"He claimed to be one of my guests?" he asks everyone. "Quite strange. I've never heard of Calvin Fox."
"Perhaps under another name," suggests Mr. Green.
"Whoever he is, he wasn't invited. I will be entertaining ten guests tonight, no more."
"Then who could he be?" asks the Colonel.
"Someone trying to gain entry into my chateau," Masque says and, for the first time, looks worried.
"Why would he want to gain entry?" you ask.
"Why indeed." Masque's tone is as mysterious as the question. "And such a clumsy attempt. How could he hope..."
Masque pauses to think. His eyes and your eyes turn at the same moment, toward the picture window overlooking the ravine and the path down to the Rhine. From here you can see the Rhine Maiden, a sleek steamboat glistening in the late afternoon sun. A shadow flits past one of the windows. Your first thought is that it must be a member of the crew. But there is something so furtive about the figure's movements.
"Do you have a crew?" you ask.
"I captain the vessel myself," Masque says darkly. He has obviously seen the same shadow.
"Then I know how Fox plans to get into the Masque chateau."
"Bertha's killer is on the boat," Green says, joining you at the window. "I can see him. Look."
They crowd around the window, the tension of the past two days coming suddenly to a head. "That cad," Mrs. Peacock gasps. "He'll murder us in our beds."
"I'm going to get my revolver," Mustard says.
Trying to stop them is useless. In a few minutes, a mad, unthinking pack will descend on the river yacht, eager and careless of their own safety. Your only chance is to arrive at the head of the pack, thinking and clear-headed.
You race to your room and grab your own revolver. This morning you had opened your window a crack for ventilation. Now you slam it all the way up and jump to the hard-packed ground one story below.
You recover and start running around to the path. This reckless stunt puts you seconds ahead of everyone else. You have to be the first. And you have to know what to do when you get there.
As you reach the far side of the bridge, you hear feet on the other end just landing on the wooden surface. They're less than ten meters back. Think, think.
Copyright © 1998, 2010 by Newfront Productions, Inc.
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