We had a bit of a "Who done it?" mystery in the monastery this past week. Every evening the tomato plants would be watered and "put to bed" (their light would be turned off). The following morning three of them would be dead. This went on for about three days (read: nine dead plants) before Sister Mary Marple concluded her investigation.
The evidence was baffling. Each plant was healthy and strong at night and by morning they all died the exact same way: they appeared to be pinched in half at the point where the stem meets the soil. The root ball on each plant was healthy and strong; the leaves were large and strong-looking but the plant was dead. Was someone sneaking into room 212 and snapping the plants in half? Was there a small mammal visiting the nursery nook at night and stepping on the plants?
Sister Mary Marple talked to all the remaining plants about the incidents. She inspected the healthy plants, studied their stems, and examined their leaves, and questioned them thoroughly. Upon visiting the third and final tray of plants, our crime-solving sister found the culprit in the tray: one large and very overfed beetle. The stem-savoring scarab had munched his way through each of the nine plant stems and drowned in the overflow from the tomato plants' evening watering. Since Sister Mary Marple's investigation, no tomato plants have perished. She may not be the crime-buster that Sister Mary Raphael is but she disposed of the accused insect and reassured the remaining plants of their safety.