It arrived on Thursday afternoon. The third clue--another piece of a very strange puzzle--lay on a rectangle of black velvet inside a hinged green silk box, which sat inside the cardboard box used to mail it halfway around the world. Like the cracked jade pendant and the bronze incense burner, it came with no note, no accompanying information or explanation.
These bizarre but intriguing gifts were sent by her uncle, that much she knew. What she didn't know was what on earth he was doing. He'd left abruptly, as he usually did when he went away, leaving his long-suffering girlfriend a small silver pitcher, and his niece a weathered lacquer tray. Generous but enigmatic, this man.
Now, a wooden hand? Corinne loved a good mystery as much as the next girl--no, definitely more than most, and Uncle Simon knew it. So he had sent her this hand, and it was supposed to reveal something. She'd tucked away the other gifts, or clues, in her bedroom inside her great-grandfather's steamer trunk, under a tattered quilt and a stack of embroidered pillowcases. Now she went to the trunk and retrieved these items. She looked carefully at all three clues together, lined up on the floor in front of her. Well, Uncle Simon must be in Asia. Right, but what did all of this mean? And why was the wooden hand contorted in this way, as if it felt pain or somehow yearned for help? Flummoxed, Corinne could only hope that another clue would be forthcoming, and soon.