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[IC] Arkham Detective Tales

NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
You've come to this small apartment building in the Bronx at the request of Detective Thomas Talby. The Detective had a reputation for being the go-to man for cases like these back in the Twenties, but after a particularly vicious case he retired from active investigations. A young uniformed officer stands at the door of apartment 3 on the second floor.

"This is the first one, Geoffrey Hill" The policeman at the door says as he begins to unlock it. "Nasty in there sirs. Nastiest thing I've seen yet I mean. I know you have. You've got experience with these sorts of things right?"

He opens the door to the cramped apartment. As soon as the door is open your nose is hit by the smell of blood, urine, and ash that makes you want to gag. A cramped and cluttered living room, a tiny dirty kitchen, and the door open to a small bedroom with two beds. Between the living room and kitchen is a dining room table that has been knocked over. There are two coffee cups smashed on the floor next to the table, and behind it you can see a pair of legs sticking out. Taking a few steps forward you see the body.

Laying on the floor is the late Mr. Hill. A young man dressed nicely though cheaply. He is wearing a light jacket, dress shirt, and a bow-tie and his hair is cut short. His head is at an unnatural angle and the front of his neck has been cut open and blood has puddled around his head and splattered on his clean shaven face. His eyes have been crudely gouged out, the sockets have filled with blood and vitreous humor.

The young officer coughs to attract your attention. "Landlady discovered the body. She's downstairs. Flatmate is missing, we have a man looking for him. If you have any other questions I'll be outside if you don't mind." He glances one last time at the body before walking back into the hallway and closing the door.

@dresdenphile @Chrysis

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Posts

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    Joszef reflexively grabs a a kerchief from his pocket and places it over his mouth and nose as he surveys the room. He is immediately drawn to the corpse and the surrounding pool of blood.

    "No doubt a perfectly fine gent, simply gone to waste" he mutters to no one in particular as he squats near the man's body.

    After a quick search of the man's jacket and pants pockets, he examines the neck wound with small pair of forceps and gloved hands and curiously spies what remained of his eyes.

    I'd like to use a point of forensics to examine the scene if there is a clue that requires is. Not sure if we get to know that before spending one but will do so blindly if not.

  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Seems to me the proper order is gathering evidence then forensics to examine it, so I'm going to preempt if that's okay!

    Jack, stoically unmoved by the gruesome scene, moves to stop Joszef before he messes up the crime scene too much. "Whoa there buddy. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm going to do a thorough sweep of the crime scene and take a few pictures before you go messing with anything. Running in and messing with things might destroy evidence we need for later. Trust me, this isn't my first rodeo- you can tinker with the evidence once I've identified it and written some stuff down."

    Jack would like to offer a point (or even two, if the situation warrants it) of evidence collection to try to see what clues are scattered around the room

    El Skid on
    mrpaku wrote: »
    my name is precisionk and i'm ten tanks

    wrath God fear traitor evil
    MrTLicious
  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    "Kee-rist, Almighty", Floyd exhales as he sees the scene. "You ever seen anything like this before, Doc?"

    While the doc starts his exam, Floyd prepares his camera and starts taking photos of the body and the area around it.

    steam_sig.png
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Jack begins a methodical sweep of the apartment, starting in the common area and moving through the whole space. The bedroom has two sets of belongings, and one of the people was obviously better off with better sheets, clothes, etcetera. Not the kind of stuff you would normally find in a cheap place like this. There is a tea kettle in the stove in the kitchen, and a jar of instant coffee placed next to it, presumably the deceased's last meal. One of the shards of a coffee cup The fireplace is the most interesting, something was burned here recently, multiple somethings. There is the remnant of a hardcover book here, you can't make out what it was but bits of the cover remain. A few scraps of notebook paper as well, and a fragment of a letter that was addressed to Geoffery, but no return address if left. This isn't the first time Jack's seen evidence destroyed like this though, and his experience pays off when he checks the chimney. Half a Fordham University library card was blown up by an updraft, stuck in a brick. Hill's name can still be read on it.

    One point Evidence Collection spent

    After Jack is done Jozef moves in to inspect the body. The cause of death is obvious. His neck was broken and his throat was cut and he died quickly after, he wasn't alive long enough to bleed much. His eyes were gouged out post-mortem, and there are some small fragments of coffee cup in the sockets. The neck seems to have been broken by hand, and there is no sign of defensive wounds on the body. Whoever killed Geoffery was strong and had the element of surprise on his side.
    Checking his pockets you find his wallet with $19.12 inside. There is also a folded up letter in the pocket addressed to him from Gollam & Sons Rare Books, Westiminster St. Providence Rhode Island.

    One point Forensics spent.
    As far as spends go, I'll generally try to find something beneficial to use it on, if I can't then I'll refund the point.


    Meanwhile the sound of a woman weeping downstairs starts to become audible in the apartment.

    Neaden on
  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    Joszef pockets the money and places the note on the ground before examining the corpse. When h finishes, he removes his gloves, wipes his forceps down with an ethylene solution and places them back into his kit. He grabs the letter, stands and addresses the two other men in the room.

    "It appears that we are dealing with a rather disturbing individual. The graphic wounds you observe were inflicted post-mortem. There appears to be no sign of a struggle, either, so the flipped table seems to have been staged."

    As he says this he opens and skims the letter.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    The letter is a brief reply from the book sellers regretting to inform Geoffrey that they do not have a copy of the book he seeks. They invite him to visit the store though, where they may be able to help him locate a copy.

  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    edited September 2016
    "Interesting" Jack said, as he made notes in his notebook."I'd better go talk to the nice lady outside."

    Steeling himself a bit, he walked out to interview the witness. Trying to comfort people who were in shock was probably one of the worst parts of his job, but it had to be done, and well. They were light on leads so far...

    El Skid on
    mrpaku wrote: »
    my name is precisionk and i'm ten tanks

    wrath God fear traitor evil
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    The landlady is sobbing downstairs, another uniformed officer is standing near her looking uncomfortable but unable to say anything to her. She is sobbing "The eyes! His beautiful brown eyes they took them! He had now eyes!" She doesn't seem to notice you come in, and will not respond to any questions you ask her right away.
    She is unable to answer questions right now and it will take a two point spend of Reassurnace or three points of Cop Talk to calm her down.
    You could also come back tommorow and see if she is better or proceed to the other crime scene.

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    Floyd hears the woman sobbing and follows Jack to see who's making all the racket.

    Pulling his handkerchief out of his pocket, he offers it to the landlady. "Now, now, ma'am. Dry your eyes and calms yourself. We're here to help find the bastard who did this to Mr. Hill. Do you think we could ask you a few questions? Anything you might have seen or heard might help us catch this fiend all the quicker."

    I'll spend 2 points of Reassurance.

    steam_sig.png
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "He was such a sweet boy." She says to Floyd "Not like that other one, Mr. Hill, who's always out at odd hours and is a spoiled brat. Geoffery was a sweet boy, sensitive. A reader you know. He's been here for two years and never given me any trouble. Always polite, always stops in for a cup of tea. A good boy. Late on the rent sometimes you know, but he always paid in full and I never minded. Things are so hard for everyone these days." She stares nervously at her hands for a moment before continuing. I heard a crash in his apartment. I thought it was just Mr. Rathbone, drunk again. But I didn't hear anything and well, these boys need someone to look after them. So I went to check. I have a key, the boys know I do. I went in and that's when, when." She pulls a handkerchief from her pocket and begins to sob again.

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    Jozsef pats the landlady's shoulder in a vague attempt to comfort her while nodding towards his colleagues, indicating that they should head to the next crime scene.

    If it's convenient, Jozsef would like to stop by the telegraph office on the way and send the following to Gollam & Sons (others can help with the wording):

    GEOFFREY HILL FOUND MURDERED STOP
    BOOKS POSSIBLY RELATED STOP
    ABOUT WHICH BOOK DID HE INQUIRE XU (Get Answer)

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    The group stops off at a nearby Western Union office where Jozsef writes a quick note to Gollam & Sons before you head for the Brooklyn where the other body was found.

    The boarding house was a poor place, but it was the respectable poor of students, low income workers, and pensioners living off their meager savings. The tenemant you arrive at in Brooklyn is in contrast a place of squalor. The neighborhood is filthy, overcrowded, and smells like human waste. The police officer you meet at the door informs you that rooms here are let by the week and you can see whole families peaking out from one room apartments as you walk by. A heavyset man is standing beside the door, talking to a police officer and introduces himself as Sullivan, the building's manager.

    The room is threadbare. A dead body lies in the center of it, and the stench is awful, rising above the already horrid smell of the building. Only in a place like this could the body go undiscovered for this long. The man has had his throat cut and his eyes gouged out, like Geoffery.
    Elsewhere in the room is a small unmade bed, with two suitcases underneath. There is a single gas cooker on one wall with several cans of beans, empty and full, next to it. There is a sink with a waste-bin that you can see has bloddy scraps of cloth thrown away in it.

    The manager coughs to get your attention. "Paid the rent for two weeks, besides that I didn't really talk to the man." He shuffles his feet uncomfortably. "Never had anything like this before, you have any questions well, I'm your man."

    Neaden on
  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Jack nods to the manager and scans the room. "If it's all right with you I'm going to quickly examine the room before I have any questions to ask you, though I appreciate your cooperation, Mr...?"

    Upon getting the name Jack asks the man to wait outside and starts to comb through the crime scene, searching for evidence meticulously while trying not to disturb anything that could prove useful later. He'll go through the suitcases, go through the man's pockets and generally look for anything out of the ordinary, paying special attention to any books he might find.

    Jack will spend another point of evidence collection

    mrpaku wrote: »
    my name is precisionk and i'm ten tanks

    wrath God fear traitor evil
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "Sullivan sir" He reaches out for a handshake. "I'll be here."

    The first suitcase contains cheap clothing, a few suit, shirts, ties. Nothing stained, but frayed on the endges and not well made to begin with. The second suitcase you open is more interesting. It has an expensive and obviously very well cared for bespoke suit, along with a matching shirt and pair of shoes. Beneath these is a set of lockpicks, knives, and other tools that you recognize well from dealing with burglars and safecrackers. A folded map of Providence Rhode Island on top of a pair of very old looking books. The first is titled "The Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan" dated 181. It has a bookplate identifying it as the property of the Holland Collection, Providence, Rhode Island. The second is a book titled "De Vermis Mysteries" translated by someone named Legget. This one doesn't have a bookplate, but there is a faded mark where one might have been before being removed.

    Besides that there is nothing of interest in the room, everything else here besides the beans was here when the man moved in.

    Jack approaches the corpse and checks the pockets. There is a wallet with $2.13, and in his jacket pocket is a bus ticket from Providence to New York from two weeks ago. Besides that there is no identification or identifying marks.

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    Joszef approaches the body and asks, "You are done? I may examine the body now?"

    He does so, using a point of forensics

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    This corpse is not as fresh as the first one, it has been sitting here for a couple days before anyone discovered it. The body has been mutilated post mortem in a similar way to the first. His throat was cut and eyes were gouged out, though this time it appears it was a small knife of some sort. Searching the body you find a small bullet injury at his ribs, where a bullet grazed his side. The injury appears to be a week old judging from the healing. There are also some scrapes and small cuts at his hands and knees, it looks like he was in a fight or a chase of some sort. These injuries appear to have occurred around the same time as the bullet injury.

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Floyd pulls out his notebook and approaches the manager. "Just a few questions, sir, if you don't mind. You said the deceased paid for two weeks rent; did he leave a name or say why he was in town? Also, did you notice anything suspicious or out of place with him or the room prior to finding the body?"

    dresdenphile on
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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "Brown sir, just Brown was all he gave. A New Englander I think, judging by how he talked. Can't tell you anymore then that. A man came by looking for him once though, a few days ago. Was knocking on his door, but Brown was out at the time and I told him so. He thanked me and left. He didn't give so much as a how do you do, let alone his name." Sullivan shakes his head sadly. "I wish I could help more. If nothing else the buildings reputation isn't improved by this sort of thing. I try to run an honest house, I really do."

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    While Floyd interviews the manager, Jozsef gives Jack the details of his examination.

    "The victim had clearly had some kind of altercation the week before the murder, but given that he was both shot and survived a melee, my guess is that he was not up against the foe we're after. Both victims had their neck snapped as easily as a breadstick. What about you, did you find anything of interest in his things?"

    Am I to assume that in the first corpse that the eyes were gouged out by hand, instead of with an instrument?

    MrTLicious on
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    They were gouged out with shards of one of the coffee cups from the scene of the crime.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    With mystery games I feel like as a GM I have to walk a fine line between railroading and leaving everyone confused, so I just want to step in here for a second to let you guys know you have discovered all the core clues in both of these scenes. The bookstore, the library, and The Holland Collection are all leads you guys could follow up on, among other things.
    Let me know if you guys want me to keep things moving when it slows things down or not.
    @MrTLicious @dresdenphile @El Skid

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    Floyd takes a look at the books, tapping the Holland Collection bookplate with his pen. "Ever heard of this place? I suppose this means we take a little trip to Road Island"

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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    On your way back to the Station from the second murder scene a young police officer brings a telegram to Jozef from Holland and Sons booksellers in Providence.

    SHOCKED TO HEAR STOP
    YOUNG MAN ASKED ABOUT THE INVISIBLE PATH STOP
    WE HAVE NO COPIES BUT RESEARCHED ALL AVAILABLE STOP
    WILL SEND LIST MOST COPIES OWNED BY LEWIS HOLLAND STOP

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    "Lewis Holland... Perhaps the owner of the Holland Collection."

    Jozsef reads the telegram and ponders for a moment the possible implications.

    "Jack, did you say that find a library card in the chimney, even though his wallet was still on his person? Seems like a good place to start before we head all the way to Providence to sort this out."

    Is traveling to Providence a reasonable option? I'm just not sure what kind of time frame this game usually entails.

  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Jack nodded his head. "Yeah, checking the library first seems like a good idea. Best we get all the local information possible before we head out to Providence-no point making the trip more than once if we can avoid it."

    mrpaku wrote: »
    my name is precisionk and i'm ten tanks

    wrath God fear traitor evil
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Fordham Universities library is not far away and you make a quick journey there. The place is hustling with students during the day, quiet but busy. The librarians all seem to be reluctant to take a break from working the stacks to talk to a group that clearly are not students or faculty. A police badge fortunately opens doors when you do, and the busy head librarian stops for a minute to talk with you.
    "Hello" He says with a nod "I'm Mr. Jones, I'm sure I don't know what the police have to do with a library, I assure you there are no crimes here besides plagiarism, and you don't look the sort to be interested in that.

    You could reach Providence in about a day's travel each way, so it's possible but not something you want to do casually

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    @MrTLicious @dresdenphile @El Skid just pinging you.

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    Floyd shakes the librarian's hand and introduces himself. "Mr. Jones, we're here to talk about one of your regular patrons, a Mr. Geoffrey Hill. He was found dead in his apartment, but through the investigation, we've come across the remains of a hardcover book that might be from here and part of his library card. Is there anyway we can get a list of books he's checked out recently? Also, does a book called The Invisible Path sound familiar to you at all?"

    steam_sig.png
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Mr Jones seems shocked when you mention Geoffrey's death. "Geoffrey? He came here quite often. A quiet young man. I can't imagine someone wanting to hurt him. I can't see how one of our books could be involved, but let me look into it." He disappears for a few minutes before returning with a slip of paper.
    "I found the book in our records, only one copy. A book of poetry written by a Mr. Martin Bellgrave. 1870, private printing. I can't tell you anything more then that, no one here seems to have read it. There is one other book by the same author, A Journey Into Lonely Places but I'm afraid it's marked as missing, probably just mishelved though. I wish I could tell you more, but I do recall Geoffrey mentioning Professor Drew in our English Department. He might know the poet."

    It's a one point Library Use spend to find the misshelved book.

  • El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    The detective took the catalogue card and examined it for a moment.

    "98 pages, so a bit thin... going by the age it'll be an older book, worn by age but probably in fairly good condition since not many would want to read it. Let's start searching in the same area as the book belongs and fan out from there."

    Spend a point of library use

    mrpaku wrote: »
    my name is precisionk and i'm ten tanks

    wrath God fear traitor evil
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Your search pattern spreads out, searching first where A Journey Into Lonely Places belongs and going on from there. Unfortunately the book cannot be found on any of the shelves. After a long search Jack's eyes finally spot it in the History section. Underneath the leg of a small table that has a polite young man sitting at it. After explaining the situation you remove the book where it had been serving as a prop to compensate for a lop-sided leg.

    Skimming the book you find it is a mixture of poetry and very short stories. The two themes seem to be how hard it is to be an artist, and how bad abolition was. The rhymes are forced and the imagery ranges from clunky to oddly specific. The librarians permit you to check it out as an official act of police business and seem unconcerned about the prospect of you returning it.

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Failing to see a reasonable connection to the crime, Joszef goes back to the librarian and asks if he has ever heard of the Holland collection, then suggests that we pay a visit to Prof. Drew.

    Did we get a copy of the Invisible Path? When he said "one copy" was it clear where that copy was?

    MrTLicious on
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Sorry for being unclear, the book is A Journey Into Lonely Places by the same author, Martin Bellgrave.

    Mr. Jones thinks for a moment. "Holland, Holland. Ah yes, out of Providence? Mostly the sort of thing that you wouldn't find in a Catholic institution like this. Books on the occult and bosh like that.

    Mr Jones waits for any other questions you have before saying his goodbyes and instructions on how to contact him if you need to.

    Prof. Drew is located in the English department, not far from the Library. Fortunately, after making some inquiries with students you are able to find Dr. Drew's office without much of a delay. Fortunately he is in his office at the moment, and doesn't have a class schedules for an hour. Professor Drew smiles warmly when he sees the group of you enter his office. He is a somewhat rotund middle aged man wearing a suit and bowtie. His face is beginning to show wrinkles but his smile is bright and seems genuine.
    "Hello!" He says, gesturing to the chairs in his office. "Now you look like an eclectic group. I'm afraid I am quite tired of explaining Alexander Pope to bored undergraduates, I'm guessing you are here to add some interest to my day!"

  • MrTLiciousMrTLicious Registered User regular
    I was referring to:

    "I found the book in our records, only one copy. A book of poetry written by a Mr. Martin Bellgrave. 1870, private printing. I can't tell you anything more then that, no one here seems to have read it."

    That seems to be about Invisible Path.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Oh ok, sorry about the confusion there. Yes, the Fordham library had one copy of The Invisible Path but Geoffery checked it out and it was not at his apartment.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    @MrTLicious @dresdenphile @El Skid if anyone is not sure about anything else just ask.

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    Floyd makes the introductions and gives the professor the rundown on Hill being dead before asking, "Are you familiar with Martin Bellgrave or The Invisible Path? Seems like a poet wouldn't cause too much trouble."

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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "Oh God, Geoffrey's dead? Was it suicide? His parents, have you told them? Or, am I supposed to do that? I just, excuse me."
    He holds up a hand at you for a moment and takes off his glasses, sitting in silence as he composes himself.
    "This is just so shocking. I did recommend Geoffrey read Bellgrave, a few months ago. He was studying Modern American Literature and Journalism, he wanted to be a book critic. The Invisible Path is, well unique. It made an impression on me when I read it. I thought Geoffrey would enjoy it, and it would help him become more well rounded." Here he starts to calm down, his cadence becomes steady and he slips into his professorial lecture. "Bellgrave was a providence writer, he came from a respectable family and managed to squander a small fortune without working a day in his life. Just wrote two books. A Journey Into Lonely places is totally without value, just an awful piece of literature. We used to read from it for a laugh when I was a student myself. The Invisible Path on the other hand is more mature, still not a great work mind you. His metaphors are still stretched, his prose laboured, but there is something there. Something that gave me nightmares when I read it. I think if Bellgrave hadn't died in that fire, his third work might have won him some acclaim. After Geoffrey read it though, he thought Martin was a genius. He was going to rescue Bellgrave from obscurity he said. Put him back in his rightful place."

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Floyd scribbles this down. "The investigation is still ongoing, professor, but I'm starting to think Geoffrey joined the wrong book club."

    Reading from his notebook, Floyd continues. "Are you familiar with either The Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan or De Vermis Mysteries? Any idea where we could find a copy of The Invisible Path, doc? And, you wouldn't happen to have his parents' address by chance, would you?

    dresdenphile on
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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Professor Drew thinks for a moment before answering your first question. "No, I can't say that I have, I stick mostly to fiction and poetry, those sound like something a warlock would have in his cabinet, I still to the Poe. Was Geoffrey reading those books, he never mentioned it to me. I thought he was a good Catholic boy, we may be a bit liberal here at Fordham, but not that liberal. As for the book, if out library here doesn't have it I'm sure the New York Public Library has a copy."
    He sighs in comtemplation for a moment before answering your final question. "As for the poor boys parents, no I'm not sure. Geoffrey is from Iowa though, I can't remember the name of the town. It could be Idaho too. I'm afraid I don't leave the East Coast much, they all tend to blend together."

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