The Madness of Angels, episode 1


4th Novem­ber 2010.

Dramatis Personae


Shaft­es­bury Aven­ue, Octo­ber 1888.

Return­ing from Highg­ate Cemetery with the corpses of the were­wolves stowed in the Ministry’s own hansom cab, the group were asked to pro­duce their reports as soon as pos­sible. Once this was com­pleted, they were asked to come into Mr Rooke’s office.

Their super­i­or informed them that he had just heard about the appar­ent sui­cide of the Dean of St Paul’s Cathed­ral, the Very Rev­er­end Regin­ald Green. As the Dean was a good friend of his, he wanted to send his best team to invest­ig­ate; unfor­tu­nately, they were occu­pied with the Rip­per case at the moment, so he was hav­ing to send Cap­tain Cur­ruth­ers’ team instead. Rooke did not believe it was a sui­cide, so they were to take spe­cial care to con­firm that this was a murder and find the cul­prit – start­ing immediately.

Pick­ing up Marsh out­side the Quartermaster’s Office, the team headed for the City. Enter­ing the Cathed­ral, they were intro­duced to the hassled-look­ing Chief Ver­ger, who said he had been expect­ing them, imme­di­ately rais­ing some sus­pi­cions giv­en the lack of Police on the scene. The Chief Ver­ger was some­what sur­prised when Lady Ant­o­nia and Cap­tain Cur­ruth­ers com­plained about the remov­al of the body to the Crypt and sub­sequent clean­ing of the floor. He explained that early ser­vices would be start­ing soon and that this couldn’t be allowed to dis­turb the congregation.

Cur­ruth­ers dis­missed the clean­ers while they attemp­ted to divine what they could from the blood stains between the tiles. The body had landed almost dir­ectly beneath the open cent­ral occu­lar of the dome: either the Dean had made a prodi­gious leap from the Whis­per­ing Gal­lery or he had fallen from the walk­way around the occu­lar Inspect­ing the body, they con­firmed that he had indeed fallen from a great height (and rather messily). The Dean had been a very tall, thin gen­tle­man in his six­ties, bald, with a fringe of white hair. His face appeared to be locked in an expres­sion of extreme fear and there was a fresh, hori­zont­al wound across his fore­head, such as might be inflic­ted by a club.

Pro­ceed­ing upstairs, they invest­ig­ated the Whis­per­ing Gal­lery, con­firm­ing that there was no evid­ence of him jump­ing from there. Cur­ruth­ers spot­ted a staff door­way lead­ing to a spir­al stair­case up into the dome, so they made this their next des­tin­a­tion, dis­cov­er­ing a five foot wide walk­way around the occu­lar at the top of the dome. It was little-used and covered by a thin lay­er of dust, show­ing up foot­prints clearly, and they found a scuff of the right size on the bal­lus­trade, which seemed to indic­ate he had jumped. Miss Sharpe, mean­while, decided that this was an ideal oppor­tun­ity to test her new device, Sharpe’s Detecter­onatron, designed to detect spir­its and oth­er magic­al eman­a­tions; she did not detect any­thing, oth­er than an odd glow from Marsh, indic­at­ing a need for fur­ther tinker­ing, per­haps? Tak­ing a copy of the foot­print, they loc­ated more prints on the stairs, indic­at­ing someone run­ning up them, a prodi­gious feat for an eld­erly min­is­ter. Marsh remained on the walk­way, plan­ning to shape­shift into his rat form and sniff around. Dis­trac­ted by a strong smell of cheese and nearly killed by a power­ful rat trap, he aban­doned this approach rather quickly.

The remainder of the team fol­lowed the foot­prints back out onto one of the walk­ways above the false ceil­ing of the Church, wind­ing in and out of a series of low beams and rafters. Loc­at­ing a blood­stain on one of them, indic­at­ing that he may have hit his head, the found that the trail ended at a fenced off area at the far end of the roof. Some main­ten­ance work had been tak­ing place here and stonemason’s tools were scattered around an open­ing in the facing of the wall, which revealed the rubble infill. They determ­ined that some­thing (a block about 18 inches square) was miss­ing from the infill, but were unable to loc­ate it. Miss Sharpe tried her gad­get again and, moment­ar­ily, thought she saw a scream­ing face in the mists inside, but was unable to get it to come back. Shaken, she switched the device off, turn­ing to see Lady Ant­o­nia and Marsh extract­ing what appeared to be a pock­et book, com­plete with a key ring, from under the eaves.