So yesterday, you may wish to know, I ran into Monsieur Poirot, and discoursed at the Denver Art Museum together. The conversation was quite long; the beginning discussion was more engaged in out past exploits, but you will find the real interest was in the later dialogue. Here we were engaged in dialogue about our cases, and we came to the common agreement that a missing restoration painter and a strange piece of music blaring out music at the late hour of the night seemed hardly coincidental. However, we struggled greatly to overcome our ‘disagreements of style’, let us say; I was hired to investigate the disappearance of a painter who has worried his family, a case that I regard as worthy against one of a prank. Therefore, I wished to analyze that aspect with the greatest detail, since time on that end is short. Poirot, on the other, seemed intent on focusing on his single evidence since he decided he had the best lead for both parts of the case at hand; he wished to analyze that part in depth, which to me appeared a luxurious treatment of the little time I had. Out of our differences we decided to work on our own aspects to the best of our ability until our aspects join together – which is, perhaps, a polite way of stating that we were unable to come to an agreement over the handling of the case.
As such, I decided to wait until this day, when with permission the curator led me around the unfinished exhibition explaining to me the detail of the restoration artist’s work. Granted, he seemed to think of it as a test run of a tour and explanation, so much of the inspection was doused with tedium as to who they believed was the anonymous painter of the Dutch landscape, or where they got this Portrait of the Magnificent Don Juan, or why they would put on an exhibit on anonymous painters at all. He even led me through the gift shop – as if I was inclined to purchase one of his full-sized posters in tubes when I am in the middle of a missing person investigation! In fact, perhaps I would say that the most interesting thing I found was a device known as a staple gun out of place on the shelves behind the counter of the gift shop. I asked what it was doing in the gift shop. He had no idea; I did however find a clue as to its owner; it was emblazoned with a sticker on the handle for the G’Raj Mahal Cafe, with an address listed in Austin, Texas. Texas? Seems to be rather out of the way from Denver…
Further, written on top of it is a name Melissa Glaser. I asked the curator if he could find any record of a woman known as Melissa Glaser working for the museum. He later informed me that he could find none. Quite curious…
I will tell you if I find out anything else.
Dear Mr Holmes,
Don Juan is the identity of one of the criminals in league with Professor Moriarty, conspiring to prevent those such as yourself from returning home. The guide who showed you the “Portrait of the Magnificent Don Juan”, or someone else who placed it there, may have been attempting to send you a message that he is connected with all this.
My associates and I will continue to do our best to assist your investigation in any way we can.
All the best,
As you have described it to me, it appears a viable coincidence. Don Juan is not an unpopular subject in art, and this painting was acquired by the museum nearly a year ago. And our curator – William, his name is – has been at the museum for years now, longer I believe than these strange phenomena of fiction have occurred. I feign to believe this mild tempered man would have conspired with some unknown fictional man to send a message with a painting that existed before this fictional person came into this world.
Furthermore, beyond the fact that that painting was one that Jack Vincent worked on while he was employed by the museum, I do not know how this is connected to his disappearance. There will have to be some other compelling piece of evidence to connect this work to your living fictional Don Juan.
Why are you so dismissive of this connection, Mr. Holmes? I’d like to point out that we’ve discovered a similar connection in Mr. Poirot’s case, and when reported to him, thanked the commenter (Qara, the same as the above) for her help and took it on board immediately. Considering the potential threat here in the form of Don Juan, choosing to ignore it could be very unwise.
So why do you choose to ignore such a line? I put it to you sir, that it is because of Qara’s gender. I would not make such a claim without evidence – you have previously accepted her advice graciously… Until you learned that she was a woman, at which point she tells me that you became abrasive and outright ignored her comments on occasions. Another regular female commenter, Scarab, tells me of similar experiences. Women are not to be underestimated Mr. Holmes, especially not the women at our disposal, all of whom are highly intelligent and capable – even moreso than some of our men, myself included.
Don Juan is in league with Professor Moriarty. You would be a damned fool to ignore this, even moreso if it is purely because of some ridiculous prejudice against women. We do not tolerate such a thing in our society. Now, do you have a genuine reason not to consider this line of inquiry, or do you need further convincing?
Allow me to point out, Mr. Holmes, that the connection to Don Juan is not as thin as that painting; the song which our friend M. Poirot is currently investigating also has a strong connection to the gentleman in question.
If this is not enough evidence for you, I take my leave of you for the time being.
I hope my friend’s suggestion that your dismissal of my warning is merely a matter of sexism proves to be false; if it is true, I warn you– I do not appreciate being trifled with.
My friends, you gravely misunderstand me. I am not ignoring the fact that Don Juan is, as you say, connected to this Cabal. Nor do I take lightly the possibility that Don Juan could have been involved in this in some way – it remained, and remains, a possibility. However, if you would let me indicate, at the time I had spoken the only connection to the living fictional Don Juan you had was a painting that happened to use him as a subject – a painting which, I pointed out, was created before Don Juan could have come into this world! Should I have been investigating the same disappearance and seen the portrait of another Don – let us say my recent acquaintance Don Quixote – would you have had me believe that on this evidence alone I should suspect that Don Quixote was behind the disappearance? I had no intention of making a statement about the capacity of any sex – when did I ever mention that aspect of Qara? I find genius and folly in men and women alike, and there are few people I have ever had more respect for than one particular woman – her name was Irene Adler. I was merely stating a deficiency of evidence and asking for further provision before I made a conclusion, in accordance with method. That was all – if you had taken it to mean something else, I do apologize that I was not clear.
In fact, NOW that you speak of this recording, I profess I find the possibility of this relation far multiplied; this ceases to appear a coincidence if this deliberately planted recording indicates Don Juan. Would you mind telling me what this connection is? Does it indicate anything further about Jack Vincent or some other insidious plot?
As I’m sure Poirot told you, a strange audio track was played on the museum’s speakers. His blog posts outline the exact details if he has not already informed you. Qara here was able to recognize the track as a piece from The Phantom Of The Opera, (the character for which that work is named happens to be working with Juan) specifically from the play-within-a-play, Don Juan Triumphant.
I do not claim to have any knowledge of the source material, by Qara looked up the song and found this video:
And gave this transcription of the lyrics, after which, Poirot confirmed that it was indeed the same song, though preformed by a different person.
CHORUS: Here the sire may serve the dam,
here the master takes his meat!
here the sacrifical lamb
utters one dispairing bleat.
CARLOTTA AND CHORUS: Poor young maiden!
For the thrill on your tongue of stolen sweets,
You will have to pay the bill- tangled in the winding sheets!
Serve the meal and serve the maid!
Serve the master so that, when tables, plans and maids are laid
Don Juan triumphs once again!
DON JUAN (PIANGI): Passarino faithful friend
Once again recite the plan
PASSARINO: Your young guest believes I’m you,
I, the master, you the man.
DON JUAN(PIANGI): When you met, you wore my cloak,
With my scarf you hid your face.
She believes she dines with me
In her master’s borrowed place!
Furtively, we’ll scoff and quaff,
Stealing what in truth is mine,
When it’s late and modesty
starts to mellow with the wine!
PASSARINO: You come home! I use your voice…
Slam the door like crack of doom!
DON JUAN (PIANGI): I shall say
Come hide with me!
Where oh where? Of course, my room
PASSARINO: Poor thing hasn’t got a chance
DON JUAN(PIANGI): Here’s my hat, my cloak and sword.
Conquest is assured
If I do not forget myself and laugh
AMINTA(CHRISTINE): No thoughts within her head but thoughts of joy
No dreams within her heart, but dreams of love
DON JUAN(PHANTOM): Passarino, go away,
for the trap is set and waits for his prey!
You have come here
In pursuit of your deepest urge
In pursuit of that wish which till now has been silent…
I have brought you
That our passions may fuse and merge
In your mind you’ve already succumbed to me,
dropped all defenses
Completely succumbed to me
Now you are here with me
No second thoughts
Should you require a link to Poirot’s blog, merely say so and I will provide one. I will avoid putting it in now because I have noted that too many links makes my comment delayed in arrival.
And also, I’m glad this whole argument above was settled peacefully. You have my thanks.
The link is below:
Note my comment about staccato and so on.
Poirot insists that one line from the Don Juan Triumphant recording stands out from the rest: “And I’ll steal what in truth is mine.” He speculates further that “Our musician – whoever it was – made a deliberate decision to emphasize this one line. The song has the message but in this line I believe the true nature of his plot is revealed! What could it be that he has stolen? What could he regarded in this museum as ‘in truth his own’??”
So I ask, what is the best way to steal a painting and get away with it? Make it appear that the painting was never stolen by replacing it with a replica! The staple gun could have been used to attach this replica to the original frame and the culprit walks away with the original. Easily done if said culprit is impersonating a restorer of canvas works.
In short, Don Jaun (or someone else?) made the recording expressing his intent, then replaces “Portrait of the Magnificent Don Juan” and walks off with the original, by impersonating Mr. Jack Vincent.
A question Holmes. Is the “Portrait of the Magnificent Don Juan” available as one of these full-sized posters in the gift shop?
Not of Don Juan, I believe; but indeed full sized posters. Before he went missing today, Poirot seemed to be on your exact line of reasoning… I wonder where he went.
Hello again, Mr. Holmes. What I’m about to say is hardly related to your case, but I think you may find it interesting.
We assume that your friend, James Raikes, has ran into one of our POIs – Lemuel Gulliver. At that time, Gulliver was carrying an antique wardrobe, a knob on which had piqued Raikes’ interest. He did some research and found that this wardrobe was given to his aunt (Claire Widdecombe) by a man who we assume is Moriarty. That man was also asking a lot of questions about her tenant, who, as you may know, was Hercule Poirot. Judging by his immediate leave, we’d say James had found this information interesting.
What we don’t know, however, is what so unusual was in that doorknob, and whether James has been aware of our situation after you left London. Have you been in contact with him after that?