Mortimer Loses A Friend (Mortimer Adventures Book 1)

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I may explain, then, that our friend here spent last evening in the company of his two brothers, Owen and George, and of his sister Brenda, at their house of Tredannick Wartha, which is near the old stone cross upon the moor. This morning, being an early riser, he walked in that direction before breakfast and was overtaken by the carriage of Dr. Richards, who explained that he had just been sent for on a most urgent call to Tredannick Wartha. Mortimer Tregennis naturally went with him. When he arrived at Tredannick Wartha he found an extraordinary state of things.

His two brothers and his sister were seated round the table exactly as he had left them, the cards still spread in front of them and the candles burned down to their sockets. The sister lay back stone-dead in her chair, while the two brothers sat on each side of her laughing, shouting, and singing, the senses stricken clean out of them. All three of them, the dead woman and the two demented men, retained upon their faces an expression of the utmost horror—a convulsion of terror which was dreadful to look upon.

There was no sign of the presence of anyone in the house, except Mrs.

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Just as Mortimer sets off on his journey, ominous rain clouds form overhead. They are joined by Dr Jeronimo Martinez who works at Los Alamos and who is keen to compare theories on nuclear physics with Mortimer. I found my heroes. Soon, Blake and Mortimer are drawn into a lethal, shadowy war, from Moscow to London, where the stakes are no less than international peace and the real enemy may not be so obvious. Vote Are you sure you want to submit this vote? A fun and challenging running game! Mortimer gets in touch with his old friend Blake, also in France, to help him out of this tricky situation.

Porter, the old cook and housekeeper, who declared that she had slept deeply and heard no sound during the night. Nothing had been stolen or disarranged, and there is absolutely no explanation of what the horror can be which has frightened a woman to death and two strong men out of their senses.

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There is the situation, Mr. Holmes, in a nutshell, and if you can help us to clear it up you will have done a great work. I had hoped that in some way I could coax my companion back into the quiet which had been the object of our journey; but one glance at his intense face and contracted eyebrows told me how vain was now the expectation. He sat for some little time in silence, absorbed in the strange drama which had broken in upon our peace.

Have you been there yourself, Mr. Tregennis brought back the account to the vicarage, and I at once hurried over with him to consult you. But before we start I must ask you a few questions, Mr. Mortimer Tregennis. The other had been silent all this time, but I had observed that his more controlled excitement was even greater than the obtrusive emotion of the clergyman. He sat with a pale, drawn face, his anxious gaze fixed upon Holmes, and his thin hands clasped convulsively together.

His pale lips quivered as he listened to the dreadful experience which had befallen his family, and his dark eyes seemed to reflect something of the horror of the scene. Holmes, I supped there, as the vicar has said, and my elder brother George proposed a game of whist afterwards. It was a quarter-past ten when I moved to go. I left them all round the table, as merry as could be.

Porter had gone to bed, so I let myself out.

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I shut the hall door behind me. The window of the room in which they sat was closed, but the blind was not drawn down. There was no change in door or window this morning, or any reason to think that any stranger had been to the house. Yet there they sat, driven clean mad with terror, and Brenda lying dead of fright, with her head hanging over the arm of the chair. Holmes, devilish! Something has come into that room which has dashed the light of reason from their minds.


What human contrivance could do that? Yet we must exhaust all natural explanations before we fall back upon such a theory as this. As to yourself, Mr. Tregennis, I take it you were divided in some way from your family, since they lived together and you had rooms apart? Holmes, though the matter is past and done with. We were a family of tin-miners at Redruth, but we sold our venture to a company, and so retired with enough to keep us.

Think carefully, Mr.

Tregennis, for any clue which can help me. I saw him once look hard over my shoulder, so I turned round and looked also. The blind was up and the window shut, but I could just make out the bushes on the lawn, and it seemed to me for a moment that I saw something moving among them. When I asked him what he was looking at, he told me that he had the same feeling. That is all that I can say. This morning I had hardly started when the doctor in his carriage overtook me.

He told me that old Mrs. Porter had sent a boy down with an urgent message. I sprang in beside him and we drove on. When we got there we looked into that dreadful room.

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The candles and the fire must have burned out hours before, and they had been sitting there in the dark until dawn had broken. The doctor said Brenda must have been dead at least six hours. There were no signs of violence. She just lay across the arm of the chair with that look on her face.

George and Owen were singing snatches of songs and gibbering like two great apes. Oh, it was awful to see! Indeed, he fell into a chair in a sort of faint, and we nearly had him on our hands as well.

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I confess that I have seldom known a case which at first sight presented a more singular problem. Our proceedings of that first morning did little to advance the investigation. It was marked, however, at the outset by an incident which left the most sinister impression upon my mind. The approach to the spot at which the tragedy occurred is down a narrow, winding, country lane.

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While we made our way along it we heard the rattle of a carriage coming towards us and stood aside to let it pass. As it drove by us I caught a glimpse through the closed window of a horribly contorted, grinning face glaring out at us. Those staring eyes and gnashing teeth flashed past us like a dreadful vision.

We looked with horror after the black carriage, lumbering upon its way. Then we turned our steps towards this ill-omened house in which they had met their strange fate. It was a large and bright dwelling, rather a villa than a cottage, with a considerable garden which was already, in that Cornish air, well filled with spring flowers.

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Towards this garden the window of the sitting-room fronted, and from it, according to Mortimer Tregennis, must have come that thing of evil which had by sheer horror in a single instant blasted their minds. Holmes walked slowly and thoughtfully among the flower-plots and along the path before we entered the porch. So absorbed was he in his thoughts, I remember, that he stumbled over the watering-pot, upset its contents, and deluged both our feet and the garden path.

Inside the house we were met by the elderly Cornish housekeeper, Mrs. Porter, who, with the aid of a young girl, looked after the wants of the family.