The room was just as it had been when they'd looked at it yesterday. The floor was far from bare, covered with various stacks of books, furniture, and the odd dying houseplant. Yet something felt distinctly different. Neither of the men could quite put their finger on it. Lord Grummsworth finally broke the silence by making an observation.

"That it there before?" asked the detective, leaning towards the alabaster sculpture of a nude woman holding an odd, froglike creature. He stared at it intently, and tapped at it with a knuckle.
*Stupid question,* thought the assistant, *How should I know? He's the one who's been studying this damned house for God knows how long.* But he dared not convey his thoughts to his superior. He must always be polite. Patient. Subordinate.

"I don't know, Lord Grummsworth," he replied, "I don't remember seeing it before."

"Neither do I, Morley," Grummsworth replied. Grummsworth circled the statue, staring at it intently. If he hadn't been a detective on a case, the casual observer might think of him as some sort of perverted art critic. *Perhaps if he stares at it long enough thought Morley, it'll tell him the answer to this idiotic case.* As if on cue, Squire Teaspoon entered the room. Morely cleared his throat, trying to avoid his superior getting into a rather compromising situation.

"Not now, Morley."

"Er, sir, Squire Teaspoon has just entered the room, sir." Grummsworth stood straight up, looking slightly embarrassed. Squire Teaspoon had a look on his face that lay somwhere between startled amusement and confused shock.

"I thought I might drop in to see how you gentlemen were coming exactly were you doing, Lord Grummsworth?"

"Er. .I'm actually quite the conisseur of fine arts, Squire Teaspoon, and I had just noticed this lovely alabaster statue. I was examining it out of curiosity."

"I see." Squire Teaspoon looked somewhat unconvinced, "Do you believe you've come any closer to solving the murder of my Great-Aunt?"

"Lady DeCrepit? No no, I'm afraid not. I've searched this house up and down for clues, and yet I have found nothing that leads me any nearer the answer to this puzzling paradox."
*What a terribly awful way of using illiteration thought Morely, I suppose what he lacks in intelligence he thinks he can make up for with wit. Huh! My Granny is funnier than him, and she's dead.* But Morley knew his cue. It was time for him to make a leading remark that would lead Lord Grummsworth straight to the obvious prime suspect.

"You don't think that Oliver DeCrepit could have anything to do with this? He is, after all, the deceased woman's son, and next in line for the fortune."

"By jove, Morley! I believe you may have something there!"

"Do you really think so, Lord Grummsworth?"

"We shall have to follow that lead as soon as we are done with our investigations here." Morely pretended to look pleased with himself, though this was merely an act. He had been doing this sort of thing for three years, ever since he had started working with Grummsworth in the detective agency. He was getting sick of doing all the work and having Grummsworth take all of the credit, not to mention half of the cash. With all the poking around and stealing of ideas, Morely should have been getting seventy-five percent by his count, instead of his current fifty.

Grummsworth did his usual prattling and poking about, and then announced to the squire that it was high time he and Morley returned to the agency to ponder the day's findings.

"I find that I always think better when in the office, don't you Morely?" Grummsworth asked, polishing his pipe on his belt.

" , sir. Of course," Morley nodded.

"Ah. Well, when can I expect you gentlemen tomorrow?" Squire Teaspoon asked.

"Oh, right about ten o'clock," Grummsworth said, "Come Morely, let us return to the agency." Both men nodded an acknowledgement to Teaspoon as they left.

"Good job today, Morley," Grummsworth said as they took the hansom cab back to the agency on twenty-third street.

"Thank you sir," Morley replied begrudgingly.

"Do I detect something wrong, my friend?" *Friend. That's rich*, Morely thought.

"No, Lord Grummsworth, there's nothing wrong. I'm simply tired from the day's investigations."

"Ah. Nothing like a little detective work to put you in the mood for some tea and crumpets, yes?"

"I suppose so, you Lordship," Morley replied as the cab drew up outside the building where Grummsworth and Morely had their private detective agency. Grummsworth got out and headed to the door, leaving Morley to pay the cabbie.

"Thanks, guv."

"You're welcome."

"Say, what's he like, guv?"

"Grummsworth? He's a complete idiot. Hasn't had an original idea of his own for years."

"Ha! Anyone ever tell you how funny you are?"

"No, actually," Morley said with disdain.

"Huh. 'ave a good evenin'," the cabbie told him as he drove off.
As Morley walked in the door, he was greeted by the sight of Grummsworth speaking to Evelyn Snowcombe, the maid. As he walked into the parlor to take his tea, Morley saw him pat Miss Snowcombe on the fanny, and not softly, either. Evelyn gave what sounded like a forced giggle as Grummsworth went into the next room. As Morley approached the young woman, he greeted her with a smile. Unlike the detective, the assistant had total respect for members of the opposite sex.

"Good evening, Evelyn."

"Evening, Mister Morley. How did the initial investigations go today?"

"They were absolutely-" Morley began, but Evelyn elbowed him in the ribs and indicated the dining room, where Grummsworth was currently drinking his tea. Morley nodded to show that he understood. "They were very productive, thank you Miss Snowcombe. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's something I'd like to attend to in the study."

"Of course, Mister Morley." Morley turned and went up the stairs. Evelyn waited until after she'd heard the door to Morley's private study close before heading up the stairs herself.

Morley opened the door when he heard a tentative knock. Evelyn smiled and entered.

"So how did it really go today?"

"Thank God I can talk to you, Evelyn, I'd probably go mad if I had to deal with that fool all hours of the day."

"It was that bad?"

"Has it ever been good?" Morley sat down at the desk and laid his head in his hands. Evelyn walked over and rubbed his shoulders.

"Alexander, I do not understand why you've stayed under his employment for so long."

"Why have you?" Morley groaned.

"Nowhere else for me to go."


"You ought to go into business for yourself."

"That git Grummsworth would still manage to nab all the business somehow. You and I both know that."

"Not if he didn't have someone like you to tell him what to do all the time."

"He'd find someone else. Some other young fool that he'd suck dry of energy and ideals."

"You can't go on much longer like this, Alex." Evelyn turned him towards her.

"Neither can you. I see the way he treats you, and it's despicable. You're the most patient woman I've ever known."

Evelyn smiled graciously. The pair kissed, happy to have the little time that they had together during the day. But their moment didn't last long, as it was shortly interrupted by a sharp knock at the door.

"Morley? Come downstairs, man! There's enough tea in that pot for an extra cup, though I'm afraid I've finished off the crumpets."

"Just a moment, my friend," Morley called back. To Evelyn he hissed, "Hide!" the maid looked around frantically before diving into a closet. Morley got up and went to the door.

"Ah. There you are, old boy! Come downstairs, won't you? I hate to see half a pot of good tea go to waste."

"Thank you, Grummsworth. Very kind of you."

"Don't mention it. By the way, have you seen Miss Snowcombe? I've found a few places in the parlor that she seems to have missed in this morning's dusting."

"I'm afraid I haven't seen her at all since we spoke downstairs." Morley tried not to glance at the closet as he spoke.

"Ah. I suppose she'll turn up in a moment or two. But no matter. Come, Morley." The two men left the room. Morley made sure he shut the door loudly so that Evelyn would know that she could come out of her closet. Cautiously, she peeked out from behind the door. She sneered angrily, as if Lord Grummsworth were standing right in front of her.

"I went over that parlor twice today! Leave it to that pompous jackass to detect even the slightest hint of a mistake. Oh! That man makes me sick!" Evelyn stormed out of the room back to the maid's quarters. She wanted to stay as far out of Grummsworth's way as she could. If she saw him she might just strangle him.