Carrie and Carl, Laketon's youngest detectives, were trying not to laugh as their neighbor pointed at a flock of large plastic birds on her front lawn.
"Just look at them!" Mrs. Polanski told the twins. "My flamingos look absolutely silly. I try to keep our neighborhood looking beautiful, but having my birds dressed that way is ridiculous."
Carrie swallowed a giggle as she looked at the pink birds. Each of them was wearing a long, brightly colored necktie. Nobody wore such outdated ties anymore. "Dad would have thrown ties like that away in a heartbeat," she whispered to Carl.
"Someone came into my yard and did this while I was having my afternoon nap," Mrs. Polanski went on. "And I think it was either Emma Watkins, Myra Bates, or Katie O'Brien. Those girls are always making fun of my birds. And I saw all three of them at the church clothing sale yesterday."
"Well, why should that matter?" Carl asked.
Mrs. Polanski frowned. "Because I think those ties on my birds came from that sale. They're the old-fashioned type, you see, and they surely didn't cost much. One of those girls bought those ties at the church sale and came over earlier today and looped them around my birds' necks. I'm just sure of it."
"We saw Emma, Myra, and Katie over by Katie's house a while ago," Carrie said. "We'll go talk to them."
"Did one of you get stuff at the church sale yesterday and dress up Mrs. Polanski's flamingos?" Carl asked the girls.
"What?" Emma stared at the twins. "I don't even know what you're talking about. I was at the sale yesterday all right, but I only went to look for clothes for my baby cousin. I never even went near the men's section. And I sure don't know anything about dressing up birds."
"I was at the sale too," Myra admitted.
"But I don't know anything about Mrs. Polanski's flamingos. Those birds make our whole neighborhood look dumb. I wish she'd get rid of them, but I guess she thinks they're beautiful."
"She has a donkey pulling a cart in her back yard," Katie said. "My dad says her lawn looks like an amusement park. But no, I don't know anything about the flamingos. I was at the church sale, but I didn't buy anything. I guess none of us knows what you're talking about."
The twins glanced at each other and nodded.
"One of you knows exactly what we're talking about," Carl said.
"And she had better come back with us and apologize to Mrs. Polanski," Carrie added.
Which girl do the twins suspect and why?
Solution: It was Emma.
"Yeah, I bought those ties and decorated your birds," Emma soon admitted to Mrs. Polanski. "It only cost a dollar to buy a whole dozen of them, and I thought you might get rid of those flamingos when you saw how silly they looked. Guess I shouldn't have done it. I'll take those ties off now." She glanced at the twins. "How did you know I was the one who did it?"
"We both figured that one out," Carl told Emma. "My sister and I always work together. We were neck and neck solving the case."
"Yeah," Carrie agreed, laughing. "I guess it was a tie."
Are you a good detective?
If so, you noticed that Emma was the only one who mentioned "men's clothing" when Carl asked about the church sale.
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