The dying rays of the autumn sun paint golden the tennis courts of Palgrave Manor, Bassethwaite, where a rather unusual game of mixed doubles is taking place. Up on the battlements, young Archie Palgrave, who hasn't been quite the ticket since a rather close thing at Passchendaele, intensely reads the latest weird tale by that strange Yankee author he now favours. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Mrs Blake frowns over the silverware. One of Cook's big knives seems to be missing...
From the butler's pantry, all that can be heard is the gentle clink of bottles. Mr Verity is hard at work as usual, ensuring that plenty of the master's finest Chateau Vanier is on hand for tonight's repast. It would take a very suspicious mind to inquire as to the purpose of the length of tubing leading from his funnel to a mysterious cask under the table, from which a curious slurping noise can in no sense be discerned.
Beyond the ha-ha, on the old Long Barrow, the members of the archaeological team from the Bassetshire Antiquarian Society are waist-deep in their trench. "Remind me again why we have to finish this dig by tonight?" asks a weary Sir Digby Burroughs. His colleague shrugs and indicates the moving-picture crew stationed vigilantly around the site. "They said it would make for a more dramatic show if we were under an artificial time constraint. Seems bally daft to me -- that's no way to do good archaeology!" Just then, there is an eager shout from down the other end of the trench. A precious find!
Lady Helen watches the scene outside through the French windows that lead from the parlour onto the terrazzo. Her mind wanders to happier times on the Italian Riviera, when she still believed that her husband loved her. Well, she had learnt soon enough. And had learnt, further, how to deal with his errant ways. Thanks to her efforts, there is little enough danger that any other woman will benefit from his wayward attentions. And, yes -- if either of her sons show signs of the same bad blood, she has a way of dealing with them, too.
No-one has noticed the crescent moon rising silently up behind the house, but all sense a chill come into the air. The man behind the movie camera turns to his director. "Must be getting close to time now!" She checks her elegant wristwatch. "Nearly... nearly..." Soon enough, it will be time, and she will be repaid for that time long ago -- will have her cold revenge.
But before she can say any more, there is a shrill scream from the great dark house itself. "Murder!"
Premiere: Consequences 2007
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Last update: 10th September 2008