7: The Carlyle Family & Expedition

20th January 1925

Carlyle Side 01
The Carlyle Expedition Photo

New York City, U.S.A:

07:53 AM:

We awake refreshed after an uneventful night. Discussing Silas N’Kwane, it is agreed, despite Greg’s protests, to give him to Poole. Keeping him gagged and wrapped up in his tarpaulin we drive close to Poole’s precinct house leaving him handcuffed to some railings. Trent then makes an anonymous call to Poole from a drugstore.

There is more detective work to do. Now that we have an appointment with Erica on Friday, we need to undertake further investigations on the original members of the Carlyle expedition.

Our subjects are:

Dr Robert Huston – The Psychologist.

Roger Carlyle – The Money.

Hypatia Masters – The Photographer.

Sir Aubrey Penhew – The English Egyptologist.

Mweru a.k.a Anastasia – Roger’s lover.

Jack Brady – The Expeditions Muscle and Carlyle’s Fixer.

Erica Carlyle – Roger’s sister, not present on the original expedition.

Simon Grand elects to investigate the Carlyle’s and Hypatia Masters. Greg investigates Huston and Gupta to look up Penhew in Debretts peerage. Using his military contacts, Joe agrees to look into Jack Brady’s military service record.

The best way for Joe to proceed is to head to Washington DC. He drives off mid morning. Hope nothing happens while he’s away. He’s a good man to have in a tight spot.

Wesley has a brainwave. He remembers that Nyambe is the spirit of the earth in West African mythology, in the same way that Gaia is the Earth goddess of Ancient Greece.

Simon Greg and Gupta leave also.

The phone rings and Trixie picks it up. It’s Violets M’Gee. He has traced the final number from Silas N’Kwame’s notebook. The number is for a Harlem lawyer named Leland Jefferson. His address is 135th and 7th. This number was also in Mukanga’s notebook.

Trent does some background checks. As you would expect for a Harlem lawyer, he represents Negro clients in a variety of different cases. He undertakes Criminal, contractual and employment cases. Seems very competent.

Lets Follow Jefferson, The Lawyer

12:20 PM:

Trent, Trixie and Wesley drive over to his offices to have a look around. They find a parking space opposite the office so they can watch from inside the car. About 90 minutes later, we spot a man furtively leaving the lawyers office. He heads to a car looks around, gets in. We hear the horn sound. A second older man carrying a briefcase leaves the office and gets into the car. It is Lleland Jefferson. They head to 7th, and then turn south to Central Park where they stop.

Trent carefully stays a couple of cars back. He stops to let Wes and Trixie out to follow Jefferson into the park while he continues to watch the car and driver.

Wes and Trixie make an interesting couple. Trent can’t actually imagine them walking gaily hand-in-hand in the park, whispering sweet nothings to each other. However, Jefferson man doesn’t know them. Most strangers would see Trixie as the trophy girlfriend waiting to trade up once the cash has run out. That should work.

Wes and Trixie follow Jefferson who walks through the west side of the park stopping at a statue. A very smartly dressed white man meets him in his early 20’s. They speak quietly.

As Trixie and Wes walk past them, the pair stop talking. They really are cautious. This makes us even more suspicious of them. Cautious people have things to hide. They stop a little way down the path from the statue pretending to gaze into each other’s eyes. The earnest conversation ends and the two men part company. The smartly dressed man walks down the path past Wesley and Trixie looking them up and down and sneering. Wes visualises him in the sight of his hunting rifle and smiles back. If he’s a cultist, he will get his. He won’t be sneering when Greg gets out his skinning knife or better yet on the examination table of the morgue.

He walks out of the park and goes to a large town-house on Park Avenue on 64th, which is the Upper East Side. Wes and Trixie note the address and get a cab back to the warehouse.

Meanwhile Jefferson has left the park too, getting back in the car, which heads first west and then south. The cars goes to pier 90 which Trent knows from previous checks is held by the Cunard line. Cunard are an English line and their ships will go to England from here. Usually Southampton.

Jefferson speaks with a dockworker. They have an intense chat for 10 minutes then Mr Briefcase walks back to the car and is driven back to his office. They never suspect they have a tail and make no attempt to conceal their end destination.

Maybe Greg’s paranoia is useful after all. These amateurs will be easy to follow.

It turns out that Jefferson lives very near the office. Trent notes the address for later. The car is parked outside and then the driver has a good look around before getting the subway to the Bronx. Trent follows and gets the drivers address too.

He then heads back to Harlem to collects his car and takes a scenic route to the warehouse double backing a couple of times until he is positive neither cultists or peepers are following. Jefferson was far too jumpy. Must be up to something. We need to raid the office later.

While Trent is doing this, Wes and Trixie arrive at the warehouse and check the electoral roll for the Park Avenue address. There are four residents including: Davis Wilberforce 55, Mrs Violet Wilberforce 48 and, seemingly, also their children, Mortimer Wilberforce 24 and Amelia Wilberforce 22. They surmise that it was Mortimer they saw as he had his own keys so probably wasn’t a guest.

Trent returns and everyone compares notes.

Gupta, Greg and Simon need more time to complete their investigations, as does Joseph who will stay in Washington DC overnight.

Trent recalls the name Wilberforce. It was mentioned in Poole’s files. The missing private eye was investigating a missing person named Wilberforce when he was killed. We had assumed it was a lost child. Maybe it was Mortimer.

Trixie makes some calls to a female journalist she helped in a previous case. Turns out that Mortimer Wilberforce was indeed rumoured to have been kidnapped for a few days but then he returned home. What was of interest was that no police were ever involved, suggesting that a ransom was paid. Maybe Jefferson was the go-between. Need more information to be sure.

21st January 1925

Researching The Carlyle Expedition
Researching The Carlyle Expedition

Jefferson, The Lawyers Office:

01:57 AM

Leaving the others to hold the fort, Trent, Trixie, Simon and Gupta go to Jefferson’s office.

Trent and Simon break in while Trixie and Gupta wait in the car with 4 large sports bags. Well you never know. After all, Ju-Ju House was just a shop wasn’t it?

The heavy lock at the front door foils Trent but he gets in via the back door. Searching the office, they find a safe, which Trent opens. Nothing in it. Crafty, it’s not going to be that obvious. Trent creeps around. As he does so, he notices a loose floorboard. Aha! Simon’s Magic Knife praises it loose and they find a very shiny Pranga in the gap below the floorboard. Very shiny and very sharp. Wrapped up carefully. The fact that it is so clean suggests it has seen a bit of use. The edge is very keen too. Not just a collectible then.

We leave guessing that we will find more at Jefferson’s apartment, which is just a few doors down.

Trent has to snip the door chain to get in so unfortunately Jefferson will know someone has broken in. We find his briefcase in the house and pick the lock on it. Inside is a wealth of clippings all about us. Is there anyone involved in this case not interested in us?

There is also a shipping receipt. It is for machine parts, which have been delivered to a Panchi Chabout in Lime House, London. The note is 2 weeks old.

We look over the apartment quite thoroughly but find nothing more and leave.

On our way, back we detour past Pier 90 and get the name of the liner docked there. A bribe to the harbour master could possibly get us a cargo manifest. However, it may not be of much use. We know Mukanga brought in hooch from British East Africa. What we want to know is what was being sent to London and that is not so easy to find out.

Carlyle And The Expedition Members:

09:19 AM:

Greg decides to try out the staff of Nyambe. He holds the staff in both hands with the heel of the staff in contact with the floor. He then utters the words “Nyambe Thy Power is Mine”. He feels power surge through him. He then casts Skin of Sedefkar on himself. The tingling recedes, but there is none of the weakened feeling he normally experiences after casting a spell. Useful.

Trent wants to follow up on the kidnap angle so he looks to trace the secretary of the recently deceased Walter van Buskirk, Private Investigator. A visit to his address gets an address for the secretary. She does confirm that he was hired by a rich family on Park Avenue. However, the exact details will be in his case files.

A second visit to the property owner and a $5 fee enables him to retrieve 2 boxes of case files. Trent works through them finding out that Van Buskirk had traced Mortimer to Ju-Ju House. Turns out, he drank there quite often.

However before Van Buskirk could complete his case Mortimer was returned. Van Buskirk believed that a ransom was indeed paid but could never get proof.

Reading between the lines Trent thinks that Mortimer, as a cultist or a greedy silver-spooned trust beneficiary, swindled his own parents out of ransom money either for himself or for The Cult of the Bloody Tongue or both. He wouldn’t be the first rich boy who couldn’t wait for his inheritance. He’s definitely wrong.

The others complete their investigations of the members of the Carlyle expedition. Joseph returns from DC.

Their findings reveal the following:

Roger Carlyle:

Full name Roger Van Worthington Carlyle. Evaded paternity suit at 17. Dealt with alcoholism at 18. Both parents died in an auto-mobile accident in early 1920s. Involved with Negro poet named Nenoncha Bunay. Not yet established if this was a pseudonym for Mweru or Anastasia. During last few months before expedition all, his acquaintances describe how he became more withdrawn and quiet. His ancestor was Abner Vane Carroll who was transported to Virginia, from his native England in 1714, for “Unwholesome Activities”.

Sir Aubrey Penhew:

Viscount Penhew is an important member of British aristocracy. He was a colonel in British Army intelligence during 1915 and 1916. He left the army when he got injured. His family can trace its history all the way back Guillaume Le Batard (aka William the Conqueror). He spent several years in Egypt after graduating from Oxford. He was often at dig sites around the 1st Cataract in Dashur, the site of the red asymmetrical pyramid, which shares a striking similarity with the pyramid in Carlyle’s dreams. He has properties all over the world. (Does he own property in the US – we need to find out). He is incredibly wealthy and unmarried.

Dr Robert Huston:

Brilliant, suave, sophisticated, bullying, manipulative. Only ever courted rich clients. There was one serious scandal with a client named Imelda Bosch. She reputedly was involved with Huston while being treated by him but then committed suicide. This was in 1918.

Hypatia Masters:

Full name Hypatia Celestine Masters. She was part of a rich family who were big in munitions manufacturing. While a friend, of Roger Carlyle, they were not an item and there was no romance. Well regarded as a gifted photographer. Interest from her early teens. French and Swiss educated. Had an affair with Raoul Luis Minero. Had an abortion and was assisted by Roger Carlyle who organised a private clinic and helped her to avoid scandal. Good friends but never an item.

Jack Brady:

Now in his 40s. Twice promoted to sergeant, twice-busted back down for insubordination. Served all over, in Philippines, Peking, Shanghai. File hinted that he was suspected of killing civilians in Philippines Pioneered used of the Trench Gun and was a great shot with it. He killed a man in a bar fight in California. Carlyle’s lawyers got him off despite there being 7 eyewitnesses of the murder but Brady had to leave the army. He is quite distinctive wearing a piece of brass around his neck. He is tactically very smart and cunning. Comrades said he used to claim to have inherited his mother’s evil eye.

Yegor Gaidar

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