Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
October 2022
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Another Max Gaetanno Mystery

Detective Max Gaetanno was vacationing this summer with his wife when he pulled off the highway to get gas. While he was outside filling the tank his wife was watching Max intently. There he stood almost in a daze, his eyes glued to the rear of the car that was being refueled directly in front of theirs.

“What’s the matter, Maxi?” she asked.

“I don’t know for sure,” he replied, “but there’s something fishy about that car in front of us.”

“Look’s perfectly normal to me,” she said.

“Well not to me!” He shot back. “I think it’s a stolen car. In fact, I’m going to call my partner back at the station house, and I’m going to have him run that plate number and I’ll bet it won’t match the year, make and model of the car that it’s attached to.”

The question very simply is: What did Max notice that made him suspicious?

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21 guesses to Another Max Gaetanno Mystery


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  • Eric Michaels

    I’d say that the probably thief was using a different fuel than should have used.

  • Dude

    Excellent guess, Eric, but not the answer we’re looking for. Keep trying.

  • Paul

    The license plate gave it away. The car had a personalized license plate identifying an obviously different make and model of car, e.g., “VWBUG”, when the car was actually a Cadillac Escalade.

  • Dude

    Excellent guess! You’re on the right track. The answer is not that obvious but you are definitely in the right direction.

    Keep guessing.

  • charles johnstone

    the license plate had a police registration on it, the registration that was associated with max’s station and he didn’t recognise it?

  • Dude

    Great guess! You’re on the right track. It’s definitely a license plate issue.

    Keep trying.

  • charles johnstone

    the license plate stated the year in which the car was made but max knew that the car was a new model and was not designed in the year indicated on th e license plate

  • Dude

    Nope, that’s not it. Keep trying.

  • charles johnstone

    OMG, is there anywhere here I can just get the answer LOL?

  • charles johnstone

    the license plate was drawn with a magic marker?

  • karma6x3

    I was once told but it may just be an urban myth in California, they’re is a trick with license plates where. Number Letter Letter. Or Number Letter Number in the first 3 digits of the license plates can tell you what type of vehicle ones driving, loosely. Like car or truck.

    Also some license plates even have that they’re a truck right on the label.

  • Dude

    All great guesses, none of them are correct, however.

    License plate is the clue, so keep guessing.

  • The car was dirty. The license plate was clean. Or vice-versa.

  • Dude

    Closest answer yet, but … no cigar!

    Keep trying.

  • Eva

    There was no license plate?

  • GentlemanGuessing

    The numberplate was old, yet the screws used to attach it to the car were new.

  • Dude

    You are good at this GentlemanGuessing. You are correct!!! It was the screws.

  • Crabman

    I just got a used, newer car at a dealer. Traded in my old one. After the purchase, I met with Registries/Insurance and transferred it to the new car. Before driving away, we removed the license plate from the old car and used the new screws to put it on the newish one. Its a good thing Max called in rather than bother the good people.

    My detective skills suggest to me that Max is divorced now because his wife got tired of never being able to take a vacation since everything looks like a crime to Max.

  • Crabman

    I traded in my old car recently when I bought a much newer used one at a dealer. Switched insurance & registration to new one. Before I drove away we moved the old plates to the new car with new screws.

    My detective skills suggest Max is divorced because his wife got tired of him spending the whole vacation looking for crimes to solve, even when there’s no good evidence one occured.

  • Crabman

    Ah crap. I mean crab. I didn’t think my first post committed, so retyped it. Which is now resulting in a third explination post. All on a mystery that’s already “solved”

  • It’s OK to answer riddles that are already solved Crabman. I am simply glad you are having fun.