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[Let's Play (Read?)] Storytrails #1 Invitation to Murder
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Whom do you suspect to be the murderer?
Judge Hannibal Baines
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Mervyn Jackson, Prosecuting Counsel
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
Miss Agatha Smith, Chief Witness
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
George Harper, Foreman of the Jury
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
McNab, Scottish Police Officer
50%
 50%  [ 3 ]
Frank Clapper, Mysterious Guest of Unknown Background
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 6

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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:19 pm    Post subject: [Let's Play (Read?)] Storytrails #1 Invitation to Murder Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List



Moving away from complex and intricate rules & mechanisms and micro-managing for a bit, I've settled on this series for my next LP, which I've mentioned before (there was a poll between running Blood Sword and this one, which Blood Sword won at the time). A series of very short choose-your-own-adventure style books written by Allen Sharp, these definitely falls under the "lesser-known gamebooks" category.

I've going to quote a few lines from this blog that reviewed the series, since this blogger's words describes my feeling of this series much better than I myself can possibly put into words (there was some comparison to Fighting Fantasy, too):


".....chances are, you’ve never come across one of these books, even if you were a fan of gamebooks in the 80s......They don’t seem to have been marketed at so broad an audience. In fact, they’re so strange that I don’t really know what audience they were marketed at at all (this I consider to be a good thing, in many ways)......they’re far closer to being interactive novels than games or puzzles......The writing style is more mature than in FF, and the fact that the story is told in the first-person rather than the second adds to the ‘real-novel’ feel.......there’s a lot more depth to the story, though the number of reader choices is massively diminished (they are very short books). The reader's decisions mostly influence the plot rather than allowing them exploration of an area....."


(Note: I made one slight edit to what I copied, because while the blog states that the books are in Second-person point of view, I believe he meant first-person, because that's how the series are actually written.....in contrast to most gamebooks which are written in second-person).

In fact, after reading his description of some of the books with more "bizzare" background and plot in the series, I almost wish I'd managed to get my hands on those. Sadly, the only one of those examples that he'd mentioned in his blog that I actually own is "The Dark Awakening". I do own many of the other books in this series, but their premise sound mundane by comparison (except maybe for one involving vampires).

Anyway, I'm going to start with Book 1, which I personally think is a great start to the series and still my personal favourite (and the one that got me hooked, since it's also the first one I read). Let's take a look at the back cover summary:

Quote:
You accept an invitation to a hotel in the Austrian Alps to discover if you are the lucky inheritor of a fortune. But you discover something else - the invitation is to be murdered. Can you find the murderer before the murderer makes you the next victim?


Yes, it's a classic who-dun-it murder mystery, with a group of victims trapped and cut off from civilization and one of them being a murderer. There've been many films and books written with this structure, I think the most famous is probably Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None". This one isn't nearly as complex and intricately-woven, but still very well-written despite its shortness.

And yes, short, these books generally come in between 35-50 sections, this particularly book only has 37, and 6 endings (only 1 good ending per book) so this probably won't be a very long play. Let's see if you guys can figure out who the murderer is before we reach the end! Big Grin

There's a "rules" page in the front, but they're mostly identical for every book (basic instructions about not reading the book in page sequence like normal books). However all of them also contain a paragraph that briefly describes the plot:

Quote:
Your adventure is set in a ski lodge, high in the Austrian Alps. You are one of a small number of guests, trapped on the mountain and cut off from the rest of the world. One of the guests is a murderer or murderess. You have good reason to find out who it is. If you do not, you are going to be one of the victims!


And that's about it! If you're interested to play, follow me into section 1:

Quote:
Apart from myself and one smartly dressed middle-aged lady, the lounge of the Grand Hotel was empty. While I had been drinking my coffee, she had been writing some postcards. She wrote with her nose so near to the table that I wondered why she did not wear glasses.

A bell boy came into the lounge, calling my name. The taxi had arrived which was to take me from Innsbruck to the mountain village of Felsdorf.

As I passed through the reception area, an argument was going on at the desk. A fat, red-faced man, speaking in very bad German and with a broad Scots accent, was having trouble in making himself understood. I asked if there anything I could do to help.

'Ay!' he said. 'You could try making one these foreigners understand that I want to get a place called Felsdorf.'

I told him that I could do better than that. I was going to Felsdorf myself and he was more than welcome to share my taxi.

The fat man's name was McNab - Detective Inspector McNab of the Metropolitan Police. I asked if he was on holiday in Austria.

'You could say that,' he replied. 'It may be a policeman's curiosity, or a Scotsman not being able to resist something for free, but what would you do if you got an invitation like this?'

He took an envelope from his pocket and gave it to me. I hardly needed to open it. There was one just like it in my pocket.

Mine had arrived three weeks before, from a firm of solicitors in Zurich. It said that I was one of the people named in the will of the late Stephen Spenser. I was invited to spend the weekend at a ski lodge in the mountains near Felsdorf where the will would be read. There was also a very generous cheque for my expenses. McNab and I were going to the same place.

The funny thing is,' said McNab, 'that I don't know anyone called Stephen Spenser.'

Neither did I!

Turn to page 2


No, there's no option here to call off the trip!

Quote:
Once privately owned, the ski lodge was now a small hotel. Perched half way up a mountain, overlooking the village of Felsdorf, there was only one way up to it - by cable car. Though the winter was not yet over, a few warm days had brought with them the danger of avalanches and no one was skiing or climbing on the mountain.

We had an hour to wait for the cable car and, when we did get on it, there were only two other passengers. One was the short-sighted lady from the hotel at Innsbruck. The other was a tall, distinguished looking man whose bowler hat and velvet-collared black overcoat would have looked more in place in Bond Street.

McNab pointed to the man in the bowler hat.

'Yon's Mervyn Jackson,' he whispered, 'one of the brightest criminal lawyers in London - he's given me a few rough rides in the witness box.'

Mervyn Jackson showed no signs of remembering McNab.

The hotel was only Yards from the cable car platform and, having registered, McNab and I separated to change before dinner.

McNab was in the dining-room when I went in and he waved me over to his table. Mervyn Jackson and the postcard lady were seated nearby. Two other men were seated together and a seventh guest sat by himself.

The meal was steak and salad, followed by a sticky sweet and coffee. McNab decided that he wanted more coffee and pressed the bell on the wall beside us. No-one came. He tried again. Still no-one came and, after five minutes, McNab left the table and went off to find a waiter.

He was away a long time. When he returned, he was carrying a small parcel which he laid on the table.

'I haven't found a waiter,' he said. 'I haven't found anyone; you'd think the place was deserted. But this was on the reception desk; it's got a list of names on it, ours among them, and Jackson's.'

He turned to the other people in the room.

'There's a parcel here,' he said, 'that seems to be addressed to all of us.'


Quote:
Inside the parcel was a small tape recorder. McNab pressed the 'Play' button.

'I am glad that all of you were able to accept my invitation. You have come to hear the reading of the will of the late Stephen Spenser. You are going to be disappointed. There Is no Stephen Spenser. That was my trick to get you here. If I had told you my father's real name, you might not have come. My father was Stephen Lane.'

The voice on the tape was husky and was obviously disguised. It went on.

'In case you still do not remember the name, let me start with you, Judge Hannibal Baines. You were the judge who tried my father for murder.'

I could see that Judge Hannibal Baines was the older of the two men sitting together. The voice went on to mention each of the people seated in the room. Mervyn Jackson had been Prosecuting Counsel at the trial. The postcard lady, Miss Agatha Smith, had been chief witness for the prosecution. George Harper, the man sitting next to the judge, had been foreman of the jury. McNab had been the arresting officer. Then came my name.

'You wrote a book about the case. Your book stopped my father's case from being reopened. My father died in prison. My father was innocent, and you killed him, all of you sitting in this room. You think you are experts on murder. Now you are going to have your chance to prove it. I am going to kill each one of you - unless you can find me before I find you.'

The man sitting by himself jumped to his feet. I realized that his name had not been mentioned.

'My name is Frank Clapper. I don't know what crazy game is gong on here, but I'm not part of it. I came here for a quiet weekend and I'm not spending it with some nut case. I'm getting on that cable car and going back to Felsdorf. If you've got any sense, the rest of you will do the same!

Jackson said it was a good idea. McNab said 'No', that he would stay for 'a wee while'. Should I stay with McNab, or go with Clapper and Jackson, and whomever else might be going?


Okay, this is the only part of the text that actually gives us some background of our character (most other books in the series tend to give a more detailed background to the PC). Apparently, we write books. And we seem to be a somewhat respected authority in matters of crime, since our book apparently "stopped a murder case from being reopened". That's assuming, of course, that the psycho murderer was actually telling facts instead of just blindly attaching blame to anyone who's known to think his father was guilty.

Anyway....do we want to stay enjoy the hospitality of the murdering nutcase, or pass?


Last edited by SGamerz on Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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vagrant
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Clapper seems suspicious, but since that would be too obvious...also, a Scot policeman is probably a good judge of situations. Plus a respected true crime novelist would never turn down the chance to star in his very own murder mystery. Also I vote the character be named 'Richard Castle.' Let's stay with the Scot.
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MisterDee
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, I imagine that our the first death will be the cable car crashing down the mountain?

Also, I agree with the character's name, although in the interest of tradition our version of Castle oviously uses the diminutive "Dick".
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I have two of these books! This isn't one of them though.

I do not think fleeing is in Richard "Dick" Castle's vocabulary, at least not yet. Especially when the means of leaving is so easily sabotaged. Stay with the Scotsman.
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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I know this might be a little too early, since there really aren't any real clues yet, but I've set up a short-term poll to see who you guys suspect to be the murderer. Just curious to see if anyone will get it right. Tongue

Anyway, with only 6 suspects, and the list getting rapidly shorter as most of the guys on the list gets murdered, there won't be much left to poll towards the end of the book.

Quote:
McNab announced that he was going to search the hotel. Harper and I said that we would go with him. The judge and Miss Smith looked as though they were staying put in the dining room. Clapper and Jackson arranged to meet at the cable car platform after they had got some warm clothes on.

The hotel had only three floors: a ground floor with reception, lounge, dining-room, bar and kitchens; a first floor which was all bedrooms and bathrooms; and a basement.

I took the ground floor, Harper the first floor, and McNab the basement. I had the least number of rooms to look at and I expected to be the first back at the reception area. Clapper was at the reception desk trying the telephone. He was dressed in his outdoor clothes and, from the look of the dusting of snow on his shoulders, he had just come in.

'There's a telephone in the office on the cable car platform,' he said, 'but I can't get any joy out of it. I'm not doing much better here. If you're looking for your policemen friend, I think he went out to see what Jackson was doing.'

I fetched myself a coat and walked out to the platform. There were no lights, but the snow, together with the lights from the hotel, made it easy to see. There was an empty cable car standing at the platform. The small office was also empty, as was the platform itself.

Far below me, I could see the lights of Felsdorf twinkling in the bottom of the valley, though it seemed as if they were a million miles away.

I was turning back to the hotel when I caught a flash of light from below the platform where it stuck out over the slope. I went to the end and looked down.

About ten feet below me was McNab, bending over something that he was examining with a torch. He heard me and looked up.

'Come down,' he said. 'Use the legs that the platform stands on. They're open girders and easy to climb down. Jackson's down here, and not looking too healthy.'


Sounds like the murderer didn't waste any time!

Quote:
I climbed down from the platform and joined McNab. Jackson was lying on his face in the snow and didn't seem to be moving.

'Find anyone?' asked McNab.

I said that I hadn't.

'Neither did l, and neither did Harper. It looks as if all of the staff have gone. Apart from the guests, the place is empty"

I told McNab that I had seen Clapper at the reception desk and that he was trying to raise someone on the telephone.

'Wasting his time!' McNab said. 'I've already tried the telephone and it's dead' It looks like we're stuck here, at least until morning."

'What's the matter with Jackson?' asked' 'Has he fallen off the Platform?'

McNab stood up and paused for a moment before he answered.

'Ay. I suppose you could say that he's fallen off the platform, though I would think that the knife that is sticking in his ribs might have had a
bit to do with it.'

As McNab had turned towards me, the light from his torch had flashed across the snow. Jackson was lying in front of me with his head towards me and his right arm stretched out. The light had caught something beside Jackson's right hand. It was no more than a mark in the snow but, for a moment, I thought that Jackson had been trying to write something in the snow before he died.

I got no chance to look closer for, at that moment, McNab stepped back and covered the mark with one of his large policeman's' boots.

Harper had also come out to see what was happening, and helped us to get the body back to the hotel. It was locked in an empty store room in the basement and McNab kept the key.

If all of the staff had gone, then there were now only six of us in the hotel. If Jackson had been murdered, then one of us was the murderer!


Huh....looks like Dick Castle took his time searching. He expected to be the first one to return, but apparently, not only did McNab already finished his search, and had time to look outside, and also heard from Harper to find out that he didn't find anyone, either!

Quote:
The six of us went into the hotel lounge - myself and McNab, the judge and Miss Smith, Harper and Clapper. Knowing that one of you is a murderer is not a very good feeling! It took McNab to point out that any one of us could have killed Jackson. Nobody had a perfect alibi, but McNab did suggest that it would help if any of us could prove that we were who we said we were.

The judge said that it was ten years ago, but he thought that he remembered Harper and Miss Smith from the trial. He was sure that he knew McNab.

Harper and Miss Smith said that they remembered each other. They didn't remember McNab, but they did remember the judge.

McNab said that he also knew the judge, though he did add that he had only seen him in his robes and wig. The man who knew him best, Jackson, was dead!

That only left Clapper and myself. Clapper said that he had nothing to do with the rest of us. He was an engineer working on a job in lnnsbruck. He spent any free weekends he had at some small hotel in the mountains and he had booked at this one weeks before. There was no way of proving his story, or mine!

Miss Smith suggested that, as there were six of us, it might be safer if we stayed in pairs. Harper didn't like that idea. He said that knowing his luck he was sure to be paired up with the murderer! Clapper said that he didn't really care what the rest of us were going to do. If he couldn't get out of the place, he was going to his night in the bar. At least the drinks were free!

There was a lot more argument, but in the end it was decided that we would be safest locking ourselves in our rooms for the night. In the morning, we would work out how to get off the mountain.

I had agreed to go to my room, though I didn't think that locking the door was going to stop any murderer who had gone to this amount of trouble to get us here. I did have one idea and I didn't know whether I should stay in my room, or do my own piece of detective work.


You know, I think that Clapper guy's got a great idea! If it were up to me, I'd be sitting in the bar enjoying free beer with him.

Unfortunately, Dick Castle doesn't seem to be an enthusiastic drinker.

Lock ourselves in like the classic horror film victim waiting to get slaughtered?

Or wander around looking for psycho killers?
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

We're a mystery novelist, not a Final Girl. Do some detective work.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, hiding won't work.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Our intrepid Dick Castle is a also a full-fledged citizen of Glorious Britianna, and after the simply ghastly affair with the knife and the corpse and such, I think it'd be a brilliant moment to quaff a pint. For the nerves, you understand. But as apparently that's not a choice, which makes the voice in my head scream 'HERESY!', I suppose we should do a bit of good old fashioned sleuthing.
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-DrPraetor


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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I went up to my bedroom on the first floor with everyone else, leaving Clapper making his way to the bar. When everything had gone quiet, I made my way downstairs again to the reception area.

I knew that a good deal of suspicion must fall on Clapper and myself. I knew that I wasn't the murderer. That left Clapper, since everyone else seemed to be just who they said they were. There was one part of Clapper's story that could be checked. He said that he had made his booking several weeks before. If he had, then it should be in the hotel records, perhaps together with some clue as to who had made the booking for the rest of us.

The office was behind the reception desk, and the door was not locked. I didn't think I was likely to be disturbed if I spent some time going through the files. There was no-one else about, except Clapper. The bar was opposite the reception area. The doors were closed, but had panels of frosted glass. Through them, I could see Clapper sitting at the bar.

There were two large filing cabinets in the office. There were two drawers full of letters on bookings. I took what looked like the most recent dates over to the desk and started to go through them.

Once, I thought I heard a door opening. I looked out of the office, but reception was still empty and Clapper was still sitting where I had last seen him. I went back to my work.

It was abut half an hour later that I found Clapper's letter. The date on it was about the time that he had said and it was typed on the notepaper of a famous firm of civil engineers. It looked as though Clapper had been telling the truth. I had still found out nothing about who had made the booking for the rest of us.

I was wondering whether it was worth looking even further back in the files when I heard what I had no doubt was a gunshot! I came from upstairs. I rushed out of the office. I could still see Clapper. He must have heard the shot yet he hadn't moved. Was he drunk - or dead? Should I find out why Clapper hadn't moved, or should I go and see what had been happening upstairs?


Check out the gunshot? Or stay and try to break into the bar and get the drinks wake Clapper?

Btw, I'd probably have limited access to internet access for the next 2-3 days, so there might be no updates till the weekend. Sorry for the wait.
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Mr Shine
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Clapper's almost certainly a gonner, so there's no practical point in trying to help him. However what a reasonable person would do in this situation would be to try to help, so that's what I think we should do.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The gunshot will draw a lot of people, we're the only person with a chance at this pristine crime scene.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Check out what remains of Clapper.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
Check out what remains of Clapper.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I pushed at the doors of the bar, but they didn't move. I tried again. They were locked. I banged on the doors and shouted, but that did no good. There was a short corridor beside the bar and I wondered whether there was another way in. The corridor led only to a couple of toilets and a store room.

As I came back into the reception area, the first thing that I saw was Clapper. He had unlocked the doors of the bar and was standing in the doorway, looking drunk.

'So you are alive!'' I said.

He gave me an odd look.

'Well, you were locked in there,' I said, 'and I did think that he shot might have brought you out.'

'I didn't hear any shot,' he replied. 'I locked the doors because we've got some lunatic wandering around the hotel. Anyway, what shot?'

He didn't get a reply. McNab had appeared on the staircase with Miss Smith who was in floods of tears. He brought her over to the bar.

'A wee drop of brandy might help,' he said.

Clapper pulled himself together and took Miss Smith into the bar.

'Where are Harper and Judge Baines?' I asked McNab.

'Harper's dead,' he said, 'shot at very close range. Very messy! The judge has gone to the basement to find some plastic sheets before we move the body.'

McNab guessed my next question.

'We might know who did it. We found Miss Smith in Harper's room with the gun in her hand. She says that she was going to her room, heard the shot, rushed in and someone pushed the gun into her hand. It was dark. She couldn't see who.'

'And do you believe her?' I asked.

'I might. The murderer could be a woman. The voice on the tape was disguised. Harper and the judge thought they recognized Miss Smith, but it was ten years ago, and I don't remember her.'

The judge came up from the basement with the plastic sheets. McNab suggested that either I help the judge with the body or he would, if I kept an eye on Miss Smith.


Turns out that Clapper was just really drunk.....or was he?

Have to say, though, If I were him, if I HAD heard a gunshot I'd have stayed in there and kept the door locked anyway, especially if I don't have a gun myself. That's the kind of good sense that those victims in early horror/slasher films never seem to learn.

So....which do we prefer to be close to? A messily-killed dead body, or the prime murder suspect?


Last edited by SGamerz on Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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MisterDee
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So - do we proceed on the assumption that Clapper has a Life Decoy Model, or do we think that the events ruled him out as a murderer?

Personnally, I find it awfully convenient that Clapper moved only when we couldn't see him.

That said, let's follow the judge.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, we should probably check out the body with our own eyes.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The prime suspect is almost always a red herring, so look at the other thing.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
McNab had warned me that the shooting was a messy one. There was a lot of blood in Harper's bedroom and we needed the plastic sheets to avoid leaving a trail of it through the hotel when we moved the body. The judge didn't seem to mind the job, though I find myself wishing that I had left it to McNab and stayed with Miss Smith.

The body was heavier than I expected and not easy to hold in its plastic wrapping. The worse part was getting down the quite narrow stairs at the back of the building to the basement.

McNab had suggested that we put Harper's body in the same store room as Jackson's and had given us the key which he had kept in his pocket since locking it up.

Every room in the hotel, down to the smallest broom cupboard, was numbered and we had no difficulty in finding the right store room.

At least we thought it was the right room, until I tried the key in the door. The key would not turn. It would not turn because the door was already unlocked. I opened the door and switched on the light. The room was empty. There was certainly no body. I was beginning to think that McNab had told us the wrong room number when I noticed two things on the floor, pools of water which could have come from melted snow and some dark spots which could have been blood. There had been a body here. It wasn't here now.

We left Harper's body locked in the store and went back upstairs to the reception area. McNab and Clapper were standing near the door of the bar.

'You haven't seen Miss Smith, have you?' asked McNab. 'The lady had given us the slip - but not to worry. I've got her gun and she can't go very far.'

I told McNab about Jackson's body. Nobody had any ideas about who might have taken it, or what anyone might want with a dead body. Was McNab quite sure that Jackson was dead? He said that he would sake his pension on it.

We decided to split up and look for Miss Smith, keeping an eye open for any dead bodies that we might find lying around on the way!


I don't know about Miss Smith, but I get the feelings that we won't have to look too long or hard to find a dead body. One'll probably turn up soon enough.....just not necessarily the one we have in mind.

Oh, and I see McNab is now topping the poll as the most suspected guy. How do you guys feel knowing that he now has a gun on him. Big Grin

Quote:
We had arranged to meet back at the lounge. When I got that, Clapper and the judge had already arrived. Clapper had been to the kitchens and made us a large pot of coffee. McNab joined us a few minutes later.

We had not found Miss Smith nor, for that matter, Jackson's body. It was beginning to feel as if Miss Smith, or Miss Lane, was our murderer, though that didn't solve the mystery of how she and a body could just disappear.

It was the judge who came up with a possible answer - at least for Miss Smith.

"There is a way off the mountain,' he said, 'not one that many people would try, in the dark, and with the danger of avalanches, but there is a way - on skis. As a young man, I was quite a good skier myself. If we're still stuck here tomorrow, I think I might make it to Felsdorf.'

We thought the judge was right about Miss Smith. The idea of skiing down the mountain didn't help the rest of us. None of us could ski, or not very well.

'I can get us off the mountain,' said Clapper, 'though I would guess it's no less risky than skis. You know the cable cars work in pairs. One comes up as the other goes down. The winding gear's down at Felsdork, so that's out, but the cars do have an emergency braking system. If I can release the car that is standing at the platform, I might get it down on the emergency brake, if it will hold.'

That gave us something to think about. There wasn't much of the night left, but we used it to get some sleep.

Breakfast was what we could cook for ourselves in the hotel kitchens. The judge had decided that he would rather risk skis than the cable car. Clapper had been out to look at the car and was sure that he could release it. McNab said he was quite willing to go with him. Clapper said hat if he took McNab, that might mean leaving me behind to wait for a rescue party. He was worried about any extra weight on the car. He would think about it after he'd had another look at the brake.


Actually, it'd be much easier to get a dead body (compared to a living Miss Smith) off the mountain if you don't want it to be found. You don't even need skis or cable cars. You can just roll it off a cliff or something. After all, it's already dead, you won't have to worry about it being hurt.

Interestingly, there was no mention of any concern that the coffee or the breakfast might have been poisoned.

Quote:
The judge, who had raided the store of ski equipment in the hotel, appeared in a bright red anorak, red trousers and a red woolen hat.

'If you want to see how I'm doing,' he said, 'you should be able to pick me out against the snow for a good part of the way down. Wish me luck!'

We wished him luck and watched him set off. We saw that, in spite of his years, he was still an expert on skis. We watched him for several hundred yards until the ground sloped away more steeply and, for the moment, he was out of sight.

There was a sharp crack which echoed back across the valley.

'Yon's a rifle shot!' said McNab.

As the echoes faded, there was a long, rumbling sound that grew to a roar.

'It's an avalanche!' shouted Clapper.

The roar had stopped, but a cloud of fine snow hung over the slope. Slowly, it began to clear. Far down the mountainside, and lying on the snow, was the judge. He had been right about red being easily seen. We watched for a while but he didn't move.

'There's nothing we can do,' said Clapper, 'except to get that car down to Felsdorf and get a rescue party up to him, though I doubt whether he's alive.'

'You haven't forgotten the rifle shot?' asked McNab. 'If that's our friend Miss Smith down there, she'll no doubt have a pot shot at the car.'

Clapper said he would rather risk it. It was half an hour later that the car was ready to go. With the judge gone and Miss Smith somewhere down the mountain with a rifle, Clapper said that extra weight or not, he wasn't leaving me behind.

McNab said that if the weight mattered that much, then he would stay behind with me. Clapper said 'No'. One of us had to come. To work the brake, he would have to sit on top of the car. It would be cold. If he got tired, or half frozen, he might need a hand.

I knew McNab wanted to go, so it looked as if the choice was mine - take a ride in the cable car which might be shot at and might not make it anyway, or stay at the hotel, knowing that if they didn't make it, Miss Smith would only be looking for me!


I vote that we get to go with Clapper and McNab gets left behind because if we're concern about weight then clearly the fat guy stays behind!...

.....oh wait, that's not an option. :/

Oh well, do we take a cable ride with the other 2 guys to get shot at from below, or stay at the hotel and wait to get hunted down?


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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stay.
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vagrant
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Let's stay. Clapper doesn't seem like a bad chap, all things considered, but by golly his plan sounds absolutely horrendous.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The cable car makes you a sitting duck. Stay.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Clapper climbed up onto the top of the car. McNab got inside. I stood, watching just below the platform. McNab was standing in the door of the cab and waving something in his hand. He was shouting.

'I know I shouldn't be giving you the "evidence', but if Miss Smith comes back, you might need it. Catch!'

I caught it. It was the gun that McNab had taken from Miss Smith.

Clapper was hammering away at something on top of the car. He stopped hammering, leant over the edge, and shouted down at me.

'You know the store where I found the tools?'

I nodded.

'There's only one bolt holding the car to the cable. I've got the nuts off, but the bolt's stuck in the shackle. There's a big hammer with the tools. Could you get it for me?'

I said I would, and went off to find it. The store room was in the basement and I was away for a few minutes. When I got back, the car had gone from the platform and was already a good way off, moving down the cable. Clapper must have got the bolt free while I had been away.

I couldn't see either Clapper or McNab. The car hung from the car on a large, steel arm. Clapper should still be on the roof of the car but he could well be hidden behind the arm. I couldn't see into the car because the sun was reflected from the windows.

After it left the platform, the cable passes over three steel pylons, each several hundred yards apart. It was after the third pylon that there came a very long, steep stretch of cable with nothing but a very big drop beneath it. It was that long, steep stretch which was really going to test the emergency brake. If it would hold on that, then they would probably make it the rest of the way, though I wouldn't be able to see them. At the end of the steep stretch, the disappeared behind tall pine trees, but I would watch until they were out of sight.


When the text puts It like that, you can more or less predict that the car's not going to make it...

At least McNab gave us the gun. Finally we've some firepower. Probably not going to out-shoot the murderer's rifle, though, if that was indeed what it was. :/

Wait, we did check that it was loaded, didn't we?

Quote:
The car was approaching the third pylon. The slope of the cable to that point was quite gentle and I would have expected Clapper to use the brake to keep the speed down as much as he could.

From where I was standing it wasn't too easy to judge the speed, though it looked to me as if the car was already traveling too fast for comfort. As it reached the third pylon, the whole car seemed to jump and I was sure that it was going to come off the cable. It did not come off, but just hung there for a moment, swinging wildly from side to side.

The jump had somehow slowed it down but, as the swinging lessened, it began to move again, picking up speed by the second.

Sparks began to shoot out from behind the wheels and shower down over the car. I guessed that it was no travelling so fast that the wheels couldn't turn fast enough and were sliding on the cable. Even at that distance, I could ear the high-pitched squeal of metal sliding on metal.

Something had to happen soon! The wheels were going to lock with the heat from the friction. When that happened, either the car was going to leave the cable or the cable itself was going to break under the strain.

Unbelievably, it was still up and hurtling towards the trees. Then it was gone from sight.

Suddenly, I realized that the high-pitched squeal had stopped. There was a split second of silence and then a dull crunch like the breaking of timber.

I stood, just listening to the silence and staring at the trees where the car had disappeared. I wasn't sure what I expected to see. There was little doubt about what had happened. The car had crashed into the trees with a force which must have smashed it to pieces. It was hard to believe that either Clapper or McNab could have survived.

It took me some minutes to get over the first horror and it was then that I thought about my own situation. Jackson and Harper were dead. The judge was either dead or badly injured. That left me and Miss Smith, the last of the victims and the murderer!


Looks like we were right not to trust Clapper's idea. Or his piloting skills. He even saved Miss Smith (or whoever that might be watching below) a rifle shot!

Quote:
I went back into the hotel. I had been standing outside for the better part of an hour and I was cold. I decided to go to the kitchens and brew myself a fresh pot of hot coffee.

The kitchens looked very much as we had left them: untidy. Unwashed breakfast dishes still lay on the table. I picked up the coffee percolator to wash it out - and dropped it again. It was scalding hot!

It was an electric percolator, but it wasn't even plugged in. I did a bit of arithmetic in my head. It was all of two hours since we had finished breakfast. Even if one of us had come back into the kitchens and reheated the coffee, that would still be more than an hour ago. We had been together ever since.

There was no way that that percolator could have stayed hot for that length of tome. It had to have been heated since, but there was no-one in the hotel except myself - or was there!

I took the gun that McNab had given to me out of mu pocket. There were still five bullets in it. I had never fired a pistol. I didn't know whether I could shoot anyone, even if my life depended on it, but I felt better having the pistol with me.

I decided to search the hotel yet again. I started with the bedrooms. They were all empty, though the pool of dried blood on the carpet in Harper's room was a grim reminder of what had happened there not too long ago.

I walked down to the ground floor and searched all the rooms, even the broom cupboards. That floor was empty, too.

I still haven't been down the stairs to the basement. I started towards the basement stairs, and then stopped. I told myself that I was wasting my time. However that coffee had stayed hot, the place was empty. The truth was that I didn't really fancy searching the basement. That was the place where bodies got up and walked out of locked rooms!

I knew that I should go downstairs, but that there was no-on to call me a coward if I didn't.


At least the gun is loaded. That's something, I guess.

Good thing for us that our murderer is a caffeine addict, huh?

Are we afraid of the Monster in the Basement?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Go down.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, most fiction tends to punish timidity.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Down, down, down, down, down.
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