How did you know that Talitha was going to read 200 books?

While we were talking about the readathon Talitha was holding the first two fingers on her right hand with the fingers of her left hand. As the readathon seemed to be her idea it would be likely that she would read more than two or even twenty books. You see, perhaps Talitha was trying to tell me something with her fingers, anyway.

How did you know it was Talitha who picked up your phone?

That was lucky, I suppose. I was having a new motor put in my car. It was going to take a couple of days. So I came home in a taxi. I usually let myself in at the back door. There was Benjie in the courtyard. He couldn't have opened the gate by himself so I was on the alert. After a peek and a listen I realised what was happening. I ran across to Talitha's house and asked her dad if I could use the phone. I guessed that Talitha would be the one to finally answer.

So, Talitha's parents knew what was going on all along.

Of course. But they didn't want to spoil the fun for her--or me!

Did you put the idea of the mind-reading test into Talitha's mind?

Of course not. I wouldn't want to control anyone.

Is it really possible to read other people's minds?

Yes, in a way. It takes lots of careful observation of things that usually seem unimportant (like how Talitha was holding her fingers). And it takes lots of practice at logical thinking and lateral thinking. And a bit of luck. Of course, if you were Sherlock Holmes you wouldn't need luck, you'd just need an author who tried to think of everything.