ou are in an open carriage, on your way from the airfield at Zurich. A vista opens up before you and there it is, nestled in the woods just ahead - the alpine inn where you'll be spending the night. It resembles a Swiss chalet, which is not surprising. You are, after all, in Switzerland, traveling on a rocky road that meanders within sight of the Rhine River in the frozen valley below.
But this is no chalet of fairy tale imaginings. The white of the gingerbread porches is the color of soot. The windows stare out like blackened eyes. And as the driver clicks his tongue and the horse pulls you onto an icy wooden bridge spanning a deep ravine, you realize something curious and unsettling. The driver is blind.
"Dobbin knows the way," he says, perhaps sensing your concern. You scold yourself for not having noticed this sooner. You are a private investigator, being paid to do nothing more than keep your eyes and ears open. This is not a good start.
You're the fifth guest to arrive, he tells you. A British officer, Colonel Mustard, showed up this morning feeling a little under the weather and taking his meals in his room. Three more arrived on the westbound train, having hired a motorcar taxi to bring them from the station. The others are expected tomorrow.
Dobbin pulls to a halt. The blind driver eases himself down from his seat and fumbles for your luggage. You grab it yourself and lead the way into the chalet. His name, you discover, is Fritz, and he's the innkeeper as well. The sightless man manages the entire inn with the assistance of one woman, his cousin, Bertha.
"It's not so bad," he says as he slips behind the desk and pushes the guest register your way. "Our guests are few. Mr. Ian Masque." He says the name with a shiver in his voice. "He provides most of our business." Fritz points out the window towards a craggy peak. "When people are coming and going to his chateau on the mountain."
This you know. In fact, it's the reason you're all here, arriving from the four corners of Europe. Ian Masque, the mysterious millionaire, the builder and owner of that fantastical chateau perched on an alpine ledge, has invited an assortment of guests to this remote corner of Switzerland to stay in his architectural masterpiece and usher in the new year. An assortment of guests plus you, a private investigator hired by mail, with no job but to mingle and remain alert and careful. What a way to celebrate New Year's Eve!
You sign the register and eye today's date at the top of the page. December 30, 1938.
Copyright © 1998, 2010 by Newfront Productions, Inc.
Copyright © 1998, 2009 Hasbro Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.