#1
A WORLD OF CLUE – PART 1
 
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ARLINGTON GRANGE – MARYLAND – JUNE 1926

Miss Vivienne Scarlet walks across the long, mostly bare Drawing Room. It is clear that her stepmother’s mansion has had some more expensive things recently repossessed. Miss Scarlet sighs deeply and approaches a young, blonde man who sits on the remaining chaise lounge. She crawls behind him, wrapping her dainty arms around his chest and torso, kissing him lightly as she gets comfortable. He is Edward Clay , the local tennis coach and fervent lover of Miss Scarlet.
 
“Edward,” Miss Scarlet closes her eyes as she hugs him tight, “I think I’m going to settle down with a glass of wine and a book in the Library?”
 
“That sounds lovely.” Mr. Clay kisses her on the neck as he runs his hand along her body
 
“Darling,” Miss Scarlet takes his wandering hand into her palm and grasps it tightly, “If Dr. Black gets you the job at the hotel, where will we live? We haven’t really discussed any of the details yet.”
 
“There is boarding at the hotel.” Mr. Clay says, “The hotel’s last tennis coach had a five-room suite.”
 
“You better impress Dr. Black during your match.” Miss Scarlet smiles, sitting up and crossing the room. Mr. Clay smiles, watching Miss Scarlet’s swaying hips as she stands by the door.
 
“My stepmother hasn’t been to Blackwell Grange in twenty years. She left on bad terms and now we are invited back.” Miss Scarlet says, “Apparently most of Dr. Black’s friends hate my stepmother and even Dr. Black hasn’t spoken to her since they broke their engagement.”
 
“Isn’t Dr. Black engaged currently?” asks Mr. Clay
 
“Yes,” Miss Scarlet nods, “To a young mother.”
 
“Does Mrs. Peacock know?” asks Mr. Clay
 
“My stepmother found out a few weeks ago when she wrote to the housekeeper of Blackwell Grange.” Miss Scarlet rolls her eyes, recalling the tantrum Mrs. Peacock threw after learning the news.
 
“How is she handling it?” asks Mr. Clay
 
“The same way she handles everything.” Miss Scarlet frowns, “She ignores it and pretends like it’s not even an issue.”
 
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BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Blackwell Grange is much larger and more lavishly decorated than Arlington Grange.
 
Colonel Michael Mustard carries a pool cue over his shoulder as he walks to the large, green-felted table in the center of the Billiard Room. He aims the cue and successfully pockets two stripped balls. The Colonel is a dignified and muscular man, despite his age. He squints a monocle tightly in his left eye and sports gray muttonchops. He is the visual arc type of the great white hunter.
 
“Lucky shot,” John Boddy sneers. There was a time when young Master Boddy respected and looked up to Colonel Mustard – but that was before the young boy’s parents were lost on a Safari when there was an attack on their caravan. Now he is in the care of his uncle, Dr. Black. As the seventeen-year-old heir to Blackwell Grange and the Black Family Estate, he makes no hesitation in assuming power and expression his dominance.
 
“Why did you arrive early?” John Boddy leans on his cue, “The guests aren’t supposed to arrive until tomorrow.”
 
“I’m part of the family.” Colonel Mustard takes his second turn
 
“Just because you grew up here doesn’t make you part of the family,” John stands up straight and circles the table.
 
“You are disrupting my concentration.” Colonel Mustard says, knocking the white ball into a pocket.
 
“Is that it?” John laughs, “Was there too much noise in the jungle disrupting your concentration when my parents went missing?”
 
Colonel Mustard slams his cue on the table, ending the game, “Careful lad, the older you get the more and more I lose my patience with your arrogance and disrespect. We’ve moved past your parents’ deaths.”
 
“You’ve moved past their deaths.” John stares at Colonel Mustard with fire in his eyes, “You were able to move past it because they weren’t your family. It wasn’t your mother and father who died. You aren’t part of the family, Colonel. You are a drifter who comes in when he needs more money for his ‘memoirs’.”
 
Colonel Mustard tightens his fists
 
“Is that why you are here? Are you broke again?” asks John
 
“No!” Colonel Mustard picks up the cue, brandishing it defensively
 
“Then pull out $10 and put it on this game.” John says, “You are winning and have the advantage.”
 
Colonel Mustard stares at the young boy for what feels like a long time. He half considers beating the snobby brat over the head with the cue, but quickly remembers the last time he lost his temper. It was on a new recruit – tall blonde boy with rich parents and the confidence of a king. The coroner said that the recruit’s skull was broken in four places.
 
“You have nothing.” John sneers, “Don’t ask Uncle Hugh for a dime.”
 
John Boddy tosses his cue onto the table as he exits the Billiard Room.

Colonel Mustard glances at the heavy Wrench on the table near the door. It was a blunt piece of metal similar to this tool that the Colonel used to bludgeon the young recruit.
 
 
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Across Blackwell Grange, in the Kitchen,  Mrs. Blanche White , the housekeeper, reads from a clipboard, tapping her black shoe against the flagstone floor. She stands at the head of the wooden table in the center of the room. Around the table are the three other staff members – Mr. Reginald Ash , the butler, Yvette Ardoise , the maid, and Fraulein Olga Bloom , the cook.
 
“Yvette,” Mrs. White begins, “The mornings will be treated as usual with the guests here. Open all the curtains at dawn and make certain all the clocks are working at the same time.”
 
“Oui, madame.” Yvette nods
 
“Mr. Ash,” Mrs. White turns to the elderly butler, “You’ll be upstairs in the hallways instructing the way to the bathrooms and linen closets. During this time I’ll be assisting any females who need help dressing.”
 
“Dr. Black has already prepared a menu for me.” Fraulein Bloom speaks up, “Each meal is quite extraordinary.”
 
“I saw that the guests will be arriving in time for a seafood medley.” Mr. Ash wrinkles his nose, “I feel that’s the type of meal we should send them home with. You never know who will get sick off of seafood.”
 
“No one gets sick off of MY seafood. I have already purchased the shark fins and the fresh lobsters.” Fraulein Bloom says, “Those lobsters will still be alive while the guests are sipping champagne in the Lounge.”
 
“Yvette, you are to give the guests anything they require.” Mrs. White glances at the young French girl, encased in a tight black maid’s uniform, “Within reason, that is.”
 
The doorbell rings and Mr. Ash stands up with a look of confusion on his face.
 
“Another early guest already?” asks Mrs. White, “We all figured that Colonel would be early. You don’t suppose that’s Mrs. Peacock, do you?”
 
Mr. Ash shrugs as he exits the Kitchen to go check the front door.
 
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ABANDONED DOCK – NEW YORK CITY – JUNE 1926
 
Mr. Thallo Green walks to the end of the poorly lit dock. He is a short, stout man in a green pinstriped suit. There is a bright carnation in his left lapel. He has thick dark brown hair and a deeply receding hairline. Two brooding, muscular men accompany Mr. Green. All three men are dressing in suits and fedoras. At the end of the dock, a shivering, frightened man is tied to a chair. The man is thin and frail with a shaggy, unwashed beard.
 
“You can’t drink all the rum if you can’t pay for all the rum.” Mr. Green says, “Alcohol is hard to come by these days. I can’t just let it go to waste in the gullet of a greasy fisherman. Remind me your name.”
 
“Seafoam.” The shivering man replies, “Captain Seafoam.”
 
“Captain Seafoam, how long did you sail your little fishing boat?” Mr. Green asks
 
“Thirty-seven years.” Captain Seafoam responds, looking out into the misty, dark harbor.
 
“I’m sure you’ve become a decent swimmer in those thirty-seven years, is that correct?” Mr. Green asks
 
“Yes,” Captain Seafoam nods
 
“Then you probably never expected that you’d die by drowning.” Mr. Green forcefully shoves the chair off of the dock.
 
The chair bobs around upside down in the water, sending Captain Seafoam’s face and chest to the mercy of the water.
 
“How much was he short?” asks one of the large, muscular men with Mr. Green
 
“Don’t worry.” Mr. Green says, “I’ve got some projects to work over the weekend. I’ll easily make twice as much as Seafoam was supposed to give me. After that, who knows?”
 
“He’s sure kicking around a lot.” The other man continues to watch Captain Seafoam struggle, half submerged.
 
“Wanna bring him up?” Mr. Green asks
 
Both muscular men look at each other and shrug.
 
“Come on, boys,” Mr. Green chuckles, “That panicking, drowning man’s life is in your hands.”
 
The men laugh and begin to walk away from the end of the dock. Captain Seafoam’s legs stop thrashing about as he loses consciousness underwater.
 
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ARLINGTON GRANGE – MARYLAND – JUNE 1926
 
Mrs. Patricia Peacock stares at her complexion in the mirror with a discontent sigh. There is a small rumor that she is losing her millions at the hands of an evil blackmailed. Mrs. Peacock denies all accusations and has made barely attended any parties or events since her husband, the Senator, passed away six months ago. Mrs. Peacock is a fading rose. Burying five husbands in seventeen years can do that to anyone. Now she is left with the memory and the regret. She looks down at the invitation resting against the white telephone on the edge of her dressing table. She opens it and eagerly reads its contents again.
 
Dear Patricia,
 
I first must offer my sincerest condolences. Senator Peacock was admired by so many people, rich and poor. Secondly, I must ask you to forgive me. Our relationship – the love we shared is something that I can’t even explain after twenty years.
 
I’m writing to you because I am hosting a weekend gala at Blackwell Grange. Guests are expected to arrive June 4 at 7:30 pm. Please be there. This is your personal invitation. Formal ones will be sent to you and your stepdaughter.
 
Let’s bury the hatchet. It’s been too long.
 
Sincerely, Hugh
 
Mrs. Peacock backs up to the mirror and begins to work on her eye makeup. There is a knock at the door.
 
“Come in,” Mrs. Peacock calls out
 
Mr. Edward Clay enters the room.
 
“Oh, Edward,” Mrs. Peacock picks up her lipstick and begins to touch up her lips, “Is Vivienne still packing frantically?”
 
“She’s settled down with a book and a glass of wine.” Mr. Clay says, “I told her I’m going out to the store.”
 
Mr. Clay locks the bedroom door. Mrs. Peacock turns around and begins to unbutton her blouse. Mr. Clay comes over and assists her.
 
“She won’t expect to hear from you in hours.” Mrs. Peacock grabs his soft, blonde hair and pulls him against her bosom.
 
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BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Professor Peter Plum holds a large, heavy Lead Pipe and swings it forcefully against a long centipede as it crawls across the old, stone floor of the Conservatory. The Conservatory is filled with exotic plants, fish, and foul. The insects and reptiles are nestled near the sink and Hall door.
 
Swatting away a sticky cobweb, Professor Plum moves through several large ferns, stopping at a glass terrarium. It is the home to a thick, menacing black snake. Professor Plum takes a small white mouse from his pocket and drops it into the terrarium.
 
The snake draws near. The mouse tries to scurry towards the top but the walls of the glass terrarium are slick and tall.
 
The door to the Conservatory opening startles Professor Plum, distracting him from the snake’s inevitable victory.
 
John Boddy enters the Conservatory with a flushed, red face. The colorful parrot in the corner of metal cage begins squawking loudly.
 
“I hate that old bastard.” John closes his eyes and massages his temples
 
“Colonel Mustard?” Professor Plum asks
 
“How can Uncle Hugh just treat him like a guest? It’s the Colonel’s fault that my parents are gone. He called off the search after a week. They were still alive – they would have done whatever it took to survive.” John begins to cry
 
“Sometimes you can’t do anything but surrender to death’s tight grasp.” Professor Plum watches the mouse tail disappear into the snake’s mouth, “Colonel Mustard is a military failure. Nothing he says will mean a damn once you own Blackwell Grange.”
 
John looks up at his estranged uncle with tingling ears. Young John has always fancied himself the heir-in-training. Hugh Black has not provided any heirs of his own and John is rightfully next in line to take over on his thirtieth birthday.
 
“I’ll be eighteen just before Christmas.” John sighs, “I still have twelve years to wait for my turn to call the Study my own.”
 
“It’s true,” Professor Plum intently watches the snake swallow its prey, “You won’t get to take over until you are thirty – unless Hugh passes away.”
 
“Why would you say that?” John’s frown increases
 
“Hugh is going to marrying a woman far younger than him. Mrs. White and I have speculated that she probably has the intention of killing your uncle shortly after he gives her and her young son everything.” Professor Plum walks over to John and takes him by the shoulders, “Now, I know that you and Hugh have a close relationship.”
 
“Not really.” John says, “Mrs. White took care of me when I came home on holidays.”
 
“This wedding needs to be stopped.” Professor Plum says, “No good can come from it.”
 
“What do I do about Colonel Mustard in the meantime?” asks John
 
“I suggest you provoke him a little further. Get all your anger out now before the guests arrive. Get all the truth and details out of him.” Professor Plum says
 
“All the truth?” asks John, “Uncle Peter, what do you know?”
 
“My brother and Colonel Mustard have a history for holding onto secrets until it eats them alive.” Professor Plum says, “Colonel Mustard is half devoured. Go find out what his secret is.”
 
“But you know, don’t you?” asks John
 
“I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say.” Professor Plum takes off his glasses, “You need to hear it from Colonel Mustard himself. I’m not very helpful with talking to people, emotions, and all that nonsense. If you need something to actually be done, that is when you come find me.”
 
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Across Blackwell Grange, in the Study, Dr. Hugh Black stands at the fireplace with a Fire Poker in hand. The fire is unlit and the windows are open, allowing the summer air to clear the stagnant air. The dark paneling around the room gives a warm, masculine feel.
 
“Sir,” Mr. Ash steps into the Study
 
“Who was that at the door?” Dr. Black asks, setting the Fire Poker back with the other fireplace tools
 
“There is someone here to see you.” Mr. Ash is clearly anxious, “She… she claims that… well… I think I’d rather let her explain it.”
 
Mr. Ash steps aside and a twenty-year-old redhead enters the room. She is clutching onto two large suitcases. Dr. Black can see five or six more suitcases and a guitar box in the Hall through the open door.
 
“May I help you?” Dr. Black asks
 
“Hi,” the young lady talks in a thick southern drawl. She sets down the suitcases clumsily knocking into an end table in the process, “I’m Emily Peach and I’m your daughter.”
 
From the Secret Passage behind the wall paneling next to the fireplace, Yvette Ardoise eavesdrops on the conversation. She quickly hurries down the gravel-floored tunnel and makes her way out from behind the hinged spice rack in the Kitchen. Mrs. White and Fraulein Bloom both look up at her.
 
“I just heard Dr. Black in the Study.” Yvette is out of breath
 
“Were you snooping again?” Fraulein Bloom has an angry look on her face, “You are going to overhear something that you don’t want to hear one of these days.”
 
“Well, what was it?” Mrs. White turns to Yvette, continuing to polish a silver tray, “Who was at the front door?”
 
“Dr. Black’s daughter,” Yvette answers vaguely 
 
Mrs. White and Fraulein Bloom are speechless. Yvette comes close to Mrs. White.
 
“What is Miss Dove going to say?” Yvette gulps
 
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In the Billiard Room, Colonel Mustard angrily throws darts at the dartboard in the Billiard Room. Several darts are pinned to the wall around the board, but by the indication of the other holes, this is common. There is a half-empty bottle of whiskey on the edge of the pool table.
 
“What haven’t you told me about my parents?” John Boddy throws open the door loudly.
 
The harshness in the young adult’s voice drives Colonel Mustard mad. Colonel Mustard takes a dart and stabs at John.
 
John dodges the slash only to be met by the Colonel’s other fist. John Boddy holds onto his jaw in pain.
 
“I’m a man of honor!” Colonel Mustard grabs John by the collar and pulls his face close to the point of the dart, “If you have any doubts or concerns about the legitimacy of your parent’s whereabouts, ask your uncle. Hugh Black isn’t the innocent man everyone thinks he is.”
 
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Back in the Study,  Miss Emily Peach stands eagerly waiting for Dr. Black’s response
 
“My daughter,” Dr. Black’s eyebrows shoot up, “I should have been expecting this. I was quite the animal back in my day. Who is your mother?”
 
“That’s just it.” Miss Peach smiles weakly, “I don’t know who my mother is. I was adopted. They only were given my father’s name.”
 
Dr. Black is silent. His heart is thumping away and his mind is racing.
 
“Dr. Black?” Miss Peach asks
 
“Yes,” Dr. Black says after a moment, “I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to say. I frankly do not know what to think. I’m at a complete loss for words.”
 
“My Aunt Honey didn’t want me to come and find you.” Miss Peach says, “Both of my adoptive parents died recently and I figured now would be the time to get to know my biological family since they are all I have left.”
 
“I’m just a little concerned with how my family is going to take the news. I’m getting married in two months.” Dr. Black says “My fiancée is not going to be thrilled to learn that I have a twenty-year-old daughter.” Dr. Black clips a cigar and lights it, “You have my eyes, nose, and forehead.”
 
Miss Peach smiles, sitting down slowly on the overstuffed armchair. She switches on the banquet lamp beside it, “So can I stay with ya’ll for a little while?”
 
Dr. Black nods slowly, “I’m throwing a party this weekend. Everyone is arriving tomorrow. I suppose that’ll give everyone a chance to meet you.”
 
Miss Brenda Dove , Dr. Black’s young fiancée, enters the Study. Dr. Black and Miss Peach both look up at her, startling by her sudden entrance.
 
“Was this who was at the door?” asks Miss Dove
 
“Brenda,” Dr. Black talks a deep breath, “This is my daughter, Emily.”
 
“Your daughter?” Miss Dove replies calmly, “I see.”
 
“I suppose you can’t be too upset.” Dr. Black laughs nervously, “You do have a young son, after all.”
 
“Oh, you have a kid?” Miss Peach smiles enthusiastically, turning to Miss Dove
 
Miss Dove continues to lock eyes with Dr. Black, “Hugh, I think I’d like to speak with you alone for a moment.”
 
“Yes,” Dr. Black shuffles over to Miss Dove’s side, “Of course. We’ll step into the Lounge for a moment. Excuse me, Emily.”
 
Miss Peach smiles awkwardly as Dr. Black and Miss Dove leave the room. Miss Peach closes her eyes as soon as the door shuts.
 
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In the Lounge, Miss Dove quickly sits down on the sofa.
 
“Well?” Dr. Black closes the Lounge door
 
“I just need to know if there is a possibility that you might have other children besides her?” Miss Dove says
 
“I didn’t even know I had her until just now.” Dr. Black says
 
“But you know your own history with women.” Miss Dove says, “Is it possible?”
 
“It’s possible.” Dr. Black nods, “Though highly unlikely.”
 
“Hugh, what are you going to tell your family?” Miss Dove says
 
“The same thing I’m telling you,” Dr. Black says, “Which is the truth. Emily is my daughter.”
 
“What about your older sister?” asks Miss Dove, “How are you going to contact her and tell her she has a niece?”
 
“Rose hasn’t been a part of this family in a long time.” Dr. Black says, “I don’t even know where she is anymore.”
 
“Is Peter asleep yet?” asks Miss Dove
 
“I was thinking about introducing him to Miss Peach tonight. He’ll be cross with me if I let her stay here without a proper introduction. You know how old-fashioned my father is.” Dr. Black says, “After that, we should let Miss Peach get some sleep.”
 
“You are just going to let her sleep in the house?” asks Miss Dove, showing clear
 
“What else am I going to do?” asks Dr. Black, “I think we can trust her.”
 
“But do you know for certain?” Miss Dove asks, “Do you know if she’s really your daughter? She could be here to rob us blind in our sleep.”
 
“Jesus, Brenda,” Dr. Black’s nostrils flare, “We are about to have a house full of guests and a lot of them I haven’t seen in a long time. You are worried about who sleeps under our roof? If you are so worried about it then you should finally come and be with me in my bedroom. We are nearly married.”
 
“Hugh, you know I want to wait until we’re married.” Miss Dove says
 
“Yes, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do other things.” Dr. Black says, “Won’t you feel safer with me?”
 
“I’ll feel safer sleeping near my son, knowing he’s safe.” Miss Dove says, leaving the Lounge.
 
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ARLINGTON GRANGE – MARYLAND – JUNE 1926
 
Mrs. Peacock and Mr. Clay lay naked in bed out of breath. Mrs. Peacock smiles brightly, her makeup slightly smeared.
 
“I should get back downstairs.” Mr. Clay says
 
Mrs. Peacock nods as he begins to get dressed.
 
“I know Blackwell Grange fairly well.” Mrs. Peacock says, “We’ll have plenty of places to slip away.”
 
“I figured we’d take a break while we’re at Blackwell Grange.” Mr. Clay says, “Otherwise Vivienne might catch on.”
 
“She’d lose her mind if she caught us.” Mrs. Peacock laughs
 
“Yeah,” Mr. Clay says, “But she won’t catch us. Let me focus on pleasing Vivienne. She won’t get suspicious if I treat her like a princess all weekend.”
 
Mrs. Peacock frowns
 
“Don’t worry.” Mr. Clay says, “You are still my queen.”
 
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BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Upstairs, Miss Dove stands at the window, staring out at the moon in the night sky. Her blonde curls fall in tight, itchy coils against her face as she pulls the hairpin out of her hair. She walks through her dressing room and into her son’s bedroom.
 
The eight-year-old boy – Fivel Dove , sleeps against white sheets. His cherub-like features are only enhanced by the thin wispy curls that match his mother. Miss Dove bends over and kisses him on the forehead, inhaling his sweet aroma for a moment before pulling away. She picks up his toy train and places it in the windowsill before leaving the room.
 
As Miss Dove walks through the dressing room she hears a clatter from her bedroom. She hastily throws open the door to see a man in a black mask looking through her nightstand drawer.
 
Miss Dove screams.
 
The man quickly dashes out of the bedroom and through the upstairs hall.
 
Miss Dove races back to Fivel’s bedroom. She slams the door, locking it.
 
“Mommy?” Fivel sits up in bed rubbing his eyes as she turns on the lights. Miss Dove rushes to the door adjacent to the upstairs hall and locks it.
 
“There’s someone in the house.” Miss Dove breathes rapidly, taking her panicking son and pulling him close to her chest.
 
There is loud banging at the locked dressing room door.
 
Miss Dove and Fivel both scream.
 
“It’s me!” a familiar voice calls from the other side of the door.
 
Miss Dove quickly gets up and unlocks the door, letting Nurse Deborah Silver into the room.  Nurse Silver is in her mid-thirties, blonde, and the nanny to Fivel Dove.
 
“Someone was in my room.” Miss Dove relocks the door, “Someone was looking through my things. We have to call Sgt. Gray.”
 
 
TO BE CONTINUED