Sir John, Marie, Phlebotomous and the Clockwork Conjuror all sat in the Jennings’ Southampton Row residence. The Conjuror was obviously distressed and was sniffing and occasionally making a trumpet-like sound blowing his nose. Each time he did this Phlebotomous jumped.
The door opened and Miss Henderson stepped in with Detective Symonds.
“Jo… Detective Symonds,” introduced Miss Henderson. She did an awkward half curtsey and added. “I shall fetch some tea.”
“What’s the latest?” said Sir John.
“The rogue never came back,” said Detective Symonds. “I waited there hours after you left and then posted a constable overnight.”
“Then the trail has gone cold. It’s like you said, Phlebotomous,” said Sir John.
“‘Ironic indeed,” said Phlebotomous, “‘I shall take them to my donjon’. That’s what he said.
“His…dungeon?” said Detective Symonds.
“His chateau… castle,” said Marie. “It’s an old French word.”
“Then the trail may not be cold,” said Detective Symonds, “because I think I know where that is. I found out that the warehouse where Phlebotomous was being kept was rented by one Viscount Victor Vernal. When I showed the owner the picture the automaton drew…”
There was a loud trumpet noise from the Conjuror. Phlebotomous jumped.
“…he recognised it as the Viscount. Furthermore, I found that he was listed as a known associate of Lord Anglestone, who you recall, led Draco Viridis.”
“I could hardly forget,” said Sir John. “Then we have our man.”
“There are… complications,” said Detective Symonds. “Cawdor House is the building that is probably his… donjon. That is the family house, and is in Northumberland. I have no jurisdiction there. And… I also have no crime to arrest him for.”
“He kidnapped Phlebotomous,” said Sir John, “and the automata.”
There was another loud trumpeting sound, not unlike an elephant.
“Indeed,” said Detective Symonds. “But none of those… people… are seen as such by the law, on account of being dead. All I can arrest him for is possession of stolen goods. And the Metropolitan Police won’t let me travel that far for that.”
“That’s criminal!” cried the Conjuror.
“Sadly,” said Detective Symonds, “it’s not.”
“This changes nothing,” said Sir John. “We’ll head up at once.”
“Mon chère,” said Marie. “I understand how you feel, but we need to be a bit patient here. This man will be very powerful in his own domain. We won’t have any support there.”
“We have our wits,” said Sir John, “and your skills and Phlebotomous… er …”
He was interrupted by Miss Henderson coming in with a tray of tea.
“I shall start the packing at once,” she said, putting the tray down. She cracked her knuckles and left.
“And Miss Henderson,” said Sir John.
“I don’t think it’s wise to take Fel… Miss Henderson,” said Detective Symonds. “There may be grave danger, unknown risks and the possibility of deadly violence.”
The maid stuck her head round the door.
“Mr Bosch, may I use the knife sharpening device on my katana?” she asked.
“I have no doubt there will be,” said Sir John. “Especially for Viscount Vernal.”