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!