OK, before clue-searching, the suspects need a motive. So I'll start on that. And thanks for reviewing, A Scribbler and frumouttamimind! (Also, check out one of the fake names used by the suspect! It's a mix of two of my main OCs from other stories.)
Melissa and Chloe went straight to Melissa's secret office to get the motives of the suspects straight.
"OK, we better make this official." Melissa decided. "So in alphabetical order of first names, Suspect 1 is Amber, Suspect 2 is Bindi, Suspect 3 is Courtney, Suspect 4 is Emma, Suspect 5 is…me, I guess. Suspect 6 is Taylor."
"So, what is Amber's motive?" Chloe questioned.
"Movie madness." was Melissa's guess. "She said yesterday that her favourite genre is crime, and I wouldn't put it past her to do this at some time, even though she is my friend. She used to do a lot of copying of stuff from the silver screen. I thought she'd stopped, but you never know."
Chloe nodded. "Suspect 2 – I think I know Bindi well enough to know that all she does is challenge herself. She seems to be addicted to doing stuff just for thrills."
"I don't know if she'd go that far." Melissa said doubtfully. "But it's very possible. Anyway, Suspect 3 is the most likely to have the potential."
"How so?" Chloe questioned.
"Courtney's smart." Melissa pointed out. "She probably knows how to trash a room and not leave any clues. I don't know what she'd have to gain by doing it, though."
"I know!" Chloe cried. "She takes Psychology, right? She's probably doing a psychological experiment and filing everyone's reactions."
Melissa nodded and smiled a bit. "That's true. Suspect 4 – well, Emma's obvious. All those crazy practical jokes she plays...she's always trying to make her next joke better than the last, and recently she's been doing way too many outdated ones."
A smirk appeared on Chloe's face. "My turn to talk. You're the fifth suspect."
"Yeah, yeah." Melissa said in a bored tone. "So tell, Chloe. What's my motive?"
"Boredom." Chloe answered. "Since when did we last have anything to investigate? Bindi's mother wasn't even sure if you still had the business. You needed something to pick up, and this might very well be your work, just to show that your girl detective business is not useless."
Melissa shrugged. "Your theory works, I suppose. But we're up to Taylor, and personally, I have a feeling it might be her. She was unusually dark, last night. Besides, she's the only one of my friends that I don't trust with all of my secrets."
"Didn't you once tell her that you thought someone was bipolar, and it somehow was all over the high school the next day?" Chloe remembered.
Melissa sighed. "Yes. But I still would find it hard to believe she'd go that far, even with this instinctual feeling. Oh well, I guess she's innocent until proven guilty."
At that moment, Melissa's mom called, and both girls ran out of the office before she'd have time to look in the room and see their secret detective work.
"You called?" Chloe said.
"Yes, I did." their mom said. "Chloe, when did you last put away anything? I swear, if you haven't cleaned anything in half an hour, I will stand over you while you do it. And Melissa, you said you have homework, so get that finished before you do anything else."
The two girls had to obey, although Chloe muttered something about "over-controlling" as she trudged to her bedroom.
But just as Melissa closed her maths book, finished, she heard a shuffle, and saw the door to her room close. In a second, she was up, but the intruder was gone. However, what was left was a note.
"Mel, I know it's you." the note said. "Keep out of this, Inspector Meyer. If you don't, you might well find that you've bitten off more than you can chew. See you later! Signed, Mercy Merciless."
Chloe ran into the room. "Did you get a note?" She herself held out a note. This one said "My associate may choose a dumb name, but I wouldn't. I'll be running this city, so keep out of it, Detective Chrome, and tell your sister, too. Signed, Stephanie Warner."
"Either, there's more than one suspect, or she has more than one personality." Melissa mused. "We better check out the handwriting, but first, do we have any clues?"
Chloe nodded. "I saw her climb out of the window, and she dropped this!" She held up a scratch card, unscratched.
Melissa looked at the handwriting. "Hmmm...similar. The scratch card points to Bindi, cause she's a risk-taker, or Amber, because she goes by too much movie logic, but the one who's most likely to confuse people like this is Courtney. Maybe Courtney's working with someone else and didn't have them write one of the notes. I could see her forgetting a detail like that."
The two girls went back to the office to think it through, and after an hour of thinking, Chloe absentmindedly scratched the card with no results. She sighed. "We need to send this to a lab and get the hand prints."
Melissa smiled. "Right, Chloe – I mean, Detective Chrome. We better do that now. If I remember correctly, it takes about a week for them to send one back, but if we haven't solved the case by then, it'll help. Let's just hope we will have."
Chloe shrugged. "As well as this was just a one-off, it won't matter."
"I hope it was." Melissa said anxiously, now that had occurred to her. "For everyone's sakes."
But as Melissa would discover the next day, it wasn't just a one-off.
The plot thickens. Who do you think is the most likely suspect, even without the clues? Please review!