Hmmmmm….there’s something fishy about Carden’s third task this week…..read on to see what Imogen set her team…
Solve your own local mystery!
As you know, I like to use elements of local history in my creative writing, but I also like to call them local mysteries… For today’s task, I have found a Local Mystery that needs your help to solve.
The Case of the Missing Lumpfish
Some aspects of this mystery are true, and others are made up. I want your investigation into this episode to be full of imagination and clue solving – and to be as creative and inventive as you like!
Our mystery is set in the Brighton Aquarium. Hopefully many of you have been lucky enough to visit this incredible place already. It was built in the Victorian age by the same architect who designed Brighton’s West Pier, (which features in The Amber Pendant,) and to this day, it’s still full of all the old-fashioned tanks that were used when it opened. I love the aquarium – I think its brimming with atmosphere, and a great place to set our mystery!
When the Brighton Aquarium was opened in 1872, many exotic species of sea life were acquired from across the globe – they even had a dolphin at one point. However, not all of them were suitable to be kept in captivity, and many of them sadly died. But people were so fascinated by these creatures of the deep that they would travel from far and wide to see these animals for themselves.
But in May 1873 something very strange happened: A number of fish started to go missing… And, weirder still, the room they were going missing from was always locked and sealed. No one could work out who could have stolen them – or how they could have got the missing creatures in or out.
MakingThe Case of the Missing Lumpfish a locked room mystery…
(By the way, ‘A Locked Room Mystery,” is a crime committed that is really hard to work out how the criminal got in, as the doors were locked, or how they could do it without being detected.)
Now, some of you may already know who was responsible (as this event really did happen!) but I want you to keep the answer to yourselves. This task isn’t really about getting it right, it’s about inventing the most interesting motives. I want you to think up the details behind this mystery: who or what stole the fish, and why they might have taken them…
As I mentioned before, not all my facts are a hundred percent true. Just like my books, I take something from local history and use it as inspiration for my stories, and I’d like you to do the same.
Your task today is to:
Solve the Case of the Missing Lumpfish…
The Lumpfish of Brighton Aquarium:
“Lumpsuckers or lumpfish are mostly small marine fish. They are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans.” (Wikipedia)
I’ve drawn you a picture of a lumpfish! They look a bit like this.
(For the purpose of our mystery, Team Carden, the particular variety of Lumpfish stolen from the Aquarium are extremely rare and valuable…)
The Crime Scene
A locked room inside the Brighton Aquarium.
All the entrances to the aquarium were locked each night and the fish counted. But, each and every night, a number of these lumpfish kept disappearing. The only clue was a trail of water across the floor that trickled into the drain. (The drain led to an underground sewer system, leading to the sea. But is big enough for someone, or something to crawl through.)
For this task, you are the detective in charge of the investigation.
Step One: Choose a suspect
I need you, firstly, to work out who or what stole these fish. I have put together a list of suspects who might be behind our crime.
Milly Mayforth: twelve-year-old child genius and animal rights activist. She had recently been moved on from outside the Aquarium holding a handmade sign reading, ‘Sea Creatures belong in the Sea, not in tanks!”
Mr Brown:Local Fish and Chips Restaurant Owner. Who had a passion for frying up more exotic varieties of sea life.
Miss Lucile Lovegood:International collector of unusual and rare sea creatures. Who had recently been turned down on her offer to buy some of the Aquariums Lumpfish for her private collection.
Billie Buster:Chief tank cleaner and local gangster. He had the keys to the room.
Or, perhaps, it was one of the creatures contained in the tanks surrounding the Lumpfish:
The Large Sea Turtle
Or, anyone or anything else you can think of! I don’t mind if you introduce a Sewer Monster or something! Anything you like!
Now you have your suspect(s), you need to work out what their motive might have been. What did they want the lumpfish for – and why?
How did your suspect(s) carry out the crime? And what did they want the fish for? Consider the evidence again: the room was locked, and all of the fish counted each night. How did your suspect(s) get in? Were they helped by anyone? What is the significance of the water on the floor?
(If you have time, write your detective deductions out in a paragraph summarizing how you worked it out!)
GOOD LUCK TEAM CARDEN PRIMARY!
I can’t wait to hear how you go about solving this local mystery. Who you put in the frame, why they did it and how!
WHALE obviously Team Carden really took the oppor-TUNA-ty and to show of their BRILL-iant detective GILLS. (sorry) Have a looks at their fantastic work here and why not have a go at seeing if you can solve the FISHtery yourselves!
So how did you all get on? I have to say us at AAA HQ were flummoxed!
Fortunately Imogen didn’t leave us with the mystery unsolved…. read on if you want to find out what happened….
The True Suspect of the 1873 Case of the Missing Lumpfish was… (Open envelope…)
Answer: The Octopus! (All the other suspects were made up!)
Octopuses are highly intelligent and clever creatures. The one they have in the aquarium nowadays is given Lego blocks and a rocking horse to play with to keep him entertained!
Octopuses can breathe and move out of water for short periods of time and they have the ability to camouflage themselves into their environment – their very own cloak of invisibility. They can also crawl through tiny spaces and squirt out ink – a super villain indeed!
(They also happen to be one of my favourite creatures.)
The octopus in question was a new resident in the room at the aquarium. Each night, under cloak of darkness, he would slip free from his tank and dine on the delicious lumpfish. But by morning, before daybreak, he’d have slunk back inside to his tank looking totally innocent. No one suspected him at all – or realised he could survive out of water and leave his tank. It was only when a worker at the aquarium turned up earlier than usual and caught the octopus red handed inside the lumpfish’s tank that the mystery was finally solved!
So, the water trail in the room was him crawling around.
The suspect’s motive: because he was hungry. And the reason the octopus snuck back each night was because octopuses are nocturnal, so their natural behaviour is to hunt by night, returning to their lairs during the hours of daylight to sleep! So, after all that, the octopus was just behaving normally…
Case solved! I bet your versions of this event are even crazier, and I can’t wait to hear them.
If you are interested in finding out more about the real event, you can find an account here:http://thegentlemanangler.com/fish-species/disappearing-lump-fish-2/1339/
What an amazing task – the Carden really loved this one! We can’t wait for the next instalment!