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A solve-it-yourself mini-mystery
Be detective in this 5-minute mystery!

"The Bounceless Bungee" by Stan Smith

Solve-it #316 - March 2014

Previously published Nov. 1998

"We've done a little research on you, Mr. Marron," remarked Inspector Miller. He leaned back in his office chair with a faint smile. "You and the late Mr. deMont are the founders of the local Bungee Club, which now has twelve members. And you were with him last Sunday morning when he tied what proved to be an unreliable bungee cord to his body and plunged over three hundred feet into the gorge off the Route 44 bridge."

"No secrets there, inspector." Frank Marron, an athletically framed architect, jutted his jaw defiantly. "Ed and I became friends on the golf course years ago, and decided to try a more exciting sport. We jumped four or five times a month in good weather. Just the day before, Saturday afternoon, we jumped into a gorge in Ithaca."

"Did deMont use the same cord then as on Sunday?"

"He always used the same cord. He also examined it before each jump, and kept it bundled, lashed, and locked in his car trunk between jumps. Carolyn Monaco and I joined him at the Route 44 bridge just as he was getting his cord hooked up. Carolyn was going to jump after him, and then me. I guess he didn't notice how worn his cord had become. Why do you suspect tampering?"

Miller picked up a police report and frowned at it.

"The state police confirm that the cord was cut," he said. "It had a clean internal incision with faint metal traces. Mr. deMont never had a chance. Did he have any enemies?"

Marron shook his head. "Hard to say. DeMont had an eye for the girls. He even made a pass at my wife once, but I set him straight on that, and he left her alone. I think Rita knew her husband played around, but she's odd. The only thing she really gets worked up about is her fancy car. Keeps it polished and sitting in their one-car garage. Just last week Ed lent his own car to Carolyn Monaco when hers was in the shop. For a day, he had to borrow Rita's dream machine. I thought she was going to kill him right then and there."

"Carolyn Monaco is also a Bungee Club member, I take it."

"Yeah, our newest. She's also Ed's secretary in his insurance office."

"Did his eye wander to her as well?"

"Maybe. He never said so."

"Thank you, Mr. Marron. Please keep us informed of your whereabouts."

When Marron had left, Miller turned to Detective Sergeant Barry. "Any further word on the cord, Jim?"

"Only that the external incision was tiny," said Barry. "The garage tells us that the lock to the car trunk was not tampered with. Witnesses near the bridge on Sunday confirm that Monaco and Marron arrived separately after deMont had started to hook on his gear."

"And where were Miss Monaco, Mr. Marron, and Mrs. deMont on Saturday?"

"Monaco says she was visiting cousins in Binghampton, and arrived back home late Saturday night. Her cousins confirm this. Marron said earlier he went to a party with his wife Saturday night after bungee-jumping with deMont late that afternoon. We have witnesses who saw him at the jump and at the party. Rita deMont says she was visiting her ill mother in Boston, and flew back early Sunday morning. Says she arrived home after her husband had left. Her plane ticket stub showed a flight time consistent with her story. Her mother's nurse confirms seeing her in Boston."

"Hmm." Miller straightened up in his chair. "I think it's time to do a little more quiet investigating of our prime suspect."

Whom did Miller suspect?

Frank Marron
Carolyn Monaco
Rita deMont
Not sure

Why?