The Curse Of Nineveh

An Afternoon of Investigation (10th July 1925)

First steps

At Iain’s return to the club a quick discussion changes the immediate plans. Howard decided to research the supposed 1919 dig at Nineveh while the others split up. Hilary and Iain decided to see what they could turn up at the late Lord Brightman’s home while Ripley and Walter visited the British Museum and Sweet Relics to question Albright.

At the British Museum a uniformed constable (Constable Smith advised them that the murder scene was largely cleared up and that Detective Brinslow was in charge of the case but had returned to the Yard. Walter advised reception that he had been sent by Detective Brinslow and asked to be shown to Archie Glossop’s office. An efficient museum security guard, Ralf Yates showed them up to Archie’s small third floor office. Having carried out a thorough search there was no sign of the merman statue that Neve mentioned in her journal however they did turn up a short list that appeared to be of artefacts that had been stolen from the museum.

Meanwhile Hilary and Iain arrived at Lord Brightman’s home (68 Regent’s Park Road). When the butler Collins opened the door Hilary immediately took the initiative and bluffed his way in, advising Collins that the club had sent them to ensure that nothing amiss, something that might cause a scandal, was leaked to the press. Presenting his card and not taking no for an answer they were shown into Lord Brightman’s private study. While Collins was fetching coffee for Iain (who was checking the office) Hilary attempted to find Lord Brightman’s bedroom. Finding it locked he was trying to find a way to pick the lock when Collins returned. Neither bribery nor threats convinced Collins to open the room and he encouraged them to leave, advising them that they should really contact Krank & Willis (Lord Brightman’s lawyers) if they needed anything further. While this was taking place Iain had found a small photograph album, which he pocketed, containing what appear to be photos of an archaeological dig in 1919. Later when these photographs were shown to Sykes at the club he identified Lord Brightman, Reginald Campbell Thompson, Dr Terrence MacAvoy, Professor Willard Puncheon and Thomas Banksmith. On leaving the house Iain became suddenly aware that a black Mercedes car, which had been parked nearly opposite the house, drove away and that one of the occupants (a dark skinned foreigner with a black moustache) had been intently staring that them. Unfortunately the car was gone before Hamilton could give chase so they returned to the club.

Walter and Ripley in the meantime headed up to Copenhagen Street to visit Ebenezer Albright at his shop Sweet Relics. Taking the statuette with them they introduced themselves to Mr Albright (who had a bandaged head and fingers which seemed to fit with Miss Selcibuc’s story). Ripley took the lead, introducing himself as someone in the trade and asking Albright for his thoughts about a statue that they had with them. Albright’s reaction to the statuette as he opened the box it was in was obvious, both in his recognition and also revulsion, however he covered it well. Stating that it wasn’t really in his field he offered to buy it for £20, upping the offer to £30 when told it wasn’t for sale. Having met Mr Albright and getting a feel of him (not an altogether pleasant experience) they also returned to the club.

At the club Iain had immediately gone to help Howard with his research in the library while Hilary spent time socialising. Hilary spent some time chatting to the barman (Hogkins) as well as Jack Blackwell. Jack had heard rumours of the 1919 Nineveh dig and said that he’d spoken with Terrance MacAvoy, another club member, who claimed to be on it. He even gave most of an address for MacAvoy, Hebron Road in Hammersmith.

By the time Iain reached the club library Howard had already turned up a handwritten note in the margin of a book about Mesopotamian sites of interest which mentioned Terrance MacAvoy as well as some general information on Nabu. He had also found a possibly spurious mention in a section of a book about a god called Dagon which may link into the merman statue of Neve’s.

Before heading home for the night Ripley gave the statuette of Nabu to Hilary for safe keeping and both he and Walter filled Hilary in on the contents of Neve’s journal. Walter also checked with Scotland Yard about the recent fire Neve’s journal mentioned at Alfred Turner Antiquities in High Holborn. Detective Thompson was looking into the suspicious circumstances and the death of the shop clerk and Walter requested to get a look at the file.

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