A Summer To Remember - The Mystery of the Fire

The Bob-Whites have solved their second case after finally being reunited. They are safe and happy and looking forward to the rest of their summer. But when the Wheeler's old home goes up in flames, what extent will Trixie and her friends go to to find the culprit? And has their summer back together been ruined for good? Book 3 of the Bob-Whites Summer series.

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8. Two Truths and a Lie

Chapter 8. Two Truths and a Lie

By the time Trixie and Jim had reached the wheelers hotel room, Sergeant Molinson had already seated himself in the lounge room in front of the coffee table with his recorder at the ready. Mathew Wheeler sat opposite him, looking at some printed sheets of paper Sergeant Molinson had given him.

'Trixie, Jim.' Honey ushered the couple over to where she stood near the lounge rooms only wood fire.

'What have we missed?' Jim asked his sister as they seated themselves on the ground, absorbing the heat that the wonderful fire gave off.

'Not a lot. Sergeant Molinson just explained Trixie's theory to Daddy and is now showing him printouts of the website and of the history, bio, etcetera.' Honey answered.

'Has Amy had any hits on what Mad Strangers identity is?' Trixie questioned.

Honey shook her head, 'as far as I know, no.'

There was a sudden loud beep that interrupting the groups conversation. Sergeant Molinson switched on his recorder, 'Interview 1 Mr Mathew Wheeler,' he said into the microphone, then sat the recorder down. 'Alright, so, Mr Wheeler, when did you join this site?' Sergeant Molinson asked.

'Only about a month ago, it was only for a bit of fun really.' Honey's father answered coolly.

'And when did you first come into contact with 'Mad Stranger'?'

'After a week, he messaged me on the site, sending a request for a round of chess. I accepted, not thinking anything of it.' Matt replied.

'Did you know of Mad Strangers ranking of Grandmaster?' Sergeant continued.

Matt shook his head. 'No, I never bothered to look into my opponent's information of history. I just play.'

At that moment Mrs Wheeler came in carrying a tray with Coffee on it. She set it down on the table and smiled before taking a seat next to her husband. Mathew raised an eyebrow at his wife and she whispered two words to him that made him chuckle, 'room service.'

'Thank-you, Mrs Wheeler. Okay, what happened on your first game?' Sergeant Molinson continued, lifting his cup and taking a sip.

'Well, I beat him. I didn't think anything of it, but the next day I got another request, but this time it was for a rematch. I just accepted and played along again.'

'And did you win that round?' Sergeant asked.

Matt nodded, 'and the next 10 rematches he requested. Then it became like a daily activity. We would play a game of chess against each other and I won nearly every game. I just assumed that we were becoming friends.'

'Hmm, do you know anyone who you think could be Mad Stranger?'

Matt shook his head, 'No. But since he is the best chess player of however many countries, couldn't you just look up who that is?'

'We would like it to be that easy, but all the contests are done virtually, so over the internet, and this person has always had the same name. They are still completely anonymous.'

'Oh.'

Trixie thought about all this new information. It didn't really help a lot with the case, but it was a start.

'This is going to sound rude, and I apologise if you are offended, but did you at all try to stir up the other player by bragging about your wins or in any other form?' Sergeant Molinson asked, his expression unreadable.

'No it's fine, you must ask all you can to find the culprit and get Regan back. No I didn't stir them up, or at least I didn't purposefully try to. I said a few things here and there like "back for more?" but I didn't mean it in anything more than as a joke.'

'Okay, well I think those are all the questions we have for now. I may need to talk with you further about this situation in the future. Until then, please just stay in your motel and make sure not to be out alone. Same goes for your wife and children. You should also call anyone back at your home who are close to you and let them know what is going on and tell them to keep inside and stay safe. We will alert nearby police stations to make sure they keep an eye on them.'

'Thank-you Sergeant. I'm still so shocked about this. I never thought players would take loosing so personally.'

Trixie suddenly jumped up, 'Personally!' She shouted.

Sergeant looked at her and squeezed his eyes shut, 'Trixie…'

'No, wait. Mr Wheeler, is there anyone you know personally that may have been interested in chess that could possibly have a grudge against you?'

There was a sudden flash of something on Mathews face, but it was gone as quickly as it appeared. He straightened up and smiled, 'No, I don't believe so.'

Trixie nodded, 'okay. It was worth a try.'

'Alright, thankyou Matt, that's all.' Sergeant said turning off the recorder.

Trixie knew the look Mathew had had on his face before he answered her. It was one of realisation. Trixie was almost positive that Mr Wheeler had lied to her, but for what reason?

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