Case of the Frozen Thermometer: An Emily Jones Solve-It-Yourself Mystery

by Cade, 10, from Illinois

Note to Parents: This is a fan mystery, written by a 10-year-old Clubhouse subscriber. To read a sample Jones & Parker mystery like the ones you'll find in Jones & Parker Case Files, check out The Case of the Headless Clown.

“All right, students, you’re dismissed,” our teacher said. “Remember we have a big test on Friday, so study hard.”

“Yes, Mr. Hoobler.”

“Whew,” my sidekick Matthew Parker said, as we walked to my locker. “I thought class would never end.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. “I could have peeled 59 potatoes in the time it took to get through grammar. When the lights blacked out, I thought for sure he’d excuse us from class.”

“Hey, is that Eugene? What’s he doing at our school?” Matthew asked.

We sprinted down the hall.

“Greetings, Emily,” Eugene said. “I am in particular need of your assistance.” He paused, clearly annoyed. “Your older brother has ruined my invention!”

“It’s not my fault,” Barrett insisted, stepping out of the science lab. “I followed your instructions perfectly.”

“I don’t wish to call you a liar, Barrett, but that is simply not possible.”

Matthew and I looked at each other. Whoever ruined Eugene’s equipment was in big trouble.

“So,” I asked, “what exactly did Barrett do?”

“He broke my invention!” Eugene shouted.

“Try explaining in more detail,” I said, as Matthew pulled out his notepad.

Eugene sighed. “Very well. Barrett wished to explore the principles of thermal conduction. . . .”

“I was measuring hot and cold water for science class,” Barrett clarified. “I put ice cubes in the freezer at 1:00, then moved them to a burner at precisely 1:30.” He pointed to the digital clock on the wall. “I even waited to watch it change from 1:29, so I could be as scientific as possible.”

“But how does Eugene fit into this experiment?” I said.

“I recently developed a digital thermometer that records changes in temperature over time.” Eugene explained. “The recording equipment ceases to function if left in extreme heat or cold for long periods.”

“So your thermometer breaks when the temperature changes?” Matthew asked.

Eugene shrugged. “It’s a work in progress. But if Barrett had followed my instructions, he should have removed it from the freezer within an hour.”

“And I did!” Barrett said. “You have to believe me.”

“Barrett, what did you do while the ice was in the freezer?” I asked.

“I played video games.”

Matthew and I looked at each other. We both knew Barrett lost track of time whenever he played Verminoids.

“I had to replay three levels after the blackout,” Barrett said.

“Could the power outage have somehow changed the freezer temperature?” I asked Eugene.

“Highly unlikely,” he said. “Electricity was restored mere seconds later.”

“Think, Barrett. Think hard,” I said. “Are you 100 percent sure you didn’t lose track of time?”

Barrett looked me straight in the eyes. “I promise you, Em. The clock said 1:30.”

Matthew and I glanced over our notes. Then I smiled.

“Well, Eugene,” I said, “there’s no need for a meltdown. It’s quite obvious what happened.”

Do you know how Eugene’s thermometer broke? Click here for the solution.

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