper.
She walked over to the car and took her notebook and pencil out of her mystery bag, and wrote down the license plate number.
A tall blond haired girl approached and asked, “What are you doing?”
Kate replied, “You have a very big head-like dent in your car.”
The woman answered, “I was in a rush this morning to get to my best friend’s birthday party, and I accidentally hit a Roe Deer. It left this dent in my car. Who are you?”
“Oh, sorry. I am Kate, and who are you? What road were you driving on when you hit the Roe Deer?”
Confused, the blond stuttered. “My name is Matilda and I was driving on the road next to the Tay.”
“Okay, that’s all the info I need,” said Kate and stalked off.
Kate carried on walking, studying the numbers in her notebook, when her phone rang. She got a fright and dropped her notebook. She quickly picked it up and then answered the phone. It was her mother, and she could hear that her voice was trembling. Sobbing, she told Kate that her father had been killed in a car accident. Kate dropped her phone in shock and sat down on the side walk, weeping with her face in her hands.
She felt a tap on her shoulder. She looked up and saw a stranger standing there. She got up, and as she did, she noticed a red stain on his shirt, which he had obviously tried to wash out.
“Why are you crying,” he asked Kate.
She told him how her father had just died. Then she took out her notebook and asked the stranger what his name was, where he was earlier that morning, what he did for a living, and who he worked for.
The man, a little taken aback, replied, “My name is Lucas. I am from Germany, here on a working holiday. You see, I am a raspberry picker. That’s a raspberry stain on my shirt. I work for Duke Jerome and I was in the raspberry fields this morning. But… why do you want to know all of this?”
“Oh, it’s just what I do,” said Kate.
She walked back home. When she opened the door, she expected to see her mum sitting at the kitchen table sobbing over her dinner. But instead, she found that no one was home. She ran out back to see if her mum’s car was there or not. It was. She went back inside and yelled, “Mum, I’m home!” But there was no answer. Frantically she searched every room in the house, but wherever she was, her mum was not home.
First her sister, then her father, and now her mother! It was as if her whole world had been taken away from her. She did not think that her mother was dead though, otherwise she would have found her body. Kate thought maybe she had been kidnapped, or as Kate put it, “mum-napped.”
Kate decided to spend the night at her grandparents’ house, so she packed an overnight bag and grabbed her cat, Hiccup, and started across the darkened street to their house. When she arrived, she found them eating their dinner at the dining room table. Kate sat down and explained her day to them. Then she went up to bed, with a cup of sweet teas, as her grandmother had suggested.
She did not get much sleep that night. She continuously heard sounds in the street like a dog barking, or like footsteps. But those were familiar sounds. Still she could not help but wonder if the sounds she was hearing were because a murderer was watching her, or worse, her grandparents, the only people that had not been taken from her.
Finally the morning dawned and her grandparents were still alive. But the question she kept asking herself was where her mum could be. Was she dead like the rest of her family, or was she still alive? She could not get the thought out of her head.
As she sat down to breakfast with her grandparents, there was a scream outside. Kate ran out to see what it was and immediately saw her mum lying dead on the street in front of her. Suddenly, Kate saw her own fate – the murderer was now hunting her! But why?
She heard the sirens of the approaching police cars. She sprinted over to her mum with tears streaming down her cheeks, but she knew she could not leave this up to the police. Quickly she examined her mum’s body and found that she had been stabbed to death. Then she saw the police cars round the corner and retreated inside the house. While her grandparents were talking to the police, Kate snuck out the back to do a little bit of detective work on her own.
She got on to West Street and had begun to review her notes when she bumped into a tall, well built man. Both of them fell down. She started to apologize when she recognized the man. She remembered that when she heard about her dad, she saw this man staring at her. She was too shocked to pay attention at the time. She was sure she had seen him on the cricket pitch next to the Tay River.
She quickly grabbed her notebook and interrogated the man. “Who are you? Where do you live? What do you do for a living? Who is your boss and where were you yesterday morning?”
Finding her rather rude, the man replied, “I am Brutus. I am from Spain and I am an olive oil processor for Lord Torquil. Yesterday I was playing cricket with Lord Torquil. I live next to the restaurant named The Flying Scotsman. Why do you need all this information?”
“It is for a project that I am doing at school. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not really,” he grumbled as Kate walked away.
She decided that she would pay a visit to Lord Torquil and Duke Jerome, but first she would visit the Road Kill Department. She found the secretary behind her desk and asked if there had been any Roe Deer killed by a red car the day before. The secretary mentioned that there had been, but that she did not often know who was responsible for the incident.
“Okay, thanks,” Kate said. She crossed out the name Matilda in her notebook.
Then she started towards Duke Jerome’s house. When she arrived at the gates, she was stopped by some guards and asked who she was and why she was there.
Kate replied, “My name is Kate and I am here to ask something of our kind and loyal Duke. And what I intend to ask him is none of your business.”
The guard let Kate in and showed her to the Duke’s office. He told her to sit and wait. She sat patiently until Duke Jerome poked his head through the door.
“Hello,” she said politely. “My name is Kate and I am here to ask you a couple of questions about one of your raspberry pickers, Lucas.”
“Yes, Lucas. He is one of my most valuable raspberry pickers,” said the Duke.
“Where was Lucas yesterday morning?” asked Kate.
“Why he was in the field by the Tay River showing me how well our raspberries are doing this year,” said the Duke.
Kate sighed. “That’s all I needed to know.” She left the room before the Duke could say another word.
She was not on her way to Lord Torquil, when she saw across the crowded street the same man she had bumped into that morning. In a flash he was gone, as if he had disappeared into thin air.
She was very aware of her surroundings now. She reached Lord Torquil’s house and found him taking a stroll through his gardens. She stopped him and asked, “My Lord do you have an employee by the name of Brutus?”
Lord Torquil answered, “Yes I do. He is one of my olive oil processors.”
“My Lord, where were you yesterday morning? She asked.
“I was with my family in Creef,” he replied.
“You weren’t on the cricket fields by the Tay River?” asked Kate looking rather startled.
No, I was not,” he replied.
“Thanks,” she mumbled and left the Lord to his stroll.
She went to her notes about Brutus and found where she had jotted down his address. When she arrived at his house, she knocked at the door, but there was no answer. She went to the back of his house and grabbed some of her explosive gum from her bag and threw it at the window. The glass shattered, making a lot of noise.
“That was not the wisest choice in the world, but hey!” she whispered to herself.
She climbed in through the window and found her way to the study where she saw on his desk a bloody knife, a cricket bat with a head-like dent in it, and the steering wheel of a car. As she stared at what she was convinced to be evidence, she heard the front door open. She reached for her phone, but could not find it. Then she realized that she had left it in the middle of the road when her mum called to tell her about her dad’s accident.
She reached for the phone that was on his desk and dialed the emergency number 366, and whispered into the phone, “I am in a murderer’s house next to the restaurant named The Flying Scotsman. Please help me!”
She put down the phone and ran behind the curtain. When she heard the sirens and cars pull up, she jumped out from behind the curtains and ran outside to find the house had been surrounded.
Finally, brave enough to sneak out of the house, she explained to the officer standing next to her that there was a murderer inside, and that he had killed her whole family. One of the police officers went into the house, followed by several others. There was a commotion and a lot of shouting. Then the police officer who had gone in first, came out with a hand-cuffed man at his side.
The police officer standing next to Kate asked her how she knew that Brutus had murdered her family. Kate told him the whole story and showed them her detailed notes in her notebook. Feeling she had done all she could, and leaving the matter to the police, she returned to the home of her grandparents.
That evening, the headlines on the news read, ‘Girl Aged Sixteen Solves Mystery of her Parents’ and Sister’s Death.’ But there was still one question that remained with Kate. Why? Why would someone want to kill her family?
In the morning, Kate snuck back into Brutus’s house and examined it in detail. While searching through the contents of his home, she came across an open safe with four diamond rings in it! But they did not look like diamonds because they were pink.
Then something hit her. She ran home to her grandparents’ house and went to her grandfather. She asked him what kind of diamond ring it was that he had lost over the side of the boat so many years before.
Quietly her grandfather answered, “It was a piece of the Pink Panther.”
“A piece?” interrupted Kate.
“Yes, the Pink Panther was knocked over by a tourist while on display and it split into five different pieces. The museum then sold it to a jeweler and he made them into five different rings. I bought one for your grandmother.”
“And if someone were to collect all five of those rings, how much could he get for them?” asked Kate.
“Well, I have been told that he would get around 4.8 million pounds,” answered her grandfather.
Then Kate, in a rather loud voice, exclaimed, “That’s it! That’s why he killed my family! He must have known that you bought the fifth ring. What he never knew was that you lost it over the side of the boat when you proposed to Granny!”
Kate knew she had solved the mystery, and yet she felt no peace. Her parents and sister were dead and all because the murderer was searching for a ring that still lay at the bottom of a beautiful river in Scotland.
Morgan’s “The Tay Diamond” is the first in a series of stories I will be posting in the next several weeks. They are the fruit of a whirlwind 2-day workshop on writing that I taught to 3rd-7th grade home schooled kids in Malawi. These stories are first drafts (from scratch), written in the few days between the workshops. I think they did a terrific job!
I know the kids would really appreciate a comment or word of encouragement from you! Thanks!