"What was the significance of the traces of custard found on
the Colonel's sock suspender?"
Friedland raised a finger in the air.
"An excellent question, Mr. Hatchett, and one that pushed my
deducting powers to the limit. Bear with me if you will while we go through the
final moments of Colonel Peabody's life. Mortally wounded and with only seconds
to live, he had somehow to leave a clue to his assailant's identity. A note? Of
course notthe killer would find and destroy it. Guessing correctly that a
murder of this magnitude would be placed in my hands, he decided to leave behind
a clue that only I could solve. Knowing the Colonel's penchant for anagrams, it
was but a swift move to deduct his reasoning. The sock suspender was made in
France. "Custard" in French is crème anglaiseand an anagram of this is
"Celia Mangerse," which not only correctly identified the killer but also told
me the Colonel died before he was able to finish the anagram."
There was more applause, and he quietened everyone down
"But since anagram-related clues are now inadmissible as
evidence, we sent the pork pie off for DNA analysis and managed to pinpoint the
pie shop where it was purchased. Guessing that Miss Mangersen might have an
affinity for the pies, we staked out the shop in question, and yesterday evening
Miss Mangersen was taken into custody, whereupon she confessed to me in a
tearful scene that served as a dramatic closure to the case. My loyal, chirpy,
cockney assistant and biographer DS Flotsam will of course be writing a full
report for Amazing Crime Stories in due course, after the formality of a
trial. Ladies and gentlemen: The case ... is closed
The assembled journalists rose as one and burst into
spontaneous applause. Chymes dismissed the adulation with a modest wave of the
hand and excused himself, muttering something about needing to open a hospital
for orphaned sick children.
"He's amazing!" breathed Mary, somehow convincing herselfas
had all the other women presentthat Chymes had winked at her across the crowded
"I agree," replied Briggs, standing aside as the newsmen
filed out, eager to get the stories into the late editions. "Don't you love that
'the case is closed!' stuff? I wish I had a catchphrase. He's an asset
not only to us here at Reading but also to the nationthere aren't many
countries that haven't requested his thoughts on some intractable and
ludicrously complex inquiry.
"He's remarkable," agreed Mary.
"Indeed," went on Briggs, seemingly swept up in a paroxysm of
hagiographic hero worship. "He's also a hilarious raconteur, has a golf handicap
of two, was twice world aerobatic champion and plays the clarinet as well as
Artie Shaw. Speaks eight languages, too, and is often consulted by the Jellyman
himself on important matters of state."
"I'm going to enjoy working with him, I can see," replied
Mary happily. "When do I start?"
"Chymes?" echoed Briggs with a faint yet unmistakably
patronizing laugh. "Goodness gracious no! You're not working with Chymes!"
"Who then?" asked Mary, attempting to hide her
disappointment, and failing.
Mary followed Briggs's outstretched finger to an untidy
figure who had taken his turn at the podium. He was in his mid-forties, had
graying hair and one eye marginally higher than the other, giving him the
lopsided look of someone deep in thought. If he was deep in thought,
considered Mary, it was clearly about something more important than his personal
appearance. His suit could have done with a good pressing, his hair styled any
way but the way he had it. He might have shaved a little less hurriedly and made
more of an attempt to exude someanyconfidence . He fumbled with his
papers as he stared resignedly after the rapidly vanishing press corps.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...