Red Sands

Letter to a Childhood Friend (4th November 1888)

4th November 1888

“My dearest Lady Amelia,

Once more I offer you the most sincerest condolences for the death of your dear Papa on behalf of myself and my colleagues.

Whilst it will not compensate fully for your great loss, I hope that it brings a small degree of comfort to you to know that we were able to solve the mystery as to whom killed your father and the reasons as to why.

If you wish to apportion blame for the murder of your father, then the majority should go to Herr Z., a Foreign Agent who sought to obtain your father’s latest invention by fair means or foul. Although he may be no more, your father brought honour to your family name, for he died a hero. He would not reveal the secrets of his brilliance to the worthless Hounds for any price – he remained loyal to the service of our glorious majesty Queen Victoria (and Empress of India).

Herr Z. has now been apprehended by ourselves and loyal servants of Her Majesty and will be made to pay for his reprehensible actions, in one way or another.

The scoundrel Herr Z. was too cowardly to commit the act of murdering your father with his own hands. Instead he employed Dupes, one of whom was the madman currently at loose on the moor.

As much as we would like to hunt down Wild Willie and bring him to justice, alas our service to those in need within our glorious Empire upon which the sun never sets, and which brings civilization and order to the great unwashed continues to be required. I have been assured that the local Police will soon track down the madman so that he may hang for his heinous act.

I remain your humble and obedient servant,

Captain Sebastian Shaw"

Dear Secretary.

This is the altered version of the letter we intercepted from Captain Shaw to Lady Amelia Cotterill. While it more or less addresses the original content, we have deleted any of the more sensitive references, and our man has captured Shaw’s handwriting admirably I think. It may also be of interest to you to read the attached excerpt from this morning’s Tavistock Gazette:


Asylum escapee ‘Mad’ Willy McTavish was apprehended in his moorland lair early this morning, by members of the Okehampton District Constabulary, assisted by special advisors from Scotland Yard. Our reporter managed to speak to Sergeant Barnes of the Okehampton force, who has ably co-ordinated the manhunt.

Speaking shortly after the arrest, Sergeant Barnes thanked the efforts of his men, and members of the public for reporting what they had seen and avoiding panic.

“My men have done a fine job, and the villain is now apprehended. I emphasise that when this sort of thing happens, it’s best that members of the public inform the Police of anything they see, and avoid meddling themselves. Leave this sort of thing to the Professionals.”

The victim of McTavish has still not been named, pending arrangments with the family of the deceased."

Yr. Servant

A. Pooter



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