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Murder

The shutters, although tied back, rattle with the December winds round the east wing. Rooks stoop like hunkered rags in the bare trees just outside the leaded windows where the body now lays in the half dark of morning light.

Bedsheets are wrapped cocoon like as he clambered from the dark oak bed towards the light. He expired, it would appear, before ascending from pupae to moth, hand outstretched as if grasping for the new day, a new Dawn.

What happened here in the Manor?

The guests and house help are all gathered in the lounge for interview as you arrive on scene, ready to unravel the mystery of murder in the mansion.
The word dirtied from mince pies.
 
Chapter one

Act 1

The bed chamber

The panelled room is dark and neat, the bedside table with lamp, book, fresh empty glass and little more. The body is half between the bed and the open shutters, still wrapped in the bedsheets like a shroud which had obviously been pulled from the bed as he tried to clamber out.

But to where was he headed, the shutters were wide open, had the maid opened them? His hand was reaching out towards the window like a twisted root ball, beckoning beyond to perhaps summon the trees into his hands.

At the window the rooks watch you from the ailing ash tree and wait, beyond, the estate ribbons out down the vale through a stretch of trees know locally as Pixie Dell. Moorland frames the mantle of this view and on the inner window ledge sit brass binoculars ideal for spotting birds or moonlit smugglers.

In the far distance you see the sea and on a clear day a light house on a small island in the channel.

The toxicology report suggests that Mr Christopher had been poisoned by arsenic.
find a key in one of the pretty stars.
 
Chapter two

Act 2

Interview 1 Davina the house maid.

'I believe you were first on the scene and raised the alarm? Could you go through the details of precisely what happened'

'Yes sir, I brought tea, as I always do at the chime of 7 am. Master is most particular about his first cup and gets very short without it.' The maid straightened her posture, uncomfortable in her memory.

'I opened the door and he was on the floor already, still wrapped in his sheets and reaching towards the shutters. I called out and Jan came running to help.

We're the shutters open when you arrived?

Yes, but that's not unusual, master often slept so the moon would flood across his bed. It has been so since he was a little boy, his mother had suggested it to fight the night terrors. Make fear subservient to your command I'd overheard once. Felt that was a bit tough for a little boy but who was I to intervene, the house maid!

When was the last time you saw your master?

Last night, I turned his bed down just as he retreated from the guests. He was in a fine mood as if something had lifted from his chest. He took his normal night cap which his sister prepared.

You called for assistance? Did anyone enter the room whilst you made the call.

No sir, nobody came or left, just me and Jan I stayed with him until help came, the phone is on the landing and there are no other entrances to this room. I would have seen anything untoward happening. Nobody but Jan and I and she was as destruct as I was, wailing and pacing back and forth.
add exhibit A to Exhibit B for the keyword
 
Chapter three

Act 3

In which you ask the estate manager a Mr Reu, a few questions

Mr Reu, can you describe the events of last evening?

Yes, there were guests.

Can you be more specific, who was here in the house, please and why were you here?

Yes, I manage the estate for Master Christopher, and once a year we have a little banquet in the grand hall. The Master along with his sister Jan was there plus the inventor from the old stable yards, Mr Solomon.

So including the maid and the master that made five in the house?

Yes, Mr Christopher the Master, Davina the maid, she's a genius with giblets you know. Jan was there the sister who he always doted on, was always gifting her a new pair of earrings or broach which she promptly lost I don't know how. Then there was the talented Mr Solomon from the incubation unit and myself.

Thank you Mr Rue, can you think why any of the guests would want to see Mr Christopher dead? You manage the estates and are privy to details which may be important.

Why, no Mr Christopher was a generous and gentle man. He was astute in seeing opportunity over the years, which is why he was able to stay and keep his sister in the family home. The incubation units are a good example, a stable income stream and new opportunities for Mr Christopher business wise.

He became quite involved at times and bank rolled some of the startups over the years although I'm not privy to the details. Some have grown, others floundered but never much animosity in the loss. As I say, he was a business man, kept his finger on the money and knew when to shut the funds down.

But a couple of the businesses have really grown, especially Mr Solomons. That one is quite an asset in his portfolio. They compress carbon you know and make gems, not sure I am keen on wearing the ashes of a beloved one on my finger, that feels a bit wrong to me.

Anything else I should be aware of?

No, not really, I suggested extending the units down in to the vale, I thought Mr Christopher would be totally behind the venture but he was dead against it. Said it would happen over his dead body, which isn't funny now at all.

How would you say the relationship between brother and sister is?

Oh pretty good, they are quite different people, she likes to entertain a little and loves to wear his stones when the others come over to play cards and have a flutter. He never joins in, says that cards are for cads and that she should know better considering. In fact it was the only time I sensed any animosity between them it was around her ridge night. But her and her brother got on well enough I suppose, all said and done. The next day he always made his apology for losing his patience with some trinket or other.
Chapter four

clue

to open the green box postcards are your key.
find the key in the Everest silver summit teapot to open Alice. What is the satchel called?
 
Chapter five

Act 4

The interview with the Sister Jan.

You and your brother were born here, yes?

Yes, mother and father died when we were at boarding school. They were holidaying in Egypt and died from poorly sanitised water on their river boat. Desperately sad really, they left enough to tide the estate over, but they'd invested in some stocks and those kept the estate from collapsing.

After your parents death, what happened?

Initially we both moved in here, he had the east wing, I had the west. We mostly did our own thing, we are, sorry to say, a bit chalk and cheese to be honest.

In what way?

He became quite spiritual and spent some time in the Far East, but that was after he'd secured the holdings that supported all this ( she waves her hand referring to the estate.)

He then put Mr Rue in charge of all the estate and went hunting for something up a mountain in Afghanistan for a year or two. I'm not sure what enlightenment low oxygen induced hallucinations brought him. He came home eventually but he was definitely altered by that experience.

Would you say that Mr Christopher was a bit of a free spirit?

Yes, but not daft. He was quite astute really, although I never understood why he was so obsessed with the Vale.

The Vale?

Yes, it's called the Vale, it is a ribbon of trees which nestle beneath the moorland that surrounds us and runs right down to the sea. He would often go walking at dusk down there, loved it in the moonlight especially. Sometimes he wouldn't be back until the small hours, sopping wet and with a smile from cheek to cheek.

I remember one evening, my bridge club mates were here until late and he rolls in at the small hours excitedly muttering about glimpsing the Wild Hunt in the moonlight down the Dell. I had a lot in the pot of the game we were playing, I was really on form, cards wise so to speak, and was about to drain that smarmy solicitor guy of some considerable funds. So my brother walking in, wax coat dripping, mumbling about madness down in Pixie Dell really put a damper on the evening. Everyone folded and that was that.

What was the Wild Hunt, a local foxchase?

Oh no, it came from stories my mother used to tell us as children. My brother slept terribly and had dreadful nightmares, she spun this story about a Wild Hunt that would rage across the moors in the moonlight and steel away any child who wasn't in bed asleep. It scared my brother awfully, which my mum knew it did, I think she genuinely just wanted him to stop sleep walking!

'Watch and listen for the Hunt' she would say 'if you can see them coming then you can prepare.' But that just made things worse for him, I suppose you saw the brass binoculars? They were from mother for spotting the Wild Hunt as they roamed in the moonlight! I think he was six when she gave them to him, but even as a grown man he still watched for them, or at least he said he did. Such a complex man, smart business acumen and still believing in the Faery Queen!
Scan the image of Fable with the Halo AR scanner.
 
Chapter six

Act 5

Interview with Mr Solomon

What do you do at the incubation unit?

We compress carbon into diamonds, often using the ashes of a deceased to make a gem for setting. Niche business worth more than this estate, and Mr Christopher has a substantial share in our operation. He helped me set up, and now has an asset in Vixen Compression ltd worth much more than his investment.

What brought you together initially.

A mix of things, Mr Christopher had the space and funds, along with my connection with the gem industry. He brought me in to deliver new goods for a growing market. I'd been researching similar at my university post and saw a possible lucrative business model. Mr Christopher saw it too and became share holder in return for investment. It is a little more contractually complex but that's the jist.

Was there any animosity between you?

No, none at all, he even let me stay on the island in his light house last summer. Generous man, a terrible loss.


The forensic report finds traces of arsenic in the celery salt, but not in great concentrations. A few additional traces on the glasses used for the greeting mixers, but still nothing substantial, and certainly not enough to kill anyone.

Blood toxicology suggests a mix of substances including a compound with hallucinatory effects. The tests confirm that death of Mr Christopher was by arsenic poisoning.
Chapter seven

location

3° 0.5' east 54° 55.6' north
what's at the location 3° 0.5' east 54° 55.6' north
 
Chapter eight

Act 6

In which the maid is interviewed again.

Davina, may I ask who prepared the food for the guests?

Guests had hot sugared mince pies on arrival. Then martinis with cherries in wide rimmed glasses, all celery salted and fabulous just as directed.

When the food was served we ate venison, caught near pixies wood in this very estate. The Hunt master dropped it off with a letter for Jan when he came for bridge club.

The meal was simple as Mr Christopher preferred, just meat, veg, gravy and talk.

For desert I served Ice Vienetta which was snootily looked down upon by all guests who then subsequently ate the lot!

Davina, may I ask about the venison. The hunt rides through on Wednesdays I believe, is that to everyone's liking?

Jan, Mr Christopher's sister was keen on it, but Mr Christopher had always talked about stopping it. I don't think Mr Christopher was aware that the venison we ate last night was killed in the dell. In fact I think Jan explicitly suggested that he was not told although when Mr Christopher did find out he was livid.
the number you need is 14890
 
Chapter nine

Act 7

The bedroom.

Deep down in the dell, the last of the evening sun fires on the brittle tips of the winter trees. Rain wades across the moors in sheets and the rooks wait for it to pass. The diamond glass shakes as the rain patters and you stand at the window wondering what Mr Christopher saw from here, was it the open moors and the birds, or Pixie Dell down in the Vale.

Your gaze passes across the window sill, the brass binoculars, the bird spotting notebook. You turn to see where the body of Mr Christopher had lain, reaching out towards this window. Bedside table, book, small clean glass neat and untouched behind him ready for the nightcap which will never come.

You crouch and look at all the timber panels around the window, looking for, you know not what. But then a bruised patch shows itself as worn and used. Your fingers search it out and find the hidden latch. The secret panel falls back with a click to reveal a cubby hole beside the window.

Inside is a small pouch with a clutch of dirty diamonds.
beneath the spooky porcelain doll face
 
Chapter ten

Act 8 The Reveal

Post arrives and a letter from Mr Christophers solicitors. Mr Reu brings it to you immediately as he feels it may be important. Inside is a new Will to be approved with terms bequeathing the whole estate into a protective fund.

It would appear that the sister was not to inherit after all, but Pixie Dell and the Vale be protected from any future developments or interventions!

Also the toxicology report returns from the lab showing high levels of arsenic on many of the glasses, especially in the celery salt. It was suggested that all guests would have ingested this whilst drinking their Martini, but the dose would have been far too small to have proven fatal. Why had Mr Christopher had such a reaction, when all the other guests had no ill affect at all.

So how was Mr Christopher killed, by whom and why? His bedside glass was clean and unused, what did the Wild Hunt and Pixie Dell have to do with the incident? Was the lighthouse linked, was their evidence for smuggling into the harbour and up through the dell.

What was truly behind the murder of Mr Christopher in the mansion?
The is the Reveal !! read on when you are ready to know who really murdered Mr Christopher!!!!
 
Chapter eleven

The Reveal

All the points come together.

Mr Christopher had been using his links with Afghanistan to smuggle dirty diamonds into the country, via the lighthouse and then the harbour at the end of the vale. On full moons he would make the swap.

The incubation unit was a cover for the diamond smuggling and legitimate trading, which Mr Christopher was complicit. They were both getting rich mixing in compressed diamonds with those from Afghanistan.

Jan was terrible at cards and as the stakes rose, she began to drain the coffers of the estate, no matter how hard her brother worked to bring in funds. He changed the will to disinherit her and purge her of her own habit, but she got wind of this as one of her card playing guests was a solicitor handling the paperwork.

Jan prepared the nightcap with an accelerant, this would interact with the arsenic and kill him but no one else. She administered it in the evening nightcap. In the morning, whilst maid Davina called for help, Jan switched the glasses to leave a clean one in place.

The binoculars were to spot the signal from the lighthouse that a new consignment had arrived.