The Book Detective – The Hindu

Who broke into Mr. Murthy’s house to steal old books? Mr. Stephen is trying to find out.

Who broke into Mr. Murthy’s house to steal old books? Mr. Stephen is trying to find out.

OYour neighbor, Mr. Stephen, was a bibliophile. A month ago, he discovered a rare book on his friend’s bookshelf. As a result, a wealthy foreign industrialist, who was also a collector of rare books, bought it for an exorbitant amount. Soon my whole neighborhood was making its way to Mr. Stephen’s house with all the old books they found in their attic or on their bookshelves. He had to explain to everyone that not all old books can be called rare books. One day I accompanied my neighbors, Mr. Murthy and his wife, to Mr. Stephen’s house. My. Murthy had 20 books given to him by his grandfather. As Mr. Stephen was examining the books, we heard a shrill noise from next door. ‘Deepan does some carpentry work at his house,’ explained Mr Stephen.

old and in demand

After looking through Mr Murthy’s books, Mr Stephen said: ‘A rare book is in great demand but difficult to find. Those aren’t rare books.” Mr. Murthy was happy because he didn’t want to sell his books. But his wife looked disappointed. However, she later told everyone that they owned rare books. After some time, Mr. Murthy and his wife went to Bangalore for a week. When they returned, they found the padlock on the front door had been broken. The 20 old books were missing from the bookshelf! Her neighbor Pramod had heard a banging last night. The police were amazed that the thief had not stolen any other valuables and had only taken the books.

“The thief must be from our neighborhood,” I said, and both Mr. Stephen and Mr. Murthy agreed.

“Yes, Rajesh,” said Mr. Stephen. “The thief also knew that the security cameras in the house across the street from Murthy’s weren’t working.”

A clue?

One of the houses belonged to Mr. Narain. As we walked there he told us, ‘Only Aravind knows my CCTV isn’t working.’ Mr Stephen spotted a shuttlecock on the lawn and picked it up. ‘It must have fallen from Aravind’s house,’ said Mr Narain. So we went to Mr Aravind’s house where we found his son Rohit. When Mr. Stephen showed him the shuttle, he said, “It’s Jay’s. When it fell down next door, we looked for it but couldn’t find it.”

“Has Jay asked you about Narain’s and your CCTV?” Mr Stephen asked.

“Yes, and I told him that neither works.” We went to Jay’s house. “It was you,” said Mr. Stephen.

“I wanted an expensive cell phone. That’s why I stole the books. I’m sorry,” Jay said.

“I will not report him to the police. I will say that someone returned the books anonymously and that I found them outside my house,” Mr Murthy said. Mr. Stephen explained how he tracked down Jay. “Police said the lock had been picked with a hammer. After the theft was discovered, I went to Deepan’s house to complain about the noise. He was looking for the hammer and his son said Jay borrowed the hammer a day ago. That was also the day Pramod heard hammering at night. So I suspected Jay. He felt guilty so he didn’t try to deny his role when I confronted him. case solved!”

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