by Trevor Hopkins

Creagan Madderfy was also declared insane, or at least suffering from a condition where he was easily distracted by the unexpected and likely to lapse into catatonia by the slightest change in his routine. It was a condition where he was best committed to an institution. Unlike Clathy's establishment, this was an expensive private institute in one of the classier caverns where the rooms are large and comfortable, the food is beautifully cooked and elegantly presented, the staff quietly spoken and efficient, and the locks so discreet that you might never notice them. I was advised against visiting him. My presence would be so disruptive, so unsettling, that it might undo weeks of careful and expensive therapy. Not that I really felt the need to do so.

With hindsight, I suppose I should have expected a change in the operations of the partnership of Vale, Madderfy and Logan, Accountants. With Merton Vale dead, and Madderfy junior likely to be out of circulation for a while, Busby Logan was now in effective control of the accountancy partnership. His plodding approach seemed to allow him to carry out some actual accountancy - rather than ignoring the business, as it had been by the other partners - and the company actually started making a decent profit.

Logan also seemed to have come out his shell socially. He had suddenly joined the ranks of the rich and famous, at least in a minor way, an overnight promotion that he barely merited and could not have expected. So, rather than the introverted bore I had encountered at Merton Vale's wake, a modicum of fame - or at least newspaper exposure, which counts for pretty much the same thing - had turned him into a minor celebrity.

A month or two after Alva's arrest, I made a call on Busby Logan in his office. Business was slow, and I was really just touting for business. My mission was simple: press the flesh, remind him who I was and leave a card in case he ever needed a private dick.

I had expected a tussle with some dragon of a receptionist before I could even get to the partner himself, and I was mentally preparing myself. But it turned out I was entirely wrong. As soon as the charming young Goblin at the desk realized who I was, I was buzzed through with only a moment’s delay. I was shown into a spacious and - by Goblin standards - airy office, all polished beech-wood and pale carpets, and with a striking view from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Logan greeted me with a lively bonhomie and shook my hand warmly. We chatted for a few minutes as if we were old friends, during which time he took my card and read it carefully, then placed it square on the blotter on his desk. He gave me every impression that, when his busy schedule allowed, he would give my proposition the attention it so justly deserved. Then, with profuse apologies, he ushered me out, declaring himself already late for another meeting.

Needless to say, I never heard from him again.

Part 98 Part 100