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Here you'll find updates from film sets, broadcast dates, publishing news and other announcements from the world of Agatha Christie ...
27 Sep 12 9:40AM
Congratulations to bunch_marple who won the 2012 Mystery man competition. And well done to all who took part and got the right answer. In this news article Chris Chan master detective explains whodunnit ....
On Saturday night the phone rang. I picked it up and identified myself.
"Chris? This is Sir Henry speaking."
I paused. I know two men named Sir Henry.
"Baskerville or Clithering?"
"Clithering. I'm calling because we have a major problem here at Scotland Yard."
"What's the trouble?"
Sir Henry took a deep breath. "Over the last two years, you've helped us with two major cases involving Mystery Men who were killers from Agatha Christie novels. Two years ago a murderer slaughtered lots of forum members from the Agatha Christie website. Last year another fellow kidnapped eight characters from Christie novels. You were instrumental in catching both Mystery Men. Now, we need your help again."
"Let me guess. A third Mystery Man. I got a note from him- or her- a while back warning me that she- or he- was planning something."
"Exactly, Chris. The third Mystery Man has kidnapped seven characters from Agatha Christie novels. After the ransoms have been paid, the victims will be released in seven different countries around the world. The families are in the process of paying the ransoms, and we need you to track the kidnapped men down, rescue them, capture the Mystery Man- or Woman- and bring the guilty party to justice."
"I understand, Sir Henry. But why me? I mean, you're Scotland Yard. Don't you have the resources to take care of this yourself? "Normally we would, but right now we're overwhelmed with security issues.""I thought that the terrorism threat had faded after the Oympics."
"Actually, the security threat we're dealing with now comes from Daleks and Weeping Angels. Plus the other outside consultant who's been helping us out a lot lately just died after leaping off a building. So, we're turning to you, Chris. You've had experience with international crime before - remember that Carmen Sandiego case several years ago?"
I nodded foolishly, forgetting that Sir Henry couldn't see me over the phone. "That's right. So, how do you expect me to catch the third Mystery Man?"
"The Mystery Man has offered us a challenge. Every day for a week, three clues will be released over Twitter. Solve the clues and you'll figure out the country where the victim is being held. So, pack your passport, Chris - you've got a Mystery Man to catch!"
It was Sunday, September 9th. The Mystery Man had released the following three tweets:
• A place the scientists have been going.
• Anthony Browne travelled there.
• Hastings's wife is buried there.
The first two clues were ambiguous. In books like Destination Unknown and Passenger to Frankfurt, scientists travel all over the world. Anthony Browne, a character in Sparkling Cyanide, has also been to many countries. But there was only one place in the world where Hastings's wife- the late Dulcie Duveen Hastings- was buried. I knew from the opening pages of Curtain that she was "buried under Argentine soil." I checked my files and confirmed that Anthony Browne had visited Argentina, and scientists had also traveled there in Passenger to Frankfurt.
When my plane landed in Argentina, I was immediately met by a local police officer who informed me that there'd been reports of a suspicious person in the Santa Fe area. The authorities had become suspicious when that person had checked into the Santa Fe de La Veracruz Inn using the name "The Third Mystery Man."
I rushed to the hotel and tracked down the Mystery Man's room. The door was locked, and believing there was no time to waste, I threw my body against the door in an attempt to break it open. Unfortunately, the door held firm, and all I got for my trouble was a gigantic bruise all over one side of my body. While I was painfully saying some words that can't be repeated here, the hotel manager quietly came up behind me and opened the door with his master key.Inside the room was Baron Lolopretjzyl from The Secret of Chimneys, bound, gagged, but otherwise unharmed. After I set him free I saw a tiny fragment of paper on the floor. There was only one letter on the paper scrap: the letter "C."
On Monday, September 10th, the following three tweets were released:
• Where Dolly's children live.
• Where Nadina's love had been killed.
• Colonel Race had to go there.
According to The Mirror Crack'd, Dolly Bantry's children lived in Kenya, South Africa, England, and the United States. But in The Man in the Brown Suit, Nadina's boyfriend had been killed in South Africa, and Colonel Race also visited South Africa in the same book.
Once again, as soon as my plane landed, the local authorities informed me that suspicious activity had been reported in the Mpumalanga region. A quick trip to Mpumalanga and some investigating led me to the famous Sudwala Caves, possibly the world's oldest caves. A tour guide led me through the caves and into the naturally formed chamber known as the P.R. Owen Hall, which has been used for music performances and other events over the years.. Inside, I found Shiek Hussein el-Ziyara, a character in They Came to Baghdad, unconscious but alive. Near him was another scrap of paper with the letter "E" on it.
Tuesday, September 11th brought three more tweets:
• Sir Rupert knows this place well.
• John Ingles had been a civil servant there.
• Where Franklin Clarke had been.
None of these clues was too ambiguous. In They Came to Baghdad, Sir Rupert was an expert on China. John Ingles from The Big Four had once been a civil servant in China. And Franklin Clarke had recently returned from China right before the events of The ABC Murders.
I booked my passage and journeyed to the Nei Mongol area, where reports of a disturbance near the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center had caught the attention of local authorities. Sure enough, after an extended search, we found Jimmy Thesiger from The Seven Dials Mystery tied up near a launch site. A scrap of paper with the letter "I" on it was found underneath him.
On Wednesday, September 12th there were three more tweets:
• Bobby has got a job there.
• Where Laura and Richard met.
• Major Palgrave spent 14 years there.
These clues referred to Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, The Unexpected Guest, and A Caribbean Mystery, respectively. They all pointed towards one country: Kenya.
The Kenyan police informed me that there were no reports of anything suspicious, aside from an abandoned car by the Elgeyo Escarpment in the Rift Valley. Having nothing else to go on, we checked out the car and found Boris Anchoukoff from The Secret of Chimneys bound and gagged in the car's trunk, a little dehydrated but still alive and well. A scrap of paper emblazoned with an "L" was also found in a corner of the trunk.
By this point, I was more than a little tired from the frequent traveling, but there were still three days to go, and Thursday, September 13th brought more tweets:
• Celia went to school there.
• Where Miss Meredith met Shaitana.
• Rosemary met the Farradays there.
The clues clearly referred to the books Elephants Can Remember, Cards on the Table, and Sparkling Cyanide, respectively. After consulting my files, I confirmed my suspicions. The Mystery Man had traveled to Switzerland. The Swiss authorities reported that a mysterious person had been seen attempting to steal priceless artifacts from the Rietberg Museum in Zurich. The guards had prevented the theft, but the suspect had escaped. Handcuffed inside a janitor's closet, we found Roger Bassington-French from Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, and a paper scrap with another "C" was lying on a shelf.
It was Friday, September 14th, and I had used up all of my frequent flyer miles. I hoped that Sir Henry would be able to reimburse me for my expenses. Traveling the world and tracking down criminals isn't cheap. Before I could call him and ask, three more tweets were released:
• Where Sybil's parents are.
• Where Tommy's fictional wife died.
• Miss Lemon's sister lived there.
I knew from reading N or M? that the fictional wife of Tommy Beresford's undercover alias had died in Singapore, and in Hickory Dickory Dock Miss Lemon's sister had once lived in Singapore. At first I thought that the "Sybil" in question must be from The Pale Horse, but I was wrong. The "Sybil" in question was from Passenger to Frankfurt, and her parents were in Singapore.
In Singapore, the news stations were all buzzing with the news of a man being found bound and gagged at the top of the Republic Plaza building, a skyscraper that was tied with two other buildings for being the tallest building in Singapore. The authorities got to the victim- a badly shaken but uninjured Rudolf Santonix from Endless Night. A little piece of paper with a "Y" on it was in his pocket.
It was Saturday, September 15th. The final three tweets were:
• Linnet's maid's boyfriend is there.
• Where Charles first met Sophia.
• Where Evelyn and her mother went.
These clues clearly referred to the books Death on the Nile and Crooked House, and the short story "The Christmas Adventure." They all pointed to one country: Egypt.
Upon arrival, the police informed me of an odd discovery at the Beni Hassan archaeological site near Al Minya. A large sarcophagus had been found there, but it was clearly of modern construction. They were just opening the sarcophagus when I arrived, and inside was the chloroformed Ram Lal from One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. After we extracted Mr. Lal and sent him to the hospital, I discovered not one, but five crumpled bits of paper in the bottom of the sarcophagus, containing the letters "B," "U," "N," "K," and another "K."
I had rescued the seven kidnapping victims, but I still needed to catch the Mystery Man. My only clue was the letters. I put them all together and got the letters "CEILCYBUNKK." It was clearly an anagram. I spent a couple of minutes rearranging the letters, until I finally unscrambled the solution: NICK BUCKLEY, from the novel Peril at End House.
I now had the name of the Mystery Man (or rather, Mystery Woman), but now I needed to find her. Where could she be? I decided the best place to look was Miss Nick Buckley's favorite place in the world, her family home, End House, in the town of St. Loo (or Looe) on the coast of Cornwall.
When I finally arrived in Cornwall, I walked to End House, and, finding the door unlocked, let myself in. I could hear music playing, and the sound of someone dancing. I crept into the dining room, where I saw Nick Buckley dancing by herself to a gramophone record. Piled untidily on the table were seven large heaps of cash, presumably the ransom money.
"Hello, Nick," I said quietly.
She froze, whirled around, and whipped a Mauser pistol out of her pocket. Thinking quickly, I picked up the broad-brimmed hat that Nick had left hanging on the chair close to me and threw it at her. The spinning hat blocked her vision, and the shot went wild, blasting through the brim and lodging in a dusty painting on the wall. Before she could fire again, I picked up a candelabra from the table and threw it at her hand. My aim was good, and the pistol was knocked out of her fingers and slid under the table. After a brief struggle, I restrained Miss Buckley and called the local police.
The case was over, and I called Sir Henry to report the good news.
"Thanks, Chris," he told me. "I'm very pleased. Do you think you might be able to help me with another problem?"
My blood froze. "A fourth Mystery Man?"
Sir Henry chuckled. "No, not yet, although we've heard rumors that there may be something along those lines late next summer or early next fall. No, there's another case coming up. The valet for a wealthy Yorkshire country aristocrat has been convicted of poisoning his estranged wife, but a lot of people think he's innocent. His current wife (he married again right after his first wife died), his employers, and his co-workers are all campaigning to have him pardoned, and I'm starting to think that an innocent man has been sent to prison. I need help in re-opening the case. Can I count on your help?"
I smiled, and it didn't matter that Sir Henry couldn't see my face. He could hear the enthusiasm in my voice when I said, "Definitely!"
Very good and entertaining very good clues
well done :)
This story incorporates my own little multiverse (the great AC, Baskerville/Clithering, Daleks, the outside consultant who leaped off a building...), so it's no surprise that I loved it!
Thank you for making my first attempt at this game so thoroughly enjoyable.
Thanks for the story! It was a perfect way to tell the players the correct answer to the game. :-)
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Soldier Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear.Murder on the Orient Express
Travelling on the Orient Express, Poirot is approached by a desperate American. Afraid that someone plans to kill him, Ratchett asks Poirot for help ...The Murder at the Vicarage
When the thoroughly unpleasant Lucius Protheroe is found dead, there is no shortage of suspects with a motive for murder ...
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