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Showalter

Every meeting of the Plagiarists’ Guild is almost exactly the same, at least according to the minutes.

Which is all fine as an inside joke but it does make solving a locked-room murder difficult. “What are the chances that the witnesses all tell the same story?” says Detective McMeel.

Showalter gives him dead eyes. “High,” she says.

One guildmaster is pantomiming a strangling. “And I’m next! They’re picking us off, one by one!”

“There was that other case across town,” murmurs McMeel. “Liars’ Guild. Similar. Could be a serial thing. Or a copyc–”

“Don’t,” says Showalter, tight as a garrote.

Showalter

“Detectives McMeel and Showalter, Precinct Nine and Three-Quarters,” says Showalter. “We’d just like to ask you a few questions.”

“मैं मुसीबत में हूँ?” ask the suspicious yellow eyes in the crack of the door.

“We just need to know if you saw anything on the night of September… forty-eighth,” says Showalter, checking his notescroll. “There was an incident.”

“मैं सुअरों से बात नहीं है!”

“We’re going to have to continue this downtown,” sighs McMeel.

They drop through a manhole and into a mine cart, whose blue-and-reds flicker on stalagmites as they hurtle toward the sub-sub-substation.

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