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Sales of this book benefit 826NYC

ion t a g i t s e v n I r of Murde l Most Fou Conducted by

Jon Scieszka (and YOU, the reader)

Copyright © 2013 by Soho Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Published in the United States in 2013 by Soho Teen an imprint of Soho Press, Inc. 853 Broadway New York, NY 10003 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Who done it? : an investigation of murder most foul / conducted by Jon Scieszka and you, the reader. p. cm “A serial act of criminal literature to benefit 826NYC.” ISBN 978-1-61695-152-8 (alk. paper) eISBN 978-1-61695-153-5 1. Authors—Fiction. 2. Authorship—Fiction. 3. Humorous stories. I. Scieszka, Jon. PZ5.W6234 2012 [Fic]—dc23 2012033468 Interior design by Janine Agro, Soho Press, Inc. Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Dearest Friend, You Are Invited To A Gathering! Where:

The Old Abandoned Pickle Factory


Eight pm sharp

Why:  Because if you don’t attend, I will have to tell the world everything I know about you. ( Yes: everything.) Your Boss/Superior/Editor, Herman Q. Mildew

Introductory Interrogation by Jon Scieszka


adies and gentlemen . . . and I use those terms loosely because I know you are all writers and illustrators . . . we have a bit of a situation. You were all invited to this party tonight because of your relationship with Mr. Herman Q. Mildew. Some of you were not fond of him. Others of you could not stand him. Most of you completely hated his guts. Mr. Mildew brought you to this abandoned pickle factory because he had something to tell you, something that he thought might make you very mad. And he wanted to see all of you freak out live and in person. But that is not going to happen. You see . . . Mr. Herman Q. Mildew is no longer with us. He shuffled off this mortal coil, took the long walk off the short pier, has gone to glory, gave up the ghost, cashed in, checked out, kicked the bucket, went bye-bye. He is now a corpse, a cadaver, dearly departed, a stiff. The problem? Each and every one of you had a reason to send Mr.

john scieszka

Herman Mildew to the Great Beyond. You are all suspects in his demise. And it is up to me—and the keen reader holding this book—to figure out: Who done it? As you well know, Herman Mildew was not a nice man. He was mean, arrogant, loud, large, obnoxious, cruel to small furry animals, delusional, thoughtless, difficult, vulgar, negative, likely to take the last sip of orange juice and then put the empty carton back in the refrigerator, intolerant, sneaky, greedy, fond of toenail clippings and strong cheeses, hugely entertained by the misfortune of others, hateful, quick to anger, unforgiving, mean, gaseous, paranoid, belligerent, unreasonable, demanding, smelly, near-sighted . . . in short: an editor. Perhaps even your editor, or the editor of someone you admire. Some examples of his sadistic behavior, in no particular order: • H  e enrolled Dave Eggers in True Romance’s Book-of-the-Month Club. • H  e drew mustaches on all of Lauren Oliver’s author photos. • H  e told Mo Willems what he could do with the Pigeon. All this is true. So why did you accept this invitation? Never mind. The more important question is why a quick pat-down of this audience turned up: • 1 poison-tipped umbrella • 1 suitcase full of poisonous tree frogs 2

who done it ?

• 3 throwing stars • 1 noose, 1 candlestick, and 1 lead pipe • 2 snakes resembling speckled “friendship” bands • 1 frozen leg of lamb What? Me? Why do I have a piece of piano wire hanging out of my trench coat? Why . . . why . . . not because Mr. Mildew once forced me to play “I’m A Little Teapot” on the piano in front of hundreds of booksellers. And I wasn’t going to use it to strangle anyone in a most fitting way. I have piano wire because . . . because . . . because I was fixing my piano last time I was wearing this coat. I was just replacing the— Wait a minute! Our readers and I are running this investigation. We’ll ask the questions. And we want answers. We want alibis. Of course, before you begin, we are bound by law to advise you that you have the right to remain silent. But who are we kidding? You are (as mentioned) a bunch of writers and illustrators. You couldn’t remain silent if your life depended on it. You would sell your grandmother for an audience. So tell us your alibi. Convince us that you did not do in, cut down, rub out, bump off, put away, dispatch, exterminate, eradicate, liquidate, assassinate, fix, drop, croak, or kill the late, unlamented Mr. Herman Mildew.


List of Suspects* J.R. and Kate Angelella Mac Barnett



Lev Grossman Janet Gurtler

137 141

15 Judy Blundell 19 Liz Braswell 23 Libba Bray 27 Steve Brezenoff 29 Elise Broach 33 Peter Brown 37 Jen Calonita 41 Patrick Carman 45 Susane Colasanti 53 Elizabeth Craft 57 Melissa de la Cruz 61

F. Bowman Hastie III

Julia DeVillers

Barry Lyga

Jennifer Belle

and Paige Pooler Larry Doyle


Sarah Beth Durst Dave Eggers



Elizabeth Eulberg Helen Fitzgerald

91 Aimee Friedman 99 Margaux Froley 107 Claudia Gabel 111 Michelle Gagnon 115 Adam Gidwitz 121 Anna Godbersen 127 John Green 131 Gayle Forman

Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

151 Joanna Hershon 155 Mandy Hubbard 159 Emily Jenkins 163 Maureen Johnson 167 Lindsey Kelk 171 Jo Knowles 173 Gordon Korman 177 David Levithan 181 Sarah Darer Littman



Adam Mansbach




Leslie Margolis Julia Mayer

79 83 87


Geoff Herbach

and Ricardo CortĂŠs


Daniel Ehrenhaft

and Tillamook Cheddar


199 Mitchard 205

Barnabas Miller Jacquelyn

Sarah Mlynowski and Courtney Sheinmel Lauren Myracle Greg Neri




Jennifer A. Nielsen and Lisa Ann Sandell

231 Lauren Oliver 235 David Ostow 239 Micol Ostow 243 Michael Northrop

Alison Pace



Joy Preble Margo Rabb

249 253

Kiersten White Mo Willems

Lisa and Laura Roecker Marie Rutkoski




Rita Williams-Garcia


337 Ziegler 341 Zink 345

Maryrose Wood

Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg





Kieran Scott (occasionally Kate Brian) Alyssa B. Sheinmel Sara Shepard




281 Lemony Snicket 285 Jordan Sonnenblick 289 Natalie Standiford 293 Rebecca Stead 297 Todd Strasser 301 Heather Terrell 305 Ned Vizzini 309 Jennifer E. Smith

Adrienne Maria Vrettos Melissa Walker Robin Wasserman Lynn Weingarten


317 319 323

* For the record: Alphabetizing this list was my idea, to speed things up. I am assisting in this investigation only so I can leave the abandoned pickle factory as soon as possible. (It smells much more like “abandon” than “pickles,” I can assure you.) Also, there’s a special two-hour Ancient Aliens on the History Channel at midnight and my TiVo is on the fritz. Point being: I’m not trying to curry favor with Mr. Scieszka, if that is his real name. Okay, full disclosure: I’m a suspect too. But look at some of the other alibis. Not to point fingers, but David Levithan’s is in free verse. Gayle Forman’s is in “Twitter.” The team who wants toddlers to Go the F**k to Sleep is in rap-with-illustration, a format heretofore unknown. There’s even a Jack Russell terrier, Tillamook Cheddar, who offers her doggy art as proof of her innocence. And what of the suspects who conveniently implicate fellow suspects? (Lauren Myracle and sisters Sheinmel, are your ears burning?) I alphabetized so that you, the reader, can zero in on suspicious people of interest. Yes, I said “people” instead of “writers” or “illustrators.” Or even “canines.” I am in a generous mood. As long as I make it home by midnight. —Daniel Ehrenhaft

Who done it excerpt  
Who done it excerpt