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“Inspector, always nice to see you.”

The look on Mr. Butler’s face told Jack two things: first, that he was grateful to see him; second, if he had any sense, he’d run.

The Inspector cocked his head in question. “So, how are things, Mr. B?”

Suddenly, from the bedroom at the head of the stairs came the distinctive voice of the Honorable Phryne Fisher. “Ow, ow, ow, ow, damn!” As Jack’s eyes immediately flew to the top of the stairs, Mr. Butler raised his hand to assure him that the lady in question was not in any life-threatening danger.

“Miss Fisher chose to take some sun yesterday in preparation for an Indian-themed costume party next week. She awoke this morning to discover that it appears she may have gotten more sun that she had planned to.”

“Have you called Dr. Macmillan?”

“She requested that we forgo calling the doctor, and I quote, “I am not in the mood to listen to her make awful lobster jokes and tell me I told you so. I’d rather suffer in silence.”

“Ow, ouch, ow, arrrrgh!”

The two men stared knowingly at each other. No words needed to be said.

“Has Miss Williams not been able to find her any help at all?”

“Miss Williams is taking care of her mother who is down with a cold. I have a salve of aloe vera, honey, and lavender but Miss Fisher explained that she cannot apply it herself and refuses to allow me to assist her. She assured me that while she has no question that I have the medical ability that neither one of us could afford the trip to Vienna for therapy with Dr. Freud.”

Jack chuckled under his breath. As free-spirited as Phryne Fisher was, there were lines even she would not cross.

“Mr. B., I’m going to need some brandy, a bucket of crushed ice, a cotton pillowcase, your salve, and several large goose feathers.”

And not for the first time, Jack noted in wonder how this manservant could take in such bizarre requests and not blink an eye.