Episode Nineteen – ‘To Kill a Thief’, Part Three

Operations kicked off the next morning with another room change for Felicity. Before breakfast she called down to the desk to complain that her sleep last night had been ruined by the comings and goings at the casino next door and, despite the best assurances of the deputy manager about the thickness of the walls and windows, she refused to be placated by anything other than an offer to move her further away from the source of the noise. So, later that morning, the suitcases were re-packed, a fresh phalanx of porters was summoned and the whole procession traipsed up two floors to Room 418. Continue reading

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Episode Nineteen – ‘To Kill a Thief’, Part Two

As the Bentley sailed along the boulevard towards the Hotel Majestic I turned in my seat, slid aside the glass partition that divided myself and the chauffeur from the back of the car and addressed Felicity who sat alone in the midst of the plush rear seat. Continue reading

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Episode Nineteen – ‘To Kill a Thief’, Part One

The first sign of trouble in paradise came when the small ferrety man in the white tuxedo jacket fell from the roof of the casino. It was a sign that ought to have been quite hard to ignore, given that he took his plunge at 3am, just as Michael and I were leaving the casino, and landed with a sickening thud just a few feet away from us. Naturally there were shouts and screams and a crowd quickly gathered. But this was the kind of place where nothing was allowed to interfere with the business of pleasure for long. The casino staff soon had the area roped off and the police were hastily summoned. Within forty minutes the lifeless body of the man, whose presence up on the roof at that hour nobody seemed quite able to explain, had been carried away, the steps hosed down and the familiar air of opulent ennui settled over the resort once more. Continue reading

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Another Epistolary Interlude

There are many great things about the travelling life (seeing new places, meeting new people, rarely stopping anywhere long enough to be obliged to do the washing up) but I must confess that being always on the move does come with one or two drawbacks. For me, chief amongst these is the variable quality of bathing facilities on the road. Whilst you can usually be fairly certain of getting a decent meal at any hotel, tavern or wayside inn the same cannot be said of your chances of getting a good wash. The plumbing at some of the places we have stayed ranges from the highly unreliable to the downright non-existent. So when we came by chance upon a small town on the edge of the mountains that boasted a public bath-house of some repute both Michael and I leapt at the chance of a good soak. Continue reading

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EPISODE EIGHTEEN POSTER

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Episode Eighteen – ‘The Emperor’s Last Dream’, Part Seven

Whoever it was who had been responsible for naming the large room at the centre of the palace the Great Hall could not be accused of misleading the public. In truth they would not have been going too far if they had chosen to call it The Bloody Amazing or The Frankly Quite Spectacular Hall. It was reached via a long flight of brightly coloured steps which led up to a pair of huge, ornately-carved wooden doors. Upon our approach these doors were automatically opened by some invisible force but our way inside was barred by the crossed spears of two especially sturdy-looking members of the Palace Guard. We were left to wait on the threshold whilst news of our arrival was carried forwards by a short steward in flowing robes and matching flowing moustache. Continue reading

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Episode Eighteen – ‘The Emperor’s Last Dream’, Part Six

“Sneaky bugger!” I muttered for what must have been about the tenth time.

We had now finished our dinner and Michael and I sat side by side in the middle of our cell gazing at the jar containing the Emperor’s last dream as it lay on the ground before us. Continue reading

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Episode Eighteen – ‘The Emperor’s Last Dream’, Part Five

After the appearance of Jules and El Maestro the steady stream of people passing to and fro before our cell gradually slowed to a trickle. Either the seers were running out of suspects or the number of prisoners was now so large that newcomers had had to be diverted elsewhere. Before long the only person who remained to be seen was the square-jawed, broad-shouldered guard who marched by every fifteen minutes or so on his regular circuit, patrolling this section of the dungeon. Continue reading

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Episode Eighteen – ‘The Emperor’s Last Dream’, Part Four

When I woke again bright sunshine was flooding into the room in narrow shafts through the slats in the window shutters and I finally felt refreshed and alert. It was undoubtedly a shame about missing the lantern show but I had to conclude that ultimately a good night’s sleep had been more important. Now all that was required was a hearty breakfast and I felt I could approach the trek back across the mountains with something perilously close to enthusiasm. Continue reading

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Episode Eighteen – ‘The Emperor’s Last Dream’, Part Three

When I woke up it took me a couple of minutes of gazing around the thick dark shadows of the room to realise where I was. It then took another minute or two before I realised that the thick dark shadows indicated that sunset had long since come and gone and with it the much-anticipated lantern show. After a brief wave of regret I was still tired enough to shrug philosophically and roll over back to sleep. But then the consequences of the couple of glasses of rice wine I’d had with lunch made themselves felt and I realised there would be no more sleep until I’d answered the call of nature. So I reluctantly hauled myself up off my mattress and, leaving Michael snoring gently on his side of the room, headed off in search of the bathroom. Continue reading

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