The Mystic Crown of Saguenay

A portrait of Jacques Cartier.

Episode 7 of Witt Kepler, Private Eye.

Private eye Witt Kepler turned his attention to the would-be tiara thief still struggling to get out of the ten by ten metal cage. As he started to grill the imprisoned man, Witt reached down and disconnected a power cable from one of the stage lights.

“First off, you get out when I say you get out. And if you touch the bars again, well – maybe you should reconsider.” Witt wrapped the cable around one of the iron bars in a way that allowed the bare end of the wire to come into contact with the ferrous metal. The cage was now electrified.

To prove his point, Witt pulled a silver hairpin from Vickie’s coiffure. The private eye tossed the tiny stickpin at the cage, causing fiery sparks to shower over the man inside.

“Man, I’ll tell you what you need to know, just don’t fry me!” The man held his hands up like a mime trying to escape an invisible box.

“Who hired you to steal the tiara?” Witt demanded.

The man shrugged his shoulders, saying “I think you know – and if I mention his name, he’ll kill me. I’d rather take my chances in prison.”

“You’ll be lucky to get life in prison after today, pal, but what does a man like Ivan Vetski, with at least one bag of real diamonds, want with a lame old tiara like this one? Hell, these aren’t even diamonds, they’re plastic knock-offs.”

Vickie Timms grabbed the tiara away from Witt. Holding it up to the light, her mouth fell open as she realized that, indeed, the tiara was worthless. “I can’t believe it! It’s a fake! You mean to tell me I slept with a louse like Vetski, only to win a fake crown? I’ll kill him!”

“Take a number, doll,” Witt said. “The question is why? Why go to such lengths to steal a worthless tiara?”

“Bait and switch, to put it bluntly,” answered Guthrie. “This tiara may be a fake, but it is a pretty darned good one, eh? Fooled everyone up until now. And, oh by the way, the tiara is a replica of the Mystic Crown of Saguenay. It’s obvious.”

The silence was immediate.

Witt turned to his partner, saying out loud what everyone else was thinking. “The mystic crown of what?”

“Saguenay. You know, in Canada.  Snow, hockey, curling, the Mounties? Surely you have heard of us?”

Witt chuckled. “Yes, Canada. I got it. But Sagu-whatever?  What’s mystic about it and what  does it have to do with this tin piece of-“

“The Mystic Crown! Of course!” exclaimed Witt’s new found friend, the television reporter. “I did a story on the crown last week. It will be on display at the Metro Museum of Antiquities in a few days. The crown was a gift to King Francis from the explorer Jacques Cartier. It’s over 500 years old. “

The Mountie elaborated. “The Iroquois gave Cartier a handful of diamonds, trying to convince him to basically go away. Their plan was to tell him about a legendary kingdom called Saguenay,  far to the north, home of the ancient Norsemen and loaded with gold, silver and jewels. Cartier fell for it, looking for over a year, but he could never find it. Instead, he fashioned the diamonds into a tiara, as a gift to one of King Francis’ courtesans, Anne I believe.”

Witt was still confused. Scratching his head, he asked “So again, why would Vetski want an old crown when he already has a bag full of ice? Are the saggy ones that much better?”

“You mean Saguenay and these diamonds don’t turn blue when you get close to the Kingdom.”

The unexpected answer came from Vickie Timms. She wielded a two-shot Derringer pistol, pointing it directly at her old boyfriend, Witt.

“Vickie, what are you doing? Where did you get that gun?” Witt said, wishing he still had his bullet proof vest from his days on the force.

“Your red-suited buddy may have dipped me for my revolver, but I snagged his Derringer when I laid a big smacker on him.”

Guthrie Oaks, Sergeant of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, had been hoodwinked. He instinctively reached behind his red uniform blouse, checking for his hidden piece. The Canadian’s puzzled look told everyone he was unarmed.

“I’ll tell you what I’m doing,” the gun-toting, bleached blond bantered. “I’m leaving you losers and taking this tiara with me. Ivan and I will just have to get the real crown another time, but I won this one fair and square. Ivan paid good money for me to win – and you ruined it, Witt Kepler.”

As she pulled the trigger, Witt braced for the impact of flying lead.

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6 thoughts on “The Mystic Crown of Saguenay

    • There really was an Iroquois story about a kingdom of Saguenay. Legend had it that the kingdom was inhabited by blonde haired people (Norse?) and the land was full of gold and silver. I just added a bit to the legend, that’s all. And I haven’t even opened the wine yet!
      But first, I need to figure out how Witt survives his encounter with Vickie Timms! Until next Sunday, then…

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