The Curse of Nineveh

The investigation begins in earnest
Contains spoilers for "The Curse of Nineveh"

Friday, 10th of July, 1925

The investigators meet at the Angel, Islington for breakfast at around 9am. Mister Scott Rhodes has read through Miss Neve Selcibuc’s journal and provides a summary of what is contained within to the others. Miss Selcibuc has recently arrived in the United Kingdom from the United States. During her voyage across the Atlantic, she came into possession of a strange statuette of a merman, that she believed was dropped by a man, she refers to as “The Drowned Man” shortly before he either fell or jumped overboard. Since this item has come into her possession, she has experienced a number of very strange events including the deaths by spontaneous human combustion of her cousin, and an antiques dealer who both seemed intent on taking the statue off her, and she has found herself learning of the strange occult world that lies alongside our own just at the investigators did a year or so ago. Hopefully she is now safe in the care of Mister Theodore Rayburn-Price, but he and she have asked the investigators to look further into what is going on, and in particular into the death of Mister Archie Glossop of the British Museum on the evening of 8th July.

To this end, they initially decide to visit Scotland Yard which they know generally handles murder investigations. The desk sergeant refers them to a passing detective, Detective Inspector Marcus Brinslow, who, once he is convinced the investigators are not time wasters tells them that the death of Glossop is being investigated primary by Detective Sergeant Weston Partridge. DS Partridge is not currently available – he may be at the Museum, or if the investigators would care to come back at around two o’clock this afternoon, he will likely be back in the officer. As they are departing, Brinslow makes a comment that indicates he is the officer investigating the murder of Lord Howard Brightman.

The investigators then decide to visit two of Miss Selcibuc’s friends, mentioned in her journal, as mutual acquaintances of Mister Glossop, and with whom Miss Selcibuc has been staying recently. The journal indicates that they know much of what has been going on, and that they are also serious students of the occult. The investigators travel to their home in Hampstead, and find Bingo and Honoria Pinker to be quite nervous about what has been going on, and worried that they are being watched. They confirm must of what was written in Miss Selcibuc’s journal – Bingo, in particular is quite shocked to discover that Miss Selcibuc was keeping a journal and writing down so much of what had been happening – especially the fact that she reveals he is a ritual magician and that he and Archie, in coming to her rescue after she was abducted, may have committed certain acts that, in an uncharitable light, might be seen as criminal.

When asked, he confirms that he and Archie had – have – suspicions that Miss Selcibuc may not be entirely human. That she may be a descendant of worshippers of a God called Dagon who was worshipped in Nineveh thousands of years ago. The Pinkers also explain that their friend, Archie, was involved in cataloguing artifacts at the British Museum that seem to have come from a secret dig at Nineveh – a dig lead by the late Lord Howard Brightman and Mister Ramsay Campbell Thompson who was Archie’s superior at the Museum.

The investigators depart looking for signs that they might be being followed or that the Pinkers are in fact being watched. None are seen.

After lunch, the investigators visit the British Museum. After explaining to the front desk man that they will be meeting with Scotland Yard Detectives at two o’clock and they would like to give Mister Thompson the chance to explain his version of what happened to them before they reveal to the police their suspicions that something is being covered up, they are taken to Ramsay Campbell Thompson’s office. As they are admitted they are aware that he has just locked some documents into a roll top desk. Mister Thompson is not happy to see them. Initially he denies all knowledge of any so-called secret expedition to Nineveh, but eventually, in the presence of an indiscreet colleague who gives the game away, named Patrick Langton, he confirms such an expedition did take place. It is being kept secret because it was one of the most significant archaeological finds of the century, and the British Museum intends to announce it only shortly before opening a dedicated exhibit next year. He loans – reluctantly – the journal of the expedition to the investigators. On the death of Archie Glossop, both Thompson and Langton seem to believe that Glossop disturbed burglars who had broken into the Museum and was killed by them – a number of artifacts associated with the Nineveh dig have recently gone missing and while they may just have been temporarily misplaced, it seems likely they have been stolen. Mister Langton makes a list of these artifacts for the investigators.  One of them, a large bust of the Assyrian God, Nabu, went missing at the same time Glossop was killed. One of the ‘stolen’ items also seems to be the artefact placed into Miss Selcibuc’s hands by Glossop with the request she try and find out more about it.

At Scotland Yard, the investigators meet with DI Brinslow and DS Partridge who have decided their cases may be linked by the fact that a statue of Nabu was also taken from Lord Brightman’s home by his murderer. Besides this link, the two murders seem very different – Lord Brightman was obviously deliberately targeted – he was stabbed 37 times and a piece of parchment bearing the words The curse shall find all who have stolen written in what seems to have been his own blood was placed in his mouth. His feet and hands had been severed and placed on his chest in what seemed to be a ritual arrangement. Glossop on the other hand was bludgeoned to death with a blunt object in what seemed to be more of a spur of the moment attack. The Detectives, in a frank exchange of information say that they do have a possible suspect in mind for Glossop’s murder – not the actual murderers but somebody who might be behind it – but say they cannot give anymore details on this person without permission from somebody more senior.

The Beginning of the End
Contains spoilers for "The Curse of Nineveh"

Thursday, 9th of July, 1925

The investigators have gathered this evening at the Wentworth Club along with seemingly every member able to attend, for a memorial dinner in honour of club member Lord Howard Brightman who was reportedly recently murdered at his home in London. None of the investigators knew Brightman, except by reputation as a leading historian and archaeologist – he had reportedly become somewhat of a recluse in recent years.

The President of the Wentworth Club, Mister Gregory Bluffstone offers a toast to Lord Brightman, referencing his work at an archaeologist particularly mentioning a story of a dig that Brightman once participated in at Nineveh in Iraq, but saying little of the story beyond the fact it was terrifying.

Once dinner begins, the investigators are joined by Mr Theodore Rayburn-Price at their table – for some reason he was missed when the seating plan was worked out and they have space at their table. Over dinner, Mister Rayburn-Price reveals he did know Lord Brightman quite well having been friends with him for about the last ten years. He tells them that the frightening story to which Bluffstone had alluded was that of a curse. Some years ago, when Brightman was in Iraq, he had come upon a local man trying to steal a statuette from the dig site. An altercation ensued in which Lord Brightman was forced to shoot the man in self defence. As the man lay dying he thrust the statuette at Lord Brightman and told him to take it and told him he was cursed now – a curse that would make him sleep no more. Brightman had told Rayburn-Price that the curse seemed real – that he had never had a decent night’s sleep since then.

Rayburn-Price leaves the table before the desert course, but while the investigators are drinking port after dinner, he approaches them again and asks for their help. He asks them to accompany him to a room at the top of the building. Here, in privacy, he introduces them to Miss Neve Selcibuc, a young American woman. She is obviously very nervous.

Rayburn-Price explains in 1903 an expedition lead by two archaeologists, Reginald Campbell Thompson, and Leonard King undertook a dig at Nineveh in Iraq looking for the lost temple of the god Nabu. They were apparently unlucky and did not find it, but rumours have been around for a few years that they went back. Rayburn-Price can confirm these rumours –  after King died in 1919, Thompson went back with an expedition that Lord Brightman was also involved in – Rayburn-Price believes this was where Lord Brightman had the experience, that Rayburn-Price described at dinner.

Miss Selcibuc takes up the story. She explains that she recently returned to London to recuperate after some unpleasant experience in Scotland and has been staying with her friends Bingo and Honoria Pinker and also met up with a good friend of hers named Archie Glossop who works – worked – at the British Museum. Glossop told her that staff at the museum were cataloging large numbers of artifacts from a dig at Nineveh – which was odd, because the last official dig at Nineveh was in 1903 and everything from that dig had been cataloged at the time. It seems likely that these have come from the more recent dig at Nineveh that Rayburn-Price has been talking about, a dig which is being kept secret – or at the very least being given no publicity at all. Glossop also told her that artifacts were being stolen – he gave her a list – and also lent her an artifact so she could, perhaps, make use of some contacts she had who might be able to determine what was going on.

She went to see a dealer in antiquities she knows, Ebenezer Allbright who told her he though the stolen artifacts must have come from the Mound of Nebu Yunus. When she showed him the artifact Archie had lent her, he inititally said it probably came from there as well, but on closer examination on a mark on its base, he seemed scared and referred to “That bastard King” and forced her from his shop.

She returned to the British Museum to report back to Archie – this was yesterday – and found the section where Archie worked cordoned off by police. Questioning revealed that Archie had been murdered. She spoke to Reginald Campbell Thompson herself but she made her excuses when he began asking her questions about her connection to Archie Glossop and why she was there.

She returned to Allbright’s shop and physically persuaded him to t ell her more of what was happening. Allbright told her that King and Thompson had found something at Nineveh and brought it back. He raved about a curse. And strange names. Miss Selcibuc found it necessary to hit him across the head with a  whisky bottle to get out of the shop. And since then she’s felt like she is being followed. She has turned to Rayburn-Price for help and he has agreed to get her to a place of safety.

But he needs people who can look into what is going on. He and Miss Selcibuc are too well known at the Museum to be able to ask questions and besides she may be in some danger.

He hands them a wrapped parcel telling them that it is the artifact Glossop gave Miss Selcibuc. It seems very similar to the one that Lord Brightman had said was associated with the curse. He would like them to look into Lord Brightman’s death, and that of Archie Glossop as well and see if they are connected. He gives them a mailing address they can use to contact him. Miss Selcibuc gives them her journal – she says it explains what she has been doing for the last few weeks and perhaps it may be helpful.

The investigators agree to do what they can to help.

They examine the artifact.

It is approximately eight inches tall and seems to be made from pure gold. The statuette is of a bearded king who appears to be transforming out of a second, plainer humanoid figure. The effect is to suggest some form of divine conversion or god-like birth. There are no marks or inscriptions save for a small sigil carved on the base, which looks like a rune of some kind. Sir Malcolm has seen this mark before in his studies over the past year. It is in no human language but it was said to mean “Yul’huthris”, a being with a link to another called “Yog-Sothoth”. Looking at the relic causes a sensation of unease and it feels greasy to the touch.

The End of the Beginning
Contains spoilers for "Adventures in Mythos London"

Tuesday, 5th of February, 1924

It is approximately one o’clock in the afternoon. The investigators are standing in the Crespo family home on Pear Tree Close in Finsbury, in the presence of local physician Doctor Pesavento. Sofia di Santis and Mrs Gabriella Crespo have just left in an ambulance. Sofia is in a very serious situation, six of the starfish like parasites having been cut from her body. Two of these have been killed, three captured, and one has escaped. The investigators attempt to capture this final one, but it proves impossible – it has apparently escaped through a small hole – perhaps a mouse hole, and short of setting the house on fire, there is no clear way to proceed.

The investigators decide to visit the Smithfield Meat Market where they talk to one of the meat inspectors stationed there. They inform him of the possibility that Smithfield may be the source of a parasitic infestation. He takes them seriously, once they explain who they are, and while he regards it as unlikely, he agrees that he will order a careful inspection of the market.

By now visiting hours at Saint Bart’s have begun and so the investigators make the short drive there and go to visit Doctor Edith Banks. Doctor Banks seems vague and has no idea who they are. A question at the nearby nurses’ desk reveals that Doctor Banks has had a visitor – a vicar who was at the hospital to see an injured colleague. With careful questioning, raising inconsistencies in her memories, Doctor Banks seems to recover her lost memories and reveals she was visited by the Reverend Leigh, who through some means – mesmerism, or magic, or something equally strange – altered her memories.

The Reverend Miller is still unconscious. The investigators decide it is now time to confront the Reverend Leigh.

They head to the rectory at Saint James’ Church. They speak to Mrs Stanhope, the housekeeper. She reveals that the Reverend Leigh is not present. She agrees that they can wait for him in the front parlour. In the parlour they realise that the books on the shelves do not match those they saw on their earlier visit – in place of the banal and unthreatening tomes they saw then, they realise that the Reverend actually has quite a collection of esoteric lore and unusual theology. Coupled with the earlier realisation that they seemed to lose time in the Reverend Leigh’s presence they conclude that he has used his powers – whatever their source – to alter their own memories. As the Reverend has not made an appearance, they decide to examine the church.

They find the door to the crypt area of the church (now remodelled as a church hall) open. They descend the stairs to a unlocked door. Opening it a crack, a very bright light spills out. Peering around the corner, Sir Malcolm can see four human figures standing around a bright archway of incandescent white fire that seems to hang in the hair. The figures are mere silhouettes against the light but one of the two standing in front of the archway has the build of Reverend Leigh, the other is strangely emaciated. There are two men of more normal build on either side of the archway and they seem to be holding chains that lead into it.

The investigators creep inside – and Mister Scott Rhodes gets a glimpse of a terrible horrible creature, all tentacles and suckers writhing inside the bright light which seems to be some sort of gateway. Concluding that the Reverend Leigh may be trying to bring this creature through the gate, Mister Rhodes rushes forward and pushes the Reverend Leigh through the gate.

The strange emaciated figure – a thin man, showing signs of great age and horrible burns screams in frustration and anger. He throws himself at the narrow gate wrapping his arms around it, blocking the opening with his own body – and tells the investigators to run. They do so. As do the two men who had been holding chains.

Once outside, the investigators return to the rectory. They search the Reverend Leigh’s room. A table sits on four wax seals set into the floor in the centre of the room. Lying on a wooden stand on this table is a strange prismatic crystal which the investigators take into their possession for further examination. Inside a rail on which the Reverend Leigh’s clothing hangs, they find a key that opens his locked desk drawer – the desk is strewn with papers. Inside the desk they find a copy of The Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelley (presumably the copy they believe originally came from Lionel Gullan’s library via Alice Daw), a copy of The Book of Dunstan (presumably the copy stolen from McClaggen’s book binders), a copy of The Philosophy of Natural Magic by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Henry Morley, and L.W. de Laurence, and £180 in cash inside a leather wallet.

It seems obvious that the Reverend Leigh was the source of the troubles that have been afflicting this area, and he is now no longer any sort of threat. The gate vanishes from the crypt – the exact reason why is unknown. The investigators examine the documents recovered from the Reverend Leigh’s room. As best they can work out, the Reverend Leigh stole the strange crystal from the secret compartment at the Crespo home – when the voices were reported, he did some research and discovered that home had once been the home of the 16th century occultist Edward Kelley and he – rightly – suspected the voices came from something Kelley had left hidden in the house. The crystal seemed to speak to Reverend Leigh in an ancient language he somehow found he understood. And it corrupted him – or at least encouraged him to become corrupt. He had acquired a power to somehow edit people’s memories. He used this to seduce four young women although the precise nature of the seduction is unclear – Miss Eileen Pinnar who committed suicide last year, Miss Mary Hamer and Miss Alice Daw who died as a result of the strange parasites, and Miss Sofia de Santis who is now at Saint Bart’s hospital having been delivered of the evil creatures. Reverend Leigh also found that Edward Kelley was somehow still alive, somehow preserved alive by a creature beyond a mystical gate. The voices told the Reverend Leigh to bring that gate to the crypt beneath the church and it was his intention to eventually enter it to seek eternal life.

The Reverend Leigh is gone. The Reverend Miller recovers and takes over the parish. The investigators report what they have found to Lionel Gullan who seems satisfied that all has been discovered that can be discovered. The investigators may feel some satisfaction that they may have saved the lives of the Reverend Miller, Doctor Edith Banks, and Miss Sofia de Santis, and they have discovered much – even if, for the moment at least, some knowledge has eluded them. All of them have had their eyes opened to the existence of things in this world that they do not understand. All feel they would like to understand them more. Sir Malcolm sponsors Mister Rhodes, Miss Sharp, and Miss Gwynne as members of the Wentworth Club. They suspect that the club may be helpful to them in the future with access to its many members with unusual knowledge and experience – as they themselves have.

A year will pass – a year and more – but there will be a chance to once again investigate this unknown world that lies within our own.

Hospitals, Lawyers, Museums, Universities - and a family home
Contains spoilers for "Adventures in Mythos London"

Tuesday, 5th of February, 1924

It is approximately half past nine in the morning and the investigators are standing outside Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital having just inquired about the health of the Reverend Miller (still unconscious) and of Doctor Edith Banks who they were able to see. They decide to visit the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street having been told that this is the most like place that Alice Daw would have sought medical counsel – her age would have allowed her to see one of the Doctors there. At the Great Ormond Street Hospital, they are able to navigate past the young student nurse on the front desk, Penelope Smithers, to speak to a Staff Nurse, Sister Baldwin. Sister Baldwin having heard that they are investigating the death of Alice in part of behalf of Doctor Edith Banks is willing to confirm from files that Alice did visit the hospital on Friday, 1st of February, between approximately 11am and 1pm, but will not give them any other details. They will need a letter from Doctor Banks and a letter from a Justice of the Peace or a Magistrate to get any more details. Sir Malcolm makes a telephone call to St Bart’s asking that a message be passed on to Doctor Banks asking for the necessary letter and then the investigators drive to Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, where Sir Malcolm’s lawyer, Mister Benjamin Donovan, KC, has his chambers.  After a short meeting, Mister Donovan takes them to see a Magistrate who gives them a document that will allow them to see Miss Daw’s records. They return to Great Ormond Street via St Bart’s where they collect their letter from Doctor Banks. At Great Ormond Street, Sister Baldwin conducts them to see Mrs Meredith Merewether, a Hospital administrator, who agree that they can see Doctor Aloysius Monroe, the physician who examined Alice on Friday. Doctor Monroe confirms that he did see Alice and examined her and that pregnancy seemed likely from various physical signs, but she was meant to come back today for a more thorough examination as the girl insisted she had done nothing that could have caused a pregnancy and so other possibilities needed to be checked. When he is shown the creature that caused Alice’s death, he is astonished and confirms what Doctor Banks has already told them – he has never heard of such a creature before, to the best of his knowledge, it is unknown to medical science.

Taking their leave of Doctor Monroe, the investigators now head to the Natural History Museum to seek information from Basil Fillmore, an expert in echinoderms. They find him in a small office and laboratory in the attics of the museum. When he is shown the creatures, he identifies them as some sort of starfish but of a species previously unknown to science. He is surprised when they tell him this creature can survive on land and inside a human being for some time. He asks for the most damaged specimen to be left with him for further examination. He gives Miss Gwynne a vial of Prussic acid – hydrogen cyanide – and tells her that if she wants to be sure that the more intact specimen she still has in a jar is definitely dead, pouring in the Prussic acid, sealing the jar, and heating it slightly should definitely kill anything inside – but the acid must be handled with great care, and great care must be taken in opening the vial, and the jar, at all times.

Now the investigators head to the University College to see an acquaintance of Mister Scott Rhodes who is an expert on the history of London, Professor Christopher Beuregard. They ask him if he knows of any history of similar deaths in London. He does not, but does suggest that if he was looking for a source of strange parasites near the Finsbury area of London, Smithfield Market, London’s major meat market, could be of interest. The investigators recall that Miss Mary Hamer – the first girl known to have died because of one of these creatures – worked in a florists near Smithfield Market.

Next stop in the investigator’s travels is McClaggen’s Book Binders in Berry Street. They ask if he knows anything about the Liber de Lumine and while he knows of it, he can tell them nothing that they do not already know. He mentions that the Reverend Leigh of St James’ Church is very knowledgeable about such texts, which raises the suspicions of the investigators as it was Leigh who gave them McClaggen’s name in the first place, professing to have only very limited knowledge of the subject. McClaggen also tells them that he came into possession of a copy of The Book of Dunstan just last week and asked Reverend Leigh his opinion of it. The Reverend asked him to repair the binding, and McClaggen had the impression he was interested in purchasing the book once repaired. But it went missing that night – this was the 28th of January. Mister Scott Rhodes is aware and informs the others that Edward Kelley – the author of The Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelley – a dustjacket of which was found in the pocket of Alice Daw’s coat after her death – had once been in possession of the original Book of Dunstan.

Being nearby, the investigators head to Pear Tree Close to see what they can find out about the strange voices heard at a house in that street last year. They ask some children if they know which house it was and are directed to the home of the Crespo family. Mister Rhodes notes that the houses in this street are very old – their wooden construction in solid oak – suggests they predate the Great Fire of London of 1666. The housemaid, Sofia, opens the door when they knock and admits them to talk to Mrs Gabriella Crespo. Mrs Crespo is happy to discuss what happened in February and March last year. Her daughter began complaining of hearing strange voices in the dark in her room. Eventually Mrs Crespo heard them as well. She called in her Parish Priest, Father Thomas who agreed to perform a blessing on the room in which the voices had been heard. But when he entered he fell to his knees, weeping tears of joy, and declared that the voices he was hearing were the voices of angels. Word spread and over the next six weeks, many people came to hear the voices, including many religious people. The voices ended abruptly when an Anglican Vicar asked to be allowed to pray in private in the room. After he had left, Mrs Crespo found a loose floorboard that had not been loose before. There was a small compartment constructed underneath. She has come to believe that whatever caused the voices was in that compartment and suspects that the Vicar took it. She is able to identify him as the Reverend Leigh.

A scream is heard from downstairs. Running down to the kitchen, Sofia is lying unconscious on the ground. Miss Gwynne examines her and realises she can feel something moving under the skin of the woman’s stomach. Mister Rhodes is dispatched to find a telephone to call for an ambulance while Sir Malcolm prepares to perform an emergency ‘caesarean’. Fortunately as he runs for the telephone box, Mister Rhodes spies a plaque on a house two doors away that tells him it is the residence and surgery of a Doctor Pesavento. He bangs on the door, and Doctor Pesavento grabs her medical bag and accompanies him back to the Crespo house. Sir Malcolm assists as Doctor Pesavenot makes an incision and all recoil as three small starfish like creatures scuttle out and begin running around the kitchen. Mister Rhodes skewers one with a knife, Miss Gwynne catches another with a jar, while the third evades Miss Sharp and passes out of sight under a cupboard. Sir Malcolm recovers three more of the creatures still inside Sofia’s abdomen. Mister Rhodes is sent to call for the ambulance. Sofia is alive but there are internal injuries. She is taken to hospital. Mrs Crespo accompanies her.

It is approximately one o’clock in the afternoon.

A brawl and then dinner
Contains spoilers for "Adventures in Mythos London"

Monday, 4th of February, 1924

Finsbury, London. As they take their leave of Constable Wilkins at the Clerkenwell Medical Mission, it is about 6.30 in the evening, and Sir Malcolm has invited the investigators to be his dinner guests at the Wentworth Club. They all get into his car and after a short drive to and down Berry Street in order to locate McClaggen’s book bindery, they are proceeding along Clerkenwell Road westwards, just passing St John’s Street when they notice a ruckus happening just at the side of the road. A man is being beaten up – Miss Sharp identifies the man as the Reverend Miller.

Sir Malcolm drives his car at the crowd, breaking just short of actually hitting anybody. Mister Rhodes blows his police whistle and he and Miss Gwynne leave the car and begin shouting at the crowd to stop. A large middle aged lady is beating the Reverend Miller with her umbrella while several men repeatedly kick the man. It is, in every sense of the words, an angry mob. An attempt is made to throw an egg at Miss Gwynne and sometimes strikes at Mister Rhodes, but after a relatively short time, the mob seems to start to come to its senses in the face of the concerted intimidation of the investigators (minus Miss Sharp who has remained in the car). Mister Rhodes is particularly impressive in its attempts to convince the mob that it would be unwise to continue their actions, but Sir Malcolm’s Rolls Royce probably helps by forcing people to realise that they are facing people of means who might be able to cause them more trouble. A Police Constable, blowing his own whistle frantically, with truncheon in hand, arrives on the scene as the violence ends. Sir Malcolm dispatches him to call for an ambulance and the Constable runs down the road to a police call box, as Miss Sharp, at Sir Malcolm’s request, removes a first aid box from his car and they attempt to render assistance to the Reverend Miller. They quickly realise that the Reverend’s injuries are too severe for first aid to be of much help. He is alive but has been severely beaten. The ambulance arrives and the ambulance men put the Reverend Miller on a stretcher. When asked they say they are taking him to Saint Bart’s Hospital. More police have arrived (including Constable Wilkins who seems more than a bit surprised to be meeting the investigators again) and take the names of everybody present. Questioning by the police and the investigators reveals that the fracas started because the Reverend Miller said something to Mrs Esmeralda Bourke (the lady with the umbrella) that she found extremely offensive, and that men and a few women joined her in assaulting the Reverend. But Mrs Bourke cannot say what was said. She cannot remember. Three men saw the start of the situation and all agree Reverend Miller said something to Mrs Bourke but none of them know what it was. Having cooled down, people seem somewhat confused. They all felt they had a good reason to attack the Reverend but none of them can say what it was, except in very vague terms. During the questioning, the investigators ask if anybody present knew Mary Hamer. One of the men says she was his niece. He is puzzled by the request to look down his throat, but agrees to it. Nothing odd is seen or felt when Miss Gwynne decides to check his glands. Miss Sharp and Miss Gwynne escort Mrs Bourke to her nearby home in Farringdon Road but she can tell them nothing more. Sir Malcolm examines the scene as the crowd disperses. He finds the Reverend Miller’s clerical collar, torn off in the struggle. He also realises that the Reverend Miller’s bicycle is nowhere to be seen. As Miss Sharp and Miss Gwynne return, the investigators decide they should go and visit Reverend Leigh. They find him standing outside his home looking to hail a cab. The hospital has telephoned him and told him Reverend Miller is in a very grave state and he accepts the offer of a lift to the hospital.

At the hospital, the investigators find out that Reverend Miller is unconscious and has a suspected fractured skull and broken ribs. He is not believed to be in any immediate danger and will be seen by a surgeon in the morning. There is no possibility in talking to him at this point but they are allowed to see him and he is lying in a bed with his head bandaged. The investigators give the Reverend Leigh a lift back to the vicarage. He can shed no light on why Reverend Miller might have been attacked. While the Revered Leigh does not like the Revered Miller and does not conceal this, and says that the younger man has a habit of rubbing people up the wrong way, he knows of no reason that he is likely to have provoked such an extreme reaction. When the investigators ask to check Reverend Miller’s room, he seems puzzled but agrees and escorts them up to see it on arrival. It is a small bedroom, unremarkable. A search is made for secret compartments but nothing of that nature is found. On the Reverend Miller’s desk, however, they find an empty envelope with the name “Mr Lionel Gullan” written on it in Reverend Miller’s handwriting. A note with the previous days date (3rd of February) has been begun, but only the salutation has been written. A search of the wastepaper basket finds a screwed up previous attempt at a letter that reads:

“3rd of February, 1924.

Dear Mr Gullan,
I am writing to offer my condolences on the death of your niece, Alice. I feel I must inform somebody of certain facts. They are terrible”

Miss Sharp takes possession of the envelope and the two unfinished letters. As they leave, the Reverend Leigh is asked whether he has any idea of where Reverend Miller’s bicycle might be. He does not, but reveals that the bicycles front wheel was damaged sometime yesterday afternoon.

The investigators still plan to dine at the Wentworth Club, and checking his watch, Sir Malcolm realises it is now eight o’clock. Dinner at the Club must be ordered by half past eight, so they must hurry. But it is later than it should be. At least it seems that way to Sir Malcolm and when he raises this with the others, they feel the same way. They cannot construct a precise timeline but they all believe they arrived at the hospital shortly after seven o’clock and it seems to all of them that no more than half an hour or so has passed since then. This seems odd.

They drive to the Wentworth Club, where Sir Malcolm signs the others in as his guests. He asks Sykes, the club butler, to telephone Saint Barts for an update on the Reverend Miller’s condition. They then enjoy a decent dinner, during which Sykes returns and informs them that the Reverend Miller is resting comfortably. At the end of dinner, Mister Gregory Bluffstone, the Head of the Trustees of the Club approaches their table and asks to be introduced to Sir Malcolm’s friends. He mentions the fact that the Club has recently opened its membership to ladies and is now looking for suitable ladies to join. The clear implication is he is suggesting to Sir Malcolm that he should consider whether or not his friends are people who should be nominated for membership, especially the two young ladies.

Sir Malcolm and Mister Rhodes intend to stay the night at the club. It is not possible under club rules for the young ladies to do this, so Sir Malcolm drops them at a train station so they can make their way home. Both are very experienced users of the Underground, independent young ladies used to travelling on it at night. The night passes without incident except for Miss Sharp remembering that some odd event happened in Finsbury sometime last year and she placed a newspaper cutting about it in the scrap book she keeps of unusual possibly supernatural events.

She locates the article – it is from The Daily Herald of March 19th, 1923. Entitled Hark the Finsbury Angels Sing! it says that people had been queuing to visit a house in Pear Tree Close, Finsbury after reports that the voices of angels had been heard coming from an upstairs room. There is no obvious link to recent events except geographic proximity – Pear Tree Close is within a few hundred yards of all the interesting locations that have come to the investigator’s attention, perhaps less than a hundred yards from the Daw family home.

Tuesday, 5th of February, 1924.

Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital, Smithfield, London. The investigators meet up outside the hospital at nine o’clock intending to try and find out more about what happened to the Reverend Miller and to Doctor Edith Banks, who they believe is also likely to have been brought here. They go in and speak to the person manning the front desk. She is able to confirm that both the Reverend Miller and Doctor Edith Banks are patients at the hospital and that their condition is comfortable. Visiting hours are between two and four in the afternoon. Reverend Miller is under the care of a surgeon, Sir William Forbes-Lightly while Doctor Baxendale is handling Doctor Bank’s care. Even if was visiting hours, there would be no point in visiting Reverend Miller as he is still unconscious – but Miss Gwynne persuades her to reveal Doctor Bank’s location and to admit that as she is in a private room, there would be little harm if they just dropped in on her for a moment.

On the way up to do this, they drop in on Sir William Forbes-Lightly’s consulting rooms. Sir Malcolm’s own title gains an instant introduction to the eminent surgeon. He informs them that the Reverend Miller does have a fractured skull as well as broken ribs, but he is cautiously optimistic that as long as no complications develop, that the prognosis is good. He is still unconscious but showed some signs of stirring, and it is possible he might be able to see visitors during visiting hours this afternoon. The beating was savage and could have easily been fatal if it had been allowed to continue.

The investigators go to see Doctor Banks. She is awake and grateful to them because while she is not sure exactly what happened, her last memory is of choking and the investigators placing her on a bed in her surgery and she knows they must have saved her life. She has a rather badly abraded throat but will recover. When she is told that they removed one the strange starfish like creatures from her throat, she is shocked. She did perform the autopsy on Mary Hamer, and the idea that the creature that killed Mary may have travelled to her own body seems plausible. But she knows nothing more about it. They ask her who might know and she can give them little help – Doctors should report these things but her own reluctance to do so because of the fear it might raise doubt about her competence or even her sanity might well be shared by other doctors. Perhaps some reports have reached the coroners.

The investigators take their leave of Doctor Banks. It is approximately half past nine.

The investigation continues
Contains spoilers for "Adventures in Mythos London"

Monday, 4th of February, 1924

Finsbury, London. Our four investigators leave 7 Allen Street, Finsbury. Sir Malcolm locates a telephone box and makes a telephone call to the Wentworth Club. As usual, Sykes, the Butler is on duty. Sir Malcom asks Sykes if he knows of any member of the Wentworth Club who would be an expert on starfish and similar creatures. After a moment’s thought, Sykes is able to give Sir Malcolm, the name Basil Fillmore who works at the Natural History Museum and is likely to be able to answer any questions on that subject.

It is decided to go and visit Cecil Bosco, the young man who Alice Daw was in a romantic relationship with. As all they know is that Bosco works at a garment merchants of some sort in Berry Street, it is decided to drop in at the local Police Station and ask for directions. At the police station, the name Cecil Bosco brings the attention of Constable Wilkins. Constable Wilkins knows the name as he was the first police officer who attended the Daw residence when the death of Alice Daw was reported yesterday morning. He is able to tell the investigators that Cecil Bosco works at a garment manufacturer called Rabinowitz’s on Berry Street.

At Rabinowitz’s, the investigators meet Mary Rabinowitz, presumably the wife of the proprietor, and she agrees to allow them to speak to Cecil Bosco. She reminds them that the lad had just suffered a bereavement and asks them to try to avoid distressing them, then summons him into the front room of the establishment. She leaves them in privacy. Cecil is seventeen years old and is an apprentice tailor. He tells the investigators that he last saw Alice at the end of the work day last Thursday (the 31st of January) – she worked as a seamstress at this same establishment. She was not at work on Friday. When asked where he and Alice go together, he mentions that besides seeing each other at work, they sometimes visit a cinema or go to the Angel Café, in Islington.

Elan Gwynne is asking most of the questions and is quite prepared to ask the questions that others might not ask. Sir Malcolm, in particular, is quite shocked at her candour. As well as asking outright if Cecil and Alice had enjoyed the normal intimacies that might be associated with marriage, she goes further and asks very specific questions as to whether or not they may have engaged in less common forms of sexual intimacy! The reasons for these questions is obvious – the possibly that Cecil Bosco may have somehow infected Alice with the strange starfish like parasite which it seems possible was lurking inside her is a reasonably hypothesis. But Cecil denies any intimacy at all with Alice. He also says that he has never heard of Mary Hamer, the other girl who it seems may have suffered a similar fate. The investigators seem reasonably satisfied he is telling the truth. When asked if there was anywhere else Alice was in the habit of visiting, Cecil says that she sometimes visited her Uncle Lionel, and that she also visited St James Church on occasion – he did not accompany her on these visits having little interest in meeting her Uncle, and himself being a Roman Catholic rather than sharing Alice’s Church of England affiliation.

The investigators leave Cecil and ask Mrs Rabinowitz if they can see where Alice worked. Mrs Rabinowitz takes them upstairs to a room containing five young ladies operating six sewing machines. This establishment is a modern, clean working environment that produces ready to wear clothing for a number of London stores. Alice operated the now idle machine. Searching the drawers associated with the machine, nothing of interest is found. Mrs Rabinowitz suggests the investigators talk to Sarah Peel, one of the other seamstresses.

Sarah looks like she is in her mid-twenties, the oldest working in this room. She says she knew Alice quite well and Alice was a good girl who came to her for advice, Sarah being older and somewhat wiser in the ways of the world. She seems quite open and tells them that Alice had confided in her a fear that she might be pregnant but had insisted that she had not engaged in any form of sexual intercourse. Sarah sought to reassure Alice that if that was truly the case, she had no real reason to believe she was pregnant and that the symptoms that lead her to believe she might be – Sarah assumed that Alice had not had her period since around Christmas time although Alice was not precise about such details – could have some other explanation. She had suggested the younger girl should see a Doctor and when Alice was not at work last Friday, she assumed that was what she was doing. When asked what she knew about Alice’s life outside of work, she said that she knew Alice was going out on occasion with Cecil Bosco, and that she sometimes visited the local Church. Alice was apparently devoutly religious.

Leaving the clothing establishment, it is decided to have a late lunch – Sir Malcolm in particular, feels in need of strong tea. It is decided that the Angel Café, which is not too far away is convenient, and so the investigators repair there for soup, bread and butter, and tea. Thus fortified, it is decided to make a visit to St James’ Church in Clerkenwell.

The church is in a garden setting with a residence for the clergy off to one side. The crypt of the church has been converted to a large hall, and the noticeboard outside the church indicates the hall is used by various groups in the community such as the Women’s Institute. It also indicates that there are two Ministers associated with the church – the Reverend Leigh, and the Reverend Miller. After a brief examination by Scott Rhodes reveals that the church itself is currently unoccupied, it is decided to make a call on the residence. As the investigators approach, they see a young man in clerical dress riding out of the gate on a wobbling bicycle. They hail him and watch as he almost crashes his bicycle. But he stops. This is the Reverend Miller. He is the curate here. He is running late for an appointment and says that while he did know Alice Daw, they’d be better off talking to Reverend Leigh, the vicar here, as Alice had much more contact with him. They leave him to ride off on his bicycle – the front wheel is obviously bent – while they go and knock on the door to the residence.

A woman – the housekeeper, they assume – invites them into the front parlour and says she will fetch Reverend Leigh. The parlour also looks like it serves as a library and perhaps as a study as well, but there is no time to look at it in detail, before the Reverend Leigh arrives. A middle-aged man, somewhat portly, he invites them to sit down. The investigators explain they are looking into the death of Alice Daw. Reverend Leigh acknowledges that he knew the girl as a regular visitor to his church, but he cannot really say much more than that for reasons of clerical confidentiality. Scott Rhodes makes a vigorous case for Reverend Leigh to nonetheless tell them whatever he can, but the Reverend relents only a little. Alice was a regular attendant at Sunday services with her family, but she also used to visit the church at other times to pray. Reverend Leigh did sometimes talk to her but the only unusual matter she ever raised was to ask him about what would be involved if she chose to marry a Catholic. He is surprised at the suggestion she tried to steal a book, as she always seemed to him to be honest and also not that interested in reading – he gestures to his own library and says that it would have been available to her if she had wanted to read books. Elan asks to take a look at his library – it struck her on entering as a potentially interesting one – and he agrees that she can look, but it proves far less interesting that she had initially thought. Lots of ponderous tomes on Church of England theology along with many Victorian era novels of the Eric, or, Little by Little type – books for children and young people intended to cultivate a particular idea of morality and goodness of the type approved by the church. The only book that strikes Elan as at all unusual is an 1880s Latin Vulgate Bible – a nicely bound, heavy tome. The Vulgate is the standard Bible of the Roman Catholic Church, long superseded in Church of England use by the Authorized Version – the King James’ Bible. Reverend Leigh says he has kept it largely because it is an attractive binding, and because it is, after all, a Bible – he would not use it in his Ministry, but whatever their faults, the Catholics have treated the Bible with respect. He is told about the book that Alice apparently tried to steal – the Liber de Lumine of Ramon Llull, but beyond being able to translate the title into English – Book of Light – he professes no knowledge of it. The name Llull, he thinks may have been the name of a heretic, but it’s not an area he is that interested in. He says he has a parishioner, Clive McLaglen who runs a bookbinders on Berry Street, who has an interest in old books but it’s not his own field.

The investigators take their leave of Reverend Leigh. It is somewhat later than they expected, the sun is setting and so they decide to head back to the Clerkenwell Medical Mission to see what Doctor Banks has discovered with her autopsy investigation of Alice Daw’s body. She lets them into the Mission and takes them across to her surgery. She seems nervous and somewhat unsteady. She tells them that she has completed an autopsy on Alice and the results are similar to those on Mary Hamer. It seems as if something was eating Alice’s internal organs. It is like nothing she has seen or heard of in medicine.

She goes and gets a glass of water from a pitcher in a corner of the room. She gags on it. The investigators can see a rippling across the front of her neck, and she seems to be having difficulty breathing. They manage to get her to lie on the bench along one side of her surgery and look down her throat with a torch. There is something moving there. Sir Malcolm immediately grabs a bottle of ether, and with Evelyn Sharp preventing him using too much, anaesthetizes the Doctor. With a set of forceps, Scott Rhodes pulls the moving object from her throat – there seems little choice except to let the Doctor choke on it. A great deal of blood comes with it but what is pulled out is a similar starfish like creature to that recovered in Alice Daw’s room. Sir Malcolm uses the telephone to call for an ambulance. A jar is found in which to place the creature. An ambulance arrives and the two orderlies take the unconscious Doctor Banks away. Shortly after, Constable Wilkins arrives. When he is shown evidence that the investigators have been asked to look into the death of Alice Daw and apparently overawed by Sir Malcolm’s title, he agrees to allow the investigators to carry out a search of the Medical Mission as long as he can accompany them so he can swear as to their actions if needed. Constable Wilkins seems diligent in his work. Nothing is found, but when he is given a brief overview of what the investigators suspect – that Alice died from some infestation by a strange creature, one of which also infected Doctor Banks, and may have also killed Mary Hamer, he agrees to allow them to keep possession of the starfish like creature for their investigation while he will have to contact his Inspector and ask what a police constable is supposed to do in a case like this.

And so it begins
Contains spoilers for "Adventures in Mythos London"

Monday, 4th of February 1924

Four young people meet for the first time on the steps of 4 Aubrey Street, Kensington, London. They are Mister Scott Rhodes, archaeologist, a specialist, in so far as somebody still so near the beginning of his career may have a specialty, in Ancient Egypt, Miss Elan Gwynne, a self described ‘ghost hunter’ with a broad interest in the possible existence of the supernatural, Sir Malcolm Chandler, 2nd Baronet, an explorer recently returned from warmer climes, and Miss Evelyn Sharp, a bluestocking whose intellectual curiousity goes beyond the merely mundane. All have been summoned by letter or telegram to the home of a shared acquaintance, Mister Lionel Gullan who has given them every impression that he is urgent need of assistance but no other details.

They are admitted to the home that Mister Gullan appears to share with nobody but an unknown number of cats, and once he has them all in his library, and has served them all tea (his own fortified from a flask), he gradually comes to the point. He informs them that his seventeen year old niece, a Miss Alice Daw died yesterday morning in somewhat confused circumstances. When Mister Gullan was informed of the news, he was initially shocked to hear that his niece – who was by all he knew a Godfearing and innocent young girl – had died of a miscarriage. He had seen her only the previous afternoon – she often visited him here at his home – and he had certainly seen no sign that she was expecting a child, although her behaviour was odd. Just before she left, he saw her attempting to hide a book from his extensive library under her coat, an attempt it seemed to steal from him. This was totally out of character and also she would have known totally unnecessary. If she had needed money or anything of that nature, he would have willingly given it to her and she knew that. If she wanted to borrow the book – or even to own it herself – he’d have given her the book as well. But even stranger, when he confronted her, she seemed confused as if she was totally unaware of what was happening. She threw down the book and fled leaving Gullan confused, but he decided he would wait until the next time he saw her to ask what was going on.

Mister Gullan was asked what book it was that Alice had tried to take and he is quite willing to show it to those he has called to help him. The volume is covered in brown paper and tape with the title neatly written on this covering – Liber de Lumine by Ramon Llull. It is an 1827 copy printed in Milan of a thirteenth century work – not particularly valuable, Mister Gullan says he bought it primarily because of the attractive leather binding. It is in Latin, which Alice certainly would not have been able to read. There is no logic he can see to her wanting it.

He is pressed as to why he has asked his four visitors to come and see him and he explains to him that a Doctor Banks – a lady Doctor – came to see him yesterday evening. She had been the Doctor called when Alice’s body was discovered, as she works at the Woodbridge Chapel in Finsbury, just around the corner from the Daw family home. He believes she came to see him as Alice’s nearest adult relative besides the girl’s own parents (Gullan’s sister, Dorothy and her husband, Bartholomew). Doctor Banks wanted somebody in the girl’s family to be aware of certain things and perhaps did not feel the bereaved parents were the right choice so soon after their daughter’s death. Doctor Banks explained to him that the police were ready to label Alice’s death as a simple miscarriage, but she did not believe that such a simple explanation was correct. There was something very strange about Alice’s injuries. Mister Gullan explains that he became angry and distressed at what he was being told and he fears that he frightened Doctor Banks away before she could tell him all she came to say. That is why he has asked the four of them to come and see him. He wants them to look into what happened to Alice. To find out what was going on.

When asked why he has chosen them, Gullan is somewhat evasive. He says simply that he knows them all and what he knows of them makes him think that they will be open to unusual ideas and will not just going looking for the simple, obvious solution unless it truly does match all the facts. When pressed a little further, he says that when he was a younger man, he was involved in looking into some strange matters – but he won’t go any further even when pressed. He simply asks that they do this for him. He is quite desperate for help.

And they agree. They ask for a letter introducing them to Doctor Banks, and obtain her working address – the Woodbridge Chapel in Woodbridge Road, Finsbury, as well as the address of the Daw family  – 7 Allen Street, Finsbury. Sir Malcolm offers to drive them all to Finsbury in his rather wonderful Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and so it is that they set off on the short drive to Finsbury. On arrival, a young boy offers to ensure that the very fine car will remain unmolested in exchange for a small gratuity. After brief haggling, Sir Malcolm nonetheless pays the boy the sixpence he originally asked for.

The Woodbridge Chapel is a block building, which also serves according to the plaque near its front door as the Clerkenwell Medical Mission, providing medical services to those of limited means. A brief interview with the nurse inside who obviously sees herself as the doorkeeper in terms of access to a Doctor is quite readily solved by donations totalling six pounds into the collection box. Doctor Edith Banks is more than willing to see such generous people. They are shown into her simple, though modern, consulting room.

They hand over the letter of introduction and once Doctor Banks, a nervous seeming woman of middle years, has satisfied herself as to why they have come – to discuss what she feels is strange about the case of Alice Daw, the Doctor leads them down into the cellar of the chapel. This room is kept cold by blocks of ice, although perhaps in February, this may not be entirely necessary. It clearly serves as a mortuary. There are four tables, three of which clearly have bodies under sheets. After satisfying herself that the gentlemen present will act with discretion, Doctor Banks removes the sheet that covers the body of Alice Daw. The unfortunate girl lies naked on the table, face down, and Doctor Banks draws the observers attention to the strange deep wound in the small of her back. A little under two inches across, the wound is ragged edged and very deep. It looks like very much like something has bored into or out of the girl’s body.

Doctor Banks explains this is the second time in recent days she has seen such a thing. And moves over to another table and again removes the sheet. Lying naked on her back is a second girl with a very similar wound, but this time it in the lower abdomen at the front. This body also bears the marks of cutting and sewing. Doctor Banks explains that this is the body of Mary Hamer, an 18 year old flower seller of Sans Walk, Finsbury. She collapsed a week ago outside her home and died before Doctor Banks, the nearest available Doctor could get to her. Doctor Banks has performed an autopsy on Mary and what she found was quite odd. A number of her internal organs – both her kidneys, her liver, and her womb had suffered significant but not necessarily fatal damage, to the extent that the Doctor could not really identify a cause of death. It could have been the failure of any one of a number of organs or simple blood loss. But it also seems to Doctor Banks as if some sort of animal was living inside the girl eating her internally, but in a way that would keep her alive as long as possible. But what it might be is beyond Doctor Bank’s knowledge. She says she intends to carry out an autopsy on Alice as well, and if they would like to come back later in the day she will share her findings with them. What has happened seems very odd, but unless she can say what did happen she does not really want to bring it to the attention of authorities. She has her own reputation to think about. If she can’t find a clear alternative cause she can put a name too, then unless she feels there is a clear danger to others, she is likely to simply endorse the police conclusion of miscarriage. Alice does show some signs that she might have been pregnant but not as many as Doctor Banks would normally expect. But she has the impression that the possibility Alice was pregnant though a shock to Alice’s father, may not have been quite as shocking to Alice’s mother.

The four investigators leave the Medical Mission resolving to return later in the day. The Rolls Royce is still in excellent condition, sixpence well spent, and it is decided to return to Mister Gullan to inform him of what they have already been told and also to get a letter of introduction to his sister and her husband, Alice’s bereaved parents. On arrival back at Aubery Street, there is no answer to a knock on the door but finding the door unlocked, the investigators enter the residence of Lionel Gullan. They find him asleep and snoring in an armchair in his library. An empty bottle of Scotch and a tumbler sit on a table next to him, a half empty bottle of cooking sherry on the floor. He is obviously drunk.

They wake him and after some brief moments of confusion the man orients himself toward coherence and understanding. He becomes somewhat belligerent when it is suggested that he seems to be taken the death of his niece very hard – obviously offended at the idea that he shouldn’t. He is further pressed for details about the strange experiences in his earlier life, in case they are relevant. He insists there is no reason to believe they might be but says he was involved as a witness in some sort of scandal involving a séance – some sort of fraud. He will not say anymore. But he agrees to sign a letter introducing the investigators to his sister and brother-in-law. And the investigators return to Finsbury.

The Daw family occupy the second floor of a terrace house. Mrs Dorothy Daw welcomes the investigators into her home when she hears they have been sent by her brother. She introduces them briefly to her husband who she persuades to go and visit a nearby pub. It seems obvious she does not want him there for the conversation with the investigators. Once he has gone, Mrs Daw seems very open to questions. She obviously is in deep mourning for her daughter, but she also wants to understand what happened. She confirms that Alice had told her a few days before that she might be pregnant but would not explain exactly why she thought this. This was something of a shock to Mrs Daw but one she took in her stride. Alice has a suitor, a young tailor’s apprentice named Cecil Bosco, the same age as Alice was, and if Alice was pregnant, it would be a relatively simple matter to arrange a quick marriage, and a somewhat ‘premature’ birth. Mrs Daw has assumed for the last year that Cecil and Alice would marry in time so while it might happen a little earlier and a little faster than expected, this would not be a disaster. However, she was waiting for the opportunity to talk to her husband about it as his initial reaction until he calmed down might have tend towards violence towards Cecil Bosco. Mr Daw still saw his daughter as an innocent little girl who had nothing to do with any boys besides her own brothers – her mother being more realistic. Now that Alice has died, she still fears that if her husband finds out about Cecil, the boy could be in danger. When asked if she knows anything about Alice’s life outside the family home, she says she knows little. She visited her Uncle regularly, but besides that and going to work (a clothing merchants on Berry Street where Cecil also works) and sometimes visiting the local Church – Alice was devout – she doesn’t really know what her daughter did. She thinks perhaps the girl may have confided some secrets to her younger brothers, Jethro aged 14, and Arthur aged 11.

The investigators ask to examine Alice’s room and Mrs Daw agrees. She takes them to the door but says she would rather not go inside herself right now. The room is much as would be expected for a girl of Alice’s age in a reasonably prosperous but not luxurious home -  a single bed, all the bedclothes removed but obvious bloodstains remain on the mattress. A chest of drawers, a dressing table with mirror, and a wardrobe. The investigators search the room and find two objects of interest. In the pocket of Alice’s coat which hangs on the back of the door, Miss Gwynne finds a piece of folded brown paper that still bears some tape. It is clearly identifiable as a book covering virtually identical to that which covered Liber de Lumine in Lionel Gullan’s library. Again a title is written on the paper – The Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelley. In the dressing table, Sir Malcolm finds a ring. With his knowledge of jewellery, he can identify it as being gold with a rather inferior emerald mounted in it and the intial ‘A’ engraved inside the band. Except under close examination, it is a very nice ring, and it strikes him as the type of ring a young man of limited means might save up to but for a sweetheart. It could even be an engagement ring.

Miss Sharp looks under the bed and can see something moving under there. The bed is overturned by the two gentlemen and the scurrying creature emerges. Shaped like a five pointed star, about the size of a human hand, it scurries across the floor. Miss Gwynne stomps on it and it lies twitching on the ground. They scoop it up and put into a jar taken from Miss Gwynne’s bag. It is like a starfish, although land dwelling, with barbs and a beak. Before they can examine it in detail, the door is opened by a boy of about 14. He introduces himself as Jethro Daw. Obviously upset at the death of his sister, but trying to be grown up about it, he answers the investigators questions. The night before she died, he heard his sister run into the house, up to her room and slam the door. He didn’t think much of it because she often did such things. He can confirm she had a boyfriend named Cecil Bosco who she was going to marry someday (although Jethro is not entirely sure, Cecil knew that was going to happen). And she spent most of her spare time as far as he knew either at home, or visiting their Uncle Lionel, or the Church – St James Church, here in Finsbury.

Sir Malcolm decides he will contact the Butler at his club, the Wentworth Club, a club famous for its membership of people interested in a wide variety of intellectual and academic pursuits to get the name of somebody interested in natural history who may be able to shed some light on  the strange creature in the jar. It isn’t Sir Malcolm’s field but he would have thought he would have least known of the existence of what seems to be a land dwelling starfish.


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