Some Live, Some Die

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Deeper Meaning

November 4th, 1925

“I thank you for making time to assist me in this case,” said Adrian as one of his old professors from Oxford entered his office.

Professor Oskar Bauer was a psychologist who led the Psychology department at Oxford University. Even after graduating from university, Adrian kept in touch with the psychologist whom he sometimes turned to for assistance. It was not just physical evidence he needed to solve any kind of cases, but the psychological aspects as well.

Especially for a case like Mr. Hange Hurston, Adrian needed to know why Mr. Hurston was using tarot symbols to mark the victims, suspects and Leslie Beckford. While he now understood the tarot symbols, he just needed to understand Mr. Hurston’s thought process.

“The pleasure is all mine Detective Powell,” said Professor Bauer as he took a seat in front of the detective’s desk. “So how may I be of assistance today?”

“I have been investigating Mr. Hange Hurston’s parties hosted this year,” explained Adrian. “As you may have heard, he has decided to host five more parties after the first murder at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.”

Adrian the laid the guest lists for each of the four parties before the professor; the Royal Pavilion, Crystal Palace, Somerset House and most recently, Blackpool Tower. He also laid out the partial note written by Mr. Hurston about his parties.

“During the investigations,” Adrian continued. “I noticed a change in the logo Mr. Hurston uses for his paperwork.”

He pointed to the guest list for the first party that had been hosted at the Royal Pavilion. It was the previous logo with Mr. Hurston’s initials resting on a laurel wreath. Adrian then guided the professor’s eyes to the second party guest list where the logo had been changed to a pair of scales evenly weighing the initials.

“In the second to fourth party lists that Mr. Hurston has drawn some symbols next to the murder victims, suspects and Miss Leslie Beckford’s name,” Adrian added on. “During my recent trip to Blackpool, I discovered that the symbols are from tarot cards used by those fortune tellers. Recent clues also revealed that a certain Miss Leslie Beckford is the common link between the people who were murdered at Mr. Hurston’s parties. With your expertise, I would like to understand why Mr. Hurston used the symbols from the tarot cards to represent his targets on the guest lists.”

“Before we talk about the symbols that were chosen to represent the people on the guest list,” began Professor Bauer. “I would first like to talk about the logos and the first guest list.”

The detective nodded his head, permitting the professor to begin his explanation.

“The first party has nothing to do with the murders,” explained the professor. “I have once been invited to one of Mr. Hurston’s parties and I remember that logo on his letter of invite.”

“Whatever do you mean?” asked Adrian out of curiosity.

“You said earlier that Mr. Hurston labelled the people on his guest lists using tarot symbols,” replied Professor Bauer. “The guest list for the party at the Royal Pavilion has neither of those. This means that the murder which occurred at the first party was coincidental.”

“So Lady Townsend’s murder has nothing to do with the other murder cases?” suggested the detective.

“Not exactly,” said the professor. “However though, Mr. Hurston’s logo changed from the laurel wreath to the scales. And the logo was also inspired by another of those tarot symbols, the Justice.”

Justice…” Adrian wondered out aloud. “When upright, it represents law, truth and honesty…”

“Precisely!” replied Professor Bauer, “This Mr. Hurston fellow marked himself with the Justice tarot symbol, because he sees himself as the bringer of righteousness. Lady Townsend’s death instigated the murders that occurred at the next four parties. As for the suspects who were all labelled as the Chariot; it is most likely that he knew that any one of those people would take the opportunity to kill the victims.”

“Then does that mean he did not care who killed the victim?” asked Adrian in bewilderment, “So long as it was one of the suspects he labelled?”

“The upper crust of society is a small world,” said the professor. “Idle gossips is always the first stepping stone to vengeance. This brings me to this piece of paper you found,” he continued as he picked up Mr. Hurston’s unfinished note. “The note clearly supports my theory as to why our party host labels himself as Justice. It is not uncommon for people in the upper society to look down on those who become the subject of scandals. In Mr. Hurston’s case, he is very particular about illegitimacy.”

It is not the blood that defines a household or a generation, but the physical bond to anyone…” Adrian recited pensively.

“Mr. Hurston is rebelling against this societal prejudice, but not in the sense of justice as he believes himself to be doing,” added Professor Bauer. “He is taking advantage of his own parties to give the murderers the opportunity to kill the victims. He is simply pulling at their strings by having them make an example of the victims whom he believes are examples to societal prejudice.”

“And he is doing all that for the sake of one person; Miss Leslie Beckford,” said Adrian. “It turns out all the victims knew her and had somehow wronged her. Most likely due to the rumours of her being illegitimate-born. Miss Doncaster was Miss Leslie’s childhood friend turned foe. Mr. Maurice Higham was her former fiancé who stole her money and cheated on her. And the most recent victim, Countess Crawley despised and isolated her because of the rumours I mentioned earlier. Though why is Miss Leslie represented as the Fool?”

“It is how Mr. Hurston views her,” said the professor. “As you had mentioned earlier, Miss Beckford is the reason why Mr. Hurston is deliberately instigating the murders at his parties. Miss Beckford was represented by the upright Fool, and it represents innocence. I theorise that Mr. Hurston somehow finds himself able to relate to Miss Beckford with her current situation. Perhaps we can assume that our mysterious party host had also been a victim of societal prejudice in the past.”

Could it be that Mr. Hange Hurston was an illegitimate-born himself? wondered Adrian. Was that why he was able to relate with Leslie?

“Then what about the other victims?” asked Adrian. “I have a vague understanding as to why the third victim was represented by their tarot symbol, but I am most baffled by the one representing the late Countess Crawley.”

“Miss Doncaster was labelled as the reversed Strength, while Mr. Maurice Higham was the reversed Temperance,” said Professor Bauer. “Let us start with Miss Doncaster; she was Miss Beckford’s childhood friend turned foe.”

“According to her aunt, Miss Leslie ended things with Miss Doncaster when she discovered that her former friend had started gossiping about her,” explained the detective. “Lady Doncaster also mentioned that her niece was actually a self-conscious and insecure person out of the public eye.”

“That is precisely why Miss Doncaster was represented by the reversed Strength!” exclaimed the professor, “It symbolises self-doubts and insecurities. Miss Doncaster was killed because she used gossiping as a way to mask her vulnerable side.”

“Mr. Maurice Higham was represented by the reversed Temperance which symbolises recklessness,” Adrian continued. “He was also made as one of the examples of societal prejudice, because he squandered money from Miss Leslie and cheated on her while she was still his fiancée. And it was all because he lost self-control of his father’s wealth.”

“As for Countess Crawley, she was labelled as the reversed Moon. When reversed, the Moon represents confusion and fear,” said Professor Bauer. “It was briefly rumoured that the countess had killed her husband in order to gain his inheritance. She must have been hoping to weasel her way into Mr. Beckford’s graces in order to be included in his will as an associate since he had no children of his own, until he adopted Miss Beckford. It must have been her presence that threatened the countess.”

“So Mr. Hurston labelled the murder victims with those tarot symbols to represent the reason why they had to be killed,” said Adrian.

“Now the questions you need to ask yourself are the following,” said Professor Bauer. “Why is Mr. Hurston avenging someone like Miss Beckford? And is Miss Beckford even aware that she’s being avenged?”

“She has been present at Mr. Hurston’s four parties so far,” replied the detective. “Though I highly doubt that she is aware that she’s the reason for Mr. Hurston’s intricate revenge.”

“Or perhaps,” suggested the professor. “Could Miss Beckford be Mr. Hange Hurston herself?”

“Why are you suggesting that Miss Leslie could be the mysterious party host?” asked Adrian in confusion.

“It is not uncommon for women to use pseudonym names in order to better their chances in a male dominated society,” explained Professor Bauer. “You do know that the unsuspected are the most suspicious, do you? That woman could be pulling at your strings; manipulating you into believing that someone is avenging her while she carries out her revenge behind your back. After all, Miss Beckford does have valid motives for wanting the victims dead.”

Just before Adrian could say anything, the doors to his office burst open. It was Constable Havers.

“Havers!” exclaimed the detective, “What in blazes is going on?!”

“There’s been a fire at the National Gallery!” replied Constable Havers, “Someone was burnt to a crisp!”

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