The Confusing Clues
October 4th, 1925
Adrian sat at his desk in his office, going through the party list from Somerset House. Just like the guest list from Crystal Palace, Maurice’s name, including the suspect’s names were marked with a strange symbol. To his confusion, the symbol next to Maurice’s name was completely different to the one marking Jezebel’s name. As for the suspects, they were marked with the same symbols like the ones from Crystal Palace.
Leslie’s name was also marked on the guest lists for both the second and third parties. Just what is Mr. Hurston thinking? Adrian wondered to himself. He was extremely baffled by the use of the symbols. Why did Mr. Hange Hurston mark those names specifically? He then pinned up the drawings he had copied onto a blank notepad.
Glancing at the symbol that had been scribbled next to Jezebel’s name, Adrian noticed when turned upside right, it looked like a woman holding a lion by it’s jaws. On the guest list, it had been drawn upside down. The same with the symbol next to Maurice’s name. His symbol looked like an angel holding two cups with water flowing in between them when turned upside right.
“The symbols next to the suspects names look like a person on a chariot being driven by two sphinxes,” muttered Adrian. “But only turned upside right.”
He then looked at the symbol that had been drawn next to Leslie’s name. It had been drawn upright this time and it appeared to be a person carrying a small sack and about to walk off the edge of the ground.
“No matter how long I look at the drawings, I still don’t understand what they could possibly mean!” sighed Adrian as he sat back in his chair.
There had to be some sort of connection between the victims. Their murders could not simply be a coincidence either. His thoughts were interrupted when there was a knock on his door. Commissioner Powell entered. This prompted Adrian to hurriedly stuff the documents regarding Mr. Hange Hurston’s previous parties into his desk drawer.
“Whatever brings you here father?” asked Adrian.
“It’s about Miss Leslie Beckford,” replied Commissioner Powell. “I managed to dig up as much information as I could about her. Interesting background, worth a read.”
Adrian took the file from his father and placed it on his desk. Opening it up, he started reading through the contents about Leslie Beckford. Meanwhile, the drawings of the symbols from the guest list for Mr. Hange Hurston’s party caught Commissioner Powell’s eyes.
“What are all those drawings for?” asked Commissioner Powell, “Are they for some investigation, or was it a personal interest that you’ve developed?”
“Maybe,” replied Adrian. “I still haven’t gotten my head around to what those symbols mean.”
“Perhaps a break from work would suffice,” suggested Commissioner Powell. “Clearing your head from all that work stress will help you think better.”
“Thank you father, I will consider it,” replied Adrian as he looked up from the file.
After Commissioner Powell left the office, Adrian sat back in his chair, the file sliding onto his lap. I guess a break from work wouldn’t hurt. He thought to himself.
Meanwhile, Leslie was strolling through Hyde Park with Ernest Gravetye by her side. The two had become good friends since running into each other again at Mr. Hange Hurston’s third party. Ernest held Leslie’s parasol over her head as he walked next to her.
“Are you alright after what happened?” he asked her.
“I’m fine, Mr. Gravetye,” replied Leslie. “I’m not bothered by the incident at Mr. Hurston’s third party. It’s just personal issues that I’m trying to deal with.”
“Cease the formalities and please call me Ernest,” said Ernest. “I also hope you don’t mind me asking, but is something troubling you?”
“Well,” began Leslie nervously. “Since my debut earlier this year, I’ve been receiving letters from what appears to be a secret admirer.”
Earlier this morning, Leslie was once again confronted by another letter from that secret admirer of hers:
To my little thrush,
Whatever is holding you back? My patience is thinning like the silver white winter melting into spring.
I yearn for your response my little thrush. My heart flutters every passing day and month every time I think of you. So I beg of you, sing for me!
The most recent letter was starting to sound a bit aggressive, compared to the first two letters she had received. Whoever this secret admirer was, he certainly was not giving up until she responded. Though, that would mean throwing in the towel or digging her own grave.
“A secret admirer?” Ernest inquired, “Unsurprising for a man or woman to use anonymous means when vying for a romantic interest’s attention. Does anyone else know about this?”
“No,” replied Leslie. “My father does though. He did tell me to be careful with those kind of letters when it first came. I also considered reporting this to the police, but I don’t think they would take it seriously.”
“You at least have me Leslie,” said Ernest. “No matter what situation you’re embroiled in, I will do whatever it takes to protect you.”
Leslie flushed slightly when she heard this. This was the first time someone other than her father, Harriet and Lady Doncaster had acknowledged her for herself. Perhaps her friendship with Ernest could lead into something more wonderful?
Returning to the Beckford House, Leslie found her father in the living room reading a letter. Her emerald green eyes widened in shock when she saw the intricate envelope and red wax stamp on the small table.
“We’ve been invited again?” exclaimed Leslie.
“Clearly so,” replied Mr. Beckford. “The fourth party will be held in Blackpool, at the infamous Blackpool Tower. Apparently, there’s going to be circus entertainment followed by dancing in the tower’s ballroom.”
“I remembered going there with the school to learn social dancing,” said Leslie. “And I do remember visiting the circus in the tower as well. The circus concluded with a spectacular water performance when the stage was activated to become an artificial lake.”
“Your mother and I went to Blackpool several times before you came,” Mr. Beckford told Leslie. “I would love to go, but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline my part of the invitation again.”
“What happened father?” asked Leslie.
“I’m accompanying some old friends on a hunting trip in Oxfordshire at the end of this month,” he explained. “Why don’t you ask that Ernest Gravetye or the detective fellow to accompany you instead? I don’t believe for a second they would turn down your offer.”
“Are you referring to Detective Powell?” asked Leslie quietly.
“Yes,” replied Mr. Beckford. “Wasn’t he the man who helped you at the party in Brighton?”
“He did help me,” she said. “Though I don’t see myself asking a man like him to be my escort. Ernest Gravetye is a more suitable companion.”
“Well,” said Mr. Beckford. “Both men are quite dashing in their own ways, though you never know what fate awaits you.”
“I shall see then,” replied Leslie.
She then turned and retreated back to her room upstairs. Closing the door behind her. Leslie breathed a sigh of relief. Ernest Gravetye or Detective Powell. She pondered to herself. Who should she invite? The thought of both men made her heart pound and a slight flush appeared on both her cheeks.
Hurrying over to the phone on her bedside table, Leslie quickly dialled a phone number and eagerly waited for the caller to pick up.
“Hello?” she spoke when her call was picked up, “Would you be interested in accompanying me to Blackpool?”