The Madness of Angels, episode 1

Played

4th Novem­ber 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Plot

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.