The Let's Play Archive

Murder off Miami

by SelenicMartian

Part 4: Pages 45 to 58. No Ordinary Virgin.

: The end of the third report is nigh. We're almost done with the interviews.


: Come in, Cane. I just want to ask you a few questions about what occurred last night.

: Yes sir.

: How long have you been in the employ of Mr. Rocksavage?

: A year and three months sir.

: What were you doing before that?

: I was third barman at Biltmore in New York. I did eighteen months there and before that I was at the Sporting Club in Havana, doing lounge waiter.

: That's all right; now, I want you to tell me all that you can remember about which guests came and went from the lounge from the time of the ship's sailing until they went in to dinner last night.


: Were you in the lounge the whole of that time?

: Yes, I was there the whole time, sir, as they kept me pretty busy mixing drinks, except, of course, for two brief absences between 7.40 and 7.45. Mr. Stodart took down some figures from the notice board in his pocket book, tore out the leaf and asked me to take it down to Mr. Blane's cabin. I knocked and there was no reply, so I took it up again, and then Mr. Stodart remarked that Mr. Blane was probably in his bath, so he sent me down with it again and told me to slip it under Mr. Blane's door which I did.

: That'll do. You can go now.

: To sum it up, the entire chat confirms what we already know. The last one is no better.


: Sorry to bother you again Mr. Jocelyn, but I understand that Count Posodini joined this party at your invitation.

: Yes, that's right.

: Now, what part does he play in this business deal which Rocksavage, Blane and the Jap contemplated putting through?

: None at all. He doesn't know anything about it.

: Why did you ask him then?

: Because he's a nice fellow and I thought it would give the gathering more the appearance of a pleasure trip to have someone there who didn't know anything about the business which was contemplated.

: I see. How long have you known him?

: About five weeks. I met him coming over in the Normandie.

: Thanks Mr. Jocelyn. That's all for the moment.

: Now we can look at the big picture.


From the foregoing statements it is obvious that, as we have a note in Blane's own hand, scribbled on the back of the leaf torn from Stodart's pocket book with the share quotations on it, which was sent down to him at 7.45, he must still have been alive at that time.

The steward, Ringbottom, entered his cabin at 8.30 and discovered him to be missing. Therefore, Bolitho Blane must have been murdered between 7.45 and 8.30. The situation of the cabin steward's pantry and Ringbottom's statement, backed my that of the carpenter, Jenks, rules out the possibility of the crime having been committed by any member of the crew and we must, therefore, assume that the guilty party is either Carlton Rocksavage or on of his guests.

After I had questioned Count Posodini, Detective Officer Neame told me that he felt certain that this man's face was familiar to him, and that we had him on our criminal records. Every effort should, therefore, be made to obtain full particulars regarding him at once.

Having taken statements from all the guests and the only members of the crew who might possibly have been concerned in the affair I proceeded to analyse their statements with a view to seeing how far they vouch for each other, and the limited time in each case, when they were on their own, during the period 7.45-8.30, during which the murder must have been committed.

: I don't feel like copying the lists. Have some photos.


The foregoing tables rule out the lounge steward, Cane, as he was only absent from the lounge for two periods of two minutes each during the time under review, and in each of these has to go down to Blane's cabin and come up again, and so he could not possibly have had time to perpetrate the crime in either.

The only other person who is entirely ruled out is the secretary, Nicholas Stodart, as he was in the lounge during the whole period under review.

Rocksavage and all his other guests were, however, absent from the lounge for periods from 15 to 45 minutes between 7.45 and 8.30, during which they might have committed the murder.

I then proceeded to make an analysis of possible motives.


Mrs. Jocelyn. Nil, as far as is known at the moment.

Count Posodini. Nil, as far as is known at the moment.

Mr. Rocksavage. Blane's death will send the shares of the Blane companies down to zero and, in their present precarious state, possibly cause them to crash altogether. That would suit Rocksavage's book far better than the proposed amalgamation. Blane also stated his fear that Rocksavage might attempt his life, before he died. Motive in Rocksavage's case, is therefore, strong.

The Bishop of Bude. Nil, as far as is known at the moment.

Lady Welter. As the largest holder in the Rocksavage companies she stands to benefit by Blane's death. She may have other assets outside the Rocksavage companies, however, so, although there is motive, in her case it is weak.

Mr. Hayashi. Nil, as far as is known at the moment but, as he is concerned in the world soap interest, he may well have a motive which has not yet come to light.

Mr. Jocelyn. Nil, as far as is known at the moment but, as a dependent of Lady Welter, his interest marches with hers, so it is possible that he might have acted at her instigation.

Miss Rocksavage. Nil, as far as is known at the moment.

Having analysed the information gained from the first statements, as above, I then went below to examine the dead man's property, an inventory of which follows:

: >take all_

Oh, wait. Wrong kind of interactive fiction.


>wear panama_

: Nice one, Dennis. 'No Ordinary Virgin' by Eve Chaucer is a real book. Eve Chaucer's real name was Joan Wheatley, she was Dennis Wheatley second, and ultimate, wife. Don't know why she bothered with a pseudonym since her books always seem to have (Mrs. Dennis Wheatley) on the title page. As I understand, Joan did take part in one of these dossiers: in a post-modern feat of breaking the fourth wall the second one starts with the Wheatleys and Links discussing the upcoming case.

: Here she is:

: Dennis was her third husband. Joan was a widow with a kid when they met, and there were another four from her first marriage. No ordinary virgin. Anyway, back to S.S. Mother Goose.


The last item on the inventory is of considerable interest as it comes from the Japanese, Inosuke Hayashi. It is on a yacht postcard and, therefore, written after Hayashi's arrival on board. Presumably is was delivered to Blane some time between his arrival on the yacht at 7.5 and his death, which is known to have occurred between 7.45 and 8.30. Postcard herewith.

: What I can make out here is that Hayashi wanted to meet Blane and waited in his own room until 8 expecting a reply. Sorta.

Gabriel Pope posted:

Dear Mr Blane

Needless to say I was very shocked to receive your letter while I was in New York. You have certainly overlooked some considerations which are from your point of view extremely important. And quite apart from my own interests in the matter I consider it highly desirable that you should know the consequences to you of the action you contemplate before confirming with Mr. Rocksavage.

I shall be in my room until eight o'clock, but would prefer to discuss the matter in your room. Please, therefore, let me know at what time I may visit you.

Yours Truly,

Some Weird Jap


With the assistance of Detective Officer Neame I then searched the cabins of all parties concerned. As the parties had slept in them on the previous night they had ample opportunity to destroy any incriminating evidence. However, as Blane's death was assumed to be suicide until early this morning, none of the innocent parties is likely to have taken any special precautions and, as in a case such as this, nearly everybody has some private peccadillo to conceal I was in hopes that we might still unearth some useful information which would eventually lead us to the murderer.

On my instructions to the Captain the whole party were informed, immediately each of them left their cabins this morning, that they were not to return to them until they received permission. None of the cabins had, therefore, been cleaned or tidied and each was locked after its occupant had gone up to breakfast.

The contents of the wastepaper baskets in each cabin, which had not been cleared since the previous morning, were removed and as a matter of routine their contents are being catalogued.

The search revealed items of interests in two cases only: - Count Posodini - among the Count's belongings were found eight packs of specially prepared cards, two sets of loaded dice and an automatic Mouser .22 pistol with a silencer attached, one spare clip and 44 rounds of ammunition.

It will be recalled that, upon the Count's examination by me this morning, Detective Officer Neame remarked that he felt certain this man's face was familiar to him, and that we have him on our records. The items above mentioned, having been discovered in his possession, give considerable colour to Detective Officer Neame's suggestion and every effort should be made to trace up particulars of this man at once.

: Oh, come on. It's obvious Luigi is trying to make live-action Wolfenstein RPG/TCG a thing.

The Bishop of Bude. In a square black portable writing case belonging to the Bishop I found a letter which was evidently written and despatched by Bolitho Blane from New York and received by the Bishop in the post delivered to the yacht on her arrival off Miami yesterday. Letter herewith.

: I like the concept of a handwritten note as evidence but not in a doctor's hand. As far as I can tell, in the first paragraph Blane is surprised to learn the Bishop is on board, in the second he stresses what good friends they are, and in the third he says some strange things might happen on the yacht at sea, so the bishop should remember what good friends they are.

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

Ohoho. That letter from Blane to the bishop is very interesting, and seems to add some weight to the switcheroo theory. Here's what it looks like to me:


My dear Bishop,

I have only just learned that you are to make one of the party which Carlton Rocksavage is assembling on his yacht for a little holiday among the islands. It is, of course, many years since we met but I shall look forward so much to renewing my acquaintance with you.

You will, I am sure, recall the wonderfully interesting connexion which we held when we were together a little time during the war. We established then a wonderful and, I feel, never to be forgotten friendship.

I have an idea that somehow strange and unusual things are likely to take place upon Rocksavage's yacht when we put out to sea and, however strange these occurrences may be, I feel sure that you will bear in mind what very good friends we are. I value your friendship more than I can say and from your past expression of esteem it makes me happy to think that you value mine equally highly.

Yours very sincerely,
Bolitho Blane.


I then examined the ship's officers, Dr, Ackland, Mr. Rocksavage's personal physician, who messes with the officers, and all members of the crew. I am satisfied none of them could have had any connection with the crime and take it you will not require detailed reasons for my conclusions.

As my examinations and listing of Blane's effects had occupied me all the morning, and a thorough search of the cabins of all parties some six hours, being completed a little after 8 o'clock, I decided to postpone any further examination of the parties until to-morrow morning, by which time it is to be hoped that further information about them from outside would be at hand.

8.25 p.m. 9:3.36 on S.Y. Golden Gull.

: Phew. I'll take a short break and start on the fourth report, which will take four updates on account of it being spread over 50 pages. There's is also a pile of documents, including the Count's background.