The Mystery at PARADYs HALL

From Dr Watson’s Journal (Player A)

Eventually we came to a straight stretch beside a wooded hill and the Sergeant said “The Hall is a couple of hundred yards further on.” The three of us proceeded on till a large half-timbered edifice loomed ahead of us. Apart from the odd woodland noises all seemed peaceful. At the end of the track we crossed a cattle grid reaching the yard at the rear of the Hall. I consulted my watch and it read twenty past midnight. We tried a door at the north end but it appeared to be bolted. Just then we heard two shots to some way off to our right. Then we saw Inspector Hastings and his two constables hurrying towards us. “Some fool fired at us and then ran away!” he said. “I think there are a lot of them coming from the South side of the Hall.”

 “Well if they are mostly outside and coming this way I suggest we head round for the front door.” Said Holmes and so we did. I might say that Hasting’s party had had a far more eventful approach to the Hall than we had. DPC Longscape trod on a viper and had to kill it. A stag challenged them but then ran away. A normal habit of fallow deer I am told. They heard a single shot in the woods and then caught sight of a woman rider. She seemed to be coming along the track they had arrived along but made no noise even when crossing the cattle grid! They felt uneasy about this but when the moon went behind a cloud the woman rider disappeared!

   Holmes let the Inspector and his men past us as we came round to the front of the Hall. There were no lights anywhere that we could see. We heard a stag roaring and then in the far distance a woman screaming. I expected us to try to enter the Mansion by the main door but slowly we crept along the front to the far corner of the building. There Hastings had halted listening. He could hear two men approaching and grabbed them when they rounded the corner. “What are you doing out here?” he demanded.

 “Who are you to ask the questions?” answered one who was leaning on his companion.

 “I am Detective Inspector Hastings of Scotland Yard and I believe you are acting suspiciously?”

 “We live here! I am the Butler Daffyd Rowan and this is my footman Jerome.”

 “Is your Master here?” demanded Holmes.

 “No he is away at present.”

 “I think we need to check that statement. Let us go inside.” suggested Holmes.

 “Have you got a warrant?” asked the man.

 “Of course! We believe that the murderer of Mr Anselm Whittle is living here and one of you might be he! Is that a pistol in your pocket?”

Whereupon the two men tried to break away but were overpowered by the policemen. The Butler was kicked on the leg in the process and the Footman exclaimed “That is police brutality that is! Kicking a man with a broken ankle! Look he cannot even stand now!”

 “He should not have tried to resist arrest and neither should you!” replied Hastings, “What have they been carrying?” The police search revealed two revolvers which had not been fired, two lamps and two pounds eight shilling and five pence.

Next Holmes tried knocking on the main door so the now handcuffed Butler said “I regret to announce that I am unable permit you entry.” I now noticed that he had a distinct Welsh accent whereas the Footman was a Cockney. Receiving no other reply Holmes discovered that the door opened at his touch. We entered a hall and Constable Dawson was set to guard the prisoners. I quickly bandaged the Butler’s ankle which was badly sprained. Under normal circumstances I would have applied a poultice but had none available. The others thereupon searched the ground floor finding it empty, though in the Servants hall next to the kitchen, there was evidence of someone having slept there. At this moment the Occult Verification people arrived and as their two ladies were present we invited them to help search the upper floor. Thus it was Miss Higginbottom with Detective Constable Longscape‘s support discovered Lady Verdandi and another woman in one of the bedrooms. The lady was sleepy and very confused. She appeared resigned rather than relieved to have been rescued. The other woman Holmes recognised as being Mrs Cressida Bermondsey and she was put under arrest. Hastings had entered the room at the end of the corridor to find a woman in a dressing gown pointing a pistol at him. “You do not want to do anything silly Miss. Miss Janice Grant I believe. I am Detective Inspector Hastings from Scotland Yard and the game is up!” So she surrendered. Hastings checked the master bedroom which had an ancient four-poster bed in it but it was empty and un-slept in. Some of us returned toward the west end of the first floor to find a man with a cudgel had attacked PC Dawson. They struggled a while until he realised that several weapons were trained on him from the landing above. He gave his name as George Elmsliegh dog handler and handy man to the Hall. Fortunately he did not have his dogs with him. Outside the back door was lurking a fully dressed maidservant who had come with Elmsliegh. She gave her name as Edna Atkins. Other searches produced a housekeeper, a cook and two maids all in bed. With them all gathered into the hall it was very crowded. “We surely do not need to arrest all of these?” I commented. So Inspector Hastings said “These three men used violence against police officers. Mrs Bermondsey and Miss Grant are wanted for kidnapping Lady Verdandi whom we shall need to escort to safety. The others are guilty at least of consorting with people of ill repute. You five women, you are not to leave here without our permission but you may go back to bed now. Someone from here murdered Mr Anselm Whittle and we will need to question you all in due course!”

 The Butler then said “It weren’t no one here that done for that poacher clever dick. It were one of them Ities the Agent brought here to guard the woods. They doss down in the Stables. I would be careful going near them if I was you, they got not respect for you peelers!” The agent we knew was a Mr Andrew Penistone who lived in Eridge. Leaving Constable Dawson and the OVS people to guard the prisoners the remaining five of us went to the stable block. But the birds had flown taking any horses with them. They had been sleeping in bunks above the stable and the fire was still burning in their kitchen. In a cupboard there we found a costume made for a headless man. It must have been for a small man or boy from the size of it. There was a rapier with it but Holmes thought it too light to have cut a man’s head off at one blow. Leaving Sergeant Jellings and Detective Constable Longscape to guard the Stables we returned to the mansion. The male prisoners were still in the Hall and apparently Lady Verdandi had returned to her own bedchamber. The two women prisoners were in the withdrawing room guarded by some of the OVS. I was ready for bed myself as it was three in the morning but Holmes and Hastings were eager for more searches. They recognised some of the paintings and furniture as having come from the Warehouse lair in Limehouse.

 “Yes Watson this is definitely Moriarty’s new lair. I expect a lot of these furnishings will be stolen property. The clothes in the Master Bedroom must be his. What a disappointment that he was not here! Back to square one once more I am afraid.

    The next day Sherlock and I left leaving the matter in Police hands. Mr Helping told us that his group had encountered a ghost wanting to be exorcised and needed to contact the local church so three of them stayed behind. The Professor with the two ladies came to help us escort Lady Verdandi back to Larksong. They told us that they had been chased away by Italians with two ferocious dogs in the grounds. They had found a woman screaming in the ruined chapel but were sure that she was alive with very powerful lungs. A local man had helped to guide them but he had left when they came to enter the hall. Holmes questioned them closely about him, hoping he might have been Moriarty but it sounded as though he was just a local deer poacher. The Professor showed me what he called his Culpepper’s Soul Searcher which appeared to be a somewhat primitive device. I hoped that he could demonstrate it in action but the ladies had already returned the garments it contained to Lady Verdandi. Holmes has since had a lot of merriment over my alleged cupidity regarding this. I only hope that some future date we can prove its value just to confound him!

   The police combed the grounds and discovered a body in a lightly concealed grave in the woods. Subsequent inquiries established that he was a Mr Thomas Wessel of Lye Green. He had been shot by a person or persons unknown. The Italian guards are still at large as are the Hall’s ‘cook’ and one of the maids. The housekeeper said that she was the cook and there was no other! The one claiming to be the cook was the German Lady who slept in the Yellow bedchamber! From Lady Verdandi we discovered that Frau Seher was there and this will have been her. A few of the pictures and furnishings were identified as stolen property but most were unknown. Holmes believes many were stolen on the continent and shipped here.

   The Butler, Footman and dog handler were tried at Tunbridge Wells. The dog handler got a year and the other two six months imprisonment each. It was a very low key affair only rating a small mention in the local papers. I was in attendance in case they tried to argue about police brutality but I was not called. Two small affrays at an obscure manor did not rate much attention. It was otherwise four months later when Mrs Bermondsey and Miss Grant were charged with kidnapping and with assisting in several burglaries. It was a nine days wonder with the press and Sir Richard and his wife were besieged by reporters. Some hack remembered the lady’s trip to Marienbad. So then there was some speculation that the mysterious James Profitur owner of Paradys Hall was either the Prince of Wales or his agent. It was no surprise to Holmes and I that no trace could be found of this person, who was undoubtedly Moriarty. To our disgust we were called to give evidence at the trial. We had hoped that the OVS would be sufficient to back up the police but most of them were abroad by the time of the trial. Mrs Bermondsey was given six years and Miss Grant three as no connection with burglaries could be proved for her.

   Miss Badamaru and her witchlike Aunt came to us at the end of January. Her Uncle Boris in Transylvania had been unjustly imprisoned for murder by the Turkish authorities. They wished to hire us to track down the real guilty parties. The Turks believed Boris had committed the murders by witchcraft, so it did sound an interesting case to me if not to Holmes. We did have other matters on our hands so Holmes had genuine reasons not to get involved with the OVS again! The OVS were going out there in strength. Holmes got his brother Mycroft to fit them up with transport and the detective Ferdinand Finder.       

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From the Journal of Miss Cordelia Higginbottom of the OVS (Player B)

In fact when one concentrates and treads carefully crossing these ‘cattle grids’ is easier than one thinks at first sight. Of course even with the moon out we were in the dark and had to worry about the two gun shots which had the men crouching down. Then there was a crackling in the large clump of bushes on the knoll and a man ran away towards the Hall. I think I saw a pistol in his hand which made us all very cautious as we climbed up to search those bushes. It being so dark it took quite a while and the lighting of Leica’s lamp before she revealed his hiding place. It was a little lookout cubbyhole with a view of the approaches to the gateway. There was nothing in it so we headed across the knoll to an enormous stone embedded in the ground. As we reached it an apparition appeared just beyond it. A youngish man in shirtsleeves who spoke in a Kentish accent, “Please help me? I was cursed by a gypsy and have lain under the stone for over a century without Christian burial. It fell on me when we were digging them out to make into stone lintels and the others just left me! If you cannot get me a Christian burial at least give me an exorcism?” Taken aback we were mulling over this when Manko said,

“There is a light! There are six men coming!” and the apparition vanished.

There were six men and they all seemed be carrying pistols! Wisely under the circumstances, Leica dowsed her lamp. Mr Helping ordered us to flee away off the knoll past some bushes and into a wood. We heard the men chasing round to cut us of which was rather frightening. However the was a herd of cows sheltering under the trees blocking them from following us directly. We hurried on and on hoping to leave them behind. We heard the scream of some woodland creature and then a roar which Manko thought was from a stag. We ascended a rise and mercifully there was now no sound of our pursuers. Then came the report of a shot nearby, which stopped us in our tracks for a minute or two. There being no further noise, Professor Learning suggested he try for another sighting using his Culpepper’s Soul Seeker. We according cleared an area and set it down. As we were doing so Manko noticed a figure crouching down nearby and alerted Mr Helping. He signalled to the Doktor and the three of them rushed off to tackle the lurking man. He was armed with a rifle and so we thought it was he who had fired the shot but he surrendered immediately. They tied him up and took away his rifle and a large hunting knife. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” demanded Mr Helping.

 “They call me Deerskin Davie and I are here hunting deer. I have the permission!”

 “Whom from?” demanded Ronald and a long questioning session established that Lady Millicent Oaster had given this permission two years ago and that Davie only came at night and had had almost no contact with those living in the Hall. He suggested that we check his story with the Agent Andrew Penistone. Ronald remained suspicious but eventually untied him and asked if he could guide us to the Family Chapel. Offered a whole five shillings the man agreed. Meanwhile a cloud had covered the moon but the indicator for Lady Verdandi seemed to be pointing at the east end of the Hall. Given that our last check pointed to the building from almost the other side, it seemed certain that she was in the mansion itself. However Ronald and the Doktor were now set on checking the rumour of ghosts at the Chapel so that was where we then headed for. We went down a slope past some bushes towards a track. Moonlight flooded the scene once more and we could glimpse a building showing over yet another knoll. It was the chapel now minus its roof and windows. Deerskin Davie led us to it along a track and through a gate. As soon as Ronald helping stepped in through the doorway a woman began screaming. Leica and I went in to try and calm her but it was no use. Outside the men met a woman who had been up scrumping apples from the estate, who speedily hurried on her way as the screams continued. Then came an Italian man who called out “Sono Io Guilio. Basta il suo strillo! Che cosa hanno fato a lei?” I do not think she understood Italian any more than I did, for not noticing him she carried on shrieking. Then Manko warned us that the men with dogs and pistols were coming after us so we ran!  As we fled the woman stopped screaming, she had kept it up for quarter an hour! I think she must have had an assignation with the Italian with neither of them speaking much of the other’s language. Is that not romantic? Meanwhile our pursuers had set the two fierce dogs after us so we were running for our lives. Fortunately we crossed over a cattle grid which stopped the dogs in their tracks. We fled into another wood and could then hear no more pursuit. We did bump into another scrounger who said that he was collecting mushrooms! This at two o’clock in the morning? He said that this was the best time! We let him go on his way and Ronald suggested “We should head for the Mansion now for there should be the police and the detectives by now!” This was eminently sensible and something we should have done earlier. So going carefully across another cattle grid we reached the front of the Hall and entered by the main door. Inside a constable had two men handcuffed in a corner whilst the others were searching the ground floor. Finding no one they allowed us to assist them do the upper floor. I supported by Mr Holmes entered what I correctly guessed was the lady of the house’s bedroom. There were two beds each containing a sleeping woman. One was Lady Verdandi and the other Holmes recognised as Mrs Bermondsey, one of those suspected of carrying out the kidnapping. We made them put on dressing gowns and escorted them back down to the Hall. There we found a man armed with a cudgel struggling with the Constable. He gave up when he saw how many of us were training weapons on him from the balustrade above. Inspector Hastings had captured Miss Grant, the other suspect and four more female servants were ushered down in their dressing gowns. Another fully dressed one was lurking out the back and was brought in. It was pretty crowded and Doctor Watson said, “We surely do not need to arrest all of these?”

 So Inspector Hastings replied “These three men used violence against police officers. Mrs Bermondsey and Miss Grant are wanted for kidnapping Lady Verdandi, whom we shall need to escort to safety. The others are guilty at least of consorting with people of ill repute. You five women, you are not to leave here without our permission but you may go back to bed now. Someone from here murdered Mr Anselm Whittle and we will need to question you all in due course!”

One of the handcuffed men said “It weren’t no one here that done for that poacher clever dick. It were one of them Ities the Agent brought here to guard the woods. They doss down in the Stables. I would be careful going near them if I was you! They got not respect for you peelers!”

So leaving us and the Constable to guard the prisoners the other five headed off to the stables. We sent lady Verdandi back up to her bed but Mrs Bermondsey and Miss Grant we spent what was left of the night with in the lady’s withdrawing room. Dr Watson told us that the Italians had fled but they had left leaving a Tudor man’s costume with a false severed head. We had a look at it and whilst obviously for someone very short it, could have been quite convincing to someone not as accustomed to occult frauds as ourselves! We accompanied Lady Verdandi all the way back to Larksong where Miss Marigold Lees welcomed her with open arms. Sir Richard however was away shooting somewhere else!

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Player C Butler Daffyd Owens

“I suppose we had best start by checking the main drive” I said so the three of us with the three dogs went out the front door. There we stopped to listen for any movements and soon saw Parmigiani with his ghost and one of his men coming across the Statue Garden. “Whata you want us to do boss?” asked Parmigiani but at that moment one of his men came running from the hide beside the gateway. He reported in Italian to Parmigiani who told me that six trasgressori (trespassers) had come and were on Dugdale’s Tump. We hurried forward and soon could see them in a group, around the big stone on the Tump. They saw George’s light and fled away from us. I thought we might catch them if by staying on the level we entered the trees between the tump and the white horse hillock. By chance the estate’s herd of cattle was under the trees blocking the way there, so we turned back to the path beside the Hall. I was wondering if it was worthwhile following them, when we heard two shots from the far end of the kitchen garden. It was one of Parmigiani’s men on patrol and he came racing up to us. Parmigiani translated that he had seen three armed men coming along the track. Parmigiani said he that was sending the ghost boy back to the stable block to bolt the gate. I ordered us to run forward and we glimpsed the intruders turning behind the kitchen wing. In the lead I rushed after them only to trip and fall badly straining my ankle. It was absolute agony and leaving Parmigiani in charge, I hobbled off leaning heavily on Jerome’s shoulder. I intended to get back into the house by the front door. Parmigiani had four pistol armed men plus George with his cudgel and two dogs, so I thought he could handle the intruders. The pair of us crept along beside the servant’s wing to find a bull and two cows had wandered onto the path. The cattle grids are supposed to keep them out but the fences connecting them must have rotted away years ago. Fortunately the bull stayed docile as we edged past him. As we hobbled onwards we heard some distant screaming which went on and on. “That sounds like Edna!” said Jerome.

 “Whatever is causing it, it serves her right!” I snapped. My ankle was giving me considerable pain but we carried on. Then as we rounded the corner to the front of the mansion, we were jumped on by six men! Three of them wore police uniforms so we played it cagey at first. “What are you doing out here?” demanded one in plain clothes.

 “Who are you to ask the questions?” I answered.

 “I am Detective Inspector Hastings of Scotland Yard and I believe you are acting suspiciously?”

 “We live here! I am the Butler Daffyd Rowan and this is my footman Jerome.”

 “Is your Master here?” demanded another plain clothed one.

 “No he is away at present.”

 “I think we need to check that statement. Let us go inside.” Suggested the second plain clothes one whom I am now sure was Mr Sherlock Holmes.

 “Have you got a warrant?” I challenged them.

 “Of course! We believe that the murderer of Mr Anselm Whittle is living here and one of you might be he! Is that a pistol in your pocket?”

So I realised we must try to break clear or we were done for. “Get them Jerome!” But it was  a forlorn hope as we were so outnumbered. One of the police kicked my leg and I near fainted with the pain in my ankle. Jerome expostulated about ‘Police brutality!’ and got sneered at. They confiscated our pistols and handcuffed us, stole our money and lamps. Then they dithered about at the front door, knocking on it. I said “I regret to announce that I am unable permit you entry.” But they opened it and went inside and they still had not shown us any warrant!  

One of them was a doctor and he put a bandage around my ankle, not that it did any good! Then leaving a constable to guard us they started searching the ground floor where they found nothing. Then more people arrived including two women. These were the ones Ernesto had reported and that we had chased away. They joined the others in the searching of the building. Unfortunately none of the women upstairs was woken by all the racket we had been making. Even Amy had fallen asleep again. Apparently Miss Grant had pointed a revolver at Inspector Hastings but thought the better of using it. Whilst this was happening, George burst in from the back door and attacked the Constable with his cudgel. But the Constable was a fair match for him and they struggled quite a while. Then George realised that there was now a row of pistols levelled at him from the upstairs corridor above the hall. So he was taken but his dogs and all the Italians got away as far as I know. The women were all ushered down in their dressing gowns. Frau Vermogen Seher pretended to be the cook so they only arrested Mrs Bermondsey and Miss Grant of the women. In the morning Jerome, George and I were taken away to the jail in Tunbridge Wells to be tried in the County Court. There I managed to maintain my new name of Daffyd Rowan thank goodness!     


Player D. Frederico Parmigiani Comondante of the Fratelli per Anarchico (FpA)

Immediately on hearing the two shots from Ernesto, I led Uberto and Pepe down and out from the Stable block. Proceeding through the Statue garden we met the Butler Daffyd Owens in front of the Hall’s main door. He had two men and two fierce ‘mastini Inglese’

(mastiffs) with him. We were soon joined by an out of breath Ernesto. He reported that six people had arrived and were on ‘Dugdale’s Tump’. The Butler ordered me to accompany him to deal with them in force. We all headed down the driveway with a light carried by George the dog handler.  Soon we could see a clump if figures up around the large stone on the Tump. However on spotting us they fled away to the right. With four pistols, a sword and a cudgel we were a powerful force to reckon with. The Butler led us along the path at the bottom of the Tump so as to cut them off from the Hall. Then on the level ground, we tried to follow them through the trees. Unfortunately this way was blocked by a herd of cows, so we went back to the path alongside the house. Here I decided to send Pepe back to the Stables to rouse Luigi and Guilio, with orders to defend the stable block. I was concerned that we had left the gate unbolted and did not want anyone to steal the horses. In fact unknown to me, Guilio had gone out on his own. However Luigi and Pepe carried out my orders. For his own reasons Pepe decided to change from his ghost outfit back into his own attire.

  The rest of us started back towards the front of the Hall and heard a single shot from the woods. Realising that this must be a poacher trap triggered by the six interlopers, we carried on and had turned the corner when we heard two more shots behind us. Retracing our steps we met Rudolfo running towards us. He gasped out that three armed men were coming down the track past the kitchen garden. In fact we caught a brief glimpse of them as they turned to go to the rear of the kitchen wing of the Hall. “Catch them!” Ordered the Butler and we all ran. Rounding the corner in the lead Daffyd Owens fell severely spraining his ankle. Seeing that the three men had disappeared we halted. The footman Jerome helped the Butler limping back towards the front of the Hall to get treatment. I was left with Uberto, Ernesto, Rudolfo and the dog handler George with his two dogs. I decided to proceed with them along the track past the kitchen garden with a view to cutting off the six trespassers whom we had spotted earlier. Soon we heard a woman screaming in the ruined chapel. Hastening that way we caught a glimpse of  a man peering round the corner of the Chapel. He must have warned the rest as they fled away. Seeing them as we rounded the corner, I told George to set the dogs on them which he did. In the Chapel we found Guilio and the maid Edna who had now stopped screaming. “You are in real trouble now girl!” exclaimed George, “The Butler has us all out looking for you!”

 The she must have had an assignation with Guilio. Meanwhile the intruders had fled into a wood and the dogs had been foiled by a cattle grid, It was less easy to bypass than most of the others. George said he would take Edna back to the Mansion but I made him leave the dogs with us. I halted the remaining three of my men. I was worried as there seemed to be seven in the group we had chased, plus the three sighted sneaking round the back of the mansion. Who they were I knew not, the Mafia or the gang led by Il Professore’s enemy Holmes perhaps? Whoever they were we seemed to be outnumbered and the Butler Daffyd was in no state to command us. I said “Fratelli we are in grave danger from these intruders, whom I think from the lights are now in the mansion. We will escape to the forests and take these dogs with us. Guilio you go and collect Luigi and Pepe from the Stables. We will be waiting on the top of Signal Hill. Luigi knows of it, there is a wooden ruin on it. In fact you should take the horses, no point in leaving them for the enemies!”

   So we left down the track and made our way in the dark to Signal Hill. It was the highest point for miles around but one could only see masses of trees from it even in daylight. We had to wait till two hours past dawn for Luigi’s party to join us, they having got lost. They had the two horses with our spare clothes and the food supplies with them. Luigi had been on the run before! So we hid in the forest building shelters in the remotest spots we could find. Nevertheless I sent out sentries and five days later Guilio met the Agent Andrew Penistone driving his gig on a road. He arranged for us to be rescued and taken to London in a covered van. Apparently Il Professore still wanted us to serve him. He said that sufficiently ruthless men were hard to find in England. Just as well he did as our supplies were run out and we had eaten the two dogs!   

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Games Master

Following the escape of Professor Moriarty after his Larksong Village failure I realised that there was obviously scope for a sequel. Having spent considerable effort making the large Tudor Mansion, I decided to use it again with a different set of ancillary buildings. In ‘Moriarty’s Revenge’ he buys a small mansion in the country which suggested the idea for his new lair. Even now the Weald is a very hilly area with small winding roads and masses of woodland so I selected a location there. Most Manors had more substantial stables than that at Larksong, so I decided to make a decent sized stable block. When one comes to allocate servants quarters, the Tudor mansion is a little on the small size and I wanted Moriarty to have his estate well-guarded. The stable block would have sleeping accommodation above the stable and a kitchen and office bedside a coach house. As would be normal, as well as sleeping accommodation for the grooms and stable boys, there would be a hay loft over the stable. The external door to this would be at wagon top/first floor height. A trap door would allow hay to be dropped down to the stable floor below. The photographs will give some idea of how the buildings were made. Because the walls remained solid the first floor floors had to be capable of being lifted out. In the past bunks and beds have been made of thick card with the bedding made from Milliput. This time I used sanded scraps of the compressed polystyrene to make the blanket covered mattresses but still Milliput for the pillows.

   Having bought and painted up some top hatted ‘anarchist’ terrorists (along with some caped pistol-carrying policemen) I decided these should be the estate guards. It was a time when nihilists, the ‘black hand’ and other anarchist groups were causing trouble throughout Europe, so I added the Fratelli per Anarchico to their number. With Professor Moriarty set on carrying off Lady Verdandi, I thought the kidnapping from a possible likely location an obvious sequel. At Larksong the Player C running Moriarty, displayed considerable cowardice in playing him, ensuring his safety. Given that the veteran Player A running Sherlock Holmes, has not only proved many times his game skills but is also notoriously lucky on the dice, this is understandable. So I decided that in fact Moriarty would be elsewhere and thus not at risk. Naturally to keep the Occult Verification Society involved I had to introduce some supernatural complications. For the backs of my chance cards I usually pick some appropriate character or scene. In this case I thought a picture of the Lady Verdandi character would be appropriate. From quite a large selection I finally chose a still from ‘The Gondoliers’ showing Lady Casilda of Plaza Toro quietly sewing, ignoring the ructions around her. In fact she was played by Sandra Dugdale who I have honoured by naming the Tump after her.

   As usual the game did not go as I expected. Given the amount of firearms present there could have been another bloodbath as at Bluekiln Wharf. The early encounter between the OVS and the combined Butler and FpA parties might have resulted that way. Because of trying to keep actual characters secret, substitute figures were used for a couple of the latter by player D. In fact his party was armed with four revolvers a cudgel and a sword whilst player B thought they all had pistols. His own party was armed with one revolver, two derringers, a crossbow, a cudgel and a dagger and he decided to run away. In fact this resulted them drawing off the defenders so that Holmes and the police eventually entered the mansion with all the female residents still asleep. The worst injury suffered was the Butlers sprained ankle due to running in the dark!  The game lasted two evenings and as I write this, Alan Hamilton is working on a Dr Who action to use the same scenery. Meanwhile I have already background writing for my next Victorian Gothic action which will be set in Transylvania!                    







The Game


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