THE STRANGE CASE OF THE STRANGE CASE OF THE DOG
by Stephen Walker
From the private journal of Tyberion Mace.
June 21st, 19-
Having made swift progress in our journey from London, we arrived at Felgate Hall just as its clock was striking three and half-past. It could be heard as we were being granted admission by a womanservant whom I instantly deduced to be one Molly Grapenidge.
'May I take your bags, sirs?' She enquired.
'You may take mine,' I told her, 'but under no circumstances must you either take or touch the bag of my colleague.'
'Goodness!' she declared, 'What a frightfully large bag for a man to hawk around with him.'
'Indeed it is,' I said. 'For my colleague Professor Grainger here is a scientist and his bag contains many chemicals and solutions that, if not handled with the utmost care, may combust and quickly consume this entire house.'
'Gracious!' she said.
'Gracious indeed. Now, my dear woman, perhaps you'd be kind enough to inform your employer Lord Felgate of our presence?'
And the woman did precisely that, meaning that, within minutes, his Lordship was giving us a tour of his mansion.
It wasn't the first time we'd met him, of course. The surprisingly young Lord Felgate had visited us in my study three days earlier, with a dread tale to tell of a devil-spawned hell-beast that had already slain several within his vicinity. Coupled with this had been an anonymous note pushed under the door of his hotel room, promising that he would be next to feel the wrath of the creature.
His local constabulary, being more used to dealing with poachers and over-amorous couples in haystacks, had so far been completely baffled by the case.
Well, who to turn to next in such a circumstance, if not Tyberion Mace; Marylebone's celebrated sleuth who'd so ably handled that potential embarrassment involving a member of the high establishment only months earlier.
Felgate Hall was a dark and elderly building. If it had been a grand dowager, one might have labelled it arthritic in appearance. Within it lay many a dark and sinister corridor. Just the perfect setting for the type of mystery my dear Professor Grainger loves to inflict upon his readers in the pages of The Threadneedle Thunderer. Heaven alone knew what his devoted following would make of this one.
As Felgate showed us up the stairs, my attention was caught by a portrait of a stern looking man.
'That is Sir Cranleigh Statten,' Lord Felgate told me. 'My predecessor as lord of the manor. He lost his fortune in a Boston card game but vowed to summon the power of Satan himself to reclaim it.'
'And his whereabouts now?'
'Deceased. Presumed. He vanished on an expedition to the Amazon and was never seen again, feared eaten by the devil fish they claim swim such waters.'
After dinner, I gave Felgate my instructions as to what he was to do.
Which was precisely nothing.
He was to stay in the house and refuse to admit all visitors unless they were either myself or Professor Grainger.
Grainger and I went on our hunt for a slavering devil-hound.