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The Chopsticks Mystery© - Solution
January, 2002

Opening Clues - While messing around with chopsticks Mr. Portada decided it was time to call his lawyer.

The Mystery Question - What happened to Mr. Portada?

Winner - Final question received on 28 January from Christoph H. in Tallinn, who asked - Did the CD player contain a classical music CD? (Yes it did.) Did A and her teacher play the CD in order to pretend that they were studying the piano? (Yes they did!! KEY Fact #7)

Key Facts

Here are the KEY Facts in the Mystery of the XXX.

Fact 1 - Mr. Portada's wife was having an affair.
Fact 2 - Her affair was with her piano teacher.
Fact 3 - The lover's romantic "liaisons" took place during the lessons.
Fact 4 - Mr. Portada was playing chopsticks on the piano.
Fact 5 - He discovered that the piano was out of tune.
Fact 6 - Mr. Portada found a CD player inside the piano.
Fact 7 - The CD Player was used to mimic Annette's playing while the lovers carried out their bi-weekly tryst.
Fact 8 - Mr. Portada wanted to file for divorce.

The details of The Chopsticks Mystery

Mr. Portada, a 63-year old e-commerce billionaire has been married to Annette, a 27-year old music student. For the past six months, Annette has been taking classical piano lessons from Xavier, a dashing, young Spaniard from Barcelona. Twice a week, for two hours, Annette and Xavier lock themselves in the music room of the Portada mansion. As they practiced, down the hall in his study, Mr. Portada would listen to Annette's masterful playing of his favorite piece, Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto in E-minor. Mr. Portada suspected his young wife and Xavier were romantically involved, however, he had no proof.

One afternoon, while Annette was out, in a moment of serendipity, Mr. Portada sat down at the piano. A total, non-musician, he made a feeble attempt at the child’s piece - chopsticks. As he began to play, it became apparent, even to his untrained ear, that the piano was considerably out of tune – so out of tune, that it would have been impossible for Annette’s beautiful playing to have come from the instrument.

Lifting the top of the Steinway, Mr. Portada discovered a small CD player, and inside the player a recording of Annette playing Chopin's concerto. In a flash, he realized that the young lovers had used the recording to mimic Annette’s playing while they carried out their bi-weekly tryst. Gazing out the window, thinking about divorce and …

“messing around with chopsticks, Mr. Portada decided it was time to call his lawyer.”

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©The Chopsticks Mystery, Don Fitzmahan, 2002 / Minute Mystery is trademarked by Don Fitzmahan.