1893: Mystery or Treasure Hunt?

I’ve recovered three of the eight stolen diamonds and made significant progress on most of the rest. This was no simple theft: the thieves went to the length of building elaborate mechanical devices into the very architecture of the fairgrounds, a process that must have started when the fair was still in its planning stages, in order to provide hiding places that a sufficiently clever investigator could penetrate. And there’s no doubt at all that they want me to find the gems. Some of those elaborate devices are not hiding places but rather clue dispensers. Then there’s the riddle in verse that they left at the scene of the crime. And one of the thieves even talks to me through one of those new-fangled “telephone” devices on display in the Electricity building, giving measured hints on a daily basis.

All of which leads to one question: Why? Why go to all this trouble to indirectly give back everything they stole? The game has been mostly treasure-hunt so far, and the devices holding the treasures are basically a lot like the things you’d expect in a game about an Egyptian tomb. (Come to think of it, there seems to be one in a replica Egyptian tomb exhibit.) But this is a mystery — it says so on the packaging, plus I’ve found a corpse by now, and felt sundry other background rumblings of a story beyond the battle of wits with Edward Nygma’s grandfather. So what are the thieves trying to accomplish?

As I see it, the only real effect of the crime is the investigation it’s produced. It’s drawn the attention of the player character, one of the foremost detectives of his era. So that means that they either want me to pay attention to something — something that would escape the casual fairgoer, but which I’ll inevitably discover in the course of my investigations — or the whole thing is a distraction — they want my attention on the gems so it won’t be elsewhere. Or maybe it’s all some kind of weird Masonic initiation ritual. Who knows.

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