Thief offers food for thought
We LEARNED last Monday how narratives are written to entertain readers. Stories come in all shapes and sizes. They can be based on real life or totally made up by the writer.
Today we will look at a mystery narrative. This piece of writing presents a mystery to the reader and shows how characters try to solve it. Often the mystery is solved in the narrative. But sometimes writers leave the mystery unsolved. This is called a cliff-hanger. Read the extract below from a mystery narrative and see if you can work it out.
Mystery of the Missing Food
The principal of the secondary school in Mongkok was perplexed. Food was going missing from pupils' bags. They had no lunch to eat. It had been going on for several weeks.
When it first happened, the principal suspected other pupils. But after he questioned them all, he was convinced it was not them. Who could be taking the food? It was a mystery.
Teachers began to watch the pupils more carefully to see whether they could find any clues. One day, all the sweet things went missing. Teachers thought this meant the thief had a sweet tooth. Then all the meat sandwiches were taken. Could the thief be a meat lover? It was all very confusing.
One of the pupils had a plan. 'Let's watch the bags,' said Danny. 'And then we'll see who is taking the food. We will take turns.' So every day, the pupils watched. They had to write down the names of everyone who went past the bags.
After a week, they still had not discovered who the thief was. Food was still going missing. Danny said: 'Let's see the list of people.' Danny noticed that the school secretary's name appeared many times. 'I wonder why the school secretary spends so much time near the bags,' he thought to himself. It did seem strange. The next day Danny asked the secretary what her favourite food was. 'Now then, let's see,' she said. 'I love jam sandwiches.' Danny began to think.
When he told his friends about the secretary, they laughed. 'Why should she take our food?' asked Mary. 'And she is very thin, so she doesn't eat much food anyway.'
Just as the bell went for lessons a dog wandered into the playground. The dog belonged to the caretaker. 'That dog used to be thin,' said Danny. Now it is fat. I think I know what's happened. I think I know who committed the crime.
perplexed (adj) - confused
to suspect (v) - to believe without proof
clue (n) - something that helps solve a mystery
thief (n) - someone who steals
to wander (v) - to move around without any purpose
crime (n) - serious wrongdoing which is against the law
1. Who do you think Danny suspected of the crime?
2. Why did the pupils have no food to eat?
3. Who did the teachers think had a sweet tooth?
4. Was the school secretary fat?
5. What used to be thin?
6. What does the school secretary like in her sandwiches?
When you write a mystery story, one convention is to use questions. Find the questions in the text and complete the following sentences.
7. Who could be taking __________?
8. Could the thief be __________?
9. I wonder why _________________.
10. Why should she _____________?
It was food that was going missing. Identify the following types of food from the list below and write the answers in the crossword.
List: vegetable, rice, pork, onion, fruit, chocolate, fish
1. Meat that comes from a pig
2. Carrots are a type of __________
3. Small white grains
4. An apple is a type of this
5. A garoupa is type of _______
6. This makes you cry when you peel it
7. This is made from cocoa beans and is sweet
Answers: 1. the school secretary; 2. someone was taking the food from their bags; 3. the thief; 4. no, she was thin; 5. the caretaker's dog; 6. jam; 7. the food; 8. a meat lover; 9. the school secretary spends so much time near the bags; 10. take our food
Crossword: 1. pork; 2. vegetable; 3. rice; 4. fruit; 5. fish; 6. onion; 7. chocolate