Lavenderblue having successfully begged mercy for the Trousers twins, everyone was sitting around the Snug enjoying a potent nightcap – treble Pink Gins for Dame Barbara – when a bedraggled Beadle lurched in through the door, and recounted his adventures at the Duckpond. He had been flabbergasted to find that the ringleader of Lavvyblue’s and his abduction was the burrow’s newly appointed Chief Cashier, Paul Wolfie, who hysterically accused them of stealing the keys to his precious box which, he said, contained the source of his malign power. Although they had protested their innocence, he had stormed off into the forest swearing revenge. Lavender had then made her escape, and the Beadle had been released by Miss Marple.
That lady herself now arrived, and triumphantly produced the bunch of keys from her handbag. It was unanimously agreed to open the Box, which Ben and the Beadle carried down from Wolfie’s room. It was made of ornately carved wood, strengthened with iron bands, and upon its lid was inscribed in golden letters: “I HOLD THE MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE”.
As Anticant cautiously turned the key, everyone craned forward. He lifted the lid.
The Box was empty.