Inspector Helmes and his trusty sidekick, Watkins, know they have their work cut out for them in solving the murder of Paddy O'Toole, the Grand Leprechaun. However, nothing can prepare them for the strange lineup of suspects they encounter at the annual Holiday Icon Convention.
No one would have ever expected foul play at the annual Holiday Icon Convention. In fact, security was at a minimum—only a few toy soldiers and a sworded nutcracker, at the most.
When Inspector Helmes arrived on the scene, the convention floor was in chaos: Old Man Winter was blowing off steam; Frosty was having a meltdown; Baby New Year was in the corner crying like…well, like a baby; and The Great Pumpkin was turning into mush. Panicked whispers resounded from every corner of the room, “Paddy’s been whacked! Paddy’s been whacked!”
Inspector Helmes turned to his trusty sidekick and muttered under his breath, “Watkins, have you ever seen such a collection of weirdos in your life?”
Watkins shrugged. “No sir, I haven’t. But, it is St. Patrick’s Day and you know how weird things can get with all the blarney and green beer being passed around.”
Helmes looked skeptical. “Green beer’s one thing, Watkins, but this place is crawling with lunatics. This may just turn out to be our most perplexing case yet.”
“I agree, sir,” Watkins replied, motioning toward the far end of the room where an entourage of stiff-looking soldiers had roped off a perimeter around a long mahogany bar. “I believe the body’s this way.”
The two made their way through the crowd, which consisted mostly of short, green-cloaked men all scurrying about in a hullabaloo. Inspector Helmes bent down to study the victim—a slight-built man with bright red hair and pointy ears. Like the wee people crowded around, he was dressed entirely in green, right down to his green argyle socks. Next to him was an overturned black pot and a broken whiskey bottle. The bottle’s edges were covered in a reddish-brown substance.
Watkins knelt down by the inspector. “It appears that the victim was hit over the head with that bottle.”
“It appears so, Watkins,” the inspector agreed. Using a pencil so as not to contaminate the scene, he lifted the victim’s top lip and peered into his mouth. “In addition to the contusion on the back of his skull, it looks like his nose has been broken and several of his front teeth knocked out. The force of the blow must have caused him to fall forward and hit his head against the edge of the bar.”
“Good observation, sir,” Watkins affirmed.
Inspector Helmes then tapped the overturned pot with the pencil. A hollow ping echoed back. “Completely empty,” he commented.
Exclamations broke out in the crowd. “His gold’s been stolen!”
Inspector Helmes stood and addressed the crowd. “This pot was full of gold?” he asked incredulously.
“Why of course,” responded one of the wee men. “He was Paddy O’Toole, the grand leprechaun…our leader. It’s only befitting that he would carry the pot of gold.”