“The Gallery Raid” followed shortly after the National Museum had been hit. It was not immediately obvious that they were linked by anything other than that they were both museums. It was only when a passer-by reported that they had seen a coach in a nearby side street which matched the one at the Rosemen’s funeral and museum job that the case was handed over to the Moorland team.
“I’m not sure I get this modern art,” Lifson observed looking at a still life which included a two eggs, a slice of toast, a sausage, two lemons, and a bottle of gin on a table with a black checked tablecloth. “Who has lemons with their breakfast?”
“Seems a bit odd to me too, Sarge,” Fuller agreed.
The two Rosies then made their way to where Barns was taking a statement from the curator.
“Exactly what is missing again, Sir?” Barns asked, pencil poised at his notebook.
“A Buber-Zuhler painting ‘Maidens with Tambourines,’ a marble bust of Razuli the Second, and Watchman’s ‘Windmill in the Snow’,” the museum official said placing special emphasis on the artists’ names as if to highlight the gravity of the situation.
“So a Buber-Zuhler, a Watchman, and a Marblebust? Is that correct?”
“Mable bust! A statue,” The frustrated man corrected.
“And is there anything particularly identifiable about these missing items, Sir?” Barns asked.
The curator covered his face with both hands, shook his head in exasperation and screamed. He then holding out his hands dismissively began to walk towards his office.
“Is there a problem, Sir?” Lifson asked as he headed the man off.
“The problem is that priceless pieces of art are missing, and you ‘gentlemen’ seem to have no idea . . .” he began scornfully, before trailing off.
“Sir, let me assure you that we are taking this matter extremely seriously, and we are merely trying to make sure that all the proper procedures are followed,” Lifson said diplomatically.
He then escorted the man to his office.
Meanwhile, Hugh Trixner was completing his readings.
“There is definitely residue all over this place, Sir,” he reported to Magononni. “And there’s no sign that there was an attempt to cover it up, either. It seems really strong by the service entrance and in the sculpture hall, but not so much in the paintings gallery.”
“Two paintings were taken from there?” The detective asked.
“Yes Sir, from opposite walls from each other,” Trixner said. “But there are only faint TEM readings at either of the paintings’ mounting points. The readings at the Razuli plinth are off the scale though.”
“Do we have a time?” Magononni asked.
“About one in the morning. It matches with the time Sergeant Lifson says the coach was seen,” Trixner reported.
Sergeant Lifson then returned from the curator’s office with a copy of the gallery’s catalogue. The curator having helpfully circled the images of the missing pieces, then slammed the door behind the exiting Watchman.