EPISODE ONE HERE
EPISODE TWO HERE
EPISODE THREE HERE
EPISODE FOUR HERE
EPISODE FIVE HERE
EPISODE SIX HERE
EPISODE SEVEN HERE
In the last hour or so I had to endure the company of a light-headed woman, who, albeit pleasant and nice to be with, is still on my list of suspects regarding the disappearance of Hair-Cool Carro and Miss Maple Syrup. She never quite explained why she had come to my room the previous night looking for Carro. Was it a genuine mistake of getting the room wrong? Or was there an ulterior motive to her visit? Am I next to disappear mysteriously?
To cap it all, I also had to walk for miles round these interminable gardens. I had an owl pooping all over me. Endured the humiliation of relieving myself behind a tree; something I have never done before. I was dragged unwillingly to visit that place of death and to put the icing on the cake I got my trousers torn to shreds and my dignity exposed to the laughter of my companion. No doubt the story will now spread and embellished and they will all enjoy their moment of hilarity at my expense.
What else can go wrong?
I decided to cool off by having a long shower. It is amazing how the sound and feeling of running water has a soothing effect on one's body and mind.
I stood there for a while thinking ... this situation is not only serious but potentially dangerous for all of us. Whoever is involved in the murder, or abduction, of Carro and Miss Maple could easily strike again to avoid being discovered.
The only person I know for sure who is not involved in this disappearance is me. If I were to start doubting myself then we might as well give up now. So let's eliminate me from the list of suspects and consider what motives any of the others might have to harm Carro and Maple.
Sir Ivor Status, our host, for instance. A generous and wealthy titled man who invited us all here for the weekend. Why? I asked myself. I know I was invited to discuss writing his memoirs. But why the others? What reason have they to be here? And why invite Carro and Maple in particular? Two busy-bodies who have in the past, by cheer luck or design, solved many a murder case. Did Sir Ivor suspect that foul play might take place this weekend? Or was he indeed involved in the two sleuths' disappearance? Perhaps they discovered something sinister about his past and he had to silence them before they made it public. So I guess he is a suspect after all.
Then there's Lady Eva Status-Too. What I have discovered so far is that she is having a secret affair with the impresario Walter Dumnote. Could it be that Carro and Maple found out and became a threat? A public divorce in high society would not only ruin her reputation but would leave her penniless. Her husband would employ the best of lawyers to make sure of that. And what about the letter she received which left her crying? Admittedly, it was written on an onion; but what was written there, I asked myself. And received no answer as I was alone in the shower ... Unless ... unless ... unless there are hidden cameras everywhere watching me, and listening to what I am saying. I'd better talk to myself more quietly.
Next on my list of suspects is Sir Ivor's sister, or step-sister Claudia Armoff. What does step-sister mean exactly? If she was related to me I'd take large steps away from her. Is she related to Sir Ivor through the same father or mother? Does it matter? Is she in a relationship with anyone in particular? We know she appeared to fancy Hair-Cool; or was she pretending? She allegedly went to his room that night; albeit she actually came to mine. Why? Was she after Hair-Cool or does she really like me? She lied about visiting me when questioned and said she went straight to her room. She has been paired with me in the search for the missing people. Is that by accident or design? Is Sir Ivor behind it? Is she really a lion whisperer? After all, her so-called tutor was killed by a deaf lion who did not like being whispered to. Does she really have a lion rampant tattoo somewhere private on her body? I dwelled on this last question for a while and then shook my head once or twice and moved on.
Then there's the actress Varicose Vain. We know she is having an affair with Sir Ivor; so her motive of getting rid of Carro and Maple is the fear of being found out; assuming of course that the hapless detectives did find out about the affair. It is no secret, however, that she does not like Claudia Armoff and the two consider themselves rivals in the beauty stakes. Could that somehow be a reason to dispose of Carro and Maple?
Let us not forget Walter Dumnote. On first consideration one would think he is the main suspect. Or is it possible he is being framed by someone else? Is he really as dumb as he makes out? We know he is having an affair with Lady Eva Status-Too and that she visited his piano room many a time whilst in London. Did he perhaps strike the wrong note at one of these clandestine meetings? There was a rumour in the papers some while back that he was having money problems. Is this elephant ... sorry ... relevant to the investigation? We also know that the lost backgammon disc was found on his left eye mistakenly used as a monocle. Is this another elephant ... relevant ... matter to consider? And then ... when Claudia and I went to the boat house there was a backgammon set with a disc missing. This disc was later found by me in the mausoleum. Is this elephant or not? There seems to be an elephant in the room that we are all missing here. Luckily, he is not in the shower with me!
Also to be considered as suspects are the staff. Hugo Snob, the butler. He is top suspect in my book because in murder mystery stories in stately homes such as this it is always the butler and there is always a turnstile bookcase in the library leading to a secret passage somewhere. We haven't found the turnstile bookcase but we have found the butler. Is he really a butler? What if he is a distant cousin of someone eager to get his inheritance? This often happens in such stories.
The housekeeper Matilda Curtsy is also a suspect because she is in love with the butler; so she must be involved somehow.
Also the maid Sheila Flirt; she is having an affair with the three-timing Sir Ivor. She is in love with the chauffeur Otter Gas and has not yet twigged that he is gay.
Otter Gas in turn likes the gardener Earnest Deadwood who likes no one and hates everybody. Whilst the cook Etan Roadkill is always covered in blood and no one can understand him.
At this point in my mental investigations I noticed a buzzing sound in the shower with me. Is this a camera lens whirring? Or the camera itself focusing on my private thoughts and panning and tilting to see better?
No ... It was none of these. I turned round and saw the largest and meanest and hugest wasp I ever did see. It was there at the other end of the glass compartment of the shower cubicle; just by the exit, and it was threatening me by buzzing loudly and flying left and right, up and down, getting ready to strike.
My first instinct was to protect my dignity. That's the last place I want to have stung. Who would give me first aid? I automatically backed off a little and got my bottom burnt on the hot water pipe behind me.
I picked up the shower head from its holster, turned on the water to really hot, and aimed it at the wasp. It did not like it one bit and came straight towards me. I backed off again with similar results. I sprayed the monster once more and it fell to the ground like a stone.
I dropped the shower head still turned on, there was hot scalding water splashing everywhere. I rushed forwards despite the risk of being boiled alive and ran towards the exit and got out of the cubicle.
In doing so, I slipped and fell head forwards, hitting my face on the wash basin nearby.
I must have passed out for a second or two.
When I woke up from my daze the wasp had disappeared and there was hot water and steam every where. I turned the shower off.
Looked in the mirror and saw a large black and blue bruise just below my eye where it caught the wash basin as I fell.
Can anything else go wrong?
TO BE CONTINUED