|The Tale of the|
"So you were Turing's student and it was your father who stole the jade statue from Jesse Haworth?" said Mike.
"That's right", said Mr. B, as he tucked into a very large blueberry muffin. "My father did some very bad things, but he had his heart in the right place. He never had the benefit of a decent education and was forced to live on the proceeds of petty crime. He was determined that I was going to go to university and make something of myself. I did, and eventually I met and got to work with Turing. I'd inherited my father's love of puzzles, and I discovered that Turing knew from Newman about my father's - shall we say - little scheme with the jade statue. I was too embarrassed to tell Turing that my father was the criminal whose treasure he was trying to find, so I thought I'd leave him some cryptic clues to keep him interested and get him to solve the puzzle. It didn't work, and Turing never took the bait. So I pushed it to the back of my mind until last year when I read about your exploits in finding the Turing Treasure. I thought I'd try the same trick with you: get you interested by leaving cryptic codes for you to solve. I'm sorry about accidentally scaring you in the cafe earlier today, but I always get a bit intense when I'm involved in solving mathematical puzzles."
"And you didn't mean to lock us in the basement in the Museum?" asked Ellie.
"Gosh, I'm so sorry about that too!", said Mr. B, looking highly embarrassed. "I had to dash back upstairs and it had completely slipped my mind that you two were still down there, so I locked up as I usually do! By the time I'd remembered, you'd already managed to get out, and I had to phone my boss to tell them that I'd lost you and couldn't find you. I went over to the Schuster building to leave you another clue - I knew that you'd end up there sooner or later."
"So you weren't part of a criminal gang trying to recover the statue?" said Mike.
"Absolutely not!" laughed Mr. B. "I've had Haworth's sketches of the Egyptian Enigma machine for years, but whenever I tried to build one I could never get it to work properly. As soon as you told me that the jade statue was in a sacred bird, it set me thinking about the ibis - it was highly venerated in Ancient Egypt, and was linked to Thoth, the Egyptian God of mathematics. I remembered that Haworth had brought back a stuffed ibis to add to the Museum's collection. My father must have hidden the statue inside it as they were both being unloaded from the ship at Salford Quays. My colleagues in the Museum are busy as we speak, opening up the ibis to recover the statue - I'm so happy that we've finally cracked the mystery after all these years!"
"Hopefully we'll be able to go over later today and see it", said Ellie. "Maybe it will be such an important statue that it will be put on display - and we'll be part of another exhibition at the Museum!"
"From what I've heard about you two", said Jo, "the statue will probably contain another code that will set you off on another adventure!"
Barquith's eyes twinkled, knowingly.