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Copyright 2007 by Michael E. Grost

To Cake the Dead

By Michael E. Grost

A Culinary Impossible Crime

Henri Ambrolin IV, playboy great-grandson of the famed French sleuth, arrives at a Loire Valley chateau to attend the wedding of the year, between the heiress of an old French family, and Jules Bijoux, the young Reality Show King of French TV. The groom has been getting threatening letters, perhaps from TV critics, perhaps from the heiress’ rejected rival suitors. However, the ceremony goes off without a hitch, and everyone at the reception is thrilled when the giant, eight-foot high wedding cake is wheeled into the garden. Ambrolin, an old family friend, is asked to cut the cake, and he pulls out the sword from his elegant evening cane.

The cutting soon finds an obstruction. Buried deep within the cake, is the dead body of Jules Bijoux!

Who killed the groom? How did his body get inside the perfect looking 9 layer wedding cake?

“The groom has been strangled, with videotape from one of his own shows,” Ambrolin pointed out. “And the groom’s body shows no fire damage, or any sign of having been baked inside the cake. How did he get inside the cake, which is completely undamaged except where I cut it with my sword? It all seems impossible!”

“This is just like what happened to Boopsie two days ago,” the heiress wailed.

“Who is Boopsie?” Ambrolin asked her, with his famed detectival acuity.

“Boopsie is my pet poodle,” the teary heiress replied. “The day before yesterday, Boopsie was found, doped but still alive, buried deep in a perfect looking mountain of maple creme mousse. No one could figure out how he got there. We revived him, and he was completely unharmed.”

The heiress pointed to a small black poodle, who was still happily licking off maple mousse from his paws and fur, sitting in a corner of the garden.

“The killer probably tried out his approach first on the dog,” Ambrolin stated wisely, “to see if it would work.”

SOLUTION

“The killer is a pastry chef,” Ambrolin told the assembled wedding guests. “The chef had been rejected by Jules Bijoux as a contestant on one of his reality shows, and had gone crazy as a result.”

“That frequently happens,” the local juge d’instruction pointed out.

“The chef told Jules that he wanted to create a portrait cake of Jules,” Ambrolin went on, “that would be unveiled at Jules’ wedding in Jules’ honor. Jules, who was susceptible to flattery, agreed. The first step was for Jules to allow the chef to make an impression of Jules’ entire body. This process took just a few minutes, using a quick drying plastic with which the chef surrounded Jules. The chef soon pulled away the plastic, leaving Jules unharmed.“

“The chef could have used his plastic impression to create cake molds in the shape of Jules’ head, face and body,” Ambrolin continued. “This is what the chef told Jules he was going to do. Instead, the chef did the exact opposite. He created cake molds in the REVERSE of Jules’ form. These molds can be used to bake cake pieces, whose edges are in the form of Jules' body. When assembled, the cake pieces form a wedding cake, with a body shaped hole in the center.

“Today the chef baked the pieces, strangled Jules, and assembled the pieces, for the bottom three layers. He then placed Jules’ body upright in the center hole, Jules’ legs being planted firmly in the open center hole of the three layers. The chef then added the remaining six upper layers, one by one, in pieces around Jules. The cake pieces covered up and concealed the rest of Jules’ body, all the way to the tip of his hair. Each piece was a perfect fit, matching the shape of Jules’ body. The chef then added the white frosting over the cake, and voila! Jules is hidden completely inside the cake.”