At school, the fifth graders were studying the days of creation. They were reading about the things God created on Day Six- animals and people. Because of the increase in the local mountain lion population in the Bean Mountains, Mrs. Whipple decided to devote a week to the study of these cats. All the students had to write a 5-page report!
Willie, Grace and Jasmine decided to work on their reports at the town library after school. Grace was reading a book called Wild Cats I Have Known, when she noticed Mrs. Parker sitting at a nearby table with a sinister-looking gentleman who was dressed like a cowboy. (Mrs. Parker, you'll remember, is the rancher's wife who had two prize calves vanish under mysterious circumstances. Mrs. Parker claimed they were stolen by mountain lions.)
"Look, Willie! There's Mrs. Parker! Who's that man she's talking to? He looks familiar. Now where have I seen him before...."
"I know!" said Jasmine. "I've seen his picture at the post office, on the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted list!"
"Really? Are you sure?" said Willie and Grace at the same time. "Let's go see for ourselves!"
The three kids went nextdoor to the Beantown Post Office, which was just about to close for the day. In the lobby was a bulletin board enclosed with glass. There were lots of photographs on the board, and the second photo from the left did indeed look very much like Mrs. Parker's friend! They read the caption under the picture. It said "Horace Parker, wanted for cattle rustling."
"Cattle rustling! Isnt' a cattle rustler someone who steals cows?" asked Jasmine.
"That's right," said Willie thoughtfully. "I wonder if this "Horace" has anything to do with the disappearance of Mrs. Parker's calves."
"Yeah! Maybe the mountain lions are innocent!" suggested Grace, the animal lover.
"You know, I think Zak has been suspicious of Mrs. Parker from the start. Let's go to the hardware store and talk to Zak. I think he knows more than he's saying!"