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Yes, mystery lovers, read on! Our mystery unfolds all during the year in a continuing series posted monthly here on our Home Page…

In February we introduced our mystery. You met our narrator, young Brooklyn-based “Quilt Detective,” Mitzi McDruben, along with her faithful receptionist Ruthie, and able assistant, Raoul.

Mitzi took on her first quilt case: The Mystery of the Missing Quilt. Her mission? To find a missing quilt. Her time frame? Exactly eleven days. Her problem? No one knows what the missing quilt looks like!

In this month’s episode, Mitzi lets Ruthie help her out as she “interviews” realtor Eli Endberg.

Read a new mystery episode each month as Mitzi searches for clues leading to the missing quilt.

Following each episode, take the Secret Passage to receive your instructions for making or finding eleven different quilt blocks in EQ5 or EQ6.

During the final episode, Mitzi solves the mystery, and YOU discover how to put your blocks together in EQ5 or EQ6 to form a secret “Sky Lights” mystery quilt.

Our “Sky Lights” quilt was designed especially for EQ learning fun by Fran Iverson Gonzalez from Edmond, Oklahoma.

Our mystery series was written by Megan McMorris, a Free-lance author who lives in Portland, Oregon.

And now, grab your gumshoes. Tilt back your chair. But keep one eye on the door as you get ready to solve…The Mystery of the Missing Quilt!

Episode Eleven: The Lecture

We heard him before we saw him. Eli Endberg, Suspect Number Eleven, was shouting at someone as we approached his office.

I peeked around the corner to see him, with a phone headset on, gesturing madly at someone on the other end of the phone. Someone, apparently, who had paid his/her rent late.

“You know what I could rent that apartment for if you moved out?
A lot more than you’ve been paying!
I’m lucky if I get a rent check from you by the end of the month!!!
Other landlords wouldn’t be so forgiving, you know!”

He gestured for us to sit down as he continued his conversation.

“Yeah Eddie, that’s what you always say. Tell you what, you come down to my office and we’ll work something out, okay? Hey, I’ve got to go. I’ve got two young ladies in my office.”

I knew we were in trouble by the way he said “two young ladies.”

I was right.

I’d brought Ruthie with me for this case because she happened to have a friend who rents an apartment from Mr. Endberg himself (apparently, so does half of Manhattan — Raoul’s background research showed that the man owns more than just a few buildings).

We thought it would be more believable if Ruthie came along, pretending to want to rent an apartment at the reference of her friend.

Besides, Ruthie had worked hard on this case so far, and hadn’t been able to work in the field yet, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring her along. I just hoped that this wasn’t the suspect who would make things messy for us. I didn’t want Ruthie to be turned off to detective work on one of her first cases.

In the meantime, all we had to worry about was incessant talking. He hung up with his tardy tenant, ranting to us about how understanding he is and how he gets taken advantage of. We listened politely until he snapped to attention, realizing that there were two potential tenants sitting before him (or so he thought).

“So, how did you find me?” He leaned back in his chair and folded his arms.

Ruthie spoke up. “My friend Ann Andrews recommended you to me. She lives in your apartment on E. 82nd Street.”

“Oh yes, Ann. She’s a good girl. I helped her when her roommate moved out with her boyfriend. You see all these letters back here?” He pointed behind him.

How can you miss them? I thought to myself. It was clearly an “I love me” wall, complete with pictures (mostly of girls) of thankful tenants.

“All my tenants. Some of whom I’ve remained friends with long after they’ve moved out.”

The phone rang. “Why don’t you fill out this application while I get the phone,” he pushed two applications on clipboards toward us.

Time for some serious lying.

Meanwhile, Eli was putting someone on speaker phone. “Hello?”

“Hi, Eli this is Kristen Kallahan from 1700 1st Ave. returning your call?”

I pretended to concentrate on my “application” as I eavesdropped. With Eli, it wasn’t hard to eavesdrop between his booming voice and his speakerphone tendencies.

“Yes, Kristen what’s this that I hear your boyfriend is moving in with you there? Were you going to tell me this?”

“Oh yeah, I just haven’t had the chance. Do you want us to come over to put him on the lease?”

“Well, as I recall, you and your roommate Maggie signed a lease with me. Now that your boyfriend is moving in and she’s moving out, that basically means that you’re breaking the lease, am I right? Don’t you think that you should have told me about this?” He looked at the speakerphone intently.

“I was going to, Eli, I’ve just been busy. What do you want us to do?”

“What I want you to do, Kristen, is to realize that he’s responsible for paying his half of the rent, and that Maggie is going to be responsible if he doesn’t pay!” He got up from his desk and started pacing.

“I don’t want his name to be on the lease.
I don’t want to get rent checks from him, either.
You and Maggie are on that lease, okay?
I want to get checks only from you, okay?”

“Okay, that’s fine.”

“Okay, then. I’ve got some ladies in my office. I’ll talk to you soon? Take care!”

“Thanks, Eli. Bye!”

He clicked the speakerphone off and looked at us. “Some people just think they can switch their roommates around without telling me, and that’s when they run into trouble, you know? Especially when these young ladies start moving in with their boyfriends and then they break up. That’s when the real problem starts. Let me tell you something…”

Uh oh. The phrase “let me tell you something” usually means trouble as far as I’m concerned. It means “let me tell you what I know and you don’t because you’re a girl,” to be more to the point. But I indulged him.

You never know — if we got him in a chatty mood, he may just want to share with us where the mystery quilt is!

“…What you girls don’t realize is that it’s important to be independent before you go moving in with a boyfriend.”

What a novel concept! I thought. Gee, you mean to say that I don’t need to be dependent on anyone? Golly geepers, do tell more.

I glanced at Ruthie as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Not one to hold her tongue, Ruthie was clearly trying hard to remain silent.

“I see all these young girls just moving right in with their boyfriends before they’ve had a chance to be on their own. And you know what happens? They call up Eli a few months later, begging me to find them another place because they’re breaking up! It happens 9 times out of 10, I tell you. There’s a great scripture in the Allah that talks of independence that you girls might learn something from.”

He opened his desk drawer and got out the thick book, flipping through. Is this guy for real? He doesn’t know the firstthing about us, and he decides we need to be taught something about life just because we’re female? Before I could say anything, Ruthie slammed her “application” down on his desk.

“Excuse me, Mr. Engbert, I just came here to apply for an apartment, not to get a lecture. Now if you’re done telling us how we need to be independent, if you could tell us about any apartments that would be great.”

Way to go, Ruthie! Although I thought the best method was to let him spew words on and on, she said exactly what was on my mind.

Eli looked up from his scriptures. And smiled. “Ah, an independent thinker, I like that! I like that a lot! Okay, we’ll save the lecture, as you say, for another time. I’m just trying to spread my knowledge of the world around. I see things you can only imagine, you know.”

Is one of those things the mystery quilt? I thought.

“Sorry about that, it’s just that I’m anxious to get an apartment and I just want to know if you have any available before we waste any more time,” Ruthie answered.

I found myself looking back and forth between Eli and Ruthie like I was watching a tennis match. Ruthie in action at last! It’s time I put her on more cases, I thought. I sat back, enjoying the discussion, thinking of Raoul, who was once again playing backup. The phone rang before he could get any words in, though.

“Hello?” He pushed speakerphone on.

“Eli, honey? Just wanted to see if you could bring over some milk when you stop by tonight.”

He snatched up the headset. “Hi mom,” his tone of voice had undergone a dramatic change from harsh to soft and he looked at us briefly, embarrassed. “Sure. Anything else you want me to bring? Okay.”

He continued, “Before I forget, Peter’s birthday is coming up soon. Are you almost finished with his quilt? Okay, I just wanted to remind you. I know, I know. Okay. Love you. Bye.”

My beeper went off as soon as he turned off the speakerphone. Eli looked up, surprised (it probably didn’t occur to him that a girl could have anything more important to do than listen to him rambling on). I stood up, offering my hand to shake across his desk. “Well, it’s been fun, Mr. Engbert, but I must be going. Do give us a call if you find an appropriate apartment, will you?”

He stood up, hands on hips. “Uh, sure. Will do. I’ll be in touch soon!” He was struggling to regain his previous aura of importance while trying to switch back from being caught as Mama’s boy in front of “ladies.”

Ruthie stood to go, waving as she joined me. “Bye!”

We headed down his hallway just in time to hear Eli’s voice answering another call, reasserting himself in the position of tough guy.

“What a weirdo!” Ruthie said once we got outside.

“Any bets on how long he would’ve kept us if my beeper hadn’t gone off?” I asked Ruthie.

“At the rate he was going, it would have been hours. Can you believe guys like that still exist?”

Raoul came up to greet us. “Way to go, Ruthie!” He hugged her and laughed. “You ruled!”

“I think we’ve got another detective in the making, Raoul.”

Ruthie stood there looking pleased with herself. “That was fun! I’d love to go on another case sometime!”

We started walking towards our office downtown. “Count on it. By the way, hot shot, what’s the clue, anyway?” I asked Raoul. I’m afraid my knowledge of quilt blocks was sorely lacking compared to Raoul, who pored over his xeroxed copies of blocks at every chance.

“Ah, none other than Peter’s Quilt!”

“But of course, but of course,” I stroked my chin, pondering. “But the real question is — who is Peter, and why does he need a quilt? It seems that the more answers we’re getting here, the more questions it’s bringing up. We have 11 suspects and have matched them up with their blocks, with only one to go. So why do I feel like we are still so far away from solving this thing? We just have to hope that the next clue will bring us directly to the mystery quilt.”

Raoul looked at me with a sly expression. “I have a feeling it will, Mitzi, I have a feeling it will.” He rubbed his hands together.

“You can be so dramatic sometimes, you know? Let’s go get some pizza and celebrate. For now, our work is done. Until we meet our next and final suspect, that is…”

To be continued…

Will Kristen Kallahan be happy living with her boyfriend?

Could Eli Endberg and his mother have conspired together to steal the mystery quilt for this mysterious Peter?

And, who is Peter, anyway? So many questions, so few answers, until next month, perhaps…

Mitzi puts the last quilt block into her clue list next month when she continues her search in the Mystery of the Missing Quilt.

Now YOU help Mitzi out by drawing the Peter’s Quilt block in EQ5 or EQ6. You’ll find step-by-step instructions in Mystery Quilt Lesson #11.