Frederick M. Hueston, PhD

It was one of my lazy mornings. I’m usually up at 5 A.M., but for some reason I slept in late and had trouble getting up. I looked over at the clock  – it was nearly 8 A.M.! Don’t hate me – that’s really late for me.

I got up out of bed and decided to make my own breakfast, and later head over to my favorite greasy spoon for lunch.  I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for as I was searching in the fridge. I decided on some frozen waffles. I popped them in the toaster and sat down with a cup of home brewed jo to read the morning paper. One of the story lines was about the recent floods out on the West Coast, and how homes and businesses were getting all kinds of issues with mold, mildew, and other fungus-related problems. This grabbed my attention since I took a class in Mycology when I was in college (back in the dark ages). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Mycology is the study of fungi. Fungi includes yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, molds, mushrooms, lichens, etc. Little did I realize that my next mystery would be related directly to my mycology studies.  I finished reading the article and went to my computer to write some reports on my last inspection.

I finally finished up around noon, and I was getting a bit hungry, so I made my way over to my favorite greasy spoon to grab a bite. I walked in the door and noticed right away on the daily special that homemade mushroom soup was the soup de jour. Kind of struck me as funny, since mushrooms are the most commonly known type of fungi. As a matter of fact, I was often called a mushroom in college, since I was always kept in the dark and fed crap all the time! (Sorry, my attempt at a joke. I often try to avoid telling jokes about fungi since there is too mushroom for error. OK, OK, I’ll stop.)  

I sat down and told Flo that I would try the soup and perhaps a sandwich.  As I consumed the mushroom soup, I couldn’t stop thinking about the article I had read earlier that day: about all those floods, and the prediction that all these fungi problems would occur. Perhaps I would get some inspection work out of all of it. 

Well, no sooner that I thought that, my phone rang.  “Stone Detective here,” I said as I slurped my last spoonful of soup. I almost choked when the voice on the other end told me the following:

Mr. Stone Detective, this is Bob Shroom with AAA office buildings in Bellingham, Washington. As you know we’ve experienced some major flooding and our granite patios have these wet spots that are not drying out. I was wondering if I could send you some pics, and maybe you can suggest how to dry them out. I gave him my email and told him to send the files. I bid Flo a goodbye and thanks for the great soup, then headed back to my office to check my email.

I sat down at my computer, opened my email and lo and behold – there was the picture. 

I have seen this problem a million times and at first, I thought it was just your typical moisture issue. 

But as I looked closer I noticed the spots were very dark, and black in color. It didn’t strike me as your typical moisture issue. 

I was staring at the pics when my mind went back to that article, the mushroom soup, and my mycology studies – and then it hit me. This was a mold issue!

I filed this in my

I filed this in my "What the Heck?” case folder.  Yes, under the right circumstances, granite can get moldy.

I called Mr. Shroom back and asked him a few questions, and then I told him to get some bleach, place it on the spots, let it sit for several minutes, and call me back to report what happens. I hung up the phone, went back to my report and about an hour later my phone rang. It was Bob Shroom. He told me the bleach removed the spot. BINGO – I had made the right call. 

Mr. Shroom asked me how I knew so quickly. I told him that I looked up my old textbook on fungi called “A Fun Guide.” 

At first he didn’t get it, and then laughed and said, “You’re a funny guy, for a detective.”  I replied, “Yes, you could say I’m a fungi!” Another case solved.

The Stone Detective is a fictional character created by Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD, written to entertain and educate. Dr. Fred has written over 33 books on stone and tile installations, fabrication and restoration and also serves as an expert for many legal cases across the world. Fred has also been writing for the
Slippery Rock Gazette for over 20 years. 

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