an excerpt from Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong
“WON’T you get in trouble, Sherlock?” Jimmy asked.
“Not if you guys keep watch I won’t,” I said.
I suspected that librarians were not allowed to tell us who checked out books, but I was sure I could figure it out myself. I sat down at one of the terminals and typed in the title of a Peranakan cookbook: Irene’s Peranakan Recipes. As I typed in other Peranakan cookbook titles, I was surprised.
“Curious,” I muttered to myself. Suddenly, Jimmy sounded the alarm!
“Alert! Alert! Library auntie!” Jimmy whispered frantically.
I snuck a peek over the counter, and saw that a librarian was coming. I had no time to run back outside without being seen, so I quickly hid under the desk.
“Can I help you?” the librarian asked Jimmy, Wendy and Watson, who seemed to be standing in a perfectly straight row, blocking her computer terminal from her view.
“Has anybody returned a cookbook, or found one in the library, in the past two weeks? We’re looking for a book that doesn’t belong to the library,” Wendy asked her.
“Not that I know of,” she said. “Did you lose you own personal book?”
“No, my Mama did,” Jimmy said. “It’s her special air-broom!”
“Heirloom,” Watson corrected.
“Oh dear. Let me take a look for you in the lost and found, just in case,” the librarian said.
“Thank you,” Wendy said.
Good thinking, Wendy! The librarian headed towards the back office, and I quickly darted back out.
“Whew!” Jimmy said. “That was close!”
“What did you find out?” Wendy asked.
“Something very strange! The cookbooks have all been checked out by the same person! I saw the person’s library card-number—it was the same card number each time. But I wasn’t able to see the person’s name,” I said.
Just then, Auntie Kim Lian appeared, while the librarian returned from the back office.
“I’m sorry,” the librarian said. “All I found were jackets and sweaters. And one strangely coloured sock. But no books. Good luck finding your book!”
Auntie Kim Lian came to meet us. “Did you find anything upstairs?” she asked.
“No, nothing,” Wendy said.
“But we sound that all the Peranakan cookbooks have been checked out by the same person, Auntie,” I said.
“And how do you know that?” she asked.
“That’s not important,” I said quickly. “What is important is that I think whoever checked out all those books may also have taken your book, not realising it wasn’t a library book.”
“That can’t be right,” Auntie Kim Lian said. “When I was here two weeks ago, all the Peranakan cookbooks had already been checked out.”
That was another theory out the window! Where was this book? Had I missed something important?
© Epigram Books
by A.J. Low
from Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong (2012)
published by Epigram Books