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The Unlikely Car thief

160607

A case came literally to my door recently, and though I have solved it through no personal brilliance and intuition of my own, but with much amusement, as a tease I posed the problem to my fellow detectives at the agency:

My fellow fellows,

I was looking out of the kitchen window of my first floor flat exactly three weeks ago yesterday, and saw a neighbour leaving the house. Outside the front of the flats, there is enough space for six well-parked cars stationed end-to-end, from west to east, (although since I recently bought a car, only five were outside on that particular morning). My neighbour, a lovely lady called Kelly leaves the block early every morning, while I am boiling the water in the kettle to use in making an English Breakfast tea in a mug with a cartoon of a sheep on it.  

When Kelly came out, I noticed some odd behaviour. She looked through the driver’s window of the car directly in front of the block entrance, which I presumed was hers. But then, she went up to a different car, a soft top convertible sports car (Mazda MX5), and looked in the window of it.

Kelly’s not the kind of person I'd put down as a thief, being well-spoken and meticulously dressed. Our one conversation was about her recipe for quince jam, which I later made a sponge using. She is plump and short, and from her powerful short hair and black leather bag (Sinclair, Tegan Business Tote) I surmised that she was a lawyer. 
Would someone involved in the legal profession know a loophole around car theft, I wondered? 

The first possibility is that she could have been checking the time, but I dismissed that as she follows her routine as precisely as I do in the morning. 

From that first instance, I observed this behaviour a number of times in her, and it doesn't matter which order the cars are parked in, she will always look in the window of the car in front of the flats and the window of the MX5 before heading off to work. I have since observed that the sports car belongs to an older man on the top floor. At least, this particular gentleman washes it every Sunday afternoon, although I have no evidence he ever drives it. When I asked him, he had no knowledge of who Kelly was. 

I kept a wary eye on her in case it was anything untoward. But if there is one person who I couldn’t imagine hot-wiring an old neighbour’s sports car, it’s Kelly. 

Then exactly four hours ago, I was returning home from a job interview that I thought went really well. (As a maitre d’ at a pop-up silver-service restaurant). I was so giddy about the prospect that I almost parked my car well. As I entered the block, I walked past my old neighbour’s sports car. Two things occurred to me: Firstly, why Kelly looks in the car windows every morning. Secondly, I wasn’t right for the job. 

So my fellow detectives, what do you say?
Yours hootingly
Wide-eyes

And the solution? As I said, Kelly is meticulously dressed and has a keen sense of how she presents herself. Car windows are a good surface to use as a mirror. And the best surface to check one’s reflection is the smooth, reflective, and very clean windows of the sports car.

On the day in question, I had forgotten to put a tie on, so had done the entire maitre d’ interview with my tie folded neatly in my jacket pocket and my top button done up. A quick glance in the car’s window showed me that I neglect too many details to be a silver service head waiter, even of a pop-up restaurant, which is why I wrote about it in such a peculiarly detailed way.

Nevertheless, they must have been desperate, as they called me later that day to offer me the position. I mention this, because it was through this restaurant that the Marmont Road Bespoke Detective Agency received their next case: The Case of the Upside-Down Fish-Knives.