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  • Writer's pictureScott Bryant

Parisian Clue Chase

Updated: 19 hours ago

Parisian Clue Chase by Scott Bryant
Background photo by Martijn Adegeest via

Amelia Martin sat at her desk, staring blankly at her computer screen. For weeks, she felt restless, missing something important in her life. She had always been fascinated by puzzles and riddles; lately, she had been craving a new challenge to satisfy her love of mysteries. "I feel like Sherlock Holmes on vacation with nothing to solve or deduce. What has this world come to?"

A new message caught her eye as Amelia was scrolling through her emails. The subject line read, "A challenge for the bold."

Amelia's curiosity was piqued, and she opened the message. The message was cryptic and written in code. Amelia quickly realized this was no ordinary puzzle - it was far more complex and intriguing. Just then, Jane Mellows, Amelia's best friend, burst into the room with a grin. "Amelia, you won't believe what I just found!" Jane exclaimed. "What is it?" Amelia asked, intrigued. "It's a message from a woman named Sophia. She claims to have hidden a message in a complex code; it will take two brilliant coders to crack it." Amelia's heart raced. This new mystery was the kind of challenge she had been seeking. "Where is Sophia?" she asked. "That's the catch - we don't know," Jane replied. "But she's left us a trail of clues to follow. So it looks like we're going on an adventure, my friend."

Amelia smiled. She knew Jane was just as eager for this challenge as she was, but for different reasons. Amelia loved the process of solving a puzzle, while Jane lived for the thrill of the adventure. They were the perfect team - Amelia was methodical and analytical, while Jane was spontaneous and daring. Together, they could conquer anything. Amelia stood up from her desk. "Let's go," she said, her eyes sparkling excitedly. Jane grinned, and they both rushed out of the room, ready for whatever lay ahead. Amelia's phone beeped with another message as they ran out of the room. She checked it, and her face lit up with excitement. "Jane, you're not going to believe this," she exclaimed. "It appears we have a new case. We have to go to Paris." Jane's eyes widened in surprise. "Paris? That sounds amazing! What's the case?" Amelia replied, "We have to find a missing artifact last seen at a cafe called Café Blanche. It's said to be worth millions." Jane's grin widened. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's pack our bags and head to the City of Love!" And with that, the two women quickly prepared and set off on their new adventure.

Amelia and Jane hopped into a town car and headed to the airport. Amelia couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation as they rode to the airport. She had always loved Paris, and the thought of solving a mystery in the City of Lights was thrilling. "So, what do you think we'll find in Paris?" Jane asked, breaking the silence. "I haven't the slightest idea," Emily replied. "I have a feeling this case will lead to something big. I can feel the wheels of my thoughts starting to churn, just like Sherlock Holmes." Jane chuckled. "You always say that. But you're usually right." Amelia grinned. "It's all about intuition, Jane. And mine is telling me that this will be one heck of a case."

When they arrived at the airport, they quickly checked in and boarded their Air France flight. Amelia pulled out her notebook and started jotting down notes as they settled into their first-class seats. "What are you writing?" Jane asked. "Just some thoughts about the case," Amelia replied. "Trying to connect the dots, you know?" Jane nodded. "I hear you. I've been doing the same thing." They worked silently for the rest of the flight, each lost in their thoughts. Jane leaned back in her seat and let out a sigh. "I can't believe we're actually doing this," she said. "I know," Amelia replied. "It feels like we're characters in a spy novel." They both chuckled. "Well, at least we're flying first-class," Jane said with a grin. "That's the spirit," Amelia replied, raising her glass of champagne. "Cheers to adventure!

They were both eager to get started when they finally landed in Paris. As they stepped out of the airport, Paris's familiar sights and sounds filled their senses. Amelia took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of fresh croissants and coffee. "Ah, Paris," she said with a smile. "There's no place like it." They hailed a taxi and gave the driver the address of Cafe de Flore. As they drove through the city, Emily couldn't help but feel a sense of déjà vu. She had been to Paris many times before, but this time it was different. This time, she was on a mission. The taxi merged into the chaotic traffic flow, honking its horn at every turn. "Is it always this crazy in Paris?" Jane asked, clutching her bag tightly. Amelia laughed. "You'll get used to it. Just keep your eyes open and your wits about you." As they weaved through the narrow streets, Amelia couldn't help but think about the mysterious woman they were supposed to meet at the cafe. She wondered what kind of person she was and what secrets she held.

When they finally arrived at the Cafe de Flore, Amelia and Jane stepped out of the taxi and looked up at the quaint little building. Café de Flore had a charming outdoor seating area. "This is it," Amelia said, her heart racing. "This is where the adventure begins." Jane rolled her eyes. "You know how much I hate coffee," she said. "But for a good mystery, I'll make an exception." Amelia chuckled. "Don't worry. I'm sure they have tea or hot chocolate."

As Amelia and Jane entered the café, the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee and chatter in various languages filled the air. "See anyone that could resemble Sophia?" Amelia said to Jane. "Not exactly. But the coffee aroma is certainly strong at this cafe." Jane remarked. "Now, if my intuitions serve me right, Sophia has to be either the cafe owner or someone who isn't drinking coffee," Amelia deduced. "Well, it's hard to tell, but I believe everyone seems to be drinking coffee - so there goes the non-coffee drinker theory," Jane said.

Just then, a woman with short blonde hair and bright green eyes greeted them at the counter. "Bonjour, mesdames," she said, smiling warmly. "Comment puis-je vous aider (How can I help you)?"

"We're looking for someone," Amelia said. "A woman who left a series of clues for us to follow. She mentioned the Cafe de Flore." The woman's eyes widened. "Ah, you must be the detectives," she said, her French accent thick. "I am Camille. Please, follow me." She led them to a small table in the corner of the cafe, where a single envelope sat waiting for them. "Good luck," Camille said, and then she was gone, leaving Amelia and Jane alone with the envelope and the mystery that lay ahead. Amelia and Jane exchanged a look before opening the envelope. Inside was a letter written in elegant cursive handwriting.

Dear Detectives,

I am sorry to have left you with such a cryptic trail of clues; I needed to ensure that only the most skilled and dedicated detectives would follow it to the end. But, if you are reading this, you have proven yourself worthy. The next clue lies in the heart of Montmartre. Look for the statue of Dalida, and you will find what you seek.

Good luck,

Your friend

Amelia and Jane looked at each other again, excitement building within them. They quickly paid for their drinks and exited the cafe, eager to continue their adventure. As they walked through the winding streets of Paris, Amelia and Jane couldn't help but marvel at the city's beauty. But they knew they couldn't get distracted by the sights and sounds around them - they had a mystery to solve.

As they walked, Amelia noticed that Jane kept looking at every person they passed with interest and suspicion. "What's up with you?" Amelia finally asked. Jane shrugged. "Just keeping an eye out for any suspicious characters. You never know who might be working for the other side." Amelia rolled her eyes. "This isn't a spy movie, Jane." Jane grinned. "Well, it could be. You never know what kind of adventure we might stumble into next."

Amelia and Jane continued walking down the street when a group of performers caught their eye. One of them, a mime, was remarkably talented. First, she mimed a box, then a key, and finally, a lock. Amelia and Jane exchanged a confused look. "That mime seems to be telling us something," Jane said. Amelia rolled her eyes. "Or she's just trying to make a euro," she replied, and they continued on their way, leaving the mime behind.

As they walked, Jane suddenly stopped and pointed to a bakery across the street. "Wait, hold on," she said, tugging at Amelia's sleeve. "I need a croissant. It's French law, you know." Amelia shook her head but couldn't help but laugh as Jane darted across the street, dodging a line of honking cars. "I'll just wait here," Amelia said as Jane disappeared into the bakery. A few minutes later, Jane emerged from the bakery with a bag of warm croissants. "These are the best croissants in all of Paris," Jane said, holding out one to Amelia. "You say that about every croissant," Amelia replied, taking a bite. "Only because it's true," Jane said with a grin. "Now, let's get cracking on this code."

Finally, they arrived at Montmartre and found the statue of Dalida. It was a striking sight, with the sun setting behind it and casting a warm glow over the bronze figure. Amelia and Jane approached the statue, admiring its beauty. As they stood there, a sudden wind blew through the square, sending Amelia's scarf flying off her neck and onto the statue's arm. Jane laughed as Amelia jumped to retrieve her scarf, struggling to reach it from the statue's grasp. Eventually, she managed to snatch it back, her face flushed with embarrassment. "That's one way to make an impression," Jane said, still chuckling. Amelia couldn't help but laugh too. But now it was time to get serious again. They had a mystery to solve and couldn't let distractions get in the way.

Hidden behind the statue of Dalida was a small box with a key inside. "See, Amelia! I told you that mime back there was trying to tell us something," Jane said. "This must be the key to the next clue," Amelia said, holding it to the light. "But where do we use it?" Jane asked. Amelia looked around, taking in the sights of Montmartre. Then she saw it - a small door tucked away in an alleyway. She led Jane over to it and tried the key. It fit perfectly, and the door creaked open. They stepped inside, not knowing what to expect. Inside was a small, dimly lit room filled with antique furniture and oddities. A woman sat at a desk in the corner, and her back turned to them. Amelia and Jane exchanged a look and approached her. As they got closer, the woman swiveled in her chair to face them.

"Ah, bonjour!" she exclaimed in heavily accented English. "You must be detectives, no?"

Amelia and Jane nodded, slightly taken aback by the woman's eccentricity. "I am Madame Varda," the woman said, gesturing to herself. "Welcome to my humble abode. I understand you are looking for someone. But first, I must ask you a question." She leaned forward, her eyes sparkling with curiosity. "What is your favorite color?" Amelia and Jane looked at each other in confusion, unsure how to answer. Finally, Madame Varda let out a cackling laugh. "Just kidding!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "Please, have a seat. I have much to tell you."

Walking down the dimly lit hallway, Amelia and Jane noticed a series of paintings adorning the walls. They were all portraits of women with striking features and mysterious smiles. "Who do you think these women are?" Jane asked, her eyes scanning the paintings. "I don't know," Amelia said, "but I have a feeling we're about to find out." They found a room with a large desk in the center at the end of the hallway. On the desk was a note written in elegant handwriting. Amelia picked it up and read it aloud.

Welcome, detectives. You have done well so far, but the real challenge begins now. Look around you - can you find the one clue that will lead you to the following location?

Amelia and Jane looked at each other, determined to solve the puzzle. They combed through the room, searching high and low for any clue. Finally, Jane let out a small cry of triumph. "Jane! It appears I have found an ordinary key." Amelia had found a small key in the corner of the room. "Where do you think it leads?" Jane asked. "I am not sure, but there's only one way to find out." They followed the hallway back to the entrance and, this time, used the key to unlock a door on the other side. As they stepped through the doorway, they found themselves in a lush garden filled with flowers and trees. A fountain in the center of the garden gurgled peacefully. "This is incredible," Jane whispered, her eyes wide with wonder. "Curious, I was never aware Paris had hidden gardens." Amelia and Jane explored the garden, taking in every detail. Then, they saw it - a small plaque next to the fountain. It read:

Look for the woman with the red umbrella to find the final clue.

"Curious. It's fair to say this red umbrella may be central to solving this mystery," Amelia deduced. "But we must keep our wits and minds open. No mystery is that easy to solve." Jane had a thought, "Red umbrella. Do you suppose this is similar to that Albert Lamorisse film we saw once called The Red Balloon? You know, the one where the little boy follows that red balloon around Paris?" Amelia chuckled, "Quite possibly, but highly unlikely. Something tells me there's more to this mystery than we imagine. The real question is, who was the woman with the red umbrella, and where could she be found? Let's search the room, Jane."

Together, they began to search the room for any clues. They combed through every inch, looking for anything that might point them in the right direction. Finally, after several minutes of fruitless searching, Amelia sighed in frustration. 'What are we missing?' she muttered. But Jane was already on to something. "Check this out," she said, holding up a small scrap of paper. 'It looks like a map.' Amelia peered over her shoulder. 'That's a map,' she said. 'But where does it lead?' Jane grinned. 'Only one way to find out.'"

"As they made their way down the dimly lit hallway, their footsteps echoed off the walls. Suddenly, Jane felt a sharp pain in her ankle and stumbled. "Ow!" she exclaimed. "What was that?" Amelia looked down and saw a small metal object on the ground. She picked it up and examined it. "Looks like we have ourselves a miniature Eiffel Tower." Jane rubbed her ankle and chuckled. "Well, I guess we're on the right track." They continued down the hallway until they reached a door. Amelia tried the handle, but it was locked. "I bet this is where the next clue is," she said. "But how to get in is our next question." Jane nodded and looked around the hallway. Suddenly, she spotted a small lever on the wall. "Hey, look at this," she said, pulling the lever down. They heard a click, and the door swung open. Amelia turned to Jane, "Excellent find, my dear Jane. Let's continue inside." Inside the room was a desk with a piece of paper on it. Amelia picked it up and read it aloud.

Congratulations, detectives. You have made it this far. But your journey is not over yet. Your next clue lies in the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Amelia looked at Jane. "Well, I guess we better get going."

"They made their way down the narrow staircase, the light from their phones illuminating the way. At the bottom of the staircase, Amelia and Jane found themselves in a small, dimly lit room. The air reminded them of must and age. The walls had bookshelves lined with only dusty old books that looked like they had been closed for decades. Jane was the first to speak. "This is like something out of a movie," she whispered. Amelia nodded in agreement, her heart racing with excitement. Suddenly, Jane let out a yelp. "What? What is it?" Amelia asked, rushing over to her side. Jane pointed to a small mouse scurrying across the floor. "I hate rodents," she said, shuddering. Amelia couldn't help but laugh. "Just a harmless, ordinary mouse, Jane. However, I don't think this is the time to fear mice. We have a mystery to solve." Jane rolled her eyes but couldn't help but smile. They went to the desk in the center of the room, where a single envelope awaited them. "This mystery woman sure loves to write notes," Jane remarked.

"It's best we don't touch anything," Amelia warned as she walked across the room, examining the scattered objects. Suddenly, she stopped in front of a painting. It was a beautiful portrait of a woman, her eyes gazing out at them hauntingly familiarly. "Jane, look at this," Amelia said, pointing at the painting. Jane made her way over to Amelia's side, staring at the painting.

"That's the woman from the cafe," Jane said, her eyes widening in realization. "The one who left us the clues." Amelia nodded, her mind racing with possibilities. "This must be her hideout," she said. "We need to search every inch of this place."

Amelia noticed something peculiar about the painting as they continued to explore the room. She leaned in for a closer look and then gasped. "Jane, come here," she said urgently. "Look at this." Jane rushed over to Amelia's side, and they examined the painting more closely together. "There's something behind it," Jane said, her eyes widening in excitement. Amelia nodded, and they quickly moved the painting aside, revealing a small safe hidden in the wall. "This must be it," Amelia said, her heart pounding with anticipation. She pulled out the envelope they had received from the cafe and opened it up. Inside was a slip of paper with a code written on it.

"We need to crack this code," Amelia said, her eyes scanning the room for clues. Then, suddenly, she spotted something on the desk across the room. "Jane, look at this," she said, pointing at a piece of paper covered in strange symbols. Jane nodded, her eyes alight with excitement. "I think we can crack this code," she said. And together, they set to work, deciphering the clues and unraveling the mystery of the woman in the painting.

They couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction as they worked, for finally, they had uncovered the truth and solved the mystery that had brought them to Paris. And as they made their way out of the hidden room, back into the bustling streets of Montmartre, Amelia and Jane were curious to see where their adventure was headed in Paris.

As they walked through the streets of Paris once again, Jane's eyes lit up as they passed a sign for the Moulin Rouge. "Ooh la la, Amelia, we have to go there!" she exclaimed. "I heard they have the best cancan dancers in the world." Amelia chuckled. "I know the Moulin Rouge is famous and all, Jane, but we're not here to kick up our heels with the Cancan dancers. We've got a mystery to solve, remember?" "You are right, Amelia. Still though, you don't see cancan dancers back home. I just hope our next clue takes us here." Jane said. "Maybe the next time we come to Paris," Amelia said.

As they returned to their hotel, Amelia couldn't shake the feeling that they were being watched. She kept looking over her shoulder, but no one seemed to be following them. "Amelia, you're being paranoid," Jane said. "Maybe," Amelia said, "but something doesn't feel right." Finally, they returned to the hotel and went to their room. There was a knock at the door as they sat down at the small table to discuss their findings. Amelia hesitated, but Jane got up to answer it. She opened the door to reveal a woman with short blonde hair and bright green eyes.

"Bonjour, mesdames," she said with a smile. "May I come in?" Amelia and Jane exchanged a look. They didn't know who this woman was, but something about her seemed familiar. "Who are you?" Amelia asked, her hand resting on the handle of her purse. The woman's smile faltered. "I'm sorry to have startled you," she said. "My name is Camille. I work at Cafe de Flore. I wanted to apologize for not being more forthcoming earlier. I was afraid of being overheard."

Amelia and Jane relaxed slightly but still didn't fully trust this woman. "What do you want?" Jane asked, crossing her arms. "I have information for you," Camille said. "Information that will help you in your search." Amelia and Jane exchanged another look, then gestured for Camille to come in. Camille pulled out a small slip of paper as she sat at the table. "This is a code," she said, sliding it across the table. "It will lead you to your next clue." Amelia and Jane looked at the code, then back up at Camille. "How did you get this?" Amelia asked. Camille hesitated. "Let's just say I have my sources," she said cryptically. Amelia and Jane exchanged another look, then got up to leave. As they walked out the door, Amelia turned back to Camille. "Thank you," she said. "But if we find out that you're involved in any way with what we're looking for, we'll come after you." Camille just smiled. "I wouldn't expect anything less."

As they descended the stairs, the air grew colder, and the light grew dimmer. Finally, they reached the bottom and found themselves in a small, dimly lit room. The walls had shelves, and a large, ornate chest sat in the center of the room. Amelia and Jane approached the chest, and as they did, they noticed a piece of paper lying on top. It read:

Congratulations, detectives. You have passed the test. The final clue awaits you in Cafe de Flore. We'll be waiting.

Amelia and Jane exchanged a look. They had passed the test, but what lay ahead was still a mystery. They made their way back up the stairs and into the street, the excitement building within them again. As they walked back to the Cafe de Flore, they couldn't help but wonder what the final clue would be and what kind of adventure it would lead them on. When they arrived back at the cafe, they saw the mysterious woman sitting at a table, a sly smile on her lips.

"Congratulations," she said. "You have completed the Clue Chase."

Amelia and Jane grinned at each other, feeling immense accomplishment. They opened the envelopes to find tickets to a train station in Switzerland and a note that read:

The real adventure awaits you in the Alps. Are you ready?

Amelia and Jane looked at each other, their hearts beating faster with anticipation. They knew they were ready for anything as long as they were together."

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