Carrie and Carl, Laketon's youngest detectives, were walking past Bowen's Realty Company when Mr. Bowen came rushing out the door. "Just the two I wanted to see!" he cried. "I need you to solve a mystery."
"What's going on?" Carrie asked.
Mr. Bowen frowned. "Well, I might have a buyer for that empty lot over on Morton Street, but -- "
"That's the field where we play baseball," Carl blurted.
"I know. I know. You kids have been using it because it's vacant. I've been trying to sell it, but no one was interested. Until now."
"If someone buys it, I guess we'll have to find another ball field," Carl said.
"Well, son, not all the kids are OK with that idea," Mr. Bowen told him. "I just had a call from a woman telling me she was interested in that property. She saw my sign and stopped to look at it."
"That must have been good news for you," Carrie said.
"The good news for me is that she called even though she was told the lot was no longer for sale. She said some boy was standing there and he said someone else had bought it. I'm just lucky she took the time to call me. Many people would have just forgotten all about it."
"Who would have told her that?" Carl asked.
"That's the mystery," Mr. Bowen said. "And I need to know who did it. I could have lost the chance for a sale because of that kid. I'm pretty sure Zack Dixon, Mike Lee, or Derek Watson did it. All three of those boys have told me that they hope the property never sells."
"We're going to see all of them at the pool," Carl said.
"We'll talk to them," Carrie promised.
An hour later the twins were talking to the boys. "Were one of you over by the vacant lot on Morton Street this morning?" Carrie asked them.
"Mr. Bowen said he has a possible buyer," Carl explained, "but some kid said the property was already sold."
"I sure don't want to lose our ball field!" Mike cried. "But I wasn't near Morton Street today, and I sure didn't talk to any lady there."
"I wasn't there either," Zack said. "I spent hours at the dentist's. I'm getting my braces soon. Is somebody really going to buy our field?"
"I hope it doesn't sell!" Derek said. "And I don't like Mr. Bowen because he keeps trying to sell it. But I wasn't on Morton Street this morning."
"We think we know which kid said the lot was sold," Carl told Mr. Bowen later that day.
Whom do the twins suspect and why?
It was Mike. "Yeah, I was the one," he confessed to Carrie and Carl .
"I thought if nobody bought the field, we'd have it for playing ball whenever we wanted. It's closer than the city parks. But now my dad's making me wash the windows at the realty office because my lie almost cost Mr. Bowen a sale. How'd you know I was the one?"
Are you a good detective?
If so, you noticed that Mike said he hadn't talked to a lady. No one had mentioned that the possible buyer was a woman. He had to have been the one on Morton Street when she was there.
"Well, we did it again," Carl told Carrie later. "We did a lot to solve the mystery of the lot."
Carrie giggled. "Maybe the lot was empty," she said, "but our heads aren't."
Special thanks to Katie McDee for this week's illustration. To see more of her work, visit katiemcdee.com.
For more Kids' Reading Room, visit latimes.com/kids.