November 25, 2012 by patrickpadget
That evening at Downham Abbey, a surprise guest is ushered into the drawing room before dinner:
“Yes, it is I, Hercules Piaget, ze cute likkel Belgian detective and I am here to reveal ze truth of what has been going on in zis treacherous place.”
The guests and servants are all assembled in the large hall and, had I forgotten to say dear reader, it is Christmas Eve and the snow outside is lying deep and crisp and even. There is a knock at the front door and Gilbert opens it. A huddled figure stands there in a dark cloak. He speaks: “It’s Wally Gray Sir, gathering winter fuel for my family. Do you know the quickest way to Downham?”
A chorus breaks out from the assembled crowd: “Yes, cut the elastic, boom, boom!”
“Invite him in Gilbert!” shouts Lord Cuthbert, “the more the merrier, that’s what I always say. Make way, make way, let Wally toast his nuts in front of the fire. Oh, and give him a small lump of coal to take home when he goes! We must all make allowances for winter fuel gatherers!”
And so the investigation gets underway. Lined up on one side are the aristocrats: Lord Cuthbert, Lady Florence, Lady Jane Rayner and house guest The Countess Patrizia van Helsing-Pargeter renowned watercolour artist, concert violinist, specialist on paper and comb and gurning expert from Budapest.
Facing them the servants: Gilbert the butler and his wife, Mrs Gilbert, the cook; Reggie Peacock the virile young gamekeeper; Mrs Trundall the over-maid’s under-maid; Fanny Baxter, Lady Florence’s housemaid and Wally Gray mystery fuel-gathering visitor (and unbeknown to all but Piaget, undercover Detective Commissioner Sir Walter Bagshott-Gray from Scotland Yard). Phil McCaverty, the Irish chauffeur is off for the evening playing pocket billiards with his close friend Ben Doon, the hairy, muscle-bound blacksmith from the village.
Confronting them all, a puffed-ip little cock, is the small, rotund, red-faced Belgian detective with a bemused smile on his face, a quizzical arch on his eyebrow and a club foot on his left leg… to be continued.
CAN YOU BEAR TO KEEP YOURSELF IN SUSPENDERS FOR ANOTHER WEEK? NEXT TIME, AFTER AN ENTERTAINING INTERLUDE DURING NEXT WEEK, PIAGET HAS SOME TRULY AWFUL REVELATIONS ABOUT THE MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLED CAST. TUNE IN AGAIN NEXT SUNDAY FOR ANOTHER LARGE FESTIVE PORTION OF DOWNHAM ABBEY.