by Trevor Hopkins

Mayfield didn't seem keen to put any money where her pretty mouth was, however. Still, I was prepared to take on the commission as a verbal contract - despite my understandable hesitation in accepting such a thing in general - since I was intrigued, both by the case and the person of Miss Mayfield Strowan herself. She was a lovely lady but, even more so, a fascinating personality, with a strength of character which seemed like a natural extension of that of her famous grandmother.

Mayfield suddenly pulled herself from the chair, apparently having decided all was settled. Then she stood and looked at me strangely for a long moment.

"I trust you, Mister Gask," she said finally, "I don't know why. But I just know you will be able to help me. Please don't let me down."

"I'll do my best, Miss Westwood," I said simply.

"Thank you."

And with that, Mayfield turned and left, leaving the office door ajar behind her. I listened to the clatter of her shoes on the stairs until they faded into silence. I had no idea how to contact her, even if I did find out something which she would want to know, or if I just wanted to ask her a few more questions. She remained an enigma, a free spirit drifting unimpeded over the surface of the worlds. Perhaps Tibbermore would know how to get a message to her if I needed it.

There was just one person I could think of who might have information, somebody that Lady Strowan had mentioned as a rare visitor, somebody that Tibbermore would certainly know by sight, and was probably known to Mayfield as well. Almon Methven, her Ladyship's erstwhile agent.

I stood up and circumnavigated the desk, then kicked the office door closed with the toe of my shoe. I pulled open one of the drawers of the battered filing cabinets and drew out a business directory. It was years - decades, even - out of date, but I doubted that would be a problem; things tend not to change very quickly down here compared with the whirlwind of fashion and so-called advancements commonplace in the surface world of the humans.

I tossed the heavy volume on the desk and thumbed through it until I found the right section. It took me a while to identify the most-likely entry, just a few lines that read "Methven and Son, Theatrical Agents" together with a telephone number and an address in a an up-town cavern. It was an area which also contained a disproportionate number of the theatres and entertainment palaces that remain immensely popular in the Lower Realms.

Time for a visit from Findo Gask, Gobin Detective.

Part 24 Part 26