Edwin Carbuncle strikes backMature

A mystery that's been waiting patiently to be unraveled will bring Edwin in conflict with a sinister organization. Will the reputed cook and food critic be able to solve his friend's disappearance?

Edwin Carbuncle sat at the table by the door to the restroom, in a somewhat retired corner of the restaurant. It was not his choice: he had been so instructed by the waiter. No doubt his peculiar looks were to blame.

But it didn't matter to him. In fact, the reclusive location would be good. It would allow him to think about the events of the last few days.

A menu was lying on the table, but Edwin didn't so much as glance at it. The waiter standing besides him was getting a little bit impatient. His breathing had accelerated a little, and his eyes were jittery.

"I'll have whatever he's having", Edwin said somewhat dejectedly to the impertinent waiter, his hand pointing vaguely towards another table where a lone man was sitting. The man's meal was already half-gone and was all but easily identifiable at that point, his plate smeared with sauce and small, uneaten bits. It didn't matter: Edwin Carbuncle couldn't taste food, and he had money enough to afford any items on the menu. He was only here because he wanted to get out of the house for a while.

"What, sir? asked the waiter, a dumb look on his face. The lobster cake?

- Is that what it is?" Edwin asked, rhetorically. Why, I never would have suspected. Yes, bring me some of that lobster cake. It looks positively.. scrumptious.

- This one, if I dare say so, looks rather more like bird cage scrapings now, sir. The one you'll be getting will be quite a bit more handsome, I should say. 

- All the better, thank you." Edwin leaned back, pensively turning his glass of water in his hand as the waiter took off.  His other hand reached down into his coat pocket and produced a small strip of thick, brownish paper. Edwin appeared to scrutinize the little thing for a while, but his eyes were looking right through the slip as he entered a state of profound reflection.

The slip was a message from beyond the grave from an old friend. As these things go, this one was particularly obscure. It had been left in an envelope, inside his friend's safe. The name Edwin Carbuncle had been carefully scribed on the slim package in red ink, in his friend's unique handwriting. The slip of paper was smooth with wear, and was possibly a receipt slip of some kind, a little like the one you'd get for checking in your coat at the Opera House. There were numbers printed on it, in the upper section: 1737-56. And there was also a name, or possibly a foreign word, hastily scribed, with the same handwriting as the name on the envelope, but this time with a dark ball pen:  Valera.

And that was it.

Was the slip a clue in itself to the man's disappearance? Was Valera all that Edwin was supposed to focus on? He didn't know. After being reported missing - presumed dead - for nine years, his friend's belongings had finally been liquidated. That was how he had gotten his hands on this slip.

There wasn't much to work with, but Edwin had the wits to see this mystery solved. And solve it he would.

The End

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