Where would I be without you, Detective? Likely staring into an endless cup of tea. Earl grey. Hot. And maybe crying to my mother.
Thanks to you, we caught Nicky stowing away in the hold of a fishing boat down at Flotsam Docks, bound for international waters — and a life of freedom. Without you, he’d be sipping mai tais and chasing short hula skirts. Instead, now he’s scheduled to shoot some portraits down at Central Booking.
You were right — the phones weren’t for making calls, at all. Rather, the keypads were a handy cheat for their code. Old-school touch tone letters from the days of payphones.
That’s why all the messages were an even number of digits. Each letter in the alphabet got two numbers.
Digit #1: The number on the phone keypad where the letter was.
Digit #2: Whether it was the first, second, third, or fourth letter on that phone key.
So 62 is code for N, since the letter N is found on the number 6 phone key and is the second letter from left-to-right on that key.
Each perp’s messages started the same because they were addressed by name. Here, you can have a decoded copy for your files. Maybe frame it, actually. You did really well today, kid.
You know, we've been known to get a thorny case like this from time to time.
Actually, we seem to get one every single month, now that I think about it.
Maybe you'd like to join our little outfit here and do some real police work for a change, because you’re not half bad. Think it over, Detective.
Be in touch soon,