A Resentful Case

“Please get here quickly! I’m freaking out!”
What on earth could have her doing that, Miss Flanagan wondered, as she hit the road for Sandra Behan’s house.
Sandra was pointing at some jewellery on her kitchen table now and recoiling as if it were too hot to handle.
“It’s not mine and I’ve just found it in my handbag!  Someone must have planted it there to get me blamed for stealing it!”
Speaking calmly, Miss Flanagan asked Sandra to start at the beginning.
Sandra had just found the bracelet and ring that belonged to Yvonne Turner in her handbag. Yvonne had rang her the previous day to say that the items had disappeared from her windowsill by the sink during the make-up party that Yvonne had hosted and that Sandra had run.
Sandra had recently started this make-up party business enlisting women she knew to hold such an event in their homes and invite all their friends who might or might not buy make-up from Sandra on the night after she demonstrated the products.  

Sandra had been horrified, the day before, to hear that anything untoward had happened during the sales event but had said she knew nothing about it.  Now she had just found Yvonne’s property in her handbag! What on earth was going on?
“I’ll be blamed for taking it!” she wailed. “How can I ring Yvonne and say what I’ve found? She won’t believe I didn’t steal it!  And the Gardai won’t believe me either!”
Just then, Sandra’s phone rang and she went into the living-room to take the call.  She came back looking even paler.
“That was Ruby Kerrigan!  She hosted a party at her house a few nights ago.  She’s saying that a computer – a tablet – has disappeared since the party and she’s heard that Yvonne is missing stuff too. She’s as good as accusing me of using the parties as a front for nicking stuff!  This is a nightmare!”
Oh dear…

Miss Flanagan thought of how the jewellery had appeared in Sandra’s bag.  Who had planted it there?
“Let’s think about this logically.  You didn’t steal the items yet they were in your bag.  Does someone have a grudge against you, do you think?”
Sandra looked horrified.
“A grudge?  Like they hate me?  I don’t think so. I’ve never done anything to warrant that. God knows I try to help out in the community as much as I can, on committees and so on, to give something back, as they say.  It’s an awful thought that something could be trying to frame m me for a crime.”
“It is, but these things happen sometimes,” said Miss Flanagan before an unsettling thought struck her. Goods had disappeared from two houses and items had been planted in Sandra’s bag from one – had something else been planted and Sandra just didn’t realise it?
Sandra was horrified when Miss Flanagan suggested that she search all her boxes – and her car.
“I hope you’re wrong!”
“So do I, but we should check.”
Sandra stood there in shock.  They had just found a digital tablet underneath a display box of moisturizer bottles in the boot.  
“You’re sure it’s Ruby’s?”
“Yes.  She said it was in a pink spongy zip cover.  Who else’s could it be?”
“And you were at Ruby’s house when?”
“Tuesday night. Three nights ago…  This is dreadful.”
Miss Flanagan was thinking aloud.

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