The Silver Tart – Part Three

Inspector Gache sat in his office, watching Constable Bread and Lemon Muffin carry in an extra desk. He ordered that the desks be set up in a triangle shape, so they could all sit and talk and look at each other. As if to answer an unasked question, Gache said,

“The majority of our work, and our time, will be spent in this room. Here we can look at the evidence we have found, state the theories we have concocted and allow our fellows to rebuke or add to them. Here cases will be cracked.”

“But first we will need evidence so we can start concocting theories, and I see none.”

Gache felt the sting in Constable Breads words. Gache was unsure if his partner was still upset over the cutting of his big speech, or of the lack of any progress on this case. On the basis it was almost impossible to have progress at the start of a case, he was sure the Constable was still sulking over the speech. With that being the case, he decided to ignore the slight venom in Bread’s words, and replied plainly.

“Every case starts with leg work and evidence gathering. And there we hit our first road block, do we not Miss Muffin?”

As if on queue Bread and Muffin took seats at their desks, ready to start the task of intense sitting and talking. Gache had missed this. Although talking to yourself was fine for a time, it only ever ended in one of two ways; absolute madness or the cruel realisation you are on boring son of an Eccles cake.

“Problem? The Muffin Squad still?” Bread said.

Gache just nodded.

“Well then, not to sound rude, but why is this Muffin here?”

“Well, Mr not to sound rude, I am here as liaison. The last time the Slicer was active is a cold case I have studied rigorously, and I noted Gache’s constant comments that the large wall between yourselves and the Squad were a strain on the investigation.

“Indeed, I estimate that if communication between the two sides had been open, the Slicer would have been caught two victims before his last. So when he hit again, I volunteered to be the conduit for that information.”

Bread was taken aback. He never thought he would see the day when a Muffin said anything even resembling a negative about their precious Muffin Squad, let alone all but say that the Squads actions meant the Slicer still remained free. He was going to push on the subject, but a warning look from Gache silenced him.

“I appreciate your words Muffin, but actions speak louder. We need information beyond what we know. All we know is a cake lays sliced, twelve slices, and that that number of twelve means we can expect twelve more victims. We also know that the Slicer would have left clues on each slice both to the identity of each victim and the order in which he will approach them. What we don’t know is what those clues were. Can you tell us?”

Muffin sighed.

“Not all, no. The Squad is concentrating on the last possible victims and is unwilling to share that information at this time…

“How have the Squad worked out the victim order?” Bread interjected.

“Candles. Each slice had a candle and each candle was burnt down a different amount. We know from Gache that the candles were blown out en masse, so we are therefore assuming each candle was lit in specific order.” Muffin replied.

Gache sat back. It was a fair enough assumption, but a little too simple he feared. The Slicer’s clues had become more and more complex as his sprees continued. But he had not seen the candles or any of the evidence save for the brief time he was with the slices. For now he had to work with what he was told. He had no doubt it would mean the death of a few innocent cakes, but with his hands tied like they were what else could he do?

“What about the first assumed victim, can you share the clue for them?” Gache asked.

“I can; in photo form.” Muffin replied.

She produced a photo and passed it to Bread when Gache did not reach out for it. Once Bread had examined it he passed it on to Gache. After a few minutes Gache reached for magnifying glass’ a few seconds later he put both down.

“We need the actual piece.” Gache said.

“Agreed.” Bread said.

“Why?” Muffin asked.

A reasonable question asked for unreasonable reasons. The fact is they should have ready access to the actual piece anyway, not have to beg permission to see it. Still, this mess was not this Muffins fault, so Gache answered reasonably.

“In the photo we see a small silver tart. There are clearly jewels in it, signifying that it is probably jewellery. What I can’t see is any kind of loop to indicate a pendant or pin to say a brooch. I also can’t judge the actual size or weight, or if the jewels and silver are real or fake. From this photo alone I would be searching the Highest Tier for the owner of this jewel, and something tells me I would be wrong to do so. Therefore I need the actual piece.”

Muffin squirmed in her chair.

“They won’t let it out, and they won’t let you in. Either of you. You can tell me what I need to look for, or I can take more photos for you to examine?”

She was trying to be helpful, they both knew it, but that couldn’t stop the annoyance from showing.

“Fine. We’ll have to steal it. Bread take this photo and get a fake made by tomorrow. Muffin and I will plan the heist.”

Bread nodded, took the photo, then left the room. Muffin looked uneasy.

“Is there a problem, Muffin?”

She shook her head, but Gache knew this was playing too hard with her loyalties. It was better to learn the lines now then later down the road when it could mean the difference between life and death.

“Good. Then let’s plan a heist.”

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