Shirley stood alongside her friends in the main dining area of the restaurant. To her side were her trusted friends, and in front of her stood the five employees that were the suspects in this case. The waiters, Lance Prettson and Viola Gladys, were nervously looking at each other from across the line of suspects. The new chef, Fleur Guilliard, was clenching the bottom of her shirt, head chef Adeline was running her hands through her ponytail while giving panicked breaths, and the owner Lorenzo impatiently tapped his foot at Shirley taking so long.
Finally, Shirley started. “My friends and I gathered clues, had interviews, and examined the crime scene in the store above this restaurant, and I have reached a conclusion that would explain the unfortunate passing of one of Hamview’s local celebrities. I’ll start by eliminating some of the suspects from the list.”
“The night was busy. Not only is this a high-class establishment, but well-known food critic and eventual victim Martin Mystery was arriving. This means that Lance and Viola would’ve been occupied during the time frame where Martin could’ve been poisoned. Not to mention that they were arguing outside when Martin arrived and would have had to pick up the slack after wasting time.”
“The next person I’ll cross off isn’t here right now, but Silvanous Woyak who runs the apothecary above is safe. He claims he was assaulted and that the reason his store was turned upside down was that he was robbed. I’m inclined to believe him, as the way we found him suggests that it wasn’t of his own making, and his noticeable limp clearly shows that he was harmed.”
“That leaves us with the new hire, the head chef, and the owner. The traces of poison were found in Martin’s soup, which Fleur never interacted with. This leaves Adeline and Lorenzo, and I’m more inclined to believe that it was Lorenzo who did the deed, and I believe Silvanous is the key to all of this.”
“When we talked, Silvanous made it clear that the person who assaulted him was a man, which would narrow our choices to two individuals. Next, Mr. Woyak mentioned that he saw that he was attacked by a ladle, and Hercules found out that the reason Mr. Lorenzo was upset that evening was because his prized ladle went missing. That might all seem circumstantial, but like I said, Silvanous unintentionally revealed the major clue. The poison used has a distinctly bitter taste, and if Martin had consumed it, he would’ve spat it out. But Lorenzo is well-known for being a master of flavor, and if he saw to the dish last, he could’ve added whatever he needed to balance out the bitter flavor, leaving Mr. Mystery none the wiser. It seems without a doubt that you, Mr. Lorenzo, are the one who created this crime!”
Aimi gave a sharp whistle, prompting two of the police on scene to grab the furious owner out of the restaurant. “That glutton deserved it!” Lorenzo yelled out as he was escorted out of his own building. “I did this restaurant and all the others in Hamview a service!”
The doors shut and silence fell. Shirley looked out at the staff. Their nerves were still on high alert, and Shirley could guess why: Without an owner, how would the restaurant function? With no one creating orders, it seemed Lorenzo had not set up a successor, and anyone who bought out the restaurant could change it completely, or wipe the staff; if they did nothing, they’d lose their job. The future for the four looked bleak.
In the deafening silence, the door opening could be heard cleanly. Everyone turned to look and saw three young adults, about Parvath’s age, step in. Two males and one female, all wearing uniforms of Hamview’s famous Brunshire Academy for the Gifted and Talented. The three gave a courteous nod towards Parvath before directing their attention to Shirley.
“Hello Ms. H.,” The shorter male in the middle spoke up as he adjusted his glasses. “My name is Ozzie Mystery, and these are my siblings, Melody and Angelo. We are triplets.” The siblings each gave a nod. “We were contacted about our uncle Martin…Is it true that he’s passed?” Shirley nodded solemnly.
Melody began to cry, while Angelo balled up a fist and swore into it. After a minute, Melody stopped to wipe her tears. “He was an amazing uncle, and one day we’ll see him again.” After a few deep breaths the triplets turned their attention to the restaurant.
“You know, this is a pretty swanky place to eat. I’d hate to see it go,” Angelo hummed aloud. “Uncle M. used to always give this place high marks, and even became a critic solely to save this restaurant years ago from bad criticism. If we bought it, we could save it and keep all the same staff hired.” The four employees turned so sharply Shirley could’ve sworn she heard a neck pop.
“Y-you would do that? You’d help us keep our jobs?” Viola stuttered out in surprise.
“Of course, we would,” Melody beamed, her face bringing a contagious joy to the room. We may be a famous and wealthy family, but we got that through hard work and community, and it’d be wrong both to not give back and to let our uncle’s hopes for this restaurant die.” Then Lance, Viola, Adeline, and Fleur cheered.
“Thank you for finding our uncle’s killer,” Ozzie spoke to Shirley. “We should reward you with something great for this.” Shirley paled as she recalled Ambrosia’s mentioning of the Mystery family’s extravagant gifts. “I got it, we’ll build a giant lightning rod atop your apartment!”
“Well, I don’t need- “
“Nice thinking bro,” Angelo smiled.
“Now wait a moment- “
“And we can give it an intricate design!” Melody beamed.
“Can you please- “
“It’s settled. We shall return home to begin helping here and Miss H.’s apartment,” Ozzie spoke with a tone of finality as he and his siblings turned and left, but not before stopping at the door. “Oh Ms. H.? A man who looked like you asked me to hand you this,” he spoke as he made his way back to Shirley and presented a lighter made in the visage of a pig, colored a deep orange. Shirley took it with a courteous nod, and a sense of anger at the back of her mind. Yet another colored-animal lighter, yet another connected crime.
Heart a la Carte – Case Solved
Heart a la Carte. Photo by Cristian Mihaila from Pexels.