I must say to all of you off hand that many of your suspicions of scandal were correct! Your grey cells aren’t so bad after all!
I came upon the Ermitage school, but I was not allowed to go up to the room. Luckily, upon being informed of my arrival the resident came down to greet me – but who should it be? A young lad, 17 years of age named Paul du Bois – the secret son of Valérie! And why was he kept so secret? Because he is the illegitimate child of Comte Pierre de Cavaignac! And here is what is interesting; he knew this because the morning of the day of his murder Pierre visited Paul and told him that he was his long-lost father who was supporting him in secret (much as Paul’s mother was, so that this scandal would not interfere with her desire to rise in the social ranks). But as he left Comte de Cavaignac mentioned something in passing about righting his old wrongs at last to his son Paul, which I take to have something to do with the gathering at the house!
So finally, finally I have the semblance of a motive for Valérie du Bois, something she would have to answer for – that is, if it weren’t for the bad news that just this morning Valérie was reported missing from her penthouse suite. And her disappearance seems strange; for if she truly left in a guilty conscience she did so mysteriously without packing her valuables and without contacting anyone to say where she was going – not even her son Paul. We were able to search her place and found little to report except one piece of evidence that I found intriguing; a single sheet of paper in her study that was sent through this seemingly magical device that was related to me as a ‘fax machine’ – apparently a device that sends sheets of paper backwards and forward from house to house. This paper seems to be a section of a larger legal document – indicating, in summary, changes to be made in the testament of Pierre de Cavaignac including the removal of Valérie du Bois’ allocations. How did Valérie du Bois get a hold of such a piece of paper? Who sent it to her? And what did she do once she received it? There are many questions to answer, but I am sure that I will answer them soon.
P.S. If you insist that I meet with this Sherlock Holmes as he calls himself, I would like to do so under certain conditions; we must agree on a single, public location, without weapons and dressed in clothing described prior to our meeting so that there is no chance that one of us may don a disguise and assault the other. I shall agree to these à tout le moins; no negotiation!