"Ring of Deceit"
By Paul Howls
"Thank you for all coming tonight. I cannot remember the last time we were all together like this."
Dr. Black stood next to the fireplace in the lounge of Tudor Close, looking around at his guests. Never before had he been so thankful for having so many dear friends; and he was so pleased to have them all with him on this very special occasion.
"So what is it Black?" enquired Captain Brown through the clouds of smoke that were being produced by the pipe hanging out of his mouth.
"Yes, do tell us David, we're all just dying to know" Vivienne Scarlett pleaded sarcastically as she smirked over her glass of Shiraz at a certain school mistress sitting quietly in the corner opposite her, not looking any of the other guests in the eye.
"Very well Vivienne. I have invited you all here, my closest friends, to tell you that I have asked the delightful Miss Emily Peach to be my wife".
Several sudden gasps came from the group. Mrs. White almost choked on her Gin and Tonic; Mrs. Peacock shot a look of disapproval at Miss Peach; and Mr. Slate-Grey, who had been toying with a dagger before the announcement had been made, turned pale and also stared at Emily. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the reverend was the first person to speak - choosing his words carefully he said:
"How … delightful. We haven't had a marriage in the village for ages…"
At that, Graham Slate-Grey ran out of the room. Miss Peach stood up to go after him, but the reverend stopped her. "Allow me" he said, and left.
"Well, I expected a reaction," said Black bemused "but it definitely wasn't this one."
No one replied. They didn't know quite what to say. Even Miss Scarlett, who had had her suspicions, was lost for words - probably for the first time in her life.
"…Rose …" mumbled someone from the sofa.
"Pardon?" Black asked, wondering who had spoken.
"I said …" Professor Plum stood up from the sofa "I said 'what about Rose'"
Dr. Black was now lost for words. Since Rose's death, her name had rarely been spoken in the mansion. It had taken David a long time to get over his wife's death. Life without her was a life not worth living. That was until he had met a local school mistress; whose innocent, reserved personality had been a breath of fresh air. Only with her could he start a new life. He knew Plum had also taken Rose's death badly. He knew that he had also been in love with her ever since their school days. But he never thought that he would resent him marrying again.
The two men stood facing each other. No words were necessary - the look was enough.
Trying to change the atmosphere, Colonel Mustard got out of his chair and said, "I feel like a game of Billiards. What do you say Brown?"
"What? Oh … yes. Sounds good to me"
"Well Peter, care to accompany us?" Colonel Mustard took the professor by the shoulder and led him out of the room.
Looking around the room and realising that he was the only man left, Black said "I expect you women would like to chat. I'll leave you alone" and retired to the study.
The four women looked at each other. No one knew where to start. Mrs. White put her glass down on a side table and arose from her seat. "I think I'll … err … go and look in on the kitchen" and she also left.
Meanwhile Reverend Green was trying to comfort Mr. Slate-Grey in the conservatory. "What's the matter my dear boy? Why are you so upset?"
Graham was pacing up and down the room, turning the dagger around in his hand.
"I can't believe it. I just can't believe she's actually going to go through with it. I thought it was just a whim. That she was just dazzled by a man like Dr. Black … and all his money. But I never thought …"
"Come now my dear boy. You must accept that she is in love with Dr. Black and not you. Has she ever shown any interest in you? No. With time you'll understand that it's for the best …"
"NO !!" shouted Slate-Grey "I will not … Aargh!" He dropped the dagger from his hand, revealing a long gash of red blood.
"Good heavens" exclaimed the reverend "come with me, I think the first aid box is kept in the kitchen"
"Oh no!" Captain Brown threw his cue to the ground. "I can't believe you Mustard. There was no way you could have made that shot."
"It's all in the wrist my dear Brown. Well Plum, what do you say to a game?" he said turning to the professor.
"Sorry, but I don't think that I'm in the mood. I think I'll go and read a book in the library." With that, he left the room.
"Strange man that professor. Letting a woman get to him like that"
"Ha! My dear colonel; he's not strange. Have you never loved a women like the professor loved Mrs. Black?"
"I have both Vivienne and Elizabeth falling at my feet."
"Yes, they are for some strange reason, infatuated with you. But you, I do not believe, are genuinely in love with either of them."
"Miss. Scarlett is a most beautiful woman."
"Yes, but you don't love her."
"Mind your own business Brown. Anyway, you're not exactly the best person to be advising people on relationships."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Everyone knows how you think you're God's gift to women. How you force yourself upon them."
"What! I merely flirt with them."
"Oh? I thought that it was more than flirting that you did with Rose Black."
"Why you …"
In a slightly quieter room of the house, Graham Slate-Grey was holding his hand under the sink tap while the reverend searched the cupboards for some bandages.
"Now that was a very silly thing to do wasn't it? Cutting yourself isn't going to win Miss Peach back now is it? Now where's that first aid box?" He lifted a small bottle out of one of the cupboards, "What's this? Poison! What's that doing here? I suppose the servants use it to kill the mice or something." He put the bottle down on the table and resumed his hunt for the box. "Ah! Here it is."
Graham sat down on a chair and the reverend started wrapping up his hand.
"I didn't cut myself deliberately. You're wrong though, she does love me. She just… she just can't marry me."
Reverend Green was just about to ask what he meant when Mrs. White burst in through the door holding a revolver and shaking from head to foot.
"Blanche, what's wrong?"
"Oh, Reverend! Mr Slate-Grey. I didn't realise anyone would be in here. Reverend, may I have a word with you… alone?"
Mr. Slate-Grey stood up "I'll leave you to it. Thank you reverend."
Meanwhile, in the lounge Miss Peach was showing off her new engagement ring to Mrs. Peacock and Miss. Scarlett.
"Why it's beautiful. Of course my engagement ring will have a ruby in the centre."
"It must have cost David a good deal of money" remarked Mrs. Peacock, quietly working out the cost for herself in her head.
"I didn't want him to spend a lot of money on it. He assured me that he hadn't. It wouldn't have cost that much would it?"
"My dear Miss Peach. If you added together all the money that you've earned from teaching over the years, I guess it wouldn't come even close to being half the price of that ring."
Miss Peach's mouth almost dropped to the floor. "But he said …"
"Yes, he said. But my dear Emily, you're in a different circle of people now. David couldn't possibly be seen with a fiancé like you without a large diamond to make up for it."
"I beg your pardon!"
"I'm afraid Vivienne's right for once. Now my dear girl, you didn't honestly think that you would be welcomed into high society with open arms, just because you're marrying a wealthy member?"
"I can't believe how horrible you're both being."
"We're not trying to be horrible. We're just trying to warn you that it's not an easy life being rich."
Miss Peach was flabbergasted. "I think … I think I need to go and speak to David."
Once she had gone, Miss Scarlett burst into laughter. "I cannot believe how gullible that women is."
"I don't think there's anything to laugh about Vivienne."
"What concerns my ageing step-mother now?"
Mrs. Peacock did not condone that catty remark with a response. She was used to Vivienne's sarcasm by now. "What concerns me, and should also concern you, is a little matter called Tudor Close."
"Ever since Rose's death, who has David been turning to? Who was there at the right place and the right time to comfort him and be his friend?"
"And who do you think is the current heir to Tudor Close?"
"You don't mean …?"
"Yes" smirked Mrs. Peacock "In the event of Dr. Black's untimely demise, I am to inherit the mansion. Or should I say I would have if he weren't going to marry that little good-for-nothing. And if I don't inherit the Close then …"
"Then neither do I …" said Miss Scarlett, realisation dawning upon her. "If you'll excuse me, I need to have a word with Mike."
A few moments earlier, just as Miss Peach had left the lounge, she spotted Graham Slate-Grey coming out of the kitchen.
"Emily, I was hoping to find you. Come in here, I want a word with you alone."
They went into the room next to them. When they were inside, Mr. Slate-Grey said:
"Oh Emily, I can't cope with it any longer. I cannot bear to see you in that man's arms. Leave him. Marry me instead."
"Now Graham" said Miss Peach softly, almost as though she were talking to a child, "you know perfectly well that we cannot afford to get married. Teaching doesn't pay that well and David doesn't pay you enough to support us both. No, I am going to marry Dr. Black and that's that."
Slate-Grey pulled a bottle out of his suit pocket, "If you don't marry me I'll… I'll poison myself".
Miss. Peach snatched the bottle out of his hands. "Don't be so stupid Graham."
"Okay, I'll kill him. I'll…" he picked up the candlestick from the table "I'll smash his head in with this candlestick."
Miss. Peach took that off him too.
"Okay, what if I did have money. A lot of money."
"Let's just say that Dr. Black only thinks that he's not paying me well…"
"Graham! You haven't. Please tell me you haven't. If David finds out he'll kill you, or at least fire you. Oh, you idiot! Oh, I've got to go and speak to him. Maybe I can persuade him to forget about it. I'll tell him you're really sorry and …"
"No! You can't"
"It's the only way."
She left the room, taking the poison and the candlestick with her.
While Miss. Peach and Mr. Slate-Grey had been talking in the Dining Room, Miss Scarlett had crossed the house, entered the billiard room and managed to break up the argument between Captain Brown and Colonel Mustard. Composing himself, Captain Brown said:
"Well, anyway, what did the beautiful Miss Vivienne Scarlett want?"
"Why Captain, you flatter me. Stop glaring Michael. I came in here to speak to the Colonel actually. Would you mind leaving us alone."
"Oh, what I'd do to be alone with you … Very well I'll leave you to it. I could do with a smoke." Taking his pipe out of his pocket, he left the room.
Once he had left them alone, Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard locked in a long embrace. When they finally came up for air, Miss Scarlett lifted down the Blunderbuss that was hanging on the wall and said "Now Michael, I want you to do something for me…"
Mrs. Peacock had stayed in the lounge for a while after Vivienne had left, contemplating what to do over the situation. When she had finally made a decision, she left the room and headed for the Study. She was just passing by the hall when she heard a bang come from inside. She opened the door - but couldn't see anyone inside. However there were two items in the room that looked out of place. One was a candlestick lying on its side on a shelf; the other was an axe lying on the floor.
"What's that doing here? It must have come from the conservatory. Oh!" As she bent down to pick up the axe, a shiver suddenly went down her spine. The hall of Tudor Close had an eerie feeling. All the animal heads hanging of the walls gave one the impression that one was being watched.
"Don't be silly Elizabeth" she said aloud to herself. Just then she heard shouting coming from the study. Never one to miss an opportunity, she went out to the study and listened intently at the door.
Reverend Green entered the library and took his favourite book down from its usual position on one of the shelves. After everything he had heard today, he needed a little guidance. He sat down on a chair next a small table, put the revolver he was holding down on it next to a pair of glasses, and opened the book at random.
"Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace."
His eyes wandered up the page to the title of the chapter:
"Death of David"
He looked up from his book. Everything was suddenly clear to him. He could see the future as clearly as the doorway opposite him. Was it his imagination, or was the door starting to open, urging him through it.
On the other side of the door that Mrs. Peacock was listening at, Dr. Black was pacing up and down the room, shouting at his fiancé while pressing a handkerchief against his left ear.
"That two timing, ungrateful little…when I get my hands on him I'll…"
"No! Please David don't. He's sorry for what he's done. He was even talking about killing himself a minute ago in the dining room."
"I'll kindly do it for him."
"He'll repay you all the money he's taken. Can't we just forget it happened? You know that he's just jealous that you're marrying me. But you've got me, not him. He'll accept it eventually."
"I'm sorry Emily, but no one ever betrays me and gets away with it. He has to be taught a lesson."
"Please David, for me?"
"I didn't want to say this but…" she slowly pulled the engagement ring off her finger and put it down on David's desk. "If you won't forget about it and leave Graham alone, then I'm sorry, but I cannot marry you." With that, she ran out of the room crying.
Dr. Black was shocked. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. How could the woman he loved say something like that? He sat down in his desk chair, stunned, and stared at the ring.
Outside, Mrs. Peacock just managed to duck behind a pillar before Miss Peach ran past. This was a nice turn up for events. Perhaps Tudor Close may be safe - but she doubted it. She knew that Dr. Black would not give up that little trollop that easily. No, something had to be done.
One cue, she spotted Vivienne leaving the billiard room.
"…I'll meet you in the kitchen afterwards."
"Vivienne, may I have a word" Mrs. Peacock called down the hallway as she approached her step-daughter.
"If you must."
They stepped into the conservatory. Mrs. Peacock put the axe down on one of the shelves and picked up a piece of lead piping.
"Something's got to be done Vivienne and as soon as possible. Who knows if he's made a will yet. Hopefully not, but he may do soon."
"Don't worry, it's all been taken care of." She bent down and picked up the dagger that was lying on the floor and started playing with it. "I've just been speaking to Michael about it in the billiard room. I think our little problem will be dealt with very soon."
She smiled and left the room. As she passed the ballroom, she heard crying coming from inside, so she decided to investigate.
Mrs. White entered the lounge. Reverend Green was right. There were plenty more eligible bachelors out there, just waiting to be treated to her delicious scones on a regular basis. She didn't need him.
"Oh! Captain, I didn't expect to see you in here."
Captain Brown put his glass of whisky down on the mantelpiece and approached her.
"My dear Blanche, why don't you call me Robert?"
"All right. Well Robert, what are you doing in here all alone?"
"I just came in here for a little drink. A bit of Dutch courage."
"Oh? What for?"
"Oh, that doesn't matter now. I think I've changed my mind. I think I'd rather stay here with you." He put his arm around Mrs. White's waist and she could smell that he'd probably had a little too much Dutch courage. She pulled away from him and picked up the rope that was sitting on the table next to the doorway. If this was the only type of fish that the sea had left to offer, then she wasn't interested. She was going to get the man she really wanted, one way or another.
"Excuse me … Captain … I've just remembered that I've got to go and do something"
Mrs. White left the lounge and headed for the study. This time he would not get away so easily. She opened the study door, rope in hand and … and there was no one inside.
She turned around to leave and collided with Colonel Mustard who was barging into the room, blunderbuss in hand.
They both fell over and both weapons fell to the floor. Mrs. White picked up the blunderbuss and a trinket that she had accidentally knocked off the desk.
"That's not a very safe thing to be carrying around the place is it."
Mrs. White composed herself. This wasn't the time or the place.
"Come along my dear Colonel, I think we could both do with a good drink."
She put her free arm in his.
"Oh, colonel. I think you've got some lipstick on your collar. And some there. Strange, that one looks a different colour."
The colonel turned the colour of the lipstick.
"You've come back to me … Oh!" Mrs. White had just come into the lounge followed, to Captain Brown's disappointment, by Colonel Mustard. Mrs. White sat down on the sofa while the colonel poured her a gin and tonic.
Miss. Peach then came through the door, wiping her eyes. "Ah, Captain, I hoped I'd find you. I found this, I believe it belongs to you."
She passed him a grimy brown pipe.
"Why thank you my dear. I was wondering what I had done with it."
"Oh, while we're returning things" said Mrs. White reaching into her pocket "I believe this may be yours. You should be careful with that, it could so easily be lost and I expect it would cost David a lot to replace it."
"Thank you" said Miss Peach. She took the item from Mrs. White, looked at it and came to a decision. Slowly she put it back on and smiled.
At that moment, Mr. Slate-Grey and Reverend Green entered the room.
"Ah, here's everyone" the reverend said. "We've been having a good old chat. Seems to be a day for it. Has anyone seen the professor?"
"Did I hear my name?" Professor Plum entered the room.
"Ah yes. I believe these are yours, I found them in the library."
"Thank you. I took them off to give my eyes a rest." He took them from the reverend and put them back on. "Oh, Mr. Slate-Grey, I found this receipt on the floor, is it yours?"
Mr. Slate-Grey took the piece of paper off him. "The receipt for David's new revolver. Yes, it must have fallen out of my pocket. Thank you professor."
"There you are Michael, I've been waiting for you for ages." Miss Scarlett burst in through the door, irate.
"Sorry Vivienne, I got a little tied up."
"Men! Sorry reverend. Oh reverend, I found this cross and chain next to the sink. Is it yours?"
"Thank you my dear. Why, we all seem to have been a bit careless today. I…"
Reverend Green was interrupted by a woman's scream coming from outside the room. They all ran out and found Mrs. Peacock staring down into the cellar. "It's David… he's dead!"
Dr. David Black has been murdered. Mrs. Peacock discovered his body at the bottom of the cellar stairs (marked with an ‘X’ on the map).
Inspector Grey has been sent in to discover which of the nine guests at the house that night killed him. But, he's having problems and needs your help.
By clicking on the suspects’ pictures to the left, you can read their answers to the questions that Inspector Grey has posed them.
Click on the Weapons icon (top left) to see where the possible weapons were discovered and where they are usually kept.
Click on the Map icon (top right) to see the layout of Tudor Close.
NOTE: This will open as a separate window so that you can refer to it whenever you want.
Click on the "Murder Cards" icon to make a suggestion as to Whodunit, with What and Where. You will then be told how many you guessed correctly. Try and do this as few times as possible.
Click on the Book icon to bring you back to this story.
Click on the central "Cluedo" icon (or on the link below) to take you back to the Cluedofan.com main page.
Try to solve the mystery by reading as few of the testimonies as you can before you make a suggestion. If you get it wrong, go back to the testimonies and read a little more.
HINT: Cluedo is a game of deduction. All nine suspects had good motives to kill Dr. Black. Try to work out who could have possibly done it, what weapons they had access to and where they (and Dr. Black) could have gone. All movements should be supported by the story, the testimonies or the items that people picked up during the evening.
Also, the locations of the weapons will help you invaluably. Try to work out how they got to where they ended up.
If you get REALLY stuck, there are more hints through the "Murder Cards" section - but please try not to use them.
© Paul Howls, 1999
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