Clues scattered everywhere you see
I hope our detectives are handy
And not at home watching Glee
Over a nice hot cup of tea
Number 301 introduces this Schneemann piece. This would be the start of a longer story if and when I get around to it.
Another Country House Weekend
Heinrich von Schneemann opened the window and cursed. Years of scheming and months of greasing his way through the drawing rooms of British high society to be put at risk by a simple act of burglary. The unwilling partnership he was entangled in was looking more and more one-sided.
To the business at hand. He reached out into the night and firmly grasped the drainpipe. Ensuring it was securely attached to the wall he swung himself out and began to climb.
There was no moon, and no illumination – the house was set in the middle of magnificent if bleak countryside. Moving by feel he slowly made his way up to the window that previous reconnaissance had indicated was his target.
The window was closed against the cold air, but he forced it open. He paused to make sure that no one had heard the scrapes. Then he slid inside.
The room was just barely lit by a faint glow from the ajar door – a nightlight in the bedroom. It was enough for him to make his way across the dressing room to the jewellery box. Working by feel he categorised the contents – it seemed that her diamond studs were paste – until he found the ring he needed. He mentally confirmed that it matched the details he had been given. He slipped it into his pocket and took one final look around the darkened room, gaze lingering for a moment on the open cupboard full of shoes.
As he padded back to the window he heard a murmur from the bedroom. He froze. There was a whispered reply. He listened as hard as he could but silence again reigned. Were Lord and Lady Allenmore not as estranged as rumour suggested? Or was some other party involved? He wrenched his thoughts back to his current task. Time enough to investigate this when he was not in the middle of a robbery.
Outside he hung from the frame as he slid the window closed. It wouldn’t stay in place, and jamming it shut from outside, with one hand, was a difficult manoeuvre. Then he made his way back down, slowly feeling for each foothold before trusting his weight to it. Just as he reached the window back into the library he heard a scream.
“Gross Gott!” he said. He dropped inside, and saw that the door to the hallway was now open. If he hurried perhaps he could get back to his room before anyone got up to investigate.
“Oh please no!” the unmistakeable voice of Lady Allenmore wailed. “Somebody help me!”
What was wrong with the woman? It was only a ring. There was no need to carry on as though...
“My husband has been murdered!”
Ah, thought Schneemann as doors opened along the corridor separating him from his bedroom. This situation was becoming a little tricky.