Crime Scene Investigators

Last Thursday in the late afternoon, Husband and I went to our church to water the vegetables that we and others have been growing there. All the produce is taken to the local food pantry. The veggies are grown in six, 3 ft. high raised beds that you can see below. The rest of the garden is taken up with flowers and shrubs, with walk ways and benches for rest and contemplation.

Thursday, everything looked good. There were six nice cantaloupes about the size of soccer balls but still needing to ripen. The squash bed had one hill of bush butternut squash with four nice but still ripening fruits. We had reseeded in the carrot and beet bed as well as the sugar snap pea bed after harvesting the first crops, and all those had germinated and were growing well.

Husband went back to the garden on Friday, and texted me at work to say that half of the cantaloupes were missing. I am sorry to say that when I got to the garden after work, the Lord’s name was taken in vain and a tool was thrown down in anger as we discovered that three of the butternuts were gone as well. You can see the remaining ones.

Nothing else was missing or damaged. I covered the cantaloupe bed with bird netting and stapled it onto the wooden bed so that it would be more difficult to abscond with the remaining melons. Then, we started to hypothesize.

The incident occurred Thursday night. It would be a lot for one person on foot to carry all the melons and squash, so we figured it was either more than one person on foot, or perhaps one or more persons in a vehicle. We drove around the surrounding streets and didn’t find the produce smashed.

Husband wondered if the fact that they didn’t take any cucumbers or green beans, both of which take time to pick, spoke to urgency, which to him suggested possible amphetamine addiction. It was also presumably dark, so that the beans and cucumbers would be harder to see. I wondered if they knew little of gardening, as they took produce that wasn’t ripe. We have two Little Free Pantries on the edge of the garden, I wondered if people availing themselves of the food there thought that the produce was for all to take. We continue to speculate.

We had beets and carrots disappear in the night at times this summer. They were ready to harvest. My reaction to that was “Bless you. You need it more than we do”. I think the reason this recent event made me so angry is that the melons and squash weren’t ripe, and so they were wasted. As James Crockett comments in his Crockett’s Victory Garden, there is no remedy for finger blight.

What have you investigated recently or in the past? What kind of detective work would you like to do? Who is your favorite literary detective?

53 thoughts on “Crime Scene Investigators”

  1. Swedish writers have certainly been among the most productive and interesting authors doing crime fiction. I’m thinking of such writers as Per Wahloo, Maj Stowaal and Stieg Larsson.

    For me, the absolute master of Swedish crime fiction was Henning Mankell. His Kurt Wallander novels satisfied me in ways no other crime writers have. I loved the way Wallander’s mind worked as he puzzled through mysteries.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Cadfael was one of the books that I sent to my mother over the summer. Along with several other books. She did read the first one but said she didn’t care for it. I’m stymied by that. How could you not like Cadfael?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I owe a huge debt to Wahloo and Sjowaal. For complicated reasons, I stayed in grad school far too long. When I left I found myself incapable of reading a book for pleasure. I had, for many years, read books so I could regurgitate facts from them on blue book tests, and the simple act of reading had become abhorrent. Then I discovered the police procedurals of Wahloo and Sjowaal and their detective, Martin Beck. The novels were scripted so intriguingly that the old joy of reading returned.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is a symptom of English teachers, especially good ones who work at the job, that it is hard for them to read for pleasure. You read so much student writing which needs your close attention. And when I taught AP I had to at least scan what I was teaching even though much of it I taught every year. I tried to find new approaches or new angles on the repeated material. In summer I read to find new lit to teach, which is not hardly fun. So reading is just work.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. I agree, all of the above writers are excellent. Are you familiar with the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø? He’s another very interesting and successful writer of crime stories. He’s also a musician, an interesting character in his own right.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I did it AGAIN! Deleted everything. I was telling you about how my brothers and sisters and I would be detectives, apprehending bank robbers in between running a very large farm. Plough a field, hunt down the robbers, drag and scuffle the ground, catch more robbers, get the barley seeds in before dinner at one. More robbers, meanwhile one of us was ploughing and working more fields, so we get them all seeded, catch a gang of robbers and have tea. Then, more robbers, then start harvesting the fields we “tilled” this morning, carrying on with headlights after dark.
    All field work would be properly carried out, traipsing up and down holding an imaginary steering wheel, changing gear, though I don’t think we really understood what that was for, and making engine noises. We got a lot of work done, but the crime rate never seemed to lessen, no matter how many robbers we caught.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Fenton, I am so glad to hear your voice again!!!

      This is a great story about you and your siblings.

      Whenever I have a long post, but I don’t trust voice recognition, sometimes write it out in Word first and then copy it into WordPress. Because as we all know, WordPress cannot be trusted.


      1. Sherrilee thanks. And thanks for the advice, which I’m proud to say, I didn’t understand. Well OK I did.
        And thanks for the encouragement, but you know, I spent years fighting crime, and we seem to be no further ahead. Maybe I should mobilise the family one more time, on Renee’s behalf, though.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we worked pretty hard and fussed a great deal over the church garden. We added more soil to the raised beds and mounded up hills for the squash and melons to grow in just to improve the depth for their roots. Many days, a Husband watered twice due to heat and drought. We were so looking forward to bringing nice melons and squash to the food pantry, as the recipients there don’t often get such things.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. And I do feel your hurt. I remember now, about the cabana (should be an accent over the “n”, as in “manana”) that Isaac and his friends were building just before the lockdown. A treehouse. They got me to help tie pallets up there, and they really needed to be safe, the tree was on the edge of a drop. Isaac’s kind of pathetic at climbing, and they said, have you got a ladder? Well, I don’t leave good equipment lying about the fields, so I made one out of scrap materials and fixed it to the tree with a chain and padlock. To save practical jokes, and also because I knew they’d use it elsewhere instead of the tree. I must have used 60,000 good bolts in that thing. I took it down there and chained it to the tree and fussed around unnecessarily, to make sure it was safe. It was dhg into the ground and chained down tight at the top, so you couldn’t move it without digging it back out. And then it would still be chained. Later that day, afew parents came down and saw what I’d done, and gave me a rkund kf applause. Luckily I was too taken aback to cry, or I would have. Jane was at a dinner with a mother we’d been having a touchy relationship with, and the woman told her I was a hero. Helping the kids, etc. See, they don’t want to bother. (I had to be nagged, I admit. But I got interested.)
        Then, almost immediately, somebody took all those bolts out of the ladder, and it was useless. It might not have been 60,000 actually. But it was several. Well, quite a few, anyway. But I was utterly wiped out for a day or two. Who would do it, wby would they do it, etc. I suppose theories were advanced. But I really did wonder about the point of bothering to try and be useful. And all that stuff.
        Well, there was a bunch of Hells Babies around at the time, that had taken to sitting on their funny little scooters up by the old church. Right by the top of the track that leads down to the cabana. It’s circumstantial, but Jane and I figured they would know something about it.
        But the kids got the hang of going up and down without the ladder. I fixed it, but then the lockdown started. Just when I’d become a hero.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Rather than imagine amphetamine addicts, have you considered the possibility that your thieves are just kids and their knowledge of melons and squash were about what you’d expect and their motives were just impulse.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, we considered that as well. That is why we looked for smashed produce in the surrounding environs.


  3. Tough to top Sherlock Holmes in my book. I’d probably be a good forensic accountant. I enjoy research, especially number-related research, but wouldn’t be great interviewing real people, especially folks who are lying to hide a crime. I’m too trusting at face value. 😦

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Someone who goes through bank records, financial statements, etc. looking for fraud, illegal transfers of money, payments to certain parties that connect someone to a crime, etc. (I think that’s a very general description.)


    1. Was a big fan in teens. Introduced my children to him in their teens. They loved him. I find it does not reread well for me. My son ordered for me a program where I get a letter every week from Sherlock. Have 7 unread letters. Don’t tell my son. Too distracted to get to them . So today I will read letter #1

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Don’t know if it’s any comfort, Renee, but the cantaloupes will continue to ripen even after they’re picked, so they aren’t necessarily going to waste. Sadly the butternut squashes will not, so most likely they will. Pretty sure you already know this.

    I remember my first encounter with theft in Cheyenne in 1966. It was a small, red, potted geranium that I had purchased with our meager income. It had been sitting on the front door stoop to the house where wasband and I were renting a basement apartment. It was meant to bring a little cheer and color to my world, our basement apartment being too dark to grow plants indoors. I recall being so disappointed and sad that another flower lover would steal a plant. Unfortunately I have lived long enough to learn that people will steal most anything, and not necessarily for a good reason. At the moment it seems that stealing catalytic converters off of cars is a thing throughout Twin Cities neighborhoods.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. What do you do with them all? One cantaloupe will last us several days. I bought two last Friday at our local farmer’s market, and they’re just so unbelievably sweet and juicy, but two will last all week.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They will supplement those taken from the church garden, the children next door love cantaloupe and will get one, and I will share at work as well. I estimate we have 12 viable melons here. Our cat loves to lick out the rinds when we are done with a slice.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ours started changing colors rapidly last night, and today I picked two of them that were the most orange, and they are lovely and not mushy.


  5. OT: Glossary of North Devon words and terms.

    To till: to plant or sow.

    To work down ground, to break down : to till (as the word is used elsewhere).

    Ground:Land. eg. “To buy ground.” “That’s good ground.” I never feel right, saying “Land.”

    Thiggee (the “th” is soft, as in “this”) : This, or
    that. On reflection, it just means “that.”

    Tother: the other.



    Mealtimes (these are the correct working class terms in much of the country, I believe. Probably dying out now) :

    Breakfast : first thing, or soon after.

    Lunch: Ten o’clock snack. Maybe a cup of tea and a sandwich.

    Dinner : One o’clock.

    Tea: five or six oclock. An actual meal, not “afternoon tea,” which is a middle or upper class thing.

    Supper: last, hopefully slap-up, meal before bed.

    Five meals a day, yes, absolutely!

    The word “elevenses” is not permitted. If you were up in the morning, you should be starving by ten. The idea of a quick cup of tea, possibly with little finger politely outstretched, is ridiculous to a working person.
    Well, that’s my homely little list for today.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Tony Hillerman, but of course, but no new ones. His daughter’s novels don’t have the sane zing. I like a mystery to take me somewhere, like 12th century Shrewsbury or Navajo Country. Nothing too dark. Darkness and my depression do not mix. Children or women in peril—nope.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You anticipated my response to the mystery question, Clyde. I’ve read a fair number of both Cadfael and Hillerman but I read them for the characters and the milieu, not the mystery. I have no interest whatsoever in police procedurals or “gritty” detective or crime stories.

      My own longest-running investigation has been my search for the identity of the photographer of my 1904 photos of Europe. I’ve tried just about everything I could think of. I put a set of them online hoping that someone would recognize one and offer a clue. I researched property records for the house where I found them in an estate sale (the house was built 1n 1915 and previous to the sale it had been a group home). I sent the photos to the photography curators of several museums. There was a photography magazine published in Minneapolis in 1904 called Western Camera Notes. I scoured issues of that publication looking for reviews of exhibitions. I went through the society columns of the Minneapolis paper looking for mentions of someone leaving or returning from an extended European tour.
      Of course I realize that just because I found the negatives in Minneapolis, that doesn’t mean that the photographer lived here, especially not in 1904, when the trip was undertaken, but if not here, where? And, unlike prints, negatives are more likely to stay in the possession of the photographer.
      The photos have been featured in articles in several foreign online papers—Der Spiegel in Germany and The Daily Mail in England, plus several more local papers. Images from the series have been used in many websites, a couple of book covers, the label on a gin bottle, and in a couple of television programs but so far I still don’t know who took them.

      Genealogy research affords an opportunity to exercise both deductive and inductive reasoning, especially where the answers are elusive and doubly so where other researchers have conflated information and built themselves fictitious family trees.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. I’m sure you all know me well enough by now to know that I love tracking stuff down. Saying “I don’t know” to me is like waving that proverbial red flag in front of a bull. Maybe I would’ve made a good detective?

    And of course I do love Sherlock Holmes, but I think that Mary Russell and Jane Marple are some of my very favorites. I think because they’re both women and small and slight, One elderly and one quite young,they are often overlooked in a world full of big burly detectives. Of course this helps them do their work quite effectively.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I am late signing on today because I am solving insurance crimes.

    Good Grief, what a frustrating day. I don’t even want to recite the details. I will simply say that I am stuck among my chiropractor who did not get paid, an auto insurance company, and Medicare.

    I now know “who dun it” but getting to a solution is the next step. Documenting the details and hounding them to send the appropriate communications is next.


    I just made a fresh peach pie out of Colorado peaches in an attempt to soothe my tortured self.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have some health insurance details to ferret out before I pay hospital bills. Luckily we have a marvelous Senior Advocate at our Senior Center here – if I get stuck with anything I can go ask her, and she’ll guide me through it.

    Detective work – loosely defined: I enjoy finding just the right music for an occasion – you can find anything on Youtube, et al.

    Favorite literary detective: Armand Gamache of Louise Penny’s Three Pines series. I laugh out loud at Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but they’ve become rather formulaic.


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