Monday, January 21, 2019

Ascension Address: Death of a Chamberlain

Two months earlier.

The annual Mystery Writers’ Fundraising Dinner at Chamberlain House.

Silverware glints and chinks in the candlelight, and lively conversation resounds around the enormous oak-panelled dining room as local dignitaries and police officials exchange anecdotes and questions with fiction writers and amateur detectives. The empty chair at the head of the high table remains empty, the reclusive Morgan Chamberlain IV traditionally arranging and hosting the dinner without ever attending in person. The usual jokes and rumours that Morgan secretly attends each event in disguise are muted this year by the news that the ageing financier is seriously ill, confined to bed elsewhere in the mansion.

In a lull between courses, the clock having not long struck eleven, the double-doors swing open and the chief of police enters from the hallway, flanked by serious-faced uniformed officers. Three squad cars pull up outside the tall windows of Chamberlain House, their bright blue lights strobing wide across the dining room, sharp against the candlelight.

Morgan Chamberlain IV has died.

Replace “Attorney” with “Detective” and “Judge” with “Chief”.

Per comments about Columbo last round, let’s have a rival detective dynasty.


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