The Curse of Nineveh

An affray in Hackney

Contains spoilers for "The Curse of Nineveh"

Saturday, 11th of July, 1925

Around noon, the investigators decide they need to visit Peter Simkin. They drive to his address at 85 Lavender Grove, Hackney. Shortly after arriving, Miss Elan Gwynne notices a black Ford van, that seems very similar to one she saw when they were leaving Ebenezer Allbright’s shop – she suspects they have been followed.

Simkin’s home if near one end of a row of terraces. It looks much the same as any other house in the row, except for the fact that the curtains are drawn. Knocking on the door goes unanswered but Mister Rhodes notices that the curtain twitches. Shouting through the door, contact is made with Mister Simkin, but he tells them to go away. Making reference to the Nineveh expedition and its artifacts causes him to scream quite terribly. Fearing he might try to flee out of the back of his house, Miss Gwynne runs to take up position so she can see into the yards behind the house. Mister Rhodes does the same, but then decides to take up position on a street corner so he can see the houses that Mr Simkin might flee through if he tries to make an escape. Sir Malcolm and Miss Sharp remain at Simkin’s front door.

As Miss Gwyn tries to look over the fence, she realises that somebody is right behind her. She spins to confront a man – a big bruiser of a man – in a black suit, who is holding a knife. She screams in Welsh and kicks at him. He backs away. Mister Rhodes hears the screaming turns, and yells at the man as well, drawing his recently purchased ceremonial dagger and running towards him. The man begins to flee south down Lansdowne Drive. Sir Malcolm and Miss Sharp have also heard the cry, and seeing the man passing them at the end of Lavender Grove, they also give chase. Miss Gwyn is still shouting out in Welsh.

Only Sir Malcolm is fast enough to keep pace with the man. This is fortunate, because it leads to Mister Rhodes abandoning the chase so when the black van pulls up next to Miss Gwynne and two more large men climb out, he is able to run towards them again, shouting, and this is enough to lead to them returning to the van and driving off north. The man Sir Malcolm is chasing turns left, heading towards London Fields. He collides with an RAF officer, Flying Officer Jeffrey Lacey, who assists Sir Malcolm in capturing the man. FO Lacey is seriously wounded in the altercation, but fortunately his injuries are not actually life threatening.  The affray catches the attention of a uniformed Police Inspector who runs to assist, calling for further assistance on a whistle. He handcuffs the large man, and places him under arrest.

Sir Malcolm explains what has happened to the Inspector (Inspector Henry Fordham of Bethnal Green Police Station. When a Police Constable arrives (PC Anthony Gull) he is dispatched to summon transport. The Inspector asks Sir Malcolm and FO Lacey to come to the station to make a statement. Sir Malcolm agrees, but suggests Peter Simkin should be taken to the station as well, as he might be able to shed some light on what has been going on. The Inspector agrees, telling the Constable to go and get Simkin after he has called for a car.

The Constable follows these instructions and find Mister Rhodes and Miss Gwynne once again outside of 85 Lavender Grove. He attempts to persuade Simkin to come out and when Simkin once again refuses uses his truncheon to affect entry. It is realised that Simkin has now fled out the back of the house. The Constable searches it to be sure. He agrees to allow Mister Rhodes and Miss Gwynne to have a quick look around the house as long as they do not touch anything, before they will accompany him to the station as well. Nothing in particular is found, although it is noteworthy that the house has not been properly dusted or otherwise cleaned in some time. A display cabinet in the living room is devoid of all decoration or ornamentation. Mister Rhodes drives the Constable and Miss Gwynne to Bethnal Green Police Station in Sir Malcolm’s Rolls Royce. Miss Sharp who became slightly disoriented during the chase, and has lost all contact with the others decides to go home and phone the Wentworth Club to leave a message for the others – she is not that far from home at this point.

At the police station, statements are taken from each of the three investigators present as well as Flying Officer Lacey. The Inspector tells the investigators that the man who has been arrested, Frank Judd, is a known villain – muscle for hire. He’ll work for anybody who pays him. When the investigators reveal that they are private investigators looking into murders and give the names of Partridge and Bristow of Scotland Yard as contacts, the Inspector phones for help, and DI Bristow comes to the station. A deal is made with Frank Judd that he might face less serious charges if he is willing to name the person he is working for. He seems amenable to this suggestion but any deal will require the agreement of a more senior officer. DI Bristow is willing to tell the investigators that he suspects Judd is working for an underworld figure named Delgado but warns them to stay away from Delgado – the police suspect Delgado is working for somebody themselves and they do not want Delgado alarmed or otherwise inconvenienced until they can figure out who he is working for. Delgado is the type of person who might well be acquiring historical artifacts for somebody else.

By the time the investigators leave Bethnal Green Police Station, it is about six in the evening. Sir Malcolm contacts the Wentworth Club and receives the message that Miss Sharp has left for him there. It is decided that the investigators should travel out to Sir Malcolm’s home in Strawberry Hills and stay the night there, as it will be a convenient base to visit the home of Miss Neve Selcibuc’s Aunt and Uncle on Sunday. Sir Malcolm assures the others he has ample room for guests. On arrival at Radnor House, they all realise that he was seriously understating that situation.

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