Clockwork 1888 Date: Wednesday, May 24, 1888 to Sunday, June 10, 1888
With the defeat of the anarchists that were trying to destroy the Parthenon, it was good to have a relaxing shipboard trip back to jolly old England. But, word travels fast via telegraph and news of your discoveries and involvement in archeological finds in Greece and Crete seemed to open new doors.
Catching up on the London news, an archaeological expedition to Egypt discovered a lost tomb and had just returned to London with their trove. They appeared to have considerable difficulties during their expedition. That included local workers abandoning the expedition and a wagon accident that spilled artifacts on the road. Then, the death of their Egyptian adviser, Ahmed Said (an antiquities director at the Cairo Museum) delayed their departure from Egypt. And then, the shifting of crates on the voyage home caused the expedition photographer to break his arm.
The expedition leader scoffed at the rumors of a curse and the expedition finally returned to England. Your reputation, both in England and abroad, garnered you an invite to the reception at the British Museum on Saturday, June 9th. Such an invite is irresistible to ignore.
Attending the reception was Reginald Pierce, the museum director, Meredith Long, a museum archivist, and Dr. John Ainsworth, the expedition leader. Other expedition members included Robert Dunham, a young graduate fellow at the museum, and Ted Galwaith, the expedition photographer. Of note was Dr. Martin de Vreis, another archaeologist but not with the expedition.
From the aristocrats was Rebecca Ashton, a celebrated debutante from a wealthy family and recently engaged to Dr. Ainsworth. Accompanying her was her brother, William Wormwood Ashton IV, and his girlfriend, Theresa Delecta. Then, of course, there were also the typical reporters and other miscellaneous guests.
Fredryck knew of the Ashton family. Rebecca was known to be a fickle one but her station and appearance bade men ignore that. Her brother, William Wormwood Ashton IV, known as Willy in certain circles, was likewise a man of the family’s means. But, he was also reputed to have a thing for the ladies, fast ships, fast horses, drinking and gambling. The latter two have been a known problem for him.
This was not the first mummy that the museum had in its collection. But, it was the most prestigious. Dr. Ainsworth explained that the mummy, Tuthret, was a counselor in the court of Queen Hatshepsut, during the New Kingdom. He had died and was buried with full honors in the Valley of Kings.
The reception was a tiresome affair, for some, but the staunch museum associates couldn’t hide the drama that was lurking behind the scenes. Although the museum director, Mr. Pierce seemed oblivious, mingling with the museum associates you learned that Meredith Long has had a thing for Dr. Ainsworth for quite some time. But, her longing has gone unrequited. Mr. Dunham seems to have a keen interest in Rebecca Ashton that’s not returned, too.
And, concerning one Rebecca Ashton, who became recently engaged to Dr. Ainsworth, as with so many of the elite, she’s a fickle woman. Specifically, while her now-betrothed was away, she’d been seeing other men. The other men included Dr. Ainsworth’s rival, in archeology and love, Dr. de Vreis. Dr. de Vreis is also angry with Ainsworth for not including him in the expedition.
Interestingly enough, Willy met his girlfriend, Theresa Delecta, at the New Amsterdam Club through Tony Galioto. Fredryck had heard of Tony and the New Amsterdam Club, a gambling establishment geared toward elitists. There was no doubt that Tony handled Willy’s gambling.
Still, Rebecca was wearing some of the artifacts, saying that she was showcasing them for the museum. A quick eye noted that she seemed to think that some of the artifacts belonged to her. She even discreetly touted that Dr. Ainsworth had given some of them to her. Pierce and Ainsworth downplayed those rumors, however.
Near the end of the reception, Willy asked to speak privately with Dr. Ainsworth. They quietly left the reception and went to Dr. Ainsworth’s office. The din of the reception made it difficult, but a keen ear could tell that some angry words were exchanged between the men. Still, the reception ended without incident and people went home.
It was barely seven in the morning when Reginald Pierce, the museum director, came to call on Evgenia’s place of business. A security guard had found Dr. Ainsworth in a museum storeroom at 4:30 a.m. He was apparently murdered and some of the artifacts were stolen. Pierce informed that the police were already on the case due to the murder but he wanted the artifacts returned to the museum, and Dr. Ainsworth’s murderer caught, if possible. Evgenia agreed to meet him at the museum with the others. Sending local boys to inform the others, she prepared to leave.
The morning papers touted the news that Dr. Ainsworth had died. But, they reported that he died in his flat. Apparently, the press was told something other than the truth. Still, the press had no problem speculating on the potential of a curse on the tomb they had opened. After all, there was a slew of problems that occurred since the tomb was opened.
At the museum, you searched the storeroom scene of the crime and found a scrap of ancient cloth in Dr. Ainsworth’s hand. Your knowledge told you that it was most likely a piece of cloth from a mummy. You also could tell that Dr. Ainsworth was beaten and then strangled to death. Dr. Ainsworth’s coat and hat were missing. Pierce assured that the museum was working on a list detailing the missing artifacts and that they’d have it as soon as possible.
Checking the security log garnered additional information. Of course, the guests not associated with the museum left at 6 p.m. when the reception ended. Mr. Galwaith, the expedition photographer, left with the guests. Dr. de Vries left at 6:15 p.m., shortly after the reception, Mr. Dunham signed out at 6:20 p.m., Mr. Pierce at 6:30 and Meredith Long at 9:45 p.m. But, Robert Dunham returned to the museum, to retrieve some papers from his office according to the security guard, and left again at 10:45 pm.
The next logical place was Ainsworth’s flat in London. Arriving, they ran into Detective Mike O’Connor, from Scotland Yard. After exchanging formalities, the detective allowed them to join him in the search of Ainsworth’s flat. He’d heard stories about a team that had assisted the Yard on some cases prior to his arrival less than a month ago. Plus, their story abut working to recover the artifacts for the museum checked out, too.
A search of Ainsworth’s flat revealed several artifacts and keepsakes from the expedition, a few carefully bundled letters from Rebecca Ashton and a receipt from a jewelry store for a deposit on a diamond ring. The letters from Rebecca don’t convey a great deal of emotion or affection. The buildingʼs doorman confirmed that Dr. Ainsworth had been spending most of his time since his return either at the museum or with Miss Ashton. Also of note was that Ainsworth’s hat and coat were not in his flat. Still, they made notes of the artifacts at the Ainsworth flat and moved on.
The doorman of Rebecca Ashtonʼs building confirmed that Ms. Ashton returned to the building sometime after 10 p.m. last night. He also confirmed that Dr. Ainsworth has been a frequent visitor. If asked, the doorman also reported that her other visitors have included her brother, Dr. de Vreis, and Tony Galioto. But, she wasn’t in at the time. She’d gone to see her brother, Willy.
On the way to Willy’s flat, they picked up an evening paper. Egyptian police have arrested a man in the death of Ahmed Said. The police believed that Said was murdered over a gambling debt. At Willy’s, they found Rebecca, feigning distraught, Willy, and his girlfriend. When asked, Theresa confirmed that she was with Willy throughout the night.