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The Bickering Bogus Bartholemews and
Their Bric-A-Brac Birthright
Aileen Schumacher, P.E.
Penny felt certain that the ladder had been placed in position to incriminate Bruce. Had the ladder actually been used for someone to climb up to the second story window, it would have already sunk into the soft ground, and the top rung would have remained level with the sill of the second story window. Since Barry kept drawing attention to the ladder, Penny felt certain that he planted it as a ruse to draw attention away from himself.
Bruce may be innocent of placing and using the ladder, but he is certainly lying about his profession and identity. Even the captain of the modest SEA STAR referred to his vessel using a female pronoun. Bruce referred to the jewel of his shipping fleet as "it," something a ship's captain would never do.
As for Betty, she is apparently lying about the amount of time she spent out of her room. The captain of the SEA STAR told Penny that there had been a significant breeze in the area up until an hour ago, after which everything grew oppressively still. If Betty had truly left her room for only a few minutes just prior to the discovery of the theft, she would not have felt a need to weight her papers down with the heavy stapler.
As for the Bric-A-Brac collection, the first issue of the READERS DIGEST may be authentic, especially if it is dated February l922. Similarly, the can of beans may validly be from an arctic expedition which took place in the 1850's, for the practice of storing food in cans was developed in England for the Royal Navy in 1810. However, carousel horses had to be shipped from carnival to carnival, and therefore the original wooden horses were always made hollow to reduce their weight and make it easier to dismantle the merry-go-round rides. Even more telling is Peter's description of the Roman coin that so caught his attention--no such coin would be stamped BC, as this term only came into use well after the time Christ was born and died.
Mrs. Bartholemew made no effort to reclaim the stolen items, but she made sure that the bogus Bartholemews left her island the very next day. It turned out that she had spent her lifetime collecting stocks and bonds, so she had more than enough money to pay for modern utilities to be installed at her summer house, in addition to a structural inspection and required repairs. She threw a gala masked Halloween Ball in New Haven, at which Peter met an attractive young woman claiming to be the daughter of Mrs. Bartholemew's long-lost sister. Peter was immediately entranced, and asked the young woman to marry him and become the next in a long line of Mrs. Peter Bilts.
Penny collected her fees for the structural inspection of the house on Bric-A-Brac Island and for designing the required repairs. However, she politely declined the invitation to the masked Halloween Ball, and spent Halloween locked in her bathroom with a collection of comfy pillows, assorted bags of Halloween candy, and books by Les Standiford featuring a building contractor protagonist named John Deal, who is the antithesis of her cousin Peter Built. At the stroke of midnight, having accomplished her goal of spending a Halloween without finding a single dead body, she came out of her bathroom and went to bed.
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