Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Gravity Chasers

Will sat in front of the washing machine whilst Ark and Liz looked on in amazement. Slowly he started to un-bolt the door. His tools clank and clunked as he practised his trade. Then the door came off, he put his head in and the gasp that came out was amazing.

Let me take you back to the beginning. It all started in the great storm of '86. The great storm was so great (hence the title) that it blew the whole of Port Torian onto a large cloud. Sadly, however, clouds can't support whole towns so it slowly fell from the sky and into the sea. To escape this fate the ingenius Charles Chimneair, Arks father, designed a series of flying machines. These now float atop the cloud. No one is quite sure how the flying machines work seeing that it's 1896 but they work all the well. Now that you know that I am quite happy to inform you that the cloud is now parked over a small rock in the middle of the ocean. But it is not important where the rock sits, it is a case of what might be on that rock. And the thing on that rock is the only, known, surviving area of Port Torian. The Chimneair Observatory.
This may sound insignificant but there is something you must know, Charles Chimneair went missing only a demi-week after the invention of the flying machines and it is his sons belief that the observatory holds the key to his location. But there is only one problem with this theory, shall I tell you what it is? I shall. There was no way to enter the building. You see the key went missing with the professor and there was no other way to get in. And so it fell that Ark was abandoned with his two friends, Liz Flamrdy the flower girl and Will Parksept the mechanic. So there they were on the air ship searching frantically for the key to the observatory when Ark decided to call it a day. The entire crew of three went to sit down round the large oak scratched table and then Liz picked up a small parcel that was waiting on the table for them and inside the parcel was a polished silver key with a chimney engraved on it. With joy and a triumphant grin the crew slid out of the hatch door, down the rope and onto the rock. Stumbling over rocks they approached the renovated lighthouse and Ark slid the key into the small hole and the door slid open. The fire which Ark remembered as burning and warm was dead and cold and the pneumatic pipe that use to deliver the days post was water logged. Ark looked up and saw the rickety old ladder that led to the his fathers observatory. He was reminded of how his father use to sit him on the old wicker chair, that belonged to his grandmother, and tell him about the constellations he should be able to see. It upset him to think about that. So he stopped thinking about it. They searched the house for a bit and gave in again. Will pulled his tools out of his pockets and started to fix the washing machine whilst Ark and Liz looked on in bemusement and amazment as he practised his trade. So then that takes us back to the beggining as Will pokes his head in and the gasp that comes out is amazing. And that gasp was shared by Ark and Liz as they saw what he pulled out. And that was a metal armature with silver and bronze metal plating. And instead of a face he had red firemans bucket with two slits cut in it where there was transparent glass and on the other side of those there were candles giving it lit up eyes. He had a complicated control panel on his chest and strange hands. Arks eyes lit up like the machines and he said "It's an automaton!"

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Jingle all the way (part 4)

Without any explanation Robin grabbed my hand and dragged me to dining hall where the others were tiding up.
"I've solved it!" she cried! All looked to me but I just shrugged and let Robin explain.
"The first thing that directed us to thinking he had committed suicide was that his fingers smelt of suicide. This suggests he had administered the poison himself. But then things got in the way like the question why, and because of this me and Gabriel began to look for other solutions. You see, Rachel mentioned that Alan has a skin disease meaning he has to wear his wife's organic makeup. As soon as she said this it occurred to me that it might have contained poison that killed him but I checked it and it didn't. So what was there? I was going through the notes I had made when Gabriel had come in and said something that had got my head spinning. The name of the butterfly is what he had said. And the name was European bell. I remember that Rachel had once told me that species had many distinguishing features, but the feature she liked the most was the fact that their eggs contained cyanide. And that you must be extra careful to make sure you don't wipe it on your face or lick your fingers when inspecting the eggs. Then it occurred to me, say that the makeup irritated his skin he would go to scratch it and then bam!" We all jumped, "He's dead."
"So in conclusion," Said I, "someone who knows about organic sources adds something to the makeup causing Alan to itch his face which kills him explain how the cyanide arrived on his fingers!"
"Exactly. And the only person who would have the expertise to find the right irritant was,"
Rachel answered, "Harrison! But why?"
"Because," said I, "he loves Fiona and wanted Alan out the way so he could makes his feelings clear, now if you don't mind I believe the boys in blue are outside and I have a deadline to fill."

With that we left and made our way to the office where another case awaited us.

Rathbone will return in 4 weeks time in The greek camera.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Jingle all the way (part 3)

It was interesting question. To be truthful I hadn't thought about that, but still it was good point. Me and Robin thought about it in silence. Which Jermemy broke, "Because he didn't like his life as it was and wanted to rid himself of this mortal coil!"
"Oh give in with the Shakespeare Quotes Jezzer," cried Harrison who was at Fionas side, We don't know why but there was a reason and that dosen't matter, all that matters is that we respect him.

After a miserable silence I went to look at the crime scene for a note or something. I read a bit about how the butterflies were called Europeam bells but no evidence. In a upset mood I walked back to the room where Robin was going through the notes. She recited a bit about how the lights turned out and that he was in the middle of checking on the butterflies. She told me what she had learnt from Rachel about how Alan had a skin disease which meant he had to where his wife's organic makeup. I talked about the butterflies and then said the name.

Robins face went red. Her widened and her mouth to a grin! Triumpthantly her hand went flying up and she cried, "That ring's a bell!"

Monday, 17 December 2012

Jingle all the way (part 2)

We dragged the dead body into the freezing room so that it would be preserved for when the police arrived. According to Rachel that wouldn't be till morning because of the powercut. Our group gathered in the dining hall. Harrison was talking to the greiving Fiona Kanda and Jeremy was staring into the middle distance. Robin was comforting Rachel and I just sat there thinking. We began to eat but gave up because there was too much distress in the air. Silence was just lingering and then Fiona wimpered, "Mr Rathbone please you must work this out!"
"I'll investigate for tonight but after that I'm gone. Me and Robin will go to the spare room. From there we will conduct our investigation." With that me and Robin walked out and, after much confusion trying to find the room, we sat down and Robin spoke.
"Well let's see, Alan was found in the butterfly house foaming at the mouth with no sign of being forced or poisoned so-"
"Yes. You see that what you are looking for are signs that he wasn't poisoned. What you should be looking for is signs that he was."
"Such as?"
"The fact that there was no sign he commited suicide. The fact that he looked scared as he died."
"Ok, so that means he might have been murded but how can we prove that?"
"Good question. Well we can test his fingers for traces of cyanide-"
"His mouth was foaming."
"And then we can know whether he was poisoned or not.!"

We walked down to the freezing room and opened the door and quickly froze. Throwing on some furry coats which were to the side we observed the body. I knelt down and looked at his fingers, I needn't test because I could smell it. We tested and found our ideas negative. he had commited suicide. Walking back up to the hall I annouced our results. It was over and solved, interseting to write about though, but as always someone argues and this time it was Fiona asking, "Why?"

Monday, 10 December 2012

Jingle all the way

At the next station we got off and found a new train to the house of Robin's friend. I loved receiving puzzles from people outside of the news paper. Mine and Robins conversation was mainly about what would be required from her as my assistant. This line of enquiry died quickly and left us in a silent mutter. About half an hour later we arrived at Robins friends house. Her friend was a biologist working with butterflys by the name of Rachel Lalad. Her house was shared by some other biologists called Harrison Jones, Jermey Richards, Fiona Kanda and her husband Alan Kanda. We got a taxi to the house which was a manor house on the otherside of a forest to the nearest village and was mostly converted into greenhouses and laboratories. The sky had turned dark and we hurried to the shelter of the large, looming, oak door. It was pulled open and we were greeted by the face of a woman. She wasn't old but there was age in her eyes, "Rachel, I presume?"
"Yes and you must be Gabriel," prenouncing it Gab-ri-el. "Rathbone."
"Gay-bri-el," I said correcting her. "Now I've been told you have a puzzle."
"Wow you are one to jump the gun! How are you Robin?"
She was about to reply but I interrupted her, "I'm very busy so can you just tell me what it is."
"Wow, what's wrong with him," she wispered to Robin. "Right, Mr let's get to the point, here it is; something has been setting off the intruder alarms and we don't know what."
My face dropped. What a complete and utter waste of time. "You brought me here for that!"
"I don't think you understand the work we do here!"
"I don't think that you understand that I don't waste time!"

We travelled to the greenhouses where the butterflys were kept and I made a joke about how Robin would feel at home. We finally walked out to the gate where the alarm had been set off, turning the light out in the greenhouse. Within at least a second I had deduced that a badger was the culprit. With Lalad looking utterly disapointed, I turned around to see the lights of the greenhouse swicth on. "That'll be Alan doing  his round." Said Lalad
I turned back to Rachel when we heard a thud. Running back to the greenhouse where the noise had originated we saw lying on the floor, foaming at the mouth, the pale corpse of Alan Kanda.
And like the scientist the electricity decied to die. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Greenhouse Spectres (part 4)

The doors opened. The lights turned on and the Greenhouses sat down. I stood up and paced up and down the room. I wondered where to begin and finally realised. "Mr Greenhouse," said I. "it has come to my attention the reason for the strange events which have been taking place. You may struggle to understand but..."
"Get on with it," cried Robin.
"Sorry! Let me return to the beginning. The architect whose name we can't remember so we'll call him Bob, had been accused of stealing some treasure or something. He, however, was never proved guilty. Well actually nobody was ever caught and the treasure lost. So what do we think this might mean?"
"That he was behind it but never got proved of being guilty and ran away with the money?" Said Robin.
"Well ok but there was one thing about that theory that struck me as odd."
"Oh and what was that?"
"In the time between being accused and running away he bulit this place," guesting around me. "Don't you think that you would go staright away?"
"Good point."
"Thank you," I sarcastically bowed, "now keep that in mind. Another strange thing is that the man was a church architect. He had never designed a castle in his life. And the final clue, the obvious clue, the bit that punches you in the face and takes you to the cleaners: there is more windows on the outside than on the inside."
There were several gasps which was strange as there were only two people in the room. Waiting for silence I continued, "So to conclude my theory. Bob commited the crime but was never caught. He then went to the church he built to repent for his sins when an idea struck him!"
"I'm sorry Mr Rathbone," Said Edward. "But what has any of this got to do with our spectres?"
"Well Mr Greenhouse I was just getting to that. You see the church had many features but its main were the stained glass windows which seemed to project ghosts amongst the living." I said remembering what I had previously thought, "so in that flash of inspiration he designed a castle that working on the pricipal of stained glass windows that would make a ghost appear in a certain place after a certain event. Come with me." I lead the Greenhouses to the balcony where the ghost appeared each night. "Mr Greenhouse every night you draw the curtains."
"Yes so?"
"Well as you do that something else happens. Could you go and stand in front of the tapestry please?" They did so. "Now as I pull this string to close the curtains would you explain what happens Robin."
"The tapestry is being pulled back into the wall to reveal a stained glass window unlike anything I have ever seen."
"Now the window distorts the light and creates the illusion of a ghost."
"Ahh I see," said Robin. "The small area between the wall and the stain glass  is where the treasure is kept. Bob built the castle as too direct the attention away from the crime and hid the treasure there whilst he figured out away to clear his name."
"That is brilliant! I'm sure you're right, either that or youve watxhed to much Scooby Doo." I smiled at her. "I've got a job going in Glasgow, if you'd be interested?"
"Thank you Mr Rathbone," Said Edward, "Thank you so much for everything!"

I thought about these events as I travelled to London with Robin on the train the next morning. It was a peaceful process when I heard the noise of a text. Looking over I saw Robin check her phone.
"Gabriel we might need to make a detour."
"Oh really? Why?"
"My friend wants to meet us up at her house she has a mystery you might be interested in."
"Oh here we go again," I mutterd.

Gabriel Rathbone will return in "Jingle all the way"

Monday, 26 November 2012

Greenhouse Spectres (part 3)

I love this feeling. When everything starts to fit together and finally the mist disappears. The case was beginning to make sense but before I could tell Mr Greenhouse I had to go to the library for there were certain things I wanted to check out. A fact about the architect had struck me. If he had never been proved guilty where did the stolen goods go? It was starting to rain so I ran down the hill to the library. Walking through the big oak doors I was hit by the smell of books, let me rephrase that. Violenty assaulted by the smell. It was overwhelming and frankly shocking, so I resolved to get out of there as soon as possible.When I was kid I had spent a summer learning the dewy decimal system and quickly found myself in the area where the newspapers were kept. Searching through them I found out about how all the conclusive evidence pointed to the church architect and his friends. There was more things about how people didn't like him and then a final article about the fact he had gone missing. So, I thought, as I put the newspapers away, he was a church architect. He had, in fact, designed the local church across the road. I walked out and hurried back to the castle glancing at the church with its large tower and graveyard and stained glass windows which seemed to be casting ghosts amongst men. And then the final veil lifted and all was clear and I knew that if I didn't tell someone the answer soon, I would explode! 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Greenhouse Spectres (part 2)

The next morning, after a dismal breakfast, I went to investigate the balcony where I had witnessed the ghost the night before. There was no sign of disturbance even though, according to Mr Greenhouse, the spectre never moved from this spot. So what to look at first, there was the potted plant, man sized tapestry of some bloke, and plain red carpet. The corridor, which was decorated with pictures and had six windows, was a dead end after the tapestry apart from the potted plant which was in desperate need of hydration. The carpet was to put it plainly, boring. No trapdoors or anything just a normal carpet. The tapestry was rubbish, like it had been thrown together with a scaffolding pole instead of a needle! I decied to investigate the rest of the caslte which told that there were three bathrooms, twelve bedrooms and fourteen dining halls each with their own kitchen. Then I went for a walk around the grounds and looked around the lake. Arriving at a seat underneath a large tree, I looked back at the castle wall where I had seen the ghost with its seven windows and stone walls.
I went down to the village and spoke to some people about it. Basically they said that the spectre was the defender of their rights against the evil thoughts of the dukes that use to live up their, waste of time then. As I sat in the pub stirring a glass of lemonade a clue fell into my mind and everything started to fall into place!    

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Greenhouse Spectres

Rain. Why did it always rain? Especially when your on a train. Oh that rhymed! I'm going mad. But anyway here I am on a train to some lost place on the coast of Scotland to investigate some case for my newspaper. Apparently a castle is being haunted, as if, and it has only now come to light.
Three hours later the train pulled into the station, still raining, I stepped off and had a row with a person about buying a holiday to somewhere nicer. Waiting outside the station I got drowned by the now destressingly heavy rain and waitied for my car. After three quarters of an hour waiting I chanced to check my phone where there was a text telling me to find my own way to the castle.
Drenched and feeling humiliated I arrived at the bottom of the castles steps and started to climb. Five minutes later I arrrived at the top and knocked on the door. Oh how I hoped there was someone in! Slowly the door opened, sadly it didn't creak, which would of made it a bit too haunting as it was already what some might describe as neo-gothic with its towering points and creeping ivy.
I walked in and was utterly surprised! Instead of the rotting corpses and dusty stone floors I saw a velvet carpet and polished grandfather clock. Infront of me stood a little old man. In an ancient creaky voice he said "Welcome to my castle!"
The old mans name was Edward Greenhouse. He had a grandaughter called Robin who had lived with him since her parents had died.  After explaining that my name was Gabriel Rathbone and that I worked for the Pavillion Paper we sat down for a phantasmagorial (posh word) meal. As the night drew to a close and the sun began too lower Mr Greenhouse told us the tale of the castles ghosts.
"One hundreed years ago an architect built a castle on this spot. The architect, whoose name we can't remember so we'll call him Bob, had very recently been accused being part of a conspiracy to steal an awful lot of money. He was never proved to be guilty but he disapeared very shortly after building this castle. Well anyway after that very night the spectre appears standing there surveying the castle from that balcony," he pointed up, "and that is the story of our spectre! Now if you shall excuse me I need to close all the curtains." He walked off and I made myself comfy on a sofa beside the table. Looking up at the balcony I thought to myself how interesting it would be to live in a haunted castle. then slowly as I fell into a slumber I noticed a shimmering grey character resting against the balcony. Standing still in the mist I realised, it was the spectre!
To be continued...........