When he arrived to the dark castle under the rain, the front door, giving to a square smallish room with a round table and some chairs, was unlocked. He went in. The room was silent, and so seemed to be the entire castle.
On the dark wooden round table he found a map of the castle, with all the names of the rooms of all the levels: there was the basement, the main floor and the first floor.
According to the map, he was now standing in the entry hall.
He entered the Overseers Parlor. He found nothing interesting after opening the desk drawers and searching under the couches.
He then went into the First Gallery, as named on the map. While searching it, he heard voices. He looked around and saw no one. He wandered around and concluded that the voices were coming from the vent. He listened carefully to the words.
“Do you hear what I said, Franklin?” a woman was saying. Parker deducted she was talking to Franklin Eggerton, since the solicitor had told him that Eggerton would be there. “That odious, arrogant solicitor told me I couldn’t call myself LADY Vandernot anymore! I was married to LORD Vandernot, for heaven’s sake, wasn’t I? For eight long years!”
“Oh Mother,” replied Franklin.
“Well, wasn’t I? Doesn’t eight long years entitle me to some respect?”
“It’s just a name, and May has every right to it.”
“What rights? What did she even do to this family anyways? I should have known you wouldn’t care! You didn’t lift a finger when your mother was being robbed of her rightful inheritance!”
Eggerton sighed. “I’m to busy to argue with you.”
“Fine,” his mother said, upset. “Then don’t argue! But THIS time, Franklin, I swear to God, I expect you to do something.”
Then the vent went silent.
“Ah! My first glimpse of the happy Vandernot family!” Parker thought.
After making sure that the room was anything interesting-free, he entered the Second Gallery, whose grey walls were covered with paintings and portraits. In a dark corner was a portrait of middle-aged North Vandernot, a serious look on his face. “North Vandernot and the Bloodstone” said a little golden plaque under the portrait.
“Ah, the recently deceased North Vandernot. Dreadful shame. But what is that gaudy thing around his neck?” Parker looked at the plaque. “Oh, the Bloodstone, is it? Not my cup of tea.”
Next to North Vandernot’s portrait were represented on an at least ten years old painting A group of people. Parker looked closely at the characters and then read the plaque that said: “Lord and Lady Vandernot. North Vandernot. Philippa and Franklin Eggerton.”
Parker had heard from the solicitor that the elder Lord Vandernot had been dead for some time and North had been more recently lord of the manor.
Franklin Eggerton, who Parker had heard earlier trough the vent talking with his mother looked twelve years old or so, with little round eyeglasses and fair reddish hair. Standing next to him was a little girl with a purple puffy dress and blonde hair, apparently his sister Philippa who might have been nine or ten years old. Next to young Philippa was North Vandernot, looking young and about twenty years old. Behind the Eggertons were Lord and Lady Vandernot, their parents. The mother was wearing a grey dress and a matching hat, covering her short black hair. Her husband, the previous Lord Vandernot looked severe and stony with a fair black moustache.
The West Wing Hall was way more luxurious. Vases with wonderful flowers were everywhere, which gave the room joy and happiness, some stylish sofas and three low dark wooden tables.
Very stylish, very posh. Very British.
There was a telephone on a higher table at the back of the room. Parker lifted it to his ear. The line was dead. “Must be that damn storm. Blast it!”
Parker continued his way on, searching something that might help him to find the murderer. He found an envelope addressed to him.
Dear Chief Inspector Parker,
Received your request for information.
We have put together a dossier on everyone staying at Ravencourt Castle.
We’ll send over some assistance when the storm clears.
Parker had been waiting for the precious information that was inside those files.
He sat down on a chair and opened the envelope.