Monday 18th July, 1892
Sir Robert had some mail that morning. It was from the telegram office. After he had sat down, making sure to fold his tails from under him first, carefully he got his letter opener, sliced open the top of the envelope and began reading. He called us all in to the meeting room “Gather round ladies and gentlemen, so you can all hear me at once.” me and Garvin came to the table, I slumped in my chair and rested my legs on the big post that props up the end of the table, while Garvin turned his chair round so he could lean on the backrest, arms folded. We both settled to listen to Sir Bobby, he looked quite clerical in his long arm holed coat, holding this telegram, it felt like Sunday school, not that I've been.
His note detailed that a Lady Amelica Cotterill requested his aid in finding the murderer of her father Lord Arthur Cotterill. Its strange to me where how they know each other, but I didn't and he didn't offer. Then there was some boring details about hes an engineer partner or something to do with the war office. He was murdered in his estate in Okehampton, Dartmoor in Devon, so I guess we were going that way.
Tuesday 19th July, 1892
The rest of the group were reading up more about this Sir Arthur Cotterill's work. Apparently he was a dab hand at fire arms, in more detail automatic firearms which the government weren't interested in. While this is going on, I hit the training room. Still on course so I can build up my upper body strength. But there was a great deal of photos which I was interested in, Lord Coteril holding certain objects, him shaking hands with people others of Lord Cotterill tinkering with machines. He looked very much like your avid engineer, a frail man that looked quite knowledgeable not your average mad scientist image. It was uncertain as of yet what intentions (if it was was murder or suicide which is what the local police had come to) people would have to harm this frail, thin man. He had a weakness about his expressions in the photos, his smiles looked out of place, a bit like the quiet lads at the dock we use to have for the hard to reach places on the ships vents and the likes, they were normally shy and smiled like Lord Cotterill. His overalls were relatively clean, while his hands were normally black and I some photos where he at his desk working, he wasn't even paying attention to the camera. His desk looked very organsied: fresh paper was in a pile on his draw, the waste paper basket was empty, he had a selection of rulers and curves with him and many different types of writing implements in the last photo.
Wednesday 20th July, 1892
Today we took our cab to Lady Ameila's room at the Gore hotel Kensington, London . As we are shown through the servant's entrance to come to a plain white room with certain decorative wooden furniture. I had observed in the room. Lady Ameila Cotteril a glowing young lady was sitting on a chaise longue wearing proper summer white dress with blouse fanning herself with a dark authentic looking Chinese fan. While the rest of the group flocked into the room, I just sat heavily in a near by arm chair, I sank into the soft cushions and my docker coat, which was too hot for this summer weather, I rested on the edge of the armchair. “Good afternoon Lady Cotteril. May I introduce myself, I am the one you telegramed Sir Robert Holmes.” Sir Bobby does a bow whilst holding Lady Cotterill's hand. Lady Cotterill is obviously taken aback by his charm and good looks. He continues
“Please let me introduce you to the rest of the group” going round the room he says our name and that person responds with a smile or gesture in some way.
Lady Cotterill glances at Sir Robert and shes begins her statement:
Sirs, thank you for seeing me at such short notice. I wish to hire your services to investigate a crime, the murder of my father. My father was murdered at our family home near Okehampton four days ago. I have until recently been away in India, but returned with my fiancée, an Army captain, just yesterday learned of the terrible news. Father had been working hard on a new invention and I returned to ensure he was looking after himself — he was not a well man.
It was four days ago, that my father's butler Jacobs found him dead in his study when he took my father's evening tea. He was lying in a pool of his own blood because of a stab wound.” She slightly whimpered at the thought. His office looked like it was how he had left it apart from the safe being open. I do not know the contents of my father's safe and I told the press this. Fortunately we live in a small community and I have managed to keep father’s death quiet for now. However, news will undoubtedly leak out, and as a peer of the realm murdered in his home will attract reporters from Fleet Street. I wish to have the case solved before then to avoid any unnecessary speculation. I am offering £100 to bring the killer of my father to justice.
There was a silence for a while, because of the many facts that were floating around the room. After this pause, Garvin asked Lady Cotterill:
“Did your father contact you previous to his death? Such as what he was working on?”
Lady Cotterill replied with:
“According to father’s last telegram, which I received two weeks ago in Alexandria, he had just finished a new invention and was waiting to hear back from the War Office on the prospect of a contract. As always in these matters, father was tight-lipped and I do not profess to understand his work.”
I asked “When you heard the bad news what were your actions and you said the safe door was open?” Which Lady Cotterill corrected me with “The safe door was open, but I do not know exactly what was inside. As soon as I learned of the murder I telegrammed you and ordered that nothing in the study be touched. Father’s body was taken away, of course, to the local doctor, for a post-mortem.” I must have been a bit sleepy with the heat.
Garvin stands up “Well we need to visit the crime scene to gather more information” to which Lady Cotterill acknowledges someone taking action and declares “I instructed Jacobs to lock the office until you arrived so no one has been in after my father's body was taken to the morgue. He is waiting for your arrival.”
With this the group collects their things, say what a pleasure it was we had to meet Lady Cotterill and reassuring her that we would find her father's killer. Off we went back to the lodge to pack for Devon, then we drove our cab to the train station.