11 June 2009
The Puzzling Pearl Necklace Puzzle Returns!
The Story Thus Far…
Lord Likely – Aristocratic Adventurer and Gentle-Man of Action – was invited to attend a lavish ball at Fircombe Hall, at the behest of the Duke and the Duchess of Fircombe.
Never one to leave a ball unattended, Likely duly set off, accompanied by his man-servant, Botter, and his two lovely friends, Dorothy Mount-Worthy and Maud Dreadful.
Once at Fircombe Hall (and having locked Botter safely away in the servant’s kennel) Likely set about meeting the numerous guests, before getting wildly drunk, whereupon he groped two ladies and offended some of the party-goers. To top it all, Likely then inadvertently wound up forcing an olive down the Duchess’ throat.
After gallantly leaping to her rescue, it was thought the evening was saved – until the Duchess then noticed that, somewhen during the confusion and chaos, her priceless pearl necklace had been stolen from around her very neck!
All eyes automatically turned to Pilferton Swypes, one of the guests who also happened to be a reformed jewel thief. Could he really be the culprit?
Lord Likely aims to find out, and get to the bottom of this mystery – but first, he aims to get to the bottoms of the female guests, as he prepares to perform a thorough search of their persons…
Now, read on, dear readers – and remember! Keep an eye out for possible clues and hints, for YOU shall be able to help Likely finger the suspect later on. As ’twere.
I EMERGED from the study sometime later, followed by the female guests, all of whom were – like me – looking rather flushed and slightly ruffled.
“Well?” said the Duke of Fircombe, striding up to me.
“Yes,” I replied. “Very well indeed.”
“Did your search turn up anything?”
“Search?” I repeated, having quite forgotten that the reason I had ferried all the female guests into the study was to search them, in case any of them were concealing the stolen pearl necklace about their person. “Well, ahem…I, erm, probed the ladies quite thoroughly and…ah, nothing came up…”
“Nothing came up? That’s not strictly true, is it your lordship?” chuckled Lady Marmalade, sending a ripple of coquettish giggling through the other women.
“So you did not uncover anything, then?” the Duke enquired.
“Well,” I coughed, straightening my tie. “Not as such, no.” More giggling.
“You didn’t come across anything at all?”
I shook my head, the women tittering knowingly in the background.
“Good lord, you’ve been in there for three hours and failed to find a single clue? I imagine you must have felt a complete arse, sir!”
“Several,” I quipped.
“Pardon?” barked the Duke.
“Ahem. Yes, I was rather disappointed with the results of my…ah…investigations,” I replied. “I am nowhere nearer to locating the missing jewellery, I’m afraid.”
“Dammit, Likely Then we must try harder! My wife shall be devastated if she does not get her pearl necklace, you know. Good heavens, do you know how much she loves a good pearl necklace?” the Duke continued, unaware that we were all doing our damnedest not to break out into fits of laughter. “She’s had hundreds of pearl necklaces in her time, don’t you know? Yes, she’s been given pearl necklaces by numerous politicians, visiting dignitaries – why, the King of Spain gave her a magnificent pearl necklace only last week. Heavens, even her father gave her a tremendous pearl necklace on our wedding day…what? What is it?”
By this point, many of the ladies and I had completely lost our self-control, and were lost to raucous gales of laughter.
“Blast it all! Stop laughing at once! This is a terribly serious business! If my wife does not get her pearl necklace, she shall be inconsolable! And I shall be far from pleased, myself! Do you know how hard it was to give her that pearl necklace? Such things do not come easily, you know! But I did it, because I wanted to show her how much I loved her by giving her the most impressive pearl necklace possible. And it was well worth it. You must admit, she looked positively gorgeous wearing that pearl necklace, like a vision…’twas such a perfect moment, quite overwhelming. Indeed, I was so overcome that as soon as I spread that pearl necklace across her skin, I nearly passed out…oh, what NOW?”
We had all once again given way to uncontrollable guffawing, and it took all my strength to pull myself together again.
“Ahem. Apologies, your grace. I do not know what came over her. Us. What came over US,” I said, swiftly correcting myself. “Yes…listen, I shall proceed with the investigation by interviewing everyone who was here tonight, one by one, and then with all the facts to hand I should be able to finally reach some sort of conclusion. Would that be satisfactory?”
“Indeed, indeed,” the Duke concurred.
“Excellent! I shall need to have my man-servant retrieved from his kennel as well, to assist me in the interview process. Would that be alright?”
“Whatever it takes, Likely! Just get on with it!”
“But of course! And do not fear, your Dukeness – I promise that I shall not rest until the missing item is found! Your wife’s pearl necklace is in safe hands…”
At which point the women burst into laughter again, leaving the Duke to storm off in disgust.
Honestly, that fellow really needs to loosen up a touch.
- Lord Likely.