'Terrible business. Ghastly business. Could have ended better. But on with the show, as they say.'

The next paragraph is smudged. You brush off the - what's that? Marmalade? - and continue.

'I wanted to ask a favour, one which might work out well for you. There's a fellow I know with a problem. Jeweller chap in Spite. An odd sort if you ask me. He's poor as mud, but... well, you'll have to see for yourself. He might pique your academic interest, if you take my meaning. Coral and such. I hear he's looking for a detective. And despite what happened at the University, your skills are beyond question. So, could you pop along to Spite and look him up? I told him to expect you.'

Well, that's a d--nable liberty. But your interest is piqued all right. What does the Semi-Semiotic fellow mean? It's still early. You could be in Spite before the mushroom markets open.