Case 4 - Vivaldi's Rosin

Sheryl and I were sitting in our newly acquired clubroom, waiting for someone to walk in with a new case for us. Outside was a sign that proudly said 'After-School Detectives', made by an equally proud Sheryl Holmes.

It was a small clubroom. There was a table in the middle, which was surrounded by four chairs, and an empty shelf. We should probably fill up the shelf one day, but today, we were just sitting in the clubroom, waiting.

I was sitting on one of the chairs, trying to read a book. However, I couldn't concentrate at all because right across from me was Sheryl playing on her recorder.

Or, at least, she was trying to. Every few notes that she played was followed by a mistake.

It went on like this for fifteen minutes or so before I set my book down and asked her, "What are you doing?"

"Playing the recorder, of course."

"But why?"

"Because, that's why."

Sheryl continued trying to play whatever song she was trying to play. I looked at her, trying to figure out what was going on. It couldn't be that she was trying to... "You know that Sherlock Holmes played the violin, not the recorder, right?"

"Yeah, but I don't know how to play that..." Sheryl pouted.

Of course, as always, she was trying to emulate her hero.

I sighed and asked, "What were you trying to play anyways?"

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. What do you think of it so far?" Sheryl asked with a huge grin on her face.

That was supposed to be Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? It didn't sound anything like it! Of course, I wasn't going to say that, so all I said was, "Er, it's alright. You need more practice though."


Sheryl went back to playing and I went back to desperately trying to figure out how the notes that were being played fitted into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Why did I encourage this cacophony?

Luckily for me, there was a knock on the door. Sheryl stopped playing and said, "Come on in!"

Samantha walked in along with Matthew, another classmate of ours. Smiling, Samantha greeted us, "Hi Sheryl, hi James, I have a case for you!"

"It's Holmes!" yelled Sheryl, in another attempt to get people to start addressing her by her surname.

Matthew placed his violin case down, which made Sheryl flash a look of jealously, and then he greeted us as well, "Hi James, hi Sheryl."

Sheryl was about to yell out her surname again, but I interrupted her and said, "So Matt, what's up?"

Matthew and Samantha both took a seat, and Matthew began, "Well, you guys know how we all have to perform in Mr. Brown's music class in a couple of days. I'm going to be playing the violin for my performance."

"Cool!" said Sheryl, her interest piqued, "Can we hear some of it right now?"

Matthew's hands clenched into fists. "That's the thing, I'm not ready!"

We all stared at Matthew for a moment, surprised by his outburst. Then, I said, "Well, um, you can practice more, I guess?"

"I've been practicing like crazy, but it's just not good enough!"

"Well...," Sheryl began, "What do you want from us then?"

"It took a while, but Mr. Brown finally told me how to make my performance better. He told me about Vivaldi's rosin."

Sheryl raised an eyebrow, "Vivaldi? Rosin?"

Matthew explained, "Rosin is what we apply to the bows of stringed instruments, like a violin, so that the bow can grip the strings properly and produce a clear sound when played. And Vivaldi was one of the greatest violinists who ever lived. According to Mr. Brown, Vivaldi used a special kind of rosin that has been passed down from great violinist to great violinist. It's said to be a legendary rosin that will make your violin sound absolutely perfect, and it will make your bow sparkle!"

Again, we stared at Matthew, trying to digest the story. Finally, I said, "So you want us to find-"

"I need you to find this rosin for me!"

"Okay!" Sheryl jumped up, excited. "The After-School Detectives are on it!"

"Thank you." Matthew got up. "I'm going home to keep practicing, please let me know as soon as you find it."

Matthew left the clubroom, but Samantha stayed behind. "Can... I help you guys?"

"Sure!" said Sheryl. "I didn't know that you were into mystery solving."

"Well..., I'm not... really," Samantha was sort of blushing now.

I raised an eyebrow and said, "You like Matt, don't you?"

Samantha's face turned red and she jumped out of her chair. "I do not!"

Sheryl and I both gave Samantha disbelieving stares.

"I mean, of course I like him! But-" Samantha's face was somehow still turning redder, "But only as a friend! I don't even know why I asked! Forget it!"

Samantha turned around to leave, but unfortunately, she tripped on the leg of the chair and fell down.

"You okay?" asked Sheryl.

Samantha stood up, shouting, "I'm fine!" as she stormed out the door.

After Samantha had left, Sheryl stood up and punched a fist straight up into the air. "Let's go find this rosin!"

I looked as she kept still in the same position for a few moments, and then I sighed and said, "You have no idea where to start, do you?"

Sheryl's hand dropped back down and she said, "No..."


"Ah!" Sheryl yelled out in frustration as we walked out of the fifth music store that we had visited. Nobody there had heard of this rosin either.

The sun was setting now, and we have had no luck in finding this legendary rosin.

I yawned and said, "It's getting pretty late, I think we should head home and regroup tomorrow."

"We can't give up yet!"

"Sheryl, we've been on the Internet, we've been to the library, we've been to five music stores, and none of them have even heard of this legendary rosin. I'm beginning to think that there's something weird going on here."

Sheryl crossed her arms and smirked, "Why, it's elementary, my dear James."

I stood there, waiting for Sheryl to continue.

After a pause, I sighed and said, "You have no idea, do you?"

Sheryl uncrossed her arms and her smirk faded into a frown. Then she sheepishly said, "I was hoping that I would have came up with an idea by the time I finished that sentence..."

I yawned again. "Let's call it a day and talk to Mr. Brown tomorrow, maybe he'll give us more details."

Sheryl's face brightened up now that we had a plan. "Okay!"


"Legendary rosin?" Mr. Brown looked at us with a puzzled look. Then, a light bulb went off in his head. "Oh! Did Matthew tell you about it?"

"Yeah! He told us that it was used by Vivaldi, and that it'd make your bow sparkle!" said Sheryl, excited that we were getting somewhere.

"Eh...," Mr. Brown looked at us with a puzzled look again, "All I said was that there was this legendary rosin that all violinists used."

Sheryl slammed her hands onto the table."Then how come we can't find it and no one else has heard of it?"

"Well..., you can't really find it."

Sheryl was taken aback by the comment, "What?"

I sighed and placed my head in my palm, "This is one of those 'it's already in your heart' things, isn't it?"

Mr. Brown sheepishly admitted it, "Yeah..."

"Why would you tell someone that?!" Sheryl demanded.

"Well, he's been hounding me for the past few weeks, trying to get me to tell him how to play better. I keep telling him that it's going to be fine, but he wouldn't listen, so I told him about the rosin. I figured that he would figure it out and get a confidence boost."

This became one of the rare times that Sheryl was completely speechless.

I thanked Mr. Brown for his time, and dragged a completely shocked Sheryl out of the classroom before she burst into anger.


"What do you mean, 'I already have it'?!" Matthew demanded.

We were in the clubroom again (Matthew, Sheryl, Samantha, and I) and I had just told Matthew what Mr. Brown had told us.

"As in, 'it's in your heart'," I replied, fairly upset that I even had to say such a line. "Mr. Brown meant that you could already play well."

Matthew clenched his hands into fists again. "But I-"

"Look," I interrupted him, "Why don't you play for us, and we can see if you have this legendary rosin or not."

Samantha nodded, and so did Sheryl, but her nod was an angry nod.


Matthew lifted up his violin case and placed it onto the table. He took out his bow and applied rosin to it. He took out his violin and tuned it. Then, when he was ready, he placed the violin between his head and his shoulder and started playing.

From his violin, a beautifully played song came out. For the few minutes that he played, the room was filled with wonderful music.

We sat there for a moment after he had finished playing.

Unable to hold back her mixture of anger and joy (because Matthew did play pretty well) any longer Sheryl exclaimed, "You're fine!"

"Really?" Matthew blushed a little.

"Yes, you were great!"

Samantha and I nodded in agreement.

Matthew blushed again. He put away his violin and headed towards the door, "Thanks guys! You really did find the legendary rosin for me!"

As soon as Matthew headed out of the room and the door had closed, Sheryl said, "Of course, it turns out that he can play beautifully already!"

"Isn't that a good thing?" asked Samantha.

"Aaaaah!" Sheryl buried her head in her arms and slumped onto the desk. "It is. But we were out there running around for the entire afternoon for nothing!"

Sheryl began telling Samantha what happened, and I left the two girls to their conversation.

Outside the clubroom, I sighed and said to myself, "How ridiculous."


I entered the clubroom after-school the next day. Sheryl and Samantha were both already there.

"Hey James, listen to this!" Sheryl pulled out her recorder.

"Uh, okay." I reluctantly closed the door and sat down.

To my surprise, Sheryl managed to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Smiling, she said, "So, what do you guys think?"

"It was great!" Samantha said, excitedly.

"Yeah," I echoed.

"Thanks!" Sheryl smiled, proud of herself.

I looked over to the shelf and saw two folders there that weren't there the day before.

Curious, I picked one of them up and opened it. In it was a case file on the case that we just resolved. I picked up the other folder and opened it to find another case file, this time on the one where we found Samantha's cat.

"I see that you've found our case files," Sheryl peeked over my shoulders, "Samantha wrote them up. She's going to be logging our cases!"

"Oh, these are pretty good," I said. "Did you know that we had two more cases before yours?"

Samantha smiled and took a laptop out of her bag. "Tell me about them!"

I smiled. Well, I guess now we have something to fill up that shelf with.

I began telling Samantha about our cases, as Sheryl proudly played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star again.

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