Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mom Makes A Bet - James Yaffe

Theme: Crippen & Landru Series
Story: Mom Makes A Bet
Author: James Yaffe
Source: My Mother, The Detective
Story Number: 113
Grady, a theatrical producer is one of the regular customers at the popular Krumholz restaurant. Grady was known and disliked by every employee of the Krumholz. On this particular day, Grady has come to dinner with his Father-in-law, a Dr. Bartlet. Grady orders noodle soup for both of them, screaming at the old waiter Irving to make sure that the cook doesn’t put salt into his soup as the doctor has asked him to stop taking salt in his diet. Irving places the order with the cook, collects the two bowls and carries it along with several other orders. Just when he comes out of the kitchen, the hotel owners intervenes and decides to taste the soup to make sure that the soup doesn’t have any salt in it as he doesn’t want to lose his regular customer. When the owner expresses his satisfaction, Irving serves them the soup and as soon as the bowl is put in front of him, Grady takes a sip and in no time is dead due to cyanide poising.
The police arrest Irving but they are somewhat distressed by the fact that Irving doesn’t have a motive. At the same time, no one had the opportunity to poison the soup after the owner tasted it and before Grady drank it! Mom poses a bet to her son that she can prove Irving innocent if he is ready to turn up on Sunday to do her wallpapers.
Mom poses her usual important questions – who had motive to kill Grady? Did the cook dislike Grady(turns out that off all the employees, the cook was the only one who was on good terms with Grady)? Did Bartlet get any money due to Grady’s death (Bartlet was 100 times richer than Grady)? What had Grady ordered after his soup? The answers to her questions and a few other clues which have been presented to the reader lead to a very simple but yet clever solution to this impossible poisoning mystery!

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