Authors: Duncan Ball
To the nine lives of Aoi Kashima
Selby Supersnoop, Dog Detective
High Hat Harry the Happy Hypnotist
SELBY SUPERSNOOP, DOG DETECTIVE
Selby was all alone and bored silly. There was nothing on TV and no good books to read. Or were there?
Selby climbed to the top shelves of the bookcase in the study to see if there were any books he hadn’t read. Just when he was about to climb down again, he spied a dusty old book. It was The Art of the Private Investigator by Mary Touchstone, P.I.
‘Very interesting,’ Selby thought as he flicked the book off the shelf with his paw and let it crash to the floor. ‘I’ve always wanted to be a detective.’
In a second, Selby was curled up on the lounge reading the back cover. As he read, his jaw began to quiver with excitement.
Thrill to the mystery, romance and adventure of the world of the private investigator! Amaze your friends! Have your enemies arrested! Earn big money in crime detection and have a great time! Don’t waste another minute. Read this book and your life will be changed forever!
‘Mystery, romance and adventure, wow!’ Selby squealed. ‘That really makes a medium-sized dog’s spine tingle. I can’t wait to have my life changed forever!’
With trembling paws, Selby opened the book and began to read:
Anyone can become a private investigator, or a P.I. as we are known. So settle back, follow this easy step-by-step guide and soon you will be solving mysteries all over your
‘I’m settled back, Mary,’ Selby said out loud, ‘and ready to solve mysteries all over my neighbourhood. I can’t wait!’
All afternoon Selby read through chapters called ‘How to be a Master of Disguise’, ‘How to Spot a Criminal’, ‘How to Tail a Suspect’, ‘How to Find Clues’, ‘How to Overpower People’ and ‘How to Eavesdrop'. It was all there: everything Selby had always wanted to know about solving crimes and catching criminals.
Finally Selby read the last paragraph in the book:
Just remember that the world of the private investigator is the world of mystery. Nothing is the way it seems. Look for clues everywhere and suspect everyone and you can’t go wrong. Happy detecting!
‘What a great book!’ Selby cried. ‘But where am I going to find my first case? Bogusville is such a boring place. There’s never any crime or anything.’
But Selby had spoken too soon. The very next day, just when Selby was wondering how
he could use his new detective knowledge, there came a knock at the Trifles’ door.
‘Excuse me, Dr Trifle,’ the woman said, ‘my name is Eve Amery.’
‘The toy soldier collector,’ Dr Trifle said, snapping his fingers. ‘I saw something about you in the newspaper years ago. Come right in.’
‘They’re model soldiers. They’re not really toys.’
‘How may I help you?’
‘There’s been a crime committed and I need your help.’
Selby’s head shot out from behind the lounge.
‘A crime!’ he thought. ‘An actual real live crime here in Bogusville!’
‘What crime?’ Dr Trifle asked.
‘Someone is stealing my model soldiers,’ Eve said. ‘Let me explain. Emery — he’s my brother — and I live in a house across town. The soldiers were our grandfather’s and when our parents died, they became ours.’
‘They’re fighting a battle, I believe.’
‘Yes, in a big glass case with hills and trees
and trenches. Recently Emery and I decided to sell them but suddenly they started disappearing.’
‘Disappearing?’ Dr Trifle said.
‘Disappearing,’ Selby thought.
‘Someone is stealing them,’ Eve said. ‘Every Tuesday some go missing. Every week there are fewer and fewer. There are practically none left.’
‘Have you been to the police?’ Dr Trifle asked.
‘Yes, and they were very helpful. But they don’t think anyone is breaking in. We have locks on our doors and bars on all the windows, you see.’
‘Then what’s happening?’
‘I’m ashamed to say that the police think that Emery — my own dear brother — is taking the soldiers, Dr Trifle.’
‘But why would he steal what he already owns?’
‘No, no, we own them. The police think he’s selling them and keeping all the money for himself. Every Tuesday evening he catches the bus to the city to visit friends, you see. He could be taking the soldiers then.’
‘Why don’t the police arrest him?’
‘Because they have no proof.’
‘I see,’ Dr Trifle said. ‘So you think that because I’m an inventor I might have an invention that could tell if your brother is taking the soldiers?’
‘Do you?’ she asked with a smile.
‘Possibly. May I see one of these soldiers?’
Eve Amery handed three soldiers to Dr Trifle who studied them carefully.
‘Got it!’ he said. ‘Each soldier has a hole down the middle. We could slip a little specially charged magnetic strip in there where no one will see it. Then we hide my Super-Sensitive Magnetic Screaming Theft Detector in the bushes outside your house. If anyone walks by with a soldier then —’
Dr Trifle let out a loud, wailing, machinelike scream. Eve Amery and Selby covered their ears till he stopped.
‘That’s marvellous,’ Eve said. ‘May I see this Super-Sensitive Magnetic Screaming Theft Detector of yours, Dr Trifle?’
‘Yes, of course. As soon as I’ve made one. I just thought it up a minute ago. But don’t worry; I’ll have one ready by Tuesday.’
That night Selby lay awake listening as Dr Trifle worked on his new invention.
‘This is great!’ Selby thought. ‘Now all we have to do is spring the trap and catch Eve’s brother in the act! Hey, that almost rhymes!’
On Tuesday evening, Dr Trifle and Sergeant Short hid in the bushes as Eve Amery said goodbye to her brother. None of them knew that Selby had sneaked across town and was hiding in a tree nearby.
‘This is so exciting!’ he thought. ‘I’m a real snoop now!’
Just then, Emery walked down the path and the lights, horns and bells in Dr Trifle’s Super-Sensitive Magnetic Screaming Theft Detector flashed and honked and tinkled all at once.
‘What’s that noise?’ Emery screamed.
‘I’m afraid you’re under arrest,’ Sergeant Short said, stepping out of the bushes.
‘For stealing model soldiers and taking them to the city to sell.’
‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ Emery said. ‘I don’t give two hoots for those stupid things. wouldn’t be caught dead with one!’
By now, Dr Trifle was pointing a second invention, his new Miniature Hand-Held Super-Sensitive Magnetic Pinging Theft Detector, at Emery’s left-hand coat pocket and it was going ping ping ping so fast that it sounded like the international ping pong play-offs.
‘What’s in that pocket?’ Sergeant Short asked.
‘Nothing,’ Emery said, reaching in and pulling out five soldiers. ‘Hey! How’d they get in there? This is a set-up! You put them in there!’
‘I’m afraid you’ll have to come with us,’ the policeman said.
Selby watched as Dr Trifle and the policeman led Emery Amery away.
‘Poor Eve,’ Selby thought, sniffing a little sniff. ‘She thought her brother was taking the soldiers but knowing is different. She must be grief-stricken.’
Selby was about to climb down from the tree when something in The Art of the Private Investigator came back to him.
“‘Nothing is the way it seems’,” he quoted. “‘Suspect everyone and you can’t go wrong’.”
‘Hey now, hold the show!’ Selby thought. ‘What if Emery isn’t guilty? What if someone — his sister, for example — put the soldiers in his pocket?’
From where Selby sat he could just barely see in the window of the house. There was music playing and suddenly Eve Amery danced by, leaping and letting out a series of whooooopeeeees!
‘If this woman’s grief-stricken, then I’m a bandicoot’s bottom!’ Selby thought. ‘Something very strange is going on around here.’
The music stopped and Selby saw Eve Amery dash to the telephone.
‘I’d love to hear what she’s saying,’ Selby thought, as he remembered the chapter of the book on how to eavesdrop. ‘If only I could get into the house and listen in. If I can get from this branch to the roof maybe I could pull up a bit of roofing and climb in,’ Selby thought, remembering the chapter called ‘How Burglars Burgle'.
Quietly as a cat, Selby lowered himself onto the roof, pulled up a bit of roofing and climbed into the house. Through the ceiling he could
hear Eve talking on the telephone in the room below.
‘… no more problems now that my stupid brother is out of the way. I’ll be on a plane and out of the country as soon as he’s in jail. They’re all mine to sell now! All mine! He’ll never catch up to me!’
‘Mary Touchstone, P.I., was right,’ Selby thought as he crawled towards a crack in the ceiling to see down. ‘But how will I tell the police that Eve framed her brother?’
Selby moved forward again and felt something jab his paw.
‘Ouch!’ he cried in plain English. ‘That hurt!’
There was dead silence below. Selby squinted in the darkness and saw that he’d stepped on a little model soldier. Around him in the darkness he now saw dozens more.
‘So this is where she hid them!’ Selby thought.
Suddenly Eve, hearing Selby’s cry, stood on a chair and opened the secret trapdoor in the ceiling, all of which would have been okay if Selby hadn’t been standing on it at the time. In a second, the door swung down and Selby
dropped straight onto the woman, knocking her to the floor unconscious.