One evening as I sat in my study polishing my chains, I heard quick footsteps followed by a knock on my door. Opening it, I saw Professor Dybendahl, the headmaster of HOL.
“Why, Professor Dybendahl, what brings you here?” I asked graciously.
“Filtch!” hissed the headmaster, looking angry as a mountain lion. “Something terrible has happened! The portraits…”he trailed off.
“The portraits? What about them?” I asked.
“A criminal! An abnoxious student! A joker painted pink moustaches on all of my portraits of former headmasters!” he said dramatically.
“Well, let’s go investigate!” I said at once, my jowls a quiver. The headmaster and I walked quietly up to his office where indeed I saw that he was true. Each and every portrait of former headmasters was decorated with a stringy pink moustache. As soon as we entered the room, the portraits started yelling.
“Get us out of these!”
“They’re ruining our works of art!”
“A disgrace to the headoffice of HOL!”
“Who did this?” said Professor Dybendahl calmly, but his voice was heard clearly over the shouting.
“A girl! A young girl, only in first or second year.” said the portrait of Armando Dippit. “She used the tip of her wand to apply the paint and then she laughed…and…and…and just left.” He finished rather weakly and continued to attempt to rub the pink smudge of his face.
“We cannot get them off!” said another. “We need to find the criminal at once!”
“Mr. Filtch?” asked the professor, “Would you investigate this for us?”
…And that’s how it all got started. I spend over a week scouring the canvas of the portraits, finally resorting to asking Professor Rictusempra to remove the moustaches by magic. The next week I spent stuck in the headmaster’s office, questioning portraits and drawing up a suspects list. Just the fact that a first or second year female committed the crime wasn’t enough—that meant that hundreds of students could have done it. I found out that the girl had brown curly hair and was tall with green eyes. This brought the number down to about one hundred. It wasn’t until I spoke with the portrait of old headmaster Fortiscue that I came up with a good solid list.
“The girl wore a white nightgown with pink frills and white slippers and a pink ribbon in her plat.” he said. “There were two girls with her. I recognized one to be Lisa Bard, but the other stayed in shadow, so I couldn’t see her face.”
I spent the rest of the day tracking down every first, second, and (just in case) third year girl in HOL. Only about fifty owned a white nightgown with pink frills AND a pink hair ribbon AND white slippers. Only 5 of those girls fit the appearance of the girl described to me by the portraits. That evening, I went back and spoke with Fortiscue’s portrait.
“This is what I found.” I said, holding my suspect list up so he could see. It took him a moment to respond, due to the fact that he was in the process of removing a pink speck from his cheek.
“Now, I know for a fact it was not Sofia Maat. That girl has a missing front tooth and the girl who painted the moustaches didn’t have any missing teeth. So that leaves you with Marguerite Davenport, Masha Maifoy, Adeleine Cromwell, and Mia Phoenixfeather.”
The next week I used some deductive reasoning to conclude that Masha Maifoy was too short to reach any of the portraits in the headmaster’s study. She was too young to know a levitating spell and didn’t own a stepstool. The two other girls with her were reported to stay in the corners of the room keeping guard at the door. They couldn’t have helped her reach them. Mia, Adeleine, and Marguerite still remained in question. There was only one thing left to do—and that was to speak to the three girls.
Once they were closeted in my office and sitting cross legged on the floor I entertained them with a speech that lasted exactly one hour fifty three minutes and seven seconds. It concluded with the star question, the important question, the question that would determine their destiny!
“Which one of you owns a bucket of paint!?” I squealed. Adeleine laughed.
“Now, Mr. Filtch, even if any of us owned a bucket of pink paint we wouldn’t tell you because you would turn us in!”
“I don’t take cheek, Cromwell!” I yelled. “5 points from Ravenclaw.” This shut her up and I continued. “If you won’t tell me I’ll just have to call Professor Dragonfly to give me some Veriteserum!” A quarter of an hour later, Professor Dragonfly and a small bottle of clear liquid were also in my study. The professor first had Marguerite drink.
“Now, darling.” said Dragonfly, “Do you own a bucket of paint? If so, which color is it?”
“I own a bucket of blue paint that I purchased in Hogsmead for a Divination class.” Next came Mia.
“I own a bucket of pink paint and a bucket of yellow paint.” she said. I sat up at once, looking eager.
“Not so fast!” said Professor Opal to me. She turned to Mia, “Did you paint the moustaches on those priceless portraits?”
“No.” she said simply, under the influence of the potion.
“Then it is you!” I said pointing up to Adeleine.
“Nooooo!” said Adeleine as she attempted to run from the office.
“Inpedimenta!” shouted Opal before she could move. She forced the potion down her throat. “Did you paint moustaches on the headmaster’s priceless portraits, Addy?”
“Yes. I did it on a dare from my friend Lisa. She was just kidding, but I took it seriously. She told me to creep into the office and to do something to the headmaster. I painted moustaches. I got the idea from a Prophet article I saw on April Fools pranks.”
“GOTCHYA!” I shouted, with glee! Argus Filtch had solved the crime!
Official HOL Crime Form:
Name: Adeliene Cromwell
Investigator: Argus Filtch
Points Earned (in all): 455
Points Docked (in all): none
Crime: Painting pink moustaches on headmaster portraits.
Sentence: -100 points from Ravenclaw, Toad taken away, banned from Hogsmead weekends for rest of school year, 5 detentions with Professor Llewellyn, hung by ankles in caretakers office for five hours