Locations

The house is divided into the "above-stairs" locations where the master and the guests spend their time and the "below-stairs" area where servants work and live. The doors leading between the two areas are as small and discreet as practicality allows.

Hall

The front doors of the house open into the Hall.

Automatic
The large entrance hall is magnificently decorated, with holly and ivy decking the walls. A large (10') Christmas tree stands at one end, near the bottom of a broad, carpeted staircase that sweeps upwards.
Hard
The tree completely obscures a small door, that even without the tree would be hard to spot.

Drawing Room

The drawing room is the main room for socialising and designed for comfort.

Automatic
Beautifully furnished with soft, leather armchairs, dark wood panelling and a large fireplace. Several paintings of cityscapes decorate the wall and a large drinks cabinet occupies most of one wall.
Easy
The paintings are of America, mostly of New York, showing working class bars and street scenes.
Moderate
All the paintings are in the same style and appear to be done by the same artist. If asked, Jimmy cannot recall the artist's name, just that he picked them up a few years ago because he liked the pictures of "workers and real life and not those poncy landscapes or portraits."
Hard
Many of pictures show scenes from the waterfront, an area controlled by the Irish-American White Hand Gang - a gang the Private Eye has had run-ins with.

Study

Jimmy's private office.

Automatic - The small study is filled by two armchairs and a desk and chair. The walls are lined by leather-bound volumes that look unread, but above the fire place a small shelf has a collection of brightly-coloured novels on it.
Easy
The top of the desk is bare except for a blotter, a Mont Blanc fountain pen & ink and a box of Montecristo cuban cigars.
If The Aristocrat examines the desk, the Montecristo cigars will remind him of the case of Lord Margoyle, murdered by his butler who poisoned the Lord's favourite cigars, the Montecristo.
Easy
The novels above the fireplace are pulp novels plus a collection of books about the sleuths and their cases. All these books look well-worn.
Easy
The box for the house keys sits in plain view on a bookshelf just inside the door.
Moderate
Surprisingly the desk contains little paperwork. An old household ledger dating back five years shows records up to about six months ago. The last year's worth of these entries are in Henry's rough hand detailing minor expenses needed to keep the house in good order.
Moderate
The desk contains a petty cash box, unlocked, containing several thousand pounds in a variety of notes and coins. This is a massive amount for just petty cash and is really for the staff to use when fleeing the country. If Jimmy is asked he will explain that as a gangster he never wrote things down and was used to having large amounts of cash around.

Dining Room

The Dining Room is dominated by a large bay window that looks over the grounds of the estate. During daylight, the scene is one of endless pristine snow.

Automatic
A table, large enough for eight people to sit comfortably, fills most of the room. To one side of the room there is a sideboard containing plates, cutlery and glasses. A collection of artworks and traditional Christmas decorations, holly and ivy, adorn the walls.

There is little to find in this room except the five pictures on the walls. These, along with the paintings in the Drawing Room, are Jimmy's little joke. They are oblique references to the events behind the Staff's feuds with the Sleuths.

  • An English Country House, similar but not identical to Lord Margoyle's (see Newgate the Butler's back story).
  • An English country church (a reference to Mrs Baxter's past).
  • The rugged coastline of County Kerry in Ireland.
  • An antique shop full of Japanese artifacts which will prompt Eastern Wisdom to remember the case involving antiquity smugglers from five years ago (see Johnny the Footman).
  • An African river scene, probably the Nile. A reminder to The European of his case on the river boat.
  • A Chinese junk in a busy Chinese harbour (a pointer towards Shanghai and Tim the Houseboy).

The pictures are deliberately vague. Their purpose is to provide some colour to the early parts of the adventure whilst also giving the Game Leader a chance to mention some relevant background to characters. All the pictures should be present even if the specific detectives are not in the adventure.

All the paintings are newish (done in the last couple of years) and all are by unknown artists. Jimmy bought them in London before buying the house.

Back Passage

A short unlit corridor running from the Kitchen to the Dining Room.

Kitchen

For the servants, the warm kitchen (with its ready supply of tea) is the heart of the house.

Automatic
A large range cooker is always lit, providing some heat all the time. A large fireplace with its own oven and hot plate fills the wall to one side.

At just about any time during Christmas Day, Mrs Baxter the Cook (or whoever is doing the cooking) can be found in here, very busy and often assisted by one of the maids and Tim the Hall Boy. The Christmas turkey is prepared first thing after breakfast and the open fire is lit. Around midday the turkey goes in the fire's oven and takes three hours to cook.

In the run-up to the Mince Pie scene, Mrs Baxter will cook two batches of pies - one with crimped edges using normal mincemeat and a much smaller batch with smooth edges using the adulterated mincemeat. Should characters be in the kitchen at the time, they may notice the two designs being cooked.

Scullery

The Scullery is used for washing clothes and links the kitchen to the outside.

Automatic
The scullery contains two large sinks, a wash tub, various clothes racks and other equipment for washing and cleaning. Around the back door, coats and boots stand ready for anyone braving the weather outside.
Easy The heavy external door with bolts and a mortice lock opens into the outside world and a path through the snow leads towards Henry's cottage.

Larder

Shelves line the larder, stocked with a variety of food and storage jars.

Moderate
Though the larder has a fair amount of food in it, most of it appears to be fresh meats and vegetables plus the basics such as flour. There is very little of the jams or chutneys or tinned goods that most cooks keep in stock. In fact, there is little more than food for one or two days in this larder.
Hard
Only if The Old One is playing Several jars of mincemeat stand ready to be used in the mince pies. All of them are carefully labelled with the date they were made except one, half-empty jar. The jar contains the mincemeat poisoned with cyanide and smells strongly of almonds.

Back Stairs

A narrow, poorly lit set of stairs which allows the staff to move through the house without being seen by guests. On the first, second and attic floors, a door exits on to the landing for easy access to the bedrooms.

Hall Passage

A narrow, unlit passage running under the main stairs allowing staff a quick and discreet way of reaching the hall. The doorway into the hall is hidden by the Christmas Tree.

Moderate
Above the Hall door is a shelf containing candles and matches. It also has a 9" blow pipe, a dart and a small bottle of thick liquid.
Hard
The bottle contains a bitter-smelling sticky substance that can be identified as the distilled sap of a rare Chinese Waterlily.

Cellar

A damp and dirty place and one of the oldest parts of the house.

Automatic At the top of the old wooden cellar stairs there is a shelf with candles and matches.
Easy
The cellar is divided into several sub-cellars and runs under much of the house. Around the stairway, it is mostly junk including some ancient mantraps. Further into the cellar is the wine vault but all the wine has been removed.
Moderate
If the Aristocrat / Snodworth are in the game. The mantraps have been recently moved and oiled.
Moderate
Amongst the junk is a pair of worn but usable snow shoes.

Master Bedroom

Automatic
The bedroom is dominated by a large four-poster bed but also contains a dressing table and a wardrobe. The room is clearly occupied but other than things necessary for day-to-day living there is little in the way of decoration or personal possessions.
Easy
The dressing table has the normal hair brushes and shaving equipment for a gentleman in his fifties, plus a small make-up kit.
Easy
In one of the drawers there are a variety of medicines commonly used for pain relief. They are all in use and there are two to four weeks worth of supplies remaining.
Moderate
Only the parts of the make-up kit needed to give someone pale-looking skin have been used.

Guest Bedrooms

All the guest rooms are identical with bed, dressing table and a wardrobe. They contain nothing of interest.

The Aristocrat, The Old One and the Private Eye have rooms on the first floor. Eastern Wisdom, Kid Reporter and The European have rooms on the second floor.

Mrs Baxter the Cook's Room

A small room, cold but in reasonable condition.

Automatic
A simple room but some attempt has been made to give it a sense of home. A dried flower arrangement sits on the windowsill and several cheap pictures are on the walls. A framed photo sits on the bedside table showing a little girl in front of a church.
Easy
Under the bed is a new-looking suitcase with spare clothes in it.
Moderate
The girl in the photo is Mrs Baxter, aged about ten.
Hard
The church is the parish church of Upper Withyham, the centre of a murder and scandal about 30 years ago. A murder solved by The Old One.
Hard
The suitcase is brand new but inside the lid are the initials J.D.

Newgate the Butler's Room

The largest of the servants' rooms.

Automatic
Barren doesn't begin to describe this bedroom. A prison cell has more character than these quarters. A bed neatly made, a small table with shaving implements and a set of clothes hanging off the dado rail are the only items in the room.
Easy
The complete lack of any personal possessions or decoration in the room suggest someone who is used to living in an institution such as the army, the priesthood or a prison.

Mary & Sally's Room

A large window overlooking the back of the house gives this room plenty of light.

Automatic
Two narrow beds occupy about half the room. A wardrobe and a dressing table fill the rest. From the variety of hairbrushes, make up, hair pins, shampoo bottles and similar, this is clearly occupied by women.
Easy
Mary A tattered postcard showing the Liberty Statue. On the back is the simple message "I made it! Anne" and it is addressed to Mrs O'Flynn (Mary and Anne's mother) at an address in County Kerry. The Private Eye will connect this to the Anne from County Kerry he knew in New York
Easy
Sally A framed picture shows a smiling Sally sitting on a camel next to a young man. In the background are the great pyramids of Giza.
Moderate
Sally Going from Sally's age in the photo, it was taken about five years ago. This was about the time the European was in Egypt.
Hard
Mary The floorboards are cracked and damaged but a glint of something metallic from between the boards catches the sleuth's eye. Fishing it out reveals a spent cartridge casing from a small calibre pistol. From the residual smell, it was probably fired within the last week.

Johnny the Footman / Tim the House Boy's Room

The darkest and dankest of all the servants' rooms.

Automatic
A bare room with little decoration. Two narrow beds with thin mattresses plus a wardrobe are crammed into this small room, leaving little space to move around.
Easy
Johnny A wardrobe contains a spare clothes for the footman.
Moderate
Tim In the bottom of a wardrobe is a box containing a pea shooter and a couple of comics.
Moderate
Johnny In the pocket of one of the jackets, a half-drunk bottle of cheap spirits can be found. By examining the bottle further the sleuths will discover it is much nicer whisky than the label suggests. In fact, it is the same type found in the drinks cabinet downstairs.
Hard
Tim The wardrobe has a loose bottom that can be lifted. Underneath is a beautiful lacquered 1' long, 2" deep box which is padded but, from the indentations, several things are missing. There are five small feathered darts in the box plus space for another one. There is also a long, thin indentation plus a space for a small bottle.
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open/oneshots/ultralite/mincepiesmurder/locations.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/06 13:34 by darth_tigger
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