Chapter One - Preparations for Dinner
Miss Vivienne Scarlett sat at her dressing table, combing her
hair. Ah, another relaxing evening at David's she thought
to herself. I wonder what exciting event will happen this time?
There is never a dull moment at Tudor Close.
A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts. She took a second
to lock a ringlet in place with a hairclip, before rising from
her seat and opening the door. She smiled as she saw Colonel Michael
Mustard standing before her. In several quick and quiet movements,
she had pulled the man inside her room, shut the door and was
locked in a romantic embrace.
A few minutes later, Mustard took a step back and grinned from
ear to ear as the monocle that had fallen from his eye, swung
back and forth on its chain. The smile did not last for long though
as it was quickly replaced by a frown. "I'm worried Vivienne"
he said almost in a whisper "I'm sure Elizabeth is starting
to suspect that something is going on between us."
Vivienne gave him a sour look as she thought of her stepmother,
Mrs. Peacock, who was currently engaged to Colonel Mustard. "Elizabeth
suspects nothing" she spat as she walked away and sat in
a large scarlet chair. "She's too busy socialising to notice
what is happening right under her nose. Don't worry. She won't
know what's hit her before it's too late!"
The young girl's words did not fill the colonel with confidence.
Vivienne may not hold her stepmother with much regard, but he
knew Elizabeth better. She was a smart and devious woman (much
like her stepdaughter) and he knew that if she had found out,
they would be the last to know.
A loud rap at the door sent momentary chills down their spines.
Vivienne took a deep breath, opened the door slowly and was relieved
to see that Dr. Black's maid was on the other side.
"Good evening madame
and monsieur" Yvette said
smugly as she spotted the colonel.
"What is it?" Scarlett snapped.
Yvette raised an eyebrow and then replied "Dr. Black wishes
you to know that dinner will be ready in 'alf an hour."
Miss Scarlett tried not to wince at the maid's stereotypical accent
(that she was sure was fake), gave a look of acknowledgement and
shut the door.
"Les femmes anglaises!" Yvette thought as she
walked along the hallway. "Elles n'ont pas les bonnes
Next on Yvette's travels was the room of the professor, an educated
gentleman who had gone to school with her employer. Although the
two gentlemen had been friends ever since, she had heard rumour
that they had come to blows several times over the doctor's late
wife Rose Black.
After knocking on the door for the third time, the boisterous
maid decided to enter the professor's room.
" she said as the startled
man looked up from his desk. "I knocked
"I'm sure you did," Plum smiled back at her over the
rim of his reading glasses, "but when I'm busy writing in
my diary, gunfire couldn't distract me! Now what can I do for
"Dinner will be ready in twenty-five minutes professor. Dr.
Black is waiting for you all downstairs."
With thanks, Yvette left Plum to his writing to relay the same
message to the next guest.
In the next room, Reverend Green was also engrossed in a book
- though one of a more spiritual nature. "Ah, thank you Yvette,"
the reverend grinned warmly. "I shall just finish this passage
and then be down at once."
Yvette liked the reverend. Vicar of the local church, he had
made her feel very welcome to the quiet English village. Unlike
most of the doctor's friends, Reverend Green didn't look down
his nose at her; instead, he treated her with respect.
"Have you seen the colonel?"
It was Mrs. Peacock, standing outside her room, who now barked
at the approaching maid.
Yvette thought for a moment and then said "'ave you tried
his room Madame?"
Mrs. Peacock looked at the maid through slit eyes, turned back
into her room and slammed the door behind her. "Dinner in
twenty minutes" the maid quickly pushed through the closing
Yvette smiled to herself. Again she thought, les femmes anglaises!
And headed for the staircase. Ah! She suddenly remembered - la
Mrs. White was flustered. "Oh no, no, no" she said
aloud to herself as she ran around her room. "What was I
thinking? That looks awful!"
She looked at her reflection in her mirror. "It was very
kind of Mrs. Peacock to lend me some money for this dress, but
I really should have picked something that went better with my
Shaking her head, she crossed the room to answer the door. "Ah
Yvette! Maybe you can help me. Do you think these pearls are suitable
for this dress?" Yvette's face was still. She tried not to
show her contempt for the cook who was trying to be a socialite.
Mutton dressed as lamb, she thought.
"I think they are most suitable
said through a forced smile.
"Do you?" Mrs. White was relieved. "Thank you dearie."
Yvette shuddered. "Dinner will be served shortly."
Content that she had now relayed all of her messages, Yvette
descended Tudor Close's main staircase.
With a nod over to Hogarth, who was standing in the entrance
to the Kitchen, Yvette picked up a beater and hit the hallway
gong several times in quick succession.
Dr. Black appeared in the Lounge doorway.
"Dinner is ready Monsieur."
"Thank you Yvette." Dr. Black replied.
Turning back into the room, David Black smiled at the last three
of his dinner guests - Miss Peach, Mr. Slate-Grey and Captain
Brown. "If you would like to come through?" he asked