The Curse Of Nineveh

The Plot Thickens (13th July 1925)

The Honourable Viscount Hilary Fitzallen Howard had pretty much reached the end of his patience with Reginald Campbell Thompson. Standing up he was just about to launch into a final tirade against the archeologist when a voice at the door caused him to turn to find a well known lodge brother Sir Ernest Budge in the doorway asking what was going on. Sir Budge’s presence calmed the situation somewhat and he took Hilary to his office for a scotch and a talk while Ripley stayed behind.

In the lull immediately following Hilary’s departure conversation was easier and Ripley struck up a less adversarial dialogue than had previously been possible. Assuring him that he would be more than happy to have shot of the strange statuette Ripley got Thompson talking more freely about the 1919 expedition to Nineveh and the uncovering of Nabu’s temple. The name Dagon didn’t seem familiar but he did mention the local’s who had raised some trouble about the expedition excavating, eventually having to call in the army in order to finish their dig. Swearing him to secrecy Thompson even shared the plan to build a new Assyrian exhibit in the Museum including a replica of the temple they had uncovered.

Hilary found Sir Ernest’s office, and scotch, far more to his liking and likewise discussed the 1919 expedition and the new exhibit to be uncovered next year. Sir Ernest agreed to put in a good word for Hilary’s friend DS Anvil with the commissioner and said that he might be able to get something to help them with their investigation. Leaving the museum both Hilary and Ripley were in fine mood as they headed back to the club to meet with the rest of the group.

Having not been able to speak to his father on a Sunday Iain Swan rang him. As ever Patrick Swan was far from forthcoming unhelpfully stating when asked about the South Sea deity Dagon and possible connections to his mother that he could hardly remember the name of every god worshipped across the whole region. In a furious mood Iain hung up on his father and met Hilary in the bar, accepting for possibly the first time in his life a large rum to settle his nerves.

Howard had spent most of the day at the club in the library trying to turn up more information on Dagon, Nineveh, Nabu or any of the other topics the group had so far run into but to no effect. Reporting a lack of progress as he met with the group they decided that their best next step was to track down Neve and Archie’s friends Bingo and Honoria Pinker. While Pinker’s address was on file with the club as a member unfortunately no phone number was listed and so they planned to visit them that evening.

Before leaving though Ripley phoned his wife Poppy to advise her that he’d be home late. Immediately that she answered the phone he realised that something was wrong as she questioned him about what he was involved with and whether it was dangerous. Poppy had recieved two unwelcome sets of visitors at the shop during the course of the afternoon. The first, a greasy man with bandaged hands, was obviously Ebenezer Albright who had come looking for Ripley in order with an inquiry about an artefact. The second though was a smartly dressed middle eastern man, accompanied by several other also foriegn gentlemen, who was looking for Ripley and upon finding out that he was not there expressed concern to Poppy that he was potentially in danger. Without giving any details he explained that Mr Ripley had become unwittingly involved with some very dangerous people and that he feared for his safety, he hoped that Poppy would pass on his concerns. Ripley and Walter immediately left the club to pick up Poppy and take her to stay with Ripley’s parents in Stepney. Returning to the shop in order to pick up his old service rifle (much to Walter’s increasing alarm) they then drove to Kings Cross in order to have a word with Albright and try to get to the bottom of what he knew.

Hamilton pulled up outside the Pinker’s residence in Hampstead, a well appointed terraced house in a tree lined road and Hilary, Iain and Howard went up to the front door. They quickly overcame Bingo’s initial suspiscion when he recognised Hilary from the club and were led into the living room where they met Honoria. After some quick introductions advising the couple that they were looking into the death of Archie, Honoria asked them if they’d seen the men watching the house. Both were convinced that the house had been being watched for at least a week and indeed looking carefully out of the front window a figure could be seen underneath a tree in the shadows between two streetlights further along the road. Iain, still smarting from the conversation with his father and also bolstered by the rum from the club, grabbed his new pistol (a gift from Hilary) and rushed from the house trailed by Howard. The two rushed down the street and just caught sight of a shadowy figure ducking into an alley.

Ripley and Walter meantime arrived outside Sweet Relics and noting that while the shop was in darkness there was a light in the upstairs front window. Knocking loudly on the front door soon roused Albright. Inviting them in Albright asked after the statuette that they had brought to him saying that he’d found a likely buyer for it. A figure of £100 had been mentioned, a considerable sum of money. Ripley explained that he was currently having the item valued by someone in the British Museum and Albright guessed that it was Campbell Thompson. While disappointed that the item was therefore off the market Albright suggested that they should count themselves very lucky that they had got rid of the item. He surprised them by knowing that it had been uncovered on the 1919 dig. While not keen to delve into the more esoteric knowledge that he had gained through years of investigation or discuss at all “that Bitch” Neve Selcibuc they parted on better terms than Ripley, or especially Walter, had thought they would earlier in the evening.

In Hampstead Iain and Howard pursued the watcher of the Pinker’s house down a dark alleyway. Firing into the air and yelling for him to stop had the desired effect and by the time that Hilary had arrived they had apprehended their quary. Beyond saying that his name was Bert, he was from Golders Green and had just been out on a walk when they’d chased him he gave little information. Eventually loosing patience and threatening to kneecap him he gave way and babbled about how his mate Bill had been given the job to look from artefacts from Nineveh. Just as they thought they might get somewhere he started to heomarage and suddenly vomitted blood before collapsing, stone dead. The shock of this brutal and completely unexpected death sobered Iain up instantly and turned Hilary’s stomach but left the normally sensitive Howard curiously unmoved. Warning the others that he could hear voices approaching he paused only to quickly search the still twitching body, removing a cosh and brass knuckles, before hustling the others back to Bingo and Honoria’s.

Whilst not advising them of the death of their watcher they advised the couple that they wouldn’t be bothered by him again. Hilary offered to put them up for a couple of days at his place in Belgravia, an offer they gratefully accepted. Having quickly packed some bags they left before any ruckus surrounding the discovery of the body could start.

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