WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......
THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY
Our little intrepid group of travelers soon reached the imposing leather-clad doors of the MobileRead library. Zelda hesitated, hand on the gleaming brass knob, and turned to Jeeves: "Um, you did say there was no body here, right Jeeves?"
"I must beg to differ, mum" Jeeves demurred tactfully but forcefully, "I stated that there was NO BODY in the parlour, not that there was NO body. If you follow my reasoning. Mum."
Zelda's world rose up around her, again, threatening to engulf her, again, in a maelstrom of confusion and obfuscation. Choosing her words with the care of an impeached president, she inquired: "Just what do you mean by 'NO body'?"
"Si ša continue, il y aura une nouvelle victime, et cette fois je pourrais avouer !"
Jeeves bent an unbearably condescending gaze upon the flustered fraulein and explained slowly and clearly, enunciating each word as carefully as the emcee in the National Spelling Bee contest, "If you cast your mind back mum, you will undoubtedly recall that you specifically inquired as to the presence or absence of a body IN the parlour, and nowhere else in the building. I was able to answer with complete confidence that there was NO BODY in the parlour. Mum. You neglected to mention the library, mum."
"But you're not saying there's NO body ... somewhere .... here?"
Jeeves pondered this somewhat incoherent statement, visibly parsing its structure into its intended meaning. A light of comprehension dawned upon his contorted countenance as he clarified her inquiry: "Yes, exactly, mum."
A long, awkward, somewhat hostile silence ensued. Zelda glared at filip, who visibly beseeched Rock Lobster to say something. Rock turned to face Jeeves and articulated for the group "Whaa?"
Jeeves left eyebrow rose one-eighth of an inch in incredulous inquiry. "Just what I said mum, exactly."
"EXACTLY WHAT!" screamed Zelda, now driven beyond all realms of decorum. "Exactly dead, exactly not dead, exactly no, what? Explain yourself man!"
Jeeves resisted a no-doubt fatal urge to gently pat Zelda's hand and say "There, there" and instead inhaled and prepared to explicate the obvious to his captive audience.
"There is A body in the library. A DEAD body. IN the library. Evidence would seem to indicate that the body is that of Mr. Pshrynk. Dead Mr. Pshrynk."
Everyone loudly exhaled at this pronouncement, under the misapprehension that they finally understood things.
"Like I'd been tellin' ya" rasped Lobster, "there's a stiff in there. I been sayin' it ever since I ran into ya. Remember? That's why I collared that filip person, and then tried to handcuff the confessed murderer, Catire. And YOU made me let them go! Both of them!"
Zelda recoiled from his vicious, but accurate, indictment. Damn, but the fellow was right! In the midst of all his yammering tonight, he HAD mentioned a body in the library. And she had totally disregarded his information, instead believing in her own eyewitness identification of the previous Jeeves as the missing, oft-rumored dead Pshrynk. Or the other way around. Whatever! How could she have been SO wrong? Where DID she go wrong? What could she possibly do now?
"Je vais me faire jeter du fanclub de Nestor Burma pour le coup..."
Well, pulling herself upright, Zelda realized she had to face what, or who, was on the other side of the door. It was all resting on her shoulders now. Zelda slowly pushed open the massive doors, moving silently on well-oiled hinges into the darkness beyond. Jeeves held the still sputtering flare aloft to illuminate the plush interior of the MR library.
There! On the hearth! A crumpled mass of humanity! Motionless in an unnatural position! Lying in a gently expanding pool of red! Dead!!!
"Told ya so" smirked Lobster.
"Sapristi" exclaimed filip.
"Not again!" shrieked Zelda.
[Will someone give that man a cough drop?]
[Will Rock Lobster actually solve the case?]
[Will this night ever end?]