So Whodunnit? (3-Min Mystery Solution!)

So Whodunnit? (3-Min Mystery Solution!)


Last blog I shared a quick mystery and gave readers the chance to solve the crime and, if they subscribe to my newsletter, win a prize.

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So, Who is the Hotel Spa Thief?

Before I announce whodunnit, I'm repeating the mystery here for those who missed it or want a recap. Otherwise, just scroll to the bottom…

THE MYSTERY: The Hotel, the Thief & the Spa

Helen tried very hard to keep her emotions in check as she locked eyes with the hotel concierge, a smug looking chap called Monteray. Too smug, considering the circumstances.

“Let me make this very clear,” said Helen, her voice one octave below screaming. “When I checked in, you assured me my pearl necklace would be safe as houses in my hotel room safe. And yet it’s vanished.”

“It must be somewhere, madame,” he replied, so matter-of-factly she felt like smacking him.

“Yes, it is somewhere!” she screamed now. “It’s in the hands of a thief and you’re not doing anything about it!”

Monteray smiled stiffly then shared a very subtle eye roll with a young blonde standing at the desk of the hotel’s spa, which was located just beside reception.

Helen had been a regular at the spa and was only just perusing the spa menu so she recognised the blonde. Her name was Gina, and she was a very capable masseuse, but that eye roll was anything but professional and Helen felt her hackles rise further.

She went to give them both a piece of her mind when Monteray swept a skeleton key from his pocket and said, “Why don’t I head up to your room now, madame, and check things out for myself, while you head to the bar for a complimentary cocktail—”

“I’m not staying down here while you rummage through my belongings!” Helen shot back. “I’m stressed enough as it is. I feel like my head's about to explode. Besides, I don’t drink.”

“I could offer you a free massage!” Gina called out from the spa desk. “I’ve got an opening now if you'd like?”

Helen’s eyes narrowed. She glanced back at Monteray who looked almost relieved.

“Fine,” said Helen, “but let’s make it for two o'clock this afternoon. And don’t think for a minute that massage is going to make up for thousands of dollars’ worth of pearls.”

Still it would be a decent start…

Conversation at the lift

As Helen and Monteray marched towards the elevator to begin the search in her room, Helen couldn’t help grumbling again.

“I’m sorry if I’m causing a fuss, but I thought this was a five-star hotel, I did not expect my jewels to be stolen so easily.”

“Did you say stolen?” came a nervous voice at one side, and Helen glanced across to find a well-dressed, elderly woman clutching a spa pamphlet in one hand and her Louis Vuitton handbag in the other. It was inscribed with the name Dame Iris Vanderlim.

“I’m afraid so,” Helen said, ignoring the stunned look on Monteray’s face now (finally he seemed worried!). “I hope you haven’t got any valuables here in the hotel because there’s no accounting for their safety.”

“Oh but mine are in the safe inside my room...” Iris began.

“And so were mine,” Helen replied, shaking her head as she entered the elevator. “So were mine.”

Getting handsy at the spa

Two hours later, as the smell of vanilla, ylang ylang and the lemongrass tea Gina had provided, wafted around her, Helen tried very hard to exhale. She was lying on a bed in one of two cubicles and there was an eerie whale sound coming from the curtain beyond.

“Try to relax,” Gina purred as her fingers worked their way down Helen's spine, somehow managing to tense her further. "Just drift off to sleep if you'd like. You're now in very good hands."

But Helen could not drift off, even though the woman in the next cubicle clearly had—her snoring was now louder than the whales! Helen kept thinking of the pearls and how unsuccessful Monteray's search of her room had been. Suddenly Gina's hands gave way to a thick warm towel and she said, “I’m going to leave you while the warmth works its magic. I’ll be back in fifteen. Please, just try to let go…”

That was easier said than done, thought Helen as the masseuse vanished behind the curtain.

A sudden gasp

After just five minutes, Helen heard a loud gasp and then a muffled groan.

“Oh no, no, no, no,” came a woman’s voice from the other cubical. “It can’t be! They haven’t!”

Helen jumped up, secured the towel around her body, and dashed into the neighbouring cubical where she found the elderly woman she’d met earlier by the elevator. Dame Iris was also wrapped in a towel and scrounging frantically through her Louis Vuitton handbag.

“What is it?” Helen asked. “What’s going on?”

“My diamonds!” the woman gasped. “Somebody’s stolen my jewels!”

“What do you mean? Surely you didn’t have them with you, here at the spa?”

“Well... er, yes. I was so concerned about the hotel security I brought them along in my bag. I didn’t think—”

Helen didn’t blame her. She’d brought her bag down with her, too—not that she had anything left to steal, of course!

“Now don’t panic,” Helen told Dame Iris, “and keep your voice down. If your jewels have been taken, they can’t be far. In fact, I have a feeling I know exactly where they are. You wait here. I’m going to get dressed and then I’m going to unmask the thief at this hotel!”

THE SOLUTION: Who is the Hotel Thief?

Was it the smug concierge Monteray? The eye-rolling spa manager Gina? The wealthy Dame Iris? Or was it Helen, herself?

If you guessed Helen, you were correct! Here’s how she did it:

We know from the story that Helen had been a “regular” at the hotel spa so she knew exactly how spa manager Gina operated—offering a soothing tea and massaging two clients around the same time, leaving them both to “drift off to sleep” under warm towels for 15 minutes in separate cubicles. Helen saw that as a great opportunity to sneak into the other cubicle and raid that client’s clothes, watch, jewellery—whatever they’d removed for the massage.

But on this particular day Helen decided to up the ante.

While “perusing the spa menu”, she would have had a chance to overhear Dame Iris Vanderlim book her 2:00 p.m. massage with Gina (we can conclude this, because Dame Iris had a spa pamphlet in her hand as she waited for the elevator around the same time). We can also conclude that Dame Iris was wealthy because she was carrying a designer handbag inscribed with her title.

Helen had clocked this too, and that’s when she decided to take things up a notch and instigate her ruse. Sweeping across to the concierge, she made a very loud fuss about her pearls being stolen. It was all a lie, and the concierge, Monteray, didn't seem to buy it, but Helen was really trying to grab the attention of Dame Iris, who was now waiting at the elevator. Helen wanted Iris to panic and bring all her valuables with her down to the spa when she returned for her afternoon massage appointment—which she did!

(Helen got lucky when the spa manager offered her a free massage—which she made sure to schedule in at the same time as Dame Iris—but Helen would have booked one if she hadn’t.)

Then Helen simply showed up for her massage as scheduled and implemented her plan. As Dame Iris “snored” under her warm towel, Helen snuck in, pinched her valuables, then snuck out again. When Iris awoke and discovered the theft, Helen pretended to help, but really she changed back into her clothes, grabbed the bag she had brought with her (that contained her meagre possessions and the stolen diamonds) and fled the hotel before anyone knew any different.

Did you work it out?

Well done to all those who emailed me with their answers and better luck next time. Don't forget, you can receive these Quick Reads direct to your inbox simply be adding your email on the home page link.

Next time… The Nosey Neighbour.

The wait is over! Here's the solution to my latest Quick 30-Minute Mystery Read. Did you work it out?