The great country house was full of guests, dressed in the costumes of a past age. The windows of the mansion blazed with light. Inside, handsome men and beautiful women danced together to the music of a live orchestra, under glittering chandeliers. The air was filled with beautiful music, laughter and chattering voices. It could have been a scene of the idle rich from any age, liveried servants mixing with the guests, carrying fresh trays of drinks. Among the guests were company directors, actresses, actors and peers. All enjoying themselves immensely.
And at the heart of it all, talking to a couple of peers' daughters and a young lady barrister, was the host, resplendent in white tie and tails, a red carnation in his buttonhole, shirt-front gleaming pure white. He was regaling them with a funny story about some foreign place he had been that year. They were laughing, regarding him with admiration.
The conversation stopped for a moment, as a liveried footman approached the host, looking anxious. Words spoken in a whisper passed between the host and his servant.
"Excuse me, ladies," the host bowed to his beautiful audience, "but I have an important call."
Despite the relucatnce of the three young women, he left, hurrying to his study and picking up the 'phone. There were three on the desk, but this one was contained in a hidden panel in the wall. When he spoke, it was no longer in the light, bantering tones of the host, but the stern, menacing voice of the Green Man.
"Oh, thank goodness!" the young woman sighed with relief. "Mr Lemon has been murdered!"
"I thought he might be," the Green Man replied grimly. "But there was no way I could intervene in that. Have you learned anything more?"
"The killer is a maniac or a monster of some sort," Ms. Madison continued anxiously. "strong enough to kill a man with his bare hands, and evil enough to horribly mutilate the bodies. From the noise I heard a moment ago, I'd say it might even be some sort of animal."
"Animal or not," the Green Man spoke, "the scheme which led to these deaths originated in the minds of a man - the source of all evil."
"Yes," Ms. Madison's voice was sober. "The killer seems to be linked to a deserted house on the moor. Since he seems to kill without a second thought, I'm going no-where near the place until I've got backup."
"Andrea's resting," the Green Man replied. "So you can enjoy yourself until tomorrow night. I shall contact you. Goodbye."
As he put the 'phone down, someone knocked on the door. Swiftly, the Green Man hid the 'phone and crossed to his desk. By the time the door opened, he was putting down one of the other 'phones.
"Lady Sylvia..." he looked up at the lovely brunette. "I was just about to rejoin the party."