December 8, 1927    


My friend,

   There is a situation that needs attention, and I am hoping that you can assist. Unfortunately, I have been called away on some important business, and cannot be there in person.

   My friend, His Excellency, Bishop Angelo Fiorelli of the Archdiocese of Boston, came to me with a curious and tragic story of a dying man. There's much more than just an illness here; the Bishop's tale hints at things that remind me of references we've seen in the last year. I dare not say more through the mails.

   The dying man's request was to assemble a number of colleagues to sit at a final meal, to have a lively philosophical discussion of life, death and the strange things that happen in-between. I cannot think of anyone better qualified to be involved in such a discussion. I am sure that there is more that is going on, and I'm dying of curiousity. You'll have to tell me all about it when I return.

   Of course, the Bishop insists on the strictest level of discretion in this manner. I find this curious, and the explanation was evasive. I believe it is worth your time and effort. In any case, the Bishop has promised a fine meal and a decent glass of port to keep his company. (I can attest to the power of port from my recent trip to Portugal.)

   His Excellency is expecting you. Please contact him at your earliest convenience, so that he may finalize the arrangements.

  Sincerely yours,    
  Blake Hartford    
  Blake Hartford