Historias de Misterio y Detectives



The Case of the
Stolen Book

1m 51s - American English



(sound of telephone ringing) Hello.

When Dr. DeLator answered the telephone he heard the frantic voice of Ted Petrie, a rare‑book collector.


(over the telephone) A thief took the hinges off the door of one of my book cabinets and made off with a valuable 16th‑century manuscript. Can you come right over to my place?

Half an hour later, DeLator stood on the second floor of Petrie's home and examined the small, empty book cabinet. The glass door, unhinged, lay on the carpet.


I was downstairs watching television. I went to the kitchen for a bite to eat, and suddenly a man dashed down the stairs and out the front door. He was carrying the book. Of course I chased him. At the corner of Vine and Davis, I lost him in the crowd watching the St. Patrick's Day parade. I stopped at the first telephone booth and called you. I always keep the cabinet locked. I suppose the noise of the television kept me from hearing the thief at work upstairs.

At this point Dr. DeLator interrupted with a question:


The book is insured?


Yes, for a fortune. But money can't replace such a book!


Then I suggest you put it back. I don't believe a word of your story!

Source: English Teaching Forum


Why didn't Dr. DeLator believe Mr. Petrie's story?



Hello: this is the way most people in the United States answer the telephone. However, a receptionist or secretary for a business firm usually says Good morning or Good afternoon followed by the name of the firm or the name of the firm alone. In an office a person often answers the phone by saying his/her name.
frantic: excited, excessively agitated (agitada)
made off with: stole
(se robó)
come right over: come here immediately
(venga lo antes posible)
my place: my home
(mi casa)
second floor: one story above the ground floor. In the United States the ground floor is usually called the first floor
(segundo piso)
unhinged: with the hinges removed (arrancada de los cerrojos)
downstairs: on a lower floor; here, the first floor
(abajo, en el piso de abajo)
a bite to eat
: a little bit of food (algo para comer)
Vine and Davis:
Vine Street and Davis Street (Vine esquina Davis)

I lost him: I lost sight of him; I couldn't follow him because I didn't know which way he had gone (lo perdí de vista)
St. Patrick's Day parade: New York and some other cities that have many residents of Irish ancestry have parades on March 17 to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day
(desfile del Día de San Patricio)
the first telephone booth: i.e., the first public telephone that he found
(la primera cabina telefónica)
at work: working
upstairs: on a floor above; here, the second floor
(en el piso de arriba)
The book is insured?: Notice that the question is signaled only by intonation, without inversion of subject and verb. This might suggest that the speaker expects an affirmative answer
(¿el libro está asegurado?)
put it back: return it to its place
I don't believe a word: I don't believe any of it (no creo una palabra)

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