Palmerston-Napier awoke with a frightful headache, seemingly the price for performing his convivial duties at the Double Cuneiform the previous night. He soon realised that he was totally mistaken, and in fact, he had been struck down with a premonition rather than a hangover. Before he had time to even boil the kettle, the doorbell had chimed and Palmerston-Napier's estranged sister, Lady Edgeworth-Box, was helping herself to his pantry, gesticulating wildly while scoffing scones with sardines, and eggs that Sir had pre-boiled.
The relationship between the brother and sister was strained. He, always the hard-headed pragmatist, despised her bleeding heart apologetics almost as much as her pointless academic waffling. He had always considered it his good fortune that she had gone abroad to study, and spared all on the island of her zeal for enlightenment.
"Graham, dear, so marvelous to be reunited again. I cannot believe you are still living holed up on this island, you could never believe the ways it has made you into this grump that you are. Why not try living in the rice fields or the pampas for a change, it would do you the world of good, dear."
He grimaced. "You know very well how much I would find those things..er, delightful, but I... simply have to much to do here. What - with managing the estate and the affairs. There is a lot of turbulence as you know, and one really can't take all the economic truths for granted these days. One can't take a breather without some poor chap seeing his opportunity to dig the boot in."
"Oh Graham, you've always used that as an excuse! Oh well, I don't mind a bit! I've missed you terribly. I'll be staying for a while you see, I am writing my new book about a smuggling ring located on the island, "A confederacy of hermits" I think I'll call it. There are all sorts of mysteries to be discovered here that we must investigate. The place is simply a treasure trove."
Palmerston-Napier felt queasy. Somehow he doubted it was due to his third martini at Wellesleys.