Panhandle Writers Group member to publish first children’s bool

Published on October 28, 2014 with No Comments

James Glass is a member of the Panhandle Writer’s Group. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida. After serving 22 years I n the Navy, he retired and moved back to Milton, Florida. Shortly after retiring he found the writing bug and has published two books.

He’s currently working on his first children’s book, The Pleasantville Junior Detective Agency. Because the book is catered toward young children, he’s decided to use the name Johnny Copper as his author’s name. It’s about a 9-year-old boy named Perry Winkle who becomes the neighborhood junior detective. The reader tries to uncover each clue and solve the case, such as The Case of the Stolen Sunglasses, which he’s included below.

 The Case of the Stolen Sunglasses

If you ever get the chance to visit a small town in the Midwest called Pleasantville, you might run into a special boy named Perry Winkle.

Perry Winkle spent much of his time reading the ‘Old-Time’ mystery stories in a shabby shack in the backyard. Each month he received a new issue packed with high-octane cases from around the country during the ‘40s and ‘50s. He would spend hours absorbing the facts of the latest series, taking in the clues. It was a game he played — see if he could solve the case before the end of the chapter. This hobby began two years ago and so far, none of the crimes had stumped the junior detective. He had figured out each crime and how the criminal did it.

You wouldn’t guess it by looking at Perry, but he looked like almost any fourth-grade boy and acted like one too, except he never liked to talk about himself. The detectives in the mystery stories were good listeners.

He was just a skinny boy with a mop of brown hair and big feet for a kid of nine.

His parents, who owned a local convenience store, called One Stop Shop, always made it home for dinner, a red brick house on Lunar Drive. The family would sit down at the table and discuss the day’s events over supper. Then his father would head back to the store until it closed at 10:00 P. M. On this particular Saturday evening, his father seemed upset.

“I can’t believe it,” Mr. Winkle said. “McKenzie Callahan stole a pair of sunglasses from right under my nose, and I couldn’t even figure out how she did it.”

The junior detective shivered at the name. McKenzie was the biggest and oldest kid at Pleasantville Elementary School. The 12-year old bully had failed the fourth and fifth grade. If trouble was around, McKenzie was sure to be close.

Perry picked at his peas with a fork, his least favorite vegetable. “What happened, Dad?” the boy asked. He pulled out a small notebook and pen from his pocket and placed them on the table. The books taught him that all the great detectives take notes.

“I was behind the register when McKenzie entered the store,” his father continued. “She walked to the rack with the sunglasses and tried on three different pairs before putting each one back. Then she put on a fourth pair, walked towards me, and gave a crooked smile as she headed to the slushy machine. I know that smile of hers. It means she’s up to no good.”

Perry nodded in agreement and wrote down some notes.

“A customer came up to the counter and I rang up their order. As the customer left the store, McKenzie walked over and put her slushy on the counter. I didn’t see the sunglasses on her face any longer, but I knew she took them. I asked her to empty her pockets and she did. All she had was enough change to buy her drink.”

Mr. Winkle took a sip of iced tea. “Ten minutes later she returned to the store wearing the exact same sunglasses she had tried on earlier. I told her to give me back the sunglasses or I would call the police. McKenzie laughed. Said they were hers and handed them to me. I looked them over and gave them back because I couldn’t prove she stole them. She smiled that crooked grin and left the store. How McKenzie took them, I don’t know?”

The young boy looked down at his notes. Once he read them, he closed his eyes. He thought to himself, a good detective not only takes good notes, they can play the events in their mind like a scene from a movie.

He watched as McKenzie entered the store, walked over to the sunglasses and tried on each pair. When he finished playing the entire scene in his mind, he slowly opened his eyes.

He asked his dad only one question. “Were your hands sticky after you gave the sunglasses back to her?”

His father thought a moment. “Yes. Afterwards I remember going to the restroom and washing my hands.”

The young sleuth closed his notebook. “The case is solved!”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Mr. Winkle. “There’s no way to prove she stole the sunglasses. I watched her the entire time.”

“Not quite,” said Perry. “You rang up a customer.”

“Yes.”

Perry smiled. “You would have had to take your eyes off McKenzie to ring up the order.”

“That’s right,” his father said, leaning forward. “But what does that have to do with the stolen sunglasses?”

“It proves how McKenzie stole them.”

“Perry,” said his mother. “Please explain what you mean?”

“It’s simple, Mom.”

 

Did you solve the case too? If not, turn to the next page to find out how McKenzie stole the sunglasses. 

After Mr. Winkle rang up the customer, McKenzie walked to the counter without the sunglasses. When Mr. Winkle searched for the stolen sunglasses, he couldn’t find them because McKenzie had dropped them inside her drink.         When McKenzie came back into the store 10 minutes later wearing the sunglasses, Mr. Winkle asked to see them. His hands became sticky after touching the sunglasses because they were hidden inside the slushy, which would have made them sticky.

 

 

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