Monday, March 07, 2011

Carstairs and Topper: The Case of the Purloined Pornongrphy Part 1

Carstair and Topper's previous adventure, The Mystery of the Missing Port can be found here.

Relaxing in the steam room of the Rascal's Club with a copy of The Times, Carstairs was surprised to hear a commotion outside. A lady in a dove grey outfit entered the room and strode towards Carstairs.

"You have the advantage of me Madam," he said. "Forgive me for not rising to greet you" He lowered the newspaper to avoid any undue embarrassment.

"Mr Carstairs. I require your assistance in a matter of the utmost discretion."

"Indeed you do... Lady Glenshire." At her surprise he continued, "A lady who needs the services of a discreet gentleman-detective urgently and who also possesses uncommon resource and force of personality enough to impose her will on the staff of the gentleman-only Rascal Club to the extent of entering the Steam Room. Combine that with your striking good lucks, fashionable dress and relative youth, there can only be one such person in London."

"Quite," said Lady Glenshire, looking slightly peeved.

"If you would care to retire to the Circumspect Room, I will join you when I have dressed appropriately for an investigation."

"I look forward to seeing more of you," said Lady Glenshire turning to leave so swiftly her truly enormous hat nearly took flight.

"Just so," murmured Carstairs.

----

As he entered through the curved doorway of the Circumspect Room Carstairs spotted Lady Glenshire sitting at a table with... Great Scott! His partner and trusty top hat, Topper! "That was devilishly quick work, even for Topper," he muttered to himself. Adjusting his cravat he joined them.

"Lady Glenshire. May I offer you some tea?"

"Please."

"Johnson?"

"Your tea sir," murmured Johnson, appearing at that moment with a tea tray.

"Mr Carstairs. As I said, this matter must remain discreet. However some documents belonging to my husband have been stolen."

"In general, as I'm sure Topper will have attempted to convince you, the police..."

"My husband will not have the police involved. The documents would be both embarrassing and cause an international incident. You see these are sketches by Napoleon Bonaparte of his lover Countess Marie Walewska[1]. Intimate sketches."

"I see. The French would certainly want them returned, and the nature of the pictures would be inappropriate for a peer of the realm. Where did the robbery take place?"

"At our townhouse. Shall we go?"

"I think so." Carstairs finished his tea, and, sweeping up Topper with his right arm, offered Lady Glenshire his left. "Johnson! Call my carriage."

"Yes Milady", murmured Johnson, vanishing into the mews.

TO BE CONTINUED...

(Part 2 can be found by following this link)

[1] Countess Marie Walwewska was Napoleon's mistress from 1806 to 1809 and bore him an illegitimate son. As part of his training as an artillery officer Napoleon became a competent draughtsmen. In reality, these sketches have never been in private hands and are kept in the Archives nationales.

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