Unconvinced of Sepa’s previous tale, Louie M. Starr makes a house call to follow up with Mrs. Ming. The charming businessman soon coaxes a decidedly different tale from the grieving widow. It seems that she paid a visit to Dr. John H. Watson earlier in the evening and was only just arriving home when she stumbled upon the gruesome scene in the study. Sepa claims that she was out on business, enlisting the help of the Offices of the Watch to work security for a gala celebrating the opening of Perrault Orphanage. Louis senses something is amiss, but chooses to respectfully leave the manor rather than call her bluff.
Mr. Starr arrives at the Offices of the Watch to confront Watson about the legitimacy of these so-called planning meetings. Watson corroborates Sepa’s story, though his outrage at Starr’s hints of sordid behavior suggests a more-than-professional relationship between the chief and Mrs. Ming. Louis relays this information to Atalanta and Detective Hopkins. Hopkins seems to take this information in stride, while an outraged Atalanta accosts the chief in his office, demanding answers. However, in her zeal to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that goes “straight to the top” the rookie succeeds only in confusing herself further, exiting the office and returning to her cohorts with the news that she and the detective have been tasked with defending Mr. Starr and solving the crime of Charles Ming’s murder. In short, nothing was gained except a vague understanding of why Shikibu was so keen to transfer her.
Realizing that Atalanta’s sub-par powers of deduction will be of little help, the detective, Malvolio, and Starr decide to take the investigation to the dockyard—home of Obosk’s established crime syndicate ringleader the Ugly Duckling. The group receives an icy reception from the warehouse employees. Nonetheless, the party is ushered inside following relatively little questioning. After accompanying a particularly large mook through a labyrinthine hallway of crates, they come to a small backroom where they are to wait for the crime lord. Caneton Laid proves to be a shrewd businessman. Upon receiving a considerable check from Starr, Mr. Laid explains that the series of murders appear to be the work of either the Knave of Hearts or Hansel and Gretel. However, detective Hopkins determined that the murders did not appear to match the Knave and were, more likely, the work of a copycat. Mr. Starr requests a meeting with the Knave, but Laid assures him it will be several days before he is able to locate the criminal.
Meanwhile, Hopkins moves around back to search for clues. Failing to pick the lock on the back door to the warehouse, he moves on to one of the upper windows. The detective deftly lowers himself upon one of the stacks of crates and begins his search. Many of the boxes in the warehouse bear the insignia of the Menzogne boucherie. His interest is piqued, though Jacob does not discover anything other than meat in the few crates he opens. Noticing movement on the warehouse floor, he quietly slips out and rejoins his comrades several blocks away.
The hansom’s progress is arrested a few blocks from the Menzogne boucherie. A large crowd has gathered near an alleyway, rendering adjacent streets virtually impassable. Starr instructs the cab to wait while the four go to investigate. As the group nears the alley they hear word that another body has been discovered. The rumor is confirmed as Detective Hopkins and his cohorts round the corner onto an eerily familiar scene…a body laid out precisely as Charles Ming’s. It seems the group will have some bad news for Kassel.