Treasure Hunt

I wear sneakers on my way to and from work, and keep a pair of shoes at the office.

But this morning I arrived at the office to find my turquoise flats missing, and in their place, a piece of paper:


Did it fall out of a submission? Where were my shoes?!

I went to the website:



(The caption says, “MM: follow the star!”)

Ok, I am a little bit known for pranks around the office. Who left stick-on moustaches on all of the office’s wall art? Who hid a dozen donuts in a colleague’s files, papers, shelves, and desk, and then invited her department to interrupt her to look for them? Yes, it was me.

So I’m kind of due, right? However, I firmly believe that no amount of justified karma precludes revenge. Revenge is its own reward.

Next to my computer, one of our Christmas books, standing out of place on my desk. Hmm.


I open the book.

Post-it notes!


“Maybe everything…


“…leading to invisible…


“…shoes sits within…


“…a man who went to the far side of the moon. (first floor book room.)


“…marked above the number nine…


“…lies one non-verbal explanation.”

The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon is a Chronicle book (and a really good one, too, in case you’re looking for something about astronauts).

I hustle down to the first floor book room, where there is just one copy of The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon on the shelf (it’s the silver one you can’t read in this photo).



And on page 9, I find a piece of tracing paper with little circles on it:


The circled letters spell: “Go to the Library.” This is, of course, not a non-verbal clue. Is it a red herring? Did the orchestrator of this hunt just change his or her mind?

Blast it, it’s too early for all these stairs. Up to the fourth floor. I find one of our rolling easels, on which someone has been writing notes about our projected yearly gross revenue. But underneath that:


“MM: you’ll find what you’re looking for under the 3rd floor stairs.”

And I did. Down the stairs to the awards shelf, I find my shoes tucked in like little trophies. The happy ending:


And the happiest ending: REVENGE.

Melissa Manlove
Editor, Children’s

Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is a children’s book editor and, in her spare time, a bookseller.
Melissa Manlove



  • Cathy Mealey October 18, 2011 at 6:31 am

    A wild goose chase is fun when you can catch the goose at the end! Although I suspect there was a FLOCK of geese behind this one!


  • Joan Marie Arbogast October 18, 2011 at 8:10 am


    Love the playfulness in an office that works tirelessly to produce such wonderful books!

    Joan Marie Arbogast, NOHSCBWI PB Workshop attendee


  • se7en October 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    That is just so cool and you documented it!!! Really you work at the coolest place in the world!!! Fun, fun, fun!!!


  • Amy October 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I love a good treasure hunt! Thanks for sharing!


  • Molly E. Johnson October 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    What fun! I loved the chase. (:


  • Cate Jones October 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Fun, fun, fun! Good advertising as it gave me some ideas for book purchases. Clever way to do that, even inadvertently.


  • Helena Juhasz October 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Hilarious!! Nice shoes too. They look like they're worth the trek!


  • Jean Marie Miblen October 19, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Oh my! The last time a pair of my shoes were taken, I never saw them again! Consider yourself lucky Melissa – because I still have the scars to show what it means to walk 17 miles with no shoes!


  • Jamie Abram Lenin October 19, 2011 at 1:21 am

    You know, I am something of an amateur Treasure Hunter myself. Ever since those wonderful Dan Brown books, I can't get enough of clues, mystery and a good ole' whodunit! And I must say, that is a clever use of a title – 'Follow the Star' – because of course some of the best treasure hunts in history made use of astrology! I have to get that book now! Who ever set you on this quest knows a thing, or two.


  • Sonya Arron LeMort October 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Dan Brown is the perfect comparison to this treasure hunt–including those obvious details mocking readers in their very visibility and absence of secrecy. Didn't anyone else wonder why the layout of the text on those postits was so weird? That was bothering me until I realized the initials of those words spell Melissa's name. Did she realize that? I can't tell from this post.


  • Melissa Manlove October 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

    OMG, I did NOT notice that! Thank you for pointing that out.


  • Jamie Abram Lenin October 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Sonya! You are brilliant! I was wondering if there might be some clue layered within those clues! – the wording just seemed so strange and relatively indirect to be merely what they seem at first glance. Well done! Perhaps I would have seen it if I was not so distracted by that final clue…(I admit I am amateur at many things and professional at none) but from my former investigations into the art that is graphology, I could not help but notice that the message on the easel was likely written with the subordinate hand of the scribe!


  • Jamie Abram Lenin October 19, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Not to mention, even despite the complication of not being written by the dominant hand, that the letter strokes are decidedly feminine (that is of course making the assumption the scribe was educated in America within the past 47 years).


  • Sonya Arron LeMort October 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Oohhh, that makes sense. I was wondering why it was so scrawling. You must be right Jamie–there's no consistency between letters or anything. Look at the various types of R! The only shame is that there's no way of knowing the writer's dominant hand. To say it looks left-handed would be to assume the writer's right-. And we all know what happens when you assume.

    I'm curious, Jamie, what about these strokes says "female" to you?


  • Jamie Abram Lenin October 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Actually Sonya, we CAN assume (and given the evidence it is barely an assumption) that it was written with a left-sub-dominant hand, making the writer an actual right-hander. Did you notice the overall left & down slant (glaring in that 'H') ? That suggests, pretty strongly, an unaccustomed left hand. And as to the point about being the hand of a lady, it is the 'MM' in particular that gives it away. The curves and curls are indicative of that all-too-typical bubble lettering that you find most commonly on poorly written love-notes shoved in locker vents between English and French classes.

    (apologies for the tardy response, this afternoons geocaching excursion took longer than expected. But so worth it!)


  • Catherine October 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Whoa! This is quite an amazing hunt.


  • Sonya Arron LeMort October 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Sounds like you're a better amateur graphologist than detective! I buy all those arguments except the curls. To me, that's someone trying too hard to throw off the distinctly male musk surrounding this case by writing letters that "look girly." I say it's a red herring.

    One last thing: It does seem weird that someone so aesthetically conscious as to cut paper into an exact square would have been equally conscious about the way that handwriting looked. I guess I'm just surprised the same person who left the original note was okay with the sloppiness of that easel.


  • Jamie Abram Lenin October 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Sonya, I never called myself a detective. I resent your comment. So I am going to disregard it, and move on to your more pertinent points.

    I disagree that it was not written by the hand (regardless of right or left) of a woman. It was. I see how you (remind me where you studied graphology?) might make that novice assumption. Compare the two ‘M’s to the rest of the lettering – all caps, the ‘W’ has no curvature, no consistent baseline height – those are the signs of being written with a subdominant hand, while the M’s were given much more attention – even gone over twice, if I am not mistaken – which suggests they were likely done with the dominant hand. There is the truest sense of the gender of the writer – and I maintain it was a she. Not to mention that the overall cleverness speaks to female intellect, the hidden pattern of the ‘Follow the Star’ clues being the most clever.

    I think the obvious answer to your ‘one last thing’ – and lets hope for the sake of the readers of this blog that it is, is that this was planned and executed by a he and a she.


  • Sonya Arron LeMort October 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I always wonder where the line gets drawn between cliche and stereotype. For example, your best evidence above regarding the handwriting's source cites basically nothing other than Shakespeare's now-cliched idea about the "fairer sex"–for some reason manifest here as "curves and curls . . . indicative of that all-too-typical bubble lettering . . . on poorly written love-notes," again assuming most such love notes are necessarily written by women.

    Later, you stereotype this prank's cleverness as indicative of the characteristic "female intellect."

    So which is true? Are all curly letters written by women? Are all women clever? Probably no to both–but I take your point: probably most.

    In the end, though, women's intuition tells me you're right about the team behind this prank–I wonder how such a pairing affects the promised "REVENGE." That team better watch out–after all, women would rather be right than reasonable.


  • Mr. Neil Abae October 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Melissa, I am glad you found your shoes. I own a copy of 'The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon" – and I agree that is an amazing book. I met Michael Collins once, he was a swell guy.


  • Latoya Morn, R.N. October 21, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Nice place to "work"!


  • Yum! January 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Melissa, nice shoes!


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