An assortment of eccentric guests gathers at a Swiss inn, awaiting the arrival of their mysterious host. One of the guests disappears during a magic act. The next day his body is found at the bottom of an icy ravine.
"Poor chap," Colonel Mustard says. "We should do the civilized thing and recover the body."
That's your first impulse as well. But the cliff face is nearly sheer, with patches of ice hugging the shadowy rock. It might be possible to descend, but to climb back up with a body in tow would not be. You explain this to your fellow travellers who seem unusually willing to forget the corpse in the ravine and retreat to the warmth of the inn.
You are back in the lounge, in a cozy wing chair, thinking of the solitary man Bertha saw on the bridge. Could this have been Calvin Fox? If so, his fall must have been an accident. Or suicide. But why? Why would he willingly disappear, then throw himself from a bridge?
It's still late morning and a stubborn mist hangs outside the window. You can barely see the outline of the ravine bridge. The bridge - and something else. Two figures appear to be crossing it, holding an object between them, something large, heavy and formless. You can't tell which way they're going and you don't wait to find out. Seconds later, you're grabbing your coat from the elk antlers in the hall and racing out into the wet fog.
For a few precious moments you're disoriented. Which way to the bridge? You recover your bearings and catch up with the figures. They look somehow different.There are still two of them. But they're walking five meters apart, both carrying luggage and making their way toward you and the inn.
The lead figure, a woman, drops her suitcase at your feet. "A servant. How very nice," she says in a cozy English accent. You take one bag, leaving the other for her, and introduce yourself.
"Oh, sorry, dear. My mistake." She is Mrs. Anna White and must know a fair amount about servants since she is one herself. "I don't know why a famous millionaire wants to spend his holiday entertaining an aging housekeeper, but I've never been one to turn down an invitation."
Her travelling companion is Professor Jonathan Plum, the Egyptologist. They've both just arrived on the Paris train. You ask if they saw anyone else along the path from the road. Perhaps a couple carrying a sack between them?
Plum squints around in the fog. "You're the total of our welcoming committee," he mutters in crisp Oxford diction. "Your friends with the sack must have headed in another direction."
On the far side of the bridge, the path divides in two, one path to the road and the other winding down to the boathouse and the River Rhine. Perhaps the misty figures you saw took the path to the river. Or perhaps they exist only in your imagination.
The shrill caw of ravens brings you back to reality. "How curious," Mrs. White says. "Someone threw a men's suit of clothes down the ravine."
You are about to explain that there's a dead man inside the suit when you follow her gaze and discover she's right. At the foot of the ravine, three ravens hop and flit, picking apart Calvin Fox's body. Only its not a body. It's a suit of clothes stuffed with other clothes. The crows are particularly fascinated by the head, a melon held in place with a scarf and hat.
"I was right,"says a throaty, heavily accentented voice. You turn to see that Marina Popov has joined you. She, too, is staring down at the suit. "I knew Fox was not dead."
"But why?" you demand. "Why?" No one has an answer.
Copyright © 1998, 2010 by Newfront Productions, Inc.
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