“Egads, I’ve done it.” He smirked, teething the unlit pipe, and eyed the seated guests. The dining table was illuminated by flittering candlelight from the gleaming silver candelabras, as more distorted light filtered through glistening crystal glasses. Scented roses and delicate lush port aromas lingered. Deformed shadows cowered in corners away from dull glowing gas lanterns. Inside, the room was warm, outside rain battered at the windows as the wind howled this squally night.
“B-b-but…” stammered one of the five seated witnesses.
“Enough of the garrulous natter,’ he said, perching his elbow on the mantelpiece that showcased the crackling fire. “With utmost vigilant deductions, by Jove, the truth will be told.”
He raised his palm to silence his audience. ““Please, ladies and gentlemen… After a fashion, my superb genius has analysed the clues within this scandalous illusion.” He shook his fist as his voice ascended. “I now publish the author of this crime.” He then paused with an eyebrow raised.
“Get on with it, man.”
“It was the vagabonding bohemian with his squalid labyrinth of a madman’s mind belonging to…” He pointed to the other end of the room and all heads swivelled to the empty doorway. “The Butler.”
“There’s no butler, ya bloody fool, ” muttered the matriarch, rising from her seat.
“Humbug.” Lifting his chin, he waved his unlit pipe. “Then the maid–”
“I aint puttin’ up with this codswallopin’ pony-posin’ any longer. I did it. Me.” She cuffed the young man around the ear. “Get back in ya seat.”
With grey eyes, he glared at her seated onlookers. “Shame on you lot not solvin’ it without none of your CSI’n Googlin’. So, let’s do somethin’ simpler with this party. Who’s up for a game of Monopoly until the electricity comes back on?”
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