The Case of the Murdered Players (Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series #7)

The Case of the Murdered Players (Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series #7)

by Robert Newman

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Overview

Special effects might look like magic to the audience, but there’s always someone behind a curtain pulling the strings

Someone is targeting the best actresses in London, and the only way to keep Verna Tillet safe is to keep her off the stage until Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins, and Inspector Peter Wyatt can find out who the deadly killer is.
 
But Andrew’s mother isn’t going to like being kept in the dark, and with a mysterious criminal mastermind set to take over London’s sordid underworld, Wyatt has his hands full already. For extra help, the intrepid sleuths turn to their friend Baron Beasley, a gentle giant of a man whose job as an antiquities dealer provides plenty of opportunities to meet people from every level of London society—including a colorful reformed safecracker. They’ll all have to work together to solve the case before time runs out . . . and the killer turns his attention to Verna.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497686021
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Series: Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series , #7
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 179
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.

Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.
Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.
Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt

The Case of the Murdered Players

Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt, Book Seven


By Robert Newman

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1985 Robert Newman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-8602-1


CHAPTER 1

The Telegram


Standing outside the door, Andrew made a last attempt to guess why the headmaster had sent for him. A summons from that most august person was a startling and anxious-making event at any time. And it was particularly surprising coming now, on the last day of school, just as they were about to go home for the Christmas holidays.

It wasn't his work. As far as he knew, he had done quite well this term, even with the Latin that had given him a certain amount of trouble before this. The fight he had had with Rossiter because of the way he'd bullied the younger boys in the house? Unlikely. The headmaster never interfered in matters of that sort, and besides, that had taken place weeks ago.

Giving up, Andrew knocked at the heavy oak door and was invited to come in. The headmaster, in his familiar, worn gown, was at his desk.

"Ah, Andrew," he said, looking at him over the top of his spectacles. "I hope my sending for you didn't worry you."

"No, sir. Though it did puzzle me."

"You must have that most estimable of attributes then, a clear conscience. The fact is, a telegram came for you a short while ago." Then, as Andrew looked at him, "I like our boys to read any telegram they may get here in my study. Then, if there's bad news or a problem—if they need advice, help or comfort—I'm here to give it to them."

"I understand, sir."

The headmaster handed him a yellow envelope, and with some anxiety, Andrew tore it open.

"Imperative I see you soon as possible," it read. "Meet me lunch noon tomorrow White Stag. Bring Sara, but tell no one else about this. Repeat, tell no one else!" It was signed Wyatt.

In one sense, the literal one, Andrew had no difficulty understanding this. Wyatt was his friend, Inspector Peter Wyatt of the London Metropolitan Police. The White Stag was a chophouse near Scotland Yard where Andrew had had lunch with Wyatt several times.

And Sara was Sara Wiggins, daughter of his mother's housekeeper and an even closer friend than Wyatt. But, in another sense, Andrew did not understand it at all. Why was it urgent that Wyatt see him so quickly? And when he said, 'Tell no one else about this,' did he mean that Andrew was not to tell his mother? Apparently he did. And if so, the question was: Why?

When Andrew raised his eyes, the headmaster was looking at him intently, seriously.

"I hope there's nothing wrong at home, Andrew," he said. "Is there?"

"No, sir. There's nothing wrong. At least ... No, nothing."


It was a little after five when Andrew got to London. Since he had not been sure what train he would be taking, Fred, the Tillett coachman, was not waiting for him, and he took a four-wheeler from Paddington to the house in St. John's Wood.

Matson, the butler, let him in, and Andrew had barely taken off his coat and hat before Mrs. Wiggins and Sara appeared. Mrs. Wiggins greeted him, as she always did, with an enthusiastic hug and wanted to know if he'd had tea. When he said he had, she went off to the kitchen to make sure that the cook knew he had arrived and that all was going as it should there.

"Is my mother home?" asked Andrew, noticing that Sara was wearing a new dress and looking prettier than ever.

"In her room writing a letter," said Sara, her clipped and off-handed manner covering the shyness they both always felt when they hadn't seen one another for some time.

"In that case, here. You'd better read this," he said, giving her Wyatt's telegram.

She read it and was looking at him with a puzzled frown that told him she didn't know what it was about either when a door upstairs opened and Verna came hurrying down the stairs.

"Andrew, darling," she said, embracing him. "I thought I heard a cab, but I was in the middle of something and I wasn't sure. How are you?" she asked, holding him away from her and studying him.

"Fine."

"I must say you look well. And of course you've grown again—which I know I'm not supposed to say. And I'm sure Mrs. Wiggins has asked you if you've had tea."

"She has. And I told her I had it on the train, and she's gone into the kitchen to chivvy Mrs. Simmonds who's not going to like it one bit. So let's go inside and sit down so you can tell me how you are."

"Why, I'm fine too," said Verna, leading the way into the parlor.

"No, you're not. What's wrong?"

About to sit down, Verna looked at Sara to see if she'd said anything to him and Sara shook her head.

"What makes you think something's wrong?" she asked.

"I just do. You're angry or upset about something."

"I must say that playing detective with Sara and Peter Wyatt has made you very observant. Or have you become psychic, able to read minds and that sort of thing?"

"No. I just know you. Now what is it?"

Sighing, Verna sat down.

"It's the play."

No need to ask which one. Her last play, an adaptation of Jane Eyre, had closed a few weeks before. But long before that, Lawrence Harrison, the manager who was also her good friend, had come to her with a new comedy about which she had been quite excited.

"I thought you liked it."

"I did and do like it. It's not just funny, it's witty. Lydia is just the kind of character I've been dying to play, especially after Jane Eyre. That's why I'm annoyed at Harrison for postponing it."

"Why is he postponing it?"

"That's just it. I don't know. We were supposed to start rehearsals last Wednesday, but I got a note from him saying he was holding off until he had talked to Duncan about some rewriting. It's true that there are some things that can be improved, but nothing serious enough to delay going into rehearsal. There's something very odd about the whole thing, and I don't like it."

"What are you going to do about it?"

"I'm having lunch with Harrison tomorrow, and I'm going to get to the bottom of it."

Andrew and Sara exchanged glances. That took care of that very nicely. If Verna was having lunch with Harrison, there would be no awkward questions asked when they went off to have lunch with Peter Wyatt.

CHAPTER 2

The Murdered Players


The White Stag was not yet crowded when Sara and Andrew arrived, and they were able to get the table in the bay window that Andrew knew Wyatt liked. The waiter remembered Andrew and nodded when he said they were waiting for someone. By ten minutes after twelve, Wyatt had still not appeared, and Sara and Andrew were beginning to wonder what had happened, when Sergeant Tucker, the large and deceptively mild-looking policeman who had been working with Wyatt for some time, entered, looked around and came over to them.

"Well," he said. "The troublesome two."

"Troublesome to whom?" asked Andrew.

"Us at the Yard. Though I'll admit you've given a certain amount of trouble to a few yobbos, too."

"I should say we have," said Sara. "You wouldn't have solved half the cases you have if it wasn't for us. Where's Wyatt?"

"He'll be along. He was on his way here when the commissioner sent for him. So he sent me over to tell you why he was late and that he'd be here when he could."

"Something up?" asked Andrew.

"There's always something up at the Yard. What do you think we do all day, sit around figuring form for the races?"

"I know you do that most of the time. But I meant something important. There must be if the commissioner sent for Wyatt."

"How do you know he didn't want to ask him who his tailor is?"

"He probably asked him that a long time ago," said Sara. "Come on, Sergeant. Tell us."

"I will not. That's how the trouble always starts. Someone tells you three words about a case, and the next thing we know you're in it up to your sit-me-downs."

"All right," said Andrew. "Just tell us if it's animal, vegetable or mineral."

"I'll tell you nothing. I'll tell Frank here," he said to the waiter who had reappeared, "what his nibs is having for lunch. And by the time it gets here, he'll be here. A steak and kidney pie for the inspector, Frank."

"And a pint of your best bitter, of course."

"Of course."

Sara and Andrew decided to have steak and kidney-pie, too, and Tucker proved to be as good a prophet in this as he was in most things, for about the time the waiter reappeared with their order, Wyatt came hurrying in.

"Sorry I'm late. You explained?" he asked Tucker.

"I did."

"I left a note on your desk. Take care of it as soon as you can."

"Aren't you having lunch with us?" Sara asked Tucker.

"Someone has to hold the fort," said the sergeant. "I'll grab a bite at the pub, but I suspect I'll be seeing the two of you again sometime soon." And giving them an exaggerated salute, he left.

"How's the commissioner?" asked Sara.

"Fine."

"Do you think you'll be able to take care of what he wanted to see you about?" asked Andrew.

"As always, I intend to do my best."

"All right," said Sara. "We give up. So you don't intend to tell us what the commissioner wanted or about the case you're on. What did you want to see us about?"

"It's the holiday season. Andrew has just come back to London after several months away at school, and I haven't seen you since he was last here. Isn't that enough reason to want to see the two of you?"

"To send me a telegram making an appointment for my first day home?" said Andrew. "The answer is no."

"Why do you think I wanted to see you?"

"I don't mind guessing when it serves some useful purpose. But since you're bound to tell us sooner or later, I'll just wait until you do."

"You get more difficult every time I see you," said Wyatt.

"You say that every time we see you," said Sara. "And then you give us that look."

"What look is that?"

"The one that asks, 'Can I trust them to do what I want and keep quiet about it?' And the ridiculous part of it is that you must have decided that you could trust us or you never would have sent Andrew that telegram."

"True. All right, I'll tell you. Do you read the newspapers when you're away at school, Andrew?"

"No, I don't."

"Even though you're here, I don't imagine you do either, Sara."

"No. If something happens that Miss Tillett thinks I'll be interested in, she tells me about it or shows it to me. But that's all. Why? Has anything happened that we should know about?"

"Yes. Two weeks ago an actress, not too well known here in London but quite well known in the provinces, was found dead in her dressing room in the Adelphi Theatre. About a week ago another actress—I call her that though her most recent engagement was working with a magician at the Vaudeville Theatre—was found dead in the alley outside the stage door of the theatre. Both deaths were reported in the papers. But another one was not. That took place the day before yesterday. The victim was Meg Morrissey, who had a fairly important part in the musical, The Girl From Fiji, at the Garrick. Any comments or questions?"

"Questions," said Andrew. "You say these actresses were found dead. Were they murdered?"

"Yes."

"How?"

"At the moment, that's not important. There are other, more important things to discuss."

"They were all actresses, and they were all playing in theatres around the same area," said Sara. "Around the Strand."

"Right."

"You said that the first two deaths were reported in the newspapers, but the last one wasn't," said Andrew. "How did that happen?"

"I've been handling the cases, and I was able to keep the last one quiet."

"That's what I thought. Why did you do it? I mean, why was it important to keep it quiet?"

"To understand that, I'll have to give you some history." Wyatt cut a neat portion of steak and kidney pie, ate it and washed it down with a draught of beer. "Almost exactly ten years ago, at the beginning of the Christmas season, there was another series of strange deaths, all connected with the theatre. Four of them in all."

"When you say strange deaths, do you mean that they were all murders, too?" asked Andrew.

"They were never called murders," said Wyatt. "In fact, in three of the cases no one was sure what the cause of death was. But I'm convinced now that they were murders. In the fourth case, the man died of a heart attack as a result of the deaths."

"And the reason you kept the last murder quiet," said Sara, "is that you don't want people to start remembering those earlier deaths and start thinking there may be more of them."

"Exactly. We don't see any reason to frighten people unnecessarily."

"Because, of course, when they do get frightened," said Sara, "they have a way of going after the police, wanting to know why they're not doing something about it when you're already doing everything you can."

"How well you understand us," said Wyatt dryly.

"What I don't understand is why you're telling us about it," said Andrew. "I mean, it's not as if—" He broke off. "My mother!"

"Yes, Andrew."

"Is she in any danger?"

"We don't know, because we don't know what's behind these latest killings, what the motive is. All we know is that they all involved actresses."

"But she's not actually in a play right now," said Sara. "At least ... Was that your doing too, getting Mr. Harrison to postpone rehearsals of the play?"

"Yes. I told him why, but I didn't tell her. I didn't see any point in alarming her. But I thought I'd tell the two of you so that, if it's necessary, you could help persuade her to stay off the stage for a while."

"Of course," said Andrew. "Though I think you'd be better off telling her the truth than pretending there's something wrong with the play as Mr. Harrison's been doing. In fact ... What is it?" he asked as Wyatt sat up, staring past him.

"The chap who just came in," said Wyatt.

Turning, Andrew saw a sullen-looking man in rather flashy clothes who stood just inside the restaurant door.

"What about him?"

"His name's Bolan, Nifty Bolan, and he's a well known cracksman. Do you know what that is?"

"A burglar who specializes in opening safes," said Sara.

"Right. He's been in jail for over three years now, and I assume he's just been released.

But what is he doing here in the Yard's backyard?" He smiled faintly as Sergeant Tucker came back into the restaurant and stood behind Bolan, looking from him to Wyatt. "Tucker must have seen him go by, and he's wondering about it too, wants to make sure I know he's here."

He nodded to Tucker, and the sergeant left. Immediately after the door closed, it was pushed open again and an interesting-looking man came in. He was in his late thirties or early forties, not quite as tall as Bolan, but sturdy and with a pleasant, open face. He was wearing a tweed overcoat and a soft felt hat, and he looked like a country squire in town for the day. He greeted Bolan and started to lead him to a table that Frank, the waiter, had evidently been saving for him. Then, seeing Wyatt, he paused, said something to Bolan and came over to the table.

"This is a pleasant surprise, Inspector."

"It shouldn't be too big a surprise. I frequently have lunch here. I'd like you to meet two young friends of mine, Sara Wiggins and Andrew Tillett. Nicholas Norwood."

"Nice to meet you," said Norwood, bowing politely. Then, to Wyatt, "I'd like you to meet the man I'm lunching with. In fact, I was planning to come over to the Yard later on and see if you could spare us a few minutes."

"Is the man you want me to meet Nifty Bolan?"

"Why, yes. Do you know him?"

"By name, sight and reputation. But since we're well along with our lunch, why don't you bring him over here when you've finished yours?"

"Your young friends won't mind?"

"My young friends have another appointment and have to leave very soon."

"In that case, splendid. We'll be along shortly." And bowing again to Sara and Andrew, he left to join Bolan at a table on the far side of the restaurant.

"What made you say we had another appointment?" asked Sara.

"I just thought it might be better if you did have. I doubt if either Norwood or Bolan would talk as freely in front of you as they will to me alone."

"That's what I thought," said Andrew. "Who is Norwood?"

"Quite an interesting man. Did you ever hear of the Golden Rule Society?"

"No."

"Well, he started it, runs it. Do you know what the Golden Rule is?"

"From the Bible, isn't it?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Case of the Murdered Players by Robert Newman. Copyright © 1985 Robert Newman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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