“Somebody stole my whistle!” the bus conductor tells the driver as soon as the bus turns towards the highway. “I want to check everyone and retrieve my whistle.”
“Relax sir,” Alfred Bates says as he puts down the newspaper. “I can help you find the culprit if you let me.”
“Just because you are sitting in the front row doesn’t mean I can trust you… who are you?” the bus conductor asks.
“It doesn’t matter who I am,” Bates replies. “What matters is that I am the only one on this bus who can help. Shall I?”
“But why can’t I stop the bus and search all?” the bus conductor continues on the option.
“That would do you no good because as soon as the bus would stop, the person would throw your whistle outside,” Bates explained. “And I don’t think you would ever want to put a whistle in your mouth that has touched the dust.”
“Please help me,” the bus conductor agrees to let Bates find the whistle. “What I can tell you now is that the culprit sits in the outer row of the right hand side of this bus and the person who took you whistle is left-handed,” Bates begins his deduction.
“How can you say that?” the conductor asks.
“It’s a very simple piece of deduction,” Bates says. “I see you keep your whistle in your pocket instead of carrying it around your neck.”
“Yes I do. So?”
“So had the culprit been a right-hander, he would have had to move a little more than a leftie,” Bates explains. “Such a move would certainly have attracted attention of the fellow passengers but since it didn’t, it means the person was a leftie.”
“What should I do now?” the bus conductor asks helplessly. “Keep performing your routine, and allow me to handle the theft,” Bates says as he stands up to face the passengers.
“Dear all, Mr Conductor wants us to watch Lord of the Rings which I have seen repeatedly,” Bates announces. “I have asked him to consult you before putting the film on. All in favour of the movie, raise your hands!”
Every passenger raised his/her hand, including one in the right hand side of the bus, whose left hand was raised.
“You can search that boy, Mr Conductor and I am sure you will find your whistle in his left pocket,” Bates tells the conductor, before turning to the passengers. “I just realised there is no TV on the bus, so we can’t watch any movie.”
The disappointed passengers go back to their work and the whistle is recovered from the left-handed culprit.
“You never told me your name?” the bus conductor asks Bates.
“I am Alfred Bates, and I solve problems,” the detective replies.”
“How did you know that people would raise hands for Lord of the Rings?” the conductor asks again.
“I didn’t know. I was just testing their intellect and like all teenagers and adolescents, they also love the movie!” Bates says as he goes back to reading the newspaper.