Part 25: Update #1Let's All Play Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective - The Pilfered Paintings (Update #1)
Notebook (New clues will be spoilered.)
1. Holmes and Watson were visited by Sir Simpson. He spoke to the detectives about the theft of the two DeKuyper paintings from the National Gallery last night. An auction was held for these two paintings at Armitage's Gallery on July 1st 1890. Only six paintings by DeKuyper were known to have existed before then, one of those is currently in London as part of Lord Winslow Smedley's private collection. Sir Simpson managed to convince the respective owners of the existing DeKuyper paintings to bring them together for a single exhibition which was to be held in two days time, the paintings were due to be hung in the gallery tomorrow. Of the original six paintings, the four Louvre paintings are currently being held at The French Embassy, the Rijksmuseum painting is currently held in the gallery storeroom and Lord Smedley's is still in his private collection awaiting collection.
2. The detectives were greeted at Armitage's Gallery by Mr Armitage himself. In early June, Armitage received a visit from Hiram Davenport, a solicitor who we encountered in The Case Of The Mystified Murderess, who was speaking on behalf of his client who was in possession of two new DeKuyper paintings that he wished to auction. Armitage never met the client but he was able to check and verify the authenticity of the paintings, Davenport also had a certificate of authenticity signed by Pierre Donet* who is a well known DeKuyper expert.
The auction itself had some very strict rules. The auction had to take place on July 1st, a public announcement was not to be made until June 23rd and the paintings were to be sold as a pair. Due to the short public notice, a lot of the big-name bidders failed to show. Brady Norris was the person who won the auction and the paintings sold for more money than Armitage was expecting. Despite the unusual request that they are sold together, there was energetic bidding between Norris, Sir Herbert Cofman and Dame Agnes Smedley.
3. Holmes and Watson spoke to Michael Balfe, the head security guard and one of the four security guards who were on duty during the day of the theft. He claimed that they arrived by 1600 to prepare for the galleries closure at 1700. By 1715, all of the galleries employees had left for the day with the exception of Mr Simpson and Mr Norris, whose custom is to remain in the gallery until it is secure. Michael personally let Mr Simpson out of the building through the main entrance at 1730. Mr Norris stayed on because he was expecting a delivery from Cummins & Goins which arrived around 1745. Michael and another guard called Charlie helped Mr Norris unload the wagon, which consisted of one large crate and two smaller crates. The origin of the larger crate remains a mystery, but the two smaller crates came from Jardine, Matheson & Co. shipping company.
After the deliverymen left, Charlie locked and barred the loading dock door. Mr Norris went into the storeroom to check his shipment, the contents of which remain a mystery, and Michael returned to the guardroom. Mr Norris informed Michael at 1830 that he had locked the storeroom and would be leaving for the evening, he was let him out through the main entrance. Michael secured the office wing and spent the evening looking after his rounds. He took the 2300 round and passed through the east wing of the gallery, at 2310 he had noted that all the paintings in gallery twelve were in their proper place. Charlie took a later round and followed the same path as Michael, but when he visited gallery twelve, the two DeKuyper paintings had been cut from their frames. The alarm was raised at 2335, Michael sent Charlie to check the loading entry and the office wing. He doesn't know how the thief got into the museum, the only keys to the outside doors are either kept in the guardroom or in the possession of the patrolling guards. Mr Simpson and Mr Norris are the only employees who have keys which are only for the inside doors.
Michael Balfe is in the directory but we aren't able to speak to anyone at his residence:
4. At the French Embassy, Pierre Matin expressed to Holmes about his disappointment at the loss of the paintings. He had concerns about the circumstances under how they were acquired by the national gallery, the short public notice and the inability to authenticate the paintings.
5. Lestrade was his usual helpful self with the detectives. Once again, he believes that he has the case solved and was so sure in himself he provided us with some new information. Lestrade believes that the theft was an inside job as the evidence suggests that the thief had a key and had exited the building through a window in one of the offices. Even though he is investigating the guards and staff he has no solid leads just yet.
6. The detectives visited a very delicate Langdale who was nursing seemed to be nursing a hangover. He had spent the previous evening at a party that was hosted by Dame Agnes Smedley. Pierre Donet* was also in attendance seemed to be in a very talkative mood. It seems like Pierre Donet was a starving artist who has never managed to sell one of his own paintings in the past twenty years. His luck suddenly came about in 1872 when he found the first DeKuyper painting in a church attic in Brussels. Shortly after it was sold to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, he began a new and extravagant life and he is currently staying in a luxurious suite at the *Langham Hotel. (Edit: Pierre Donet is currently at this location.)
Banks - Cox & Company - Cox & Co. is a well-respected financial institution located in Charing Cross. Watson keeps all of the notes on my cases in a dispatch box in their vault.
Brill's Baths - Located at the East End, Watson claims Brill's salt-water baths are an excellent antidote for neck cricks and shoulder pains.
Carlton, The - The Carlton is a posh drinking establishment located not far from the Diogenes Club.
Central Carriage Stables - Central Carriage Stables is located at 5 Grey's Road, WC. It is at this location that all of London's cabs are stabled and dispatched. This is a good place to find information about people's movements around the city.
Cofman, Sir Herbert - Son of Robert Cofman, a railway magnate who also served in the Cabinet at the time of his death. Sir Herbert was knighted at the age of 28. He fell to financial ruin due to an unfortunate business investment in Bolivian railroads.
Cummins & Goins - A delivery service established by Mr. C.U. Cummins and Mr. Harry B. Goins, March of 1880.
Davenport, Hiram - Mr. Davenport is quite an overworked fellow. Specializes in setting up and administering estate. Never quite made the cut to barrister.
Ellis, Henry (London Times) - Baker Street Regular.
Hall, Edward (Old Bailey) - Baker Street Regular.
Haxell's Restaurant - Haxell's is an elegant dining room, known for their impressive art collection and delectable food. It is said that the Queen herself sends out for their frogs' legs each evening around midnight.
Hogg, Quentin (Police Gazette) - Baker Street Regular.
Hotel's - Dover Rooms - A seedy hotel for passers-by. No questions asked on the registration card.
Hotel's - Langham Hotel - The Langham Hotel is located in the West End of London and boasts the city's most elegant accomodations. A favourite place of the King of Bohemia.
Hypsilanti, Angelo - Hypsilanti is a Greek shipping tycoon who makes his home in London. He has a very impressive art collection. Hypsilanti is known for his violent temper.
Lloyd's Of London - Headquartered at the Royal Exchange, Lloyd's is a group of ship owners, merchants, underwriters, and ship and insurance brokers.
London Library - Baker Street Regular
Maddox, Clifton - Former art gallery owner before he turned to criminal activities. Maddox hasn't been convicted of anything, yet.
Meek, Sir Jasper (St. Bartholomew's Hospital) - Baker Street Regular.
Murray, H.R. (Scotland Yard - Criminology Lab) - Baker Street Regular.
Murray, Mortimer (London University) - H.R.'s brother, expert on paint pigment and instructor of Chemistry at London University.
Norris, Brady - Brady Norris is the curator of the National Gallery. He is responsible for some of its finest acquisitions.
O'Brian, Disraeli (Office Of Records) - Baker Street Regular.
Raven & Rat Inn (Shinwell, Porky) - Baker Street Regular.
Red Bull Inn - The Red Bull Inn is a working class pub located upon the road to Priory School.
Shipping Companies - Jardine, Matheson & Co. - Steamship company located at 15 EC which operates several trans-oceanic vessels including the Hercules and the Eastern Empress.
Smedley, Dame Agnes - Poor Dame Agnes, Lord Smedley's spinster sister. Matrimony does not appear to be in the cards for her, although heaven knows that the Smedley estate has been invested by her brother for that purpose. Dame Agnes is known about London as an art gadfly.
Smedley, Lord Winslow - Son of the Duke of Malvern. He is exceedingly devoted to his older sister, the spinster, Dame Agnes.
Somerset House - Baker Street Regular.
Well's Warehouse - Nothing on file.
Time to vote!
You can choose up to, and including, five more locations for the detectives to visit. You're also free to send the Irregulars to one location.
It's too early to call for an end to the case.
Voting will end Sunday 14th June at 2200 GMT.
Edit: I'm just confirming that Pierre Donet can be found at the Langham Hotel