Today was a big day for Richard, for the first time he would be allowed to hold the fort by himself. But what started out as a chance of trust, turned into one of the craziest adventures of his life...
It all started when another boy, who was around Richard's age, named Donald went to meet with a Private Investigator. For some unknown reason, Donald had developed a deep dislike towards him. (So deep, it goes beyond 'hatred').
This particular Private Eye, Todd Brannigan, considers himself one of the best in the country, if not THE best. Him and his constant partner, Malcolm Lore, crack cases with nothing but good old fashioned detective work, they don't even have any computers to receive e-mails or even mobile phones to contact each other.
"You say your great aunt Dame Sandra van Crosby has been murdered?" Brannigan asked Donald. "And you believe the deed was done by a Richard Cross of Cross Manor."
"That is correct." Donald replied. "But I must have someone to help me prove it."
"So you thought of one of the greatest detectives the world has ever known, what?" Lore asked. He must've been born into a time when everyone ended every sentence with 'What?' And the last one was a while ago. Maybe they both came from that time.
"Yes, thank you, Lore." Brannigan said, but the way he said it meant it was probably not sincere. "Very well, I agree to take on the case."
"Oh I am most grateful." Donald told him. "But yet I can't put my finger on his motives, he was like a son to aunt Sandra. He has his own fortune so that's evidently not it."
"Rest assured." Brannigan told him. "Once we prove he did, we will soon know his motives. Now Lore, will you be so kind as to ask Mrs Watson to bring the mobile unit to the front door?"
"Very good, sir." Lore replied and he left the room.
"IGOR!" Richard was calling at the top of his voice. "IGOR!!!"
"M'lord?" Asked the butler with a low tone.
Richard was at his own fridge (Sarah has one for herself as well) and had found a small glass containing a red liquid.
"Would you mind just telling me what is the meaning of this?!" He asked.
"Has it gone off, M'lord?" Igor asked.
"Off?" Richard double checked, knowing exactly what he meant.
"Bad, M'lord." Igor replied.
"Igor," Richard told him, "I know what 'off' means. THIS STUFF WAS NEVER 'ON' IN THE FIRST PLACE! I mean, you do know what this stuff is?"
"But of course, M'lord." Igor replied. "It is blood.
"Blood!" Richard snapped back. "Exactly! And would mind telling me what it's doing in my refrigerator?!"
"I though you might care for a nice pair of teeth, M'lord." Igor admitted.
"No Igor I would not." Richard replied, who knew that when Igor said 'teeth' he meant 'fangs'. "I'm quite fine with the ones I have. Thank you." For a moment, he forgot what had started this argument. "What are we talking about?" He asked Igor.
"That, M'lord." Igor reminded him, indicating the glass in his hand.
"AH, BLOOD!" Richard exclaimed.
"Yes, M'lord." Igor replied. "And an excellent vintage too."
"That's enough, Igor!" Richard replied. "Listen, I don't want to see blood..." he made a groan of disgust "...in my refrigerator ever again, not ever, no way, no why, no how, never! Get it?!"
"Yes, M'lord." Igor replied.
"Got it?!" Richard asked.
"Yes, M'lord." Igor repeated.
"Good!" Richard said. "So, now we have that little problem straightened out, I suggest you go do some 'butling' while I fix myself a Banana sandwich. That okay with you?"
"As you wish, M'lord." Igor replied, with an air of disappointment.
"Good!" Richard replied. "Now..." now talking to himself "...bread and bana..."
"Oh, duckie-boos," called the voice of his nanny, "come to nanny."
She easily picked him up with one arm.
"Nanny?!" Richard said, but soon his face was embedded in her hulking chest.
"Oh, he cut himself then? Did he get a nose-bleed?" She asked.
As soon as Richard's feet were back on the ground, he started by getting enough air to his lungs.
"Nanny, what got into you?" He asked. "What happened?"
"I found this." She replied and she brought out a pink lacey handkerchief.
"What is that?" He asked her.
"It's a hanky, isn't it?" She replied. "And it's got blood on it. So I thought you might've cut yourself and used it as a bandage."
"Well I haven't! And I didn't." Richard replied. "And anyway it's not mine."
"Oh dear," she replied, "maybe it's Mr Igor's."
"I don't think he'd use a lacey handkerchief like that, Nanny." Richard told her.
"Perhaps not." She said.
"Look." Richard said and took it from her hand. "It has a 'S' embroided on it. Must've belonged to someone beginning with 'S'."
"Oh, aren't you clever, duckie-boos?" Nanny asked.
"Well, yes Nanny, I am." Richard replied, rather modestly.
"Duckie-boos?" Asked Nanny.
"Yes, nanny?" Richard asked.
"There's no one in the house beginning with 'S'." Nanny replied.
"Beginning with..." Richard replied. "What do you mean?"
"This here hanky." Nanny replied. "You said as how, it belongs to someone beginning with 'S' and there's no one here beginning with 'S'."
"I see your point." Richard told her. "You may have something there (for once). So whose is it?"
Brannigan and Lore had arrived at the front door by this time. Mrs Watson, their house-keeper, was the only one who was actually at the door.
"First thing is to find a place to enter unawares." Brannigan was saying. They had obviously decided to take the 'stealth' route.
"Why don't you knock on the door?" Watson asked him. "Someone will come along and open it."
"Mrs Watson," Brannigan told her, "I don't think you understand the full situation. Come along, Lore."
The two went along the side of the building.
"Oh that Todd has some silly ideas and no mistake." She said to herself. "I don't know he can't knock on the door like normal folk."
She lifted her arm and fist and knocked three times. Richard's nanny opened it, just like she had said.
"There you go, Todd, you see." She started saying, then she realised no one was there. "TODD BRANNIGAN!"
"I think you must've got the wrong house." Nanny said. "There's no one here called 'Todd Brannigan'."
"No no dear." Mrs Watson replied. "That's my Todd Brannigan I was shouting after. Oh he does leave me alone at times. Him and that Malcolm Lore, they keep me busy at all hours, God's end."
"Just like my duckie-boos." Nanny replied.
"Your duckie-boos?" Asked Mrs Watson.
"Yes." Nanny replied. "The trouble I have looking after him at times."
"And you get no thanks for it?" Mrs Watson asked her.
"No thanks." Nanny agreed. "Oh what am I thinking of? We shouldn't be stood out here in the cold. Come inside, we'll have a nice cup of tea and a chat."
"Oh thank you dear," Mrs Watson replied, "That'll be nice."
And she followed the other woman inside the house.
Richard and Igor entered another room where they found several other pieces of clothing and accessories covered in blood.
"Igor?" Richard asked. "What is going on around here?"
"It looks very much like as if someone is trying to frame you for a murder, M'lord." Igor replied.
"Muh muh muh muh?" Richard replied. "But no one's been muh muh muh, have they?"
"Regrettfully no, M'lord." Igor told him.
"Then what..." Richard didn't get a chance to finish.
CRASH!!! And when the smoke cleared...
"And this here's the lounge." Nanny told Mrs Watson.
"Nanny?" Richard asked. "You see that, Nanny?" He was pointing towards the open door which was a couple of feet to Nanny's left.
"What?" She asked. "The door ya mean?"
"Precisely Nanny the door!" Richard exclaimed. "the Duh-OO-Ruh! The D-ooor!"
"Yes?" Nanny asked him.
"Do you think you can USE it in future?" Richard asked calmly after his little outburst.
"Alright then, duckie-boos." Nanny replied.
"That 'im, is it?" Asked Mrs Watson.
"That's him!" Nanny replied.
"Looks like he needs a bit of building up." Mrs Watson observed.
"That's what I saids." Nanny told her. "But he's all per-nickety about his food, aren't you, eh? He saids as how, he's a veggie-retarian."
"Oh, he's never!" Mrs Watson exclaimed.
"Yes." Nanny replied. "Don't get no trouble for him to eat his greens. But he won't touch nothing else."
"More's a pity." Igor muttered.
"Thank you Igor." Richard snapped back at him.
"Anyway the kitchen's this way." Nanny reminded Mrs Watson. "We can have our nice cup of tea."
"Oh thank you dear," Mrs Watson repeated, "That'll be nice."
"Nanny!" Richard called.
"Oh yes, silly Nanny," she replied, "The door." But instead of going out through it, she pulled it off its hinges and used that to go through the next wall.
"I don't believe this, I just don't." Muttered Richard. "Just a minute, who was that with Nanny?" He asked Igor.
"I wouldn't know, M'lord." Igor replied. "I've never seen her before."
Meanwhile, outside, Brannigan and Lore had found a window that someone had left wide open.
"Give me a leg up then I'll pull you in." Brannigan said.
"Right you are, sir." Lore replied.
What they didn’t know was that that window overlooked the kitchen. And as Nanny was pouring some tea into Mrs Watson’s cup from the pot, she was saying, "So I saids to him I saids ‘have you put on your clean vest on this morning?’ ‘This is no time to be talking about clean vests’ he saids. Oh the nerve."
"Don’t I know it, my two are just the same." Mrs Watson said as Brannigan fell in through the window. "Speaking of which, he’s Todd now.” She said as Brannigan landed on the table.
"Hello dear." Nanny said to him. “You come in and make yourself comfy."
"Oh well.” Brannigan muttered. “So much for stealth.”
Just then, Richard came into the room.
"Er Nanny, who is this person?" He asked.
"That's Mrs Watson." Nanny explained. But as she was explaining, Lore had climbed onto the window ledge and had also fallen in through it. As he landed on the table next to Brannigan, Richard asked, "Who's that?"
"That's Todd Brannigan." Nanny told him. "And Malcolm Lore, is what Mrs Watson does for."
"Oh I see." Richard replied. "No I don't." He muttered. Aloud he added, "What do you think you're doing here?"
"We have come to investigate the foul and brutal murder of Dame Sandra van Crosby."
"Who?" Richard asked. Then he got an idea. "Hey, this hasn't got any thing to do with all this stuff we've been finding all over the place!"
"Stuff?" Asked Brannigan. "What stuff?"
"'What stuff' he saids." Richard muttered. Aloud he added, "I'll show you 'what stuff'!"
"There, that stuff." Richard said.
They were in another room and all the stuff they had found all over the house were in a pile that stretched towards the ceiling.
"What have we here?" Brannigan asked and he went through listing the whole pile, stating each and every drop of blood. It took almost an hour but he finally managed to get through the whole pile. "Yes. Yes. Hmmm. All pretty clear. We have here the murder weapons and several blood stained personal affects. Yes. All points in one direction."
"What direction would that be?" Richard muttered but him and his big mouth...
"Richard Cross," Brannigan replied, "I arrest you, in the name of the law, for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of Dame Sandra van Crosby."
"See ya!" Richard said, and in the blink of an eye, he was out of the room.
"We must pursue the scoundrel before he can escape." Brannigan told Lore. "You go that way, I'll go this." But that only met with them crashing into each other.
But, while on the way, Richard bumps into his parents.
"So, how'd it go?" He asked them.
"You know, it was the 100 years war." Patrick replied. "Sarah really took to Joan of Arc."
'Well, she would, wouldn't she?' Richard asked himself.
"A-ha! There he is!" Brannigan's voice came form behind him. Then he noticed Catherine and Patrick. "And who are you?"
"I'm Patrick and this is Catherine." Patrick replied. "We're Richard's parents. And maybe you would like to explain who are you and what you are doing here?"
"I'm Todd Brannigan, world famous Private Investigator and this is my companion, Malcolm Lore." Brannigan told him "As to why we're here, we're to solve the murder of Dame Sandra van Crosby."
"You mean, my mother?" Catherine asked them. "Who died in her sleep a long time ago?"
"So it appears there has been no murder." Brannigan said to Lore.
Richard gave a mock round of applause.
"Well congratulations, brains (!)" He said. "TOOK YOU A WHILE TO FIGURE IT OUT (!)"
"And so, my dear Lore, I think I can safely say another case has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion." Brannigan told Lore.
"Oh, quite staggering," Lore replied, "How'd you do it?"
"He didn't do ANYTHING, you idiot!" Richard exclaimed.
"That's quite marvellous, sir." Lore said to Brannigan. "Quite incredible."
"WHAT?!" Richard thundered. "I'LL SAY IT'S INCREDIBLE! IT'S INCREDIBLE HOW YOU CAN BELIVE...!"
CRASH!!! And when the smoke cleared...
"Oh there you are." Nanny said, she also had Mrs Watson with her. "I'd thought we'd find you. Oh, Mr and Mrs!"
"The door, Nanny." Richard muttered. "The door."
"What can I be thinking of?" Nanny asked herself and Catherine and Patrick. "I forgot to tell you about our guests."
"I really don't believe this!" Richard called out to the heavens.