425. Thompson, Taylor & Minogue: Victorian Detectives (Part 1) with Amber & Paul

Listen to Amber, Paul and me as we attempt to solve a series of mysterious kidnappings in Victorian London.



Hello everyone, welcome back to the podcast. Here’s a new episode, you’re actually listening to it. It’s really happening and here is my introduction. This was a very fun episode to record and I hope it’s going to be a fun episode to listen to. It’s going to be a two-part episode and this is part 1 and here is the introduction.

Amber & Paul are back on the podcast in this episode, and this time we’re going to play a game in which we imagine that we are detectives trying to solve a mysterious series of kidnappings in Victorian London and you’re going to join us.

In the recording that you’re going to hear, the three of us are reading through an online text adventure game – one of those games where you read part of a story and then make a decision which affects the way the story continues. I have done this on the podcast before. It’s always a fun thing to do so let’s do it again. And the cool thing about this is that the entire text is available online for you to read too. It’s all there if you want to read it, just visit the page for this episode and you can see the link to the game.

Click here to play Victorian Detective 2 by Peter Carlson

Click that link (or just go to textadventures.co.uk and find the story called Victorian Detective 2 by Peter Carlson) and if you check out the text for this story you can then not only listen to this episode but also play the game and read all of the text too.

This opens up lots of possibilities for using this episode to improve your English.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  1. You just listen to this. Maybe you’re doing the ironing or something. Just listen to us going through the story, try to follow it all, follow our choices and try to enjoy it as an entertaining detective story even if there are some bits that you don’t quite understand. You will hear the entire story from start to finish in this episode and the next one. So, just listen and enjoy it!
  2. After you listen (like when you get home or whenever you’re in front of a computer) play the text adventure game yourself. That way you’ll get lots of reading done and it’ll be a bit easier to follow the story because you will have already heard us reading through it, it will reinforce the things you heard in this episode, and it’ll allow you to check out words that you didn’t catch by using an online dictionary and so on. Also, as you play the game you can make different choices if you want and you can experience a completely different story.
  3. You listen and read at the same time, following everything we do, clicking on the same things as us, making the same choices and effectively just reading along with us. You can pause the episode whenever you want if you want to use online dictionaries to check the meanings of any words.

So, there are some options – just listen, or listen then read, or listen and read at the same time.

There’s a bit of graphic violence in this story (blood and stuff…)

Another thing you should know is that this is a crime story and it involves some descriptions of violence and a few gory details. It’s no worse than an episode of a crime thriller on TV or something like that, but there are some descriptions of violence involving blood and mortal danger, so if you’re a bit squeamish, then I suggest that you have a bottle of brandy nearby so you can revive yourself in the typical 19th century fashion, or take a few deep breaths or have a cup of tea to calm your nerves if necessary.

I understand that this episode might be a little difficult to follow

Or maybe not – you might have no problem following it all, but I have a feeling it will be a bit trickier because the three of us get quite animated and excited at times and we speak rather quickly, interrupting each other and talking over each other sometimes, but as we’ve established before on this podcast, that’s actually quite good practice for your listening skills – being able to follow a group conversation. There are many situations like that you could face in the future – imagine for example a business meeting involving you and three other people and everyone’s enthusiastically taking part, sharing ideas, working together quickly to make decisions. It’s good to listen to that sort of thing, rather than just always listening to one person giving a monologue or just two people discussing something. In episodes like this you can get used to hearing multiple voices discussing things and making decisions together.

Try to notice specific language – decision making, verbs of movement and modal verbs for speculation and deduction

From a language point of view, I want you to watch out for this type of language:

Try to notice language for making decisions. Listen out for the ways we ask each other for opinions on each decision, the ways we agree or disagree, the ways we speed things up or slow things down, the way we clarify meaning and the way we summarise or recap information. These things are often done very quickly, yet they’re important practical bits of English for team work.

The story has some moments of action, and so there’s a variety of verbs used to describe different types of movement. Watch out for them and remember to read the text to help you.

Watch out for the language of speculation and deduction. Since we are working together to analyse evidence in order to work out what’s going on, there’s a lot of language of speculation and deduction. So that includes simple ways like, like just putting maybe or perhaps at the beginning of the sentence. For example, “Perhaps she ran away” or “Maybe she was kidnapped”, but also more complex ways using modal verbs to speculate about the past. For example, when you’re talking about possibilities with might or could: “She could have run away” or “She might have been kidnapped” or when you’re certain that something happened by using must, e.g. “She must have escaped through the window” (in the past) and “He must be at the hotel” (in the present), and using ‘can’t’ to talk about something that’s not possible, e.g. “He can’t have escaped through the window, it’s not big enough” or “It can’t be the father!”. So watch out for might have, could have, must have, can’t have for deductions about the past, and watch out for the way we say those auxiliary verbs – “He must have gone through the window” – ‘have’ is hard to hear, but you know it’s there because of the extra syllable and the fact it’s followed by a past participle. “He can’t have done it”.

OK, keep in mind that kind of language, and also the fact that you can read the text for this story too whenever you want, and you’ll see there is a lot to be gained from this episode in terms of English learning.

Just enjoy the story!

But also, I hope you just enjoy listening to the story and spending some more time in the company of Amber, Paul and me.

Alright, that’s enough of an introduction. Here we go!

*** The recording with Amber & Paul starts here ***

Hello Amber & Paul. How are you? … What’s the situation while we record this? … We’re sitting in front of the TV screen and we’re going to play a game.

A Detective Story with Deductive Reasoning

  • Have you read any detective stories, or watched Sherlock? (Paul has read the Goosebumps series, Amber has read loads of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie)
  • Are you any good at deductive reasoning? Are you good at working things out?

Deductive reasoning: Your deductive reasoning is your ability to recognise certain clues and then put them together to make correct judgements.

Let’s test your deductive reasoning with a quick riddle.


Can you answer this cunning Sherlock-style riddle?

There are three light switches in front of you. The light is in an upstairs room and you can’t see it. You are only allowed to take one trip up to the room. How do you work out which switch controls the light?


1.Turn two of the switches on, say switch A and switch B.  Leave them on for a few minutes.  Then turn switch B off.  Run upstairs into the room.  If the light is on, switch A controls the light.  If it is off, feel the bulb.  If it is still warm, then switch B controls the light; if it is not warm, then switch C controls the light.  

Victorian Detective – Episodes 338 and 339

Last year I did a couple of episodes in which I read through an online text adventure called Victorian Detective on textadventures.co.uk . I read through the story, making decisions based on the evidence, trying to solve a murder mystery. The whole thing was written by a guy called Peter Carlson.

I didn’t ask permission from Peter before reading out the story on the podcast, although I did make a point of giving credit to Peter.

Then, the other day I got an email from Peter Carlson in my inbox. Ooh.

Here’s what it said.

Dear Luke,

I’m the author of the Victorian Detective game, which you read on podcast 338. You did a really good job! Thank you for picking my work to read.

Peter Carlson

I replied:

Hi Peter,

You’re the one who did the great job. Your story was excellent. I hope that it brought a bit more traffic to the site and that more people read your story.

Would you mind if I did Victorian Detective 2 on my podcast as well?

All the best,


Peter replied:

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the game.

That would be really great if you read Victorian Detective 2 as well.

I was very pleased to get this endorsement from Peter and he’s clearly quite happy for me to be reading through his stories on the podcast.

Victorian Detective 2

So, let’s do another detective story on the podcast. This one is called Victorian Detective 2 and this time I’m joined by Amber & Paul. Let’s see if we can put our heads together to solve the mystery in this story.

What we’ll do is read through the story as we play it. We can discuss and explain our decisions one by one. The listeners can follow the whole thing and they can even read along with it by going to textadventures.co.uk and finding Victorian Detective 2 – the link is on the page for this episode. That can help you check all the words, the spelling and so on and play the game yourself if you think we are making the wrong choices.

The link: textadventures.co.uk/games/view/rl6-r253x0aca-y-v_vnvw/victorian-detective-2

Remember, listeners, that we will be experiencing this story for the first time as we read it, so we have no idea what’s coming next or what happens at the end. In fact, I understand that there are multiple possible endings for this story.

The game will tell us if we’re making good or bad choices along the way. It counts a score as you go. E.g. if you make a good deduction it says “deductive reasoning success” or “deductive reasoning fail” and gives you a + or – score for each decision. And then at the end you get a score which explains what kind of detective you are. E.g. if you’re like Sherlock or you’re Shernot. 

OK let’s get started.

We should choose the name of our detective agency.

Thompson, Taylor & Minogue? or Taylor, Thompson & Minogue?

*** The story begins ***

Click here to play Victorian Detective 2 by Peter Carlson

*** End of Part 1 ***

That’s the end of part 1!

Have you managed to keep up with the story so far?

Here’s a brief summary of what has happened so far, just to make it clear.

The story so far

Girls keep getting kidnapped in London. So far 3 girls have gone missing. At the scene of each kidnapping there’s a calling card left by the kidnapper. It’s a creepy smiley face scratched into the floor.

Taylor, Thompson & Minogue (all of us playing the part of one detective with a particular set of skills) are called to the house of the Worthington family, where the daughter Chloe has disappeared. Using our deductive reasoning skills, we work out that she must have run away with her lover – a poor Italian paper seller called Joseph. They planned to run away together but their romantic escape was interrupted violently and unexpectedly when they were attacked at Joseph’s home in a poor part of London. Joseph was hit on the head with a hammer and Chloe was taken away, her body hidden inside a coffin on the back of a carriage. We deduce that the carriage, with Chloe’s body on board must have been taken to a local mortuary by one of the men who works there. There at the mortuary we work out that his name is Cade Brewer, and he’s a kind of creepy loner. Physically he’s huge and strong and he has an appetite for opiate pain killing drugs, woodwork and kidnapping, but we don’t know where he is, so we can’t ask him any questions. Now we have gone back to the police station to consider the situation more carefully.

Four young girls from different social backgrounds have been kidnapped and they all look quite similar – they all have light coloured hair. Then we receive a note from the kidnapper, who calls himself Mr Burlap. The note is written in broken English. It seems that he wants us to find him. He’s playing some kind of sick cat & mouse game. We suspect that Mr Burlap the kidnapper is in fact Cade Brewer, the huge creepy man with the opiate addiction who works at the mortuary. We decide to try and track him down. We first search cemeteries in the area, assuming that Cade Brewer has hidden her in a coffin, but we’re on the wrong track! Our deductive reasoning has failed us. Obviously this is Amber’s fault – just listen back to it and you’ll see, but it also didn’t help when I clicked the wrong option at one point, losing us points and valuable time. Anyway, it turns out Chloe Worthington is not being kept at the cemetery at all. In fact, closer inspection of the evidence shows us that Mr Burlap must be keeping her hostage at an abandoned hospital. So, we decide to go and investigate the hospital. But we’ve just lost precious time by investigating the wrong place, in the cemetery. Have we lost too much time? Will we find the mysterious kidnapper Mr Burlap who wrote us the note in broken English? Will we find Cade Brewer – and is he in fact the kidnapper Mr Burlap as we expect? Will we manage to find Chloe Worthington and the other 3 girls? Will we manage to save them? Or did we waste too much time? What will we discover at the abandoned hospital? And why is Mr Burlap playing such a sick and twisted game?!

I suggest that you immediately check out part 2 (if it’s available) in order to continue this story and to find out if we discover the identity and motives of the kidnapper and how many of the missing girls we manage to rescue.

Thanks again to Peter Carlson. All credit goes to him for writing this exciting detective thriller. Remember you can check out textadventures.co.uk to play more of these games – and there are others written by Peter Carlson.

Any comments? Write something in the comment section below.


  • Rahul Shagrithaya

    That was pretty interesting.

    I’m skeptical about a sentence structure (or whatever it’s known as) you used at the end of the episode. You’re words were “The coffin is like a box that you put dead bodies in when you bury them”.
    The word ‘that’ after box confuses me. Well, I’ve read that in many novels and books and I understand what that means, but I never use them while speaking. If I had said it, it might have been like “A box in which you put the dead bodies in”. Is that an alternative to it and could you please generalise the usage of “that” in your wordings?


    • In the sentence, ‘that’ is a relative pronoun just like ‘which’.
      When you use ‘that’, we don’t put ‘in’ next to it. It goes at the end.
      When you use ‘which’, ‘in’ can go next to it, or at the end.
      ‘in which’ sounds a bit old fashioned and formal these days.
      Your version contains ‘in’ twice, which isn’t correct by the way.

  • Roberto Zafra Duarte

    Good morning Luke,

    I don’t know if I’m right or not but I think that I’ve just realized the reason why you burst out laughing in the minute 28th of the episode. Yesterday I was watching the last “What the fuck france” and I think that when you were recording this episode you had already been working on the script of this video. Hence the laughs.


    By the way, Liam Neeson’s performance is amazing.


    Have a nice day and many thanks for your episodes!


  • Darina Yerezhepova

    Hey, Luke. I’ve been listening to the podcast for more than a year. And I am embarrased to admit I have never commented any episode. But I really love all of them even those that I haven’t listened yet. So I am being a secret and loyal admirer :) You are doing a great job. Thank you a lot for your commitment.

    Amber, amazing perfomance of deductive reasoning! You must get some credits for shattering the myth of girls’ logic. Thank you ^^.

    Paul, I love your videos on youtube and podcast episodes with you, they are absolutely hilarious. But how could you break my heart and hearts of other girls by saying you preferred to watch films? It is inhuman to be so cold..

    • Ptholome

      He has a girlfriend so it is better for him to watch movies instead other women. :)

  • Sylvia

    Paul, could you be more funnier, haha, I love him.

  • Catherine

    Oh, I just remembered, that I actually used to pluck ducks a lot, as I was a child. My father would go each May for wild ducks hunting, and we would sit with my mother at home and pluck the feathers. It was fun! :)

    And you know what — the skin of the ducks wasn’t bumpy at all, quite in contrary, it was quite smooth and genlte. I think, they get bumpy if they lay long time somewhere in fridges or so. We would cook them right away after the plucking. :)

    • Agnes

      Cat it seems to me disgusting – plucking the feathers etc. My grandma used to do it also, and I didn’t look at this when she was doing it!

      As you may know we buy geese from local farmers every Autumn, you know they are bio without chemicals within comparing to meat you buy in the supermarket. So I always buy geese already done, plucked already. But I have to divide them into the parts, to put them into the freezer. And I don’t do it even by myself, because to me is disgusting. Anyway it is strange because I can watch blood, crimes etc on telly, but in real I can’t stand it!


      • Catherine

        Well, I love nature and wildlife, looking how it looks and feels at a close distance. :))
        Also, I didn’t have much choice back in those times. Had to do what parents would tell me to do. Chores, you know, sometimes quite boring. But it strengthens the character, I guess. ;)

      • Agnes

        o yes I understand, as kids we had no choice and must have been doing some strange chores.
        I remember one, my grandma wanted me to do some gardening, I hated that, because she always told me to go through my city in wellingtons, because we had a vegetable garden in some distance from home, so anyway I was ashamed that anyone from school mates could see me in these wellingtons, ha ha.

      • Cat

        Poor little Agnes, with her face all red, walking through the city to her grandmothers garden. Little red Agnes. :))

      • Agnes

        o yes Cat, you’re right. My red face had been burning, struggling for not looking at anyone, ha ha. Of course it was my imagination, nobody cared how I looked like, ha ha.

  • Milad

    Thanks Luke as always.
    This episode wasn’t hard to follow, but It wasn’t what I’d expected to hear when I saw Amber and Paul names in the title.
    I wanted to start focusing on the unknown words and expressions but it was too many of them and most of them were old ( based on Longman) that are not being used anymore, so I gave up.
    It’s always nice to hear u three catching up and bantering:) but this time It was more like a quiz for me:)
    Cheers and take care of urself.

  • Jack

    I could not listen to this at work or in streets. Because people could think I am a lunatic laughing so much. This must be probably one the best episodes created so far.

    • Eri Taguchi

      I am already became a weird woman who is always giggling with earphone on her ears on a street or in an undergraund.
      Don’t mind about it!!

  • fubedoluya

    Hi Lepsters, SergeyA is here. Missed the podcast and you since then Luke banned my account. What’s going on? :)

    • Catherine

      Hi! How it’s been in Azkaban? Did you break off? Did the Dementors try to kiss you? :))

      • SergeyA

        Sorry, my vocabulary does not include the words you dropped, so I can’t really answer these questions.

      • Ptholome

        Have you read the Harry Potter books?

        Are you sure Luke did what you said?

        Maybe your comments are not motivating for people coming here because they force us to be not nice. Most of us don’t understand your purpose coming here or listening episodes you hate because except for three of them, 3/415, you say they are not good and that they are only good to sleep on the plane… Maybe you deserved to be banned and I hope you are going to have a better behaviour on this Podcast.

        You know, I had several shops and certain costumers were always complaining about us. So I finally told them, why don’t you go to another shop? and often I said them that I had not the product they were looking for. Because I finally even didn’t want their money.

        And here is free, so I don’t know why you want Luke allow you to stay.

        But, we hope you will be a better LEPsters from now on.

      • SergeyA

        Harry Potter is in my top 3 most hated movies:

        1) LOTR
        2) SW
        3) HP
        so I prefer not touch it with a ten foot pole :)

        Luke certainly banned me after I left a very funny comment here teacherluke.co.uk/2017/01/03/413-with-the-family-part-1-mums-cooking-vocabulary-with-uncle-nic/#comment-3085515492

        But I can easily overcome it, I am the Russian.

      • Ptholome

        I was speaking about the books though I suppose you didn’t like them too. 2) SW, I guess is Star War but the 1) LOTR I don’t know what is the movie.

        Nevertheless, in the UK, the children, at the moment when these books were being published, started to read and continue reading thereafter much more than their older friends. So it has been a great thing for the children all around the world because they have read these books and they discovered the pleasure of reading.

      • SergeyA

        LOTR = Lord of The Rings

      • Ptholome

        Thanks. What are the three best books for you, Sergey?

      • SergeyA

        1984 by Orwell
        Capital by Carl Marx
        Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

      • Ptholome

        I love 1984, and Dostoevsky.
        I never read the second.

      • Catherine

        I once saw a film in Russian, called “Gromovy”. There a man gave the boy a book “Capital” by (Karl Marx), and you know what — inside were thousands and thousands roubles, hidden in a hole. Capital, indeed! :)

      • SergeyA

        yeah..those hilarious Russian jokes

      • Catherine

        Sergey, you must be a very serious guy, if you love those very serious books. :)
        Btw, welcome back! ;)

      • SergeyA

        That’s false assumption. You substituted one question with another. Don’t do that or you lose the game.

      • Catherine

        Wow, so many negative wording in one short message! Sergey, you certainly should do something for your positivity ratio. Each of us has positive and negative emotions in the course of a single day. They come and go, it’s natural. Try to hold the ratio at least 2:1. There is always something positive to find in the world. Like nice messages from the LEPsters. ;)

      • SergeyA

        You did that again.

      • Catherine

        There are some LEPsters too, who don’t like those movies. Agnes for example. She prefers to read the Goosebumps. :)

      • Jack

        behave or leave

      • SergeyA

        That is a good piece of advice, thank you! Unfortunately Luke is still angry and tries to ban my account every time he observes my messages.

      • Catherine

        Are you a Holy Elephant now? :)

      • SergeyA

        What is it, another HP reference?

      • Catherine

        Your picture. :)

      • SergeyA

        I don’t know, it’s really random picture.

      • Jack

        It takes quite an effort to record, edit and upload new episodes. All that time and effort and on top of that its totally free and yet you come here and post heinous comments – what do you expect him to do ? embrace you with garlands ?

        I hope you wont do this again.

      • SergeyA

        Sure, I understand his feelings. I even gave Luke some time to calm down and didn’t appear in the site since from January. But it’s time now.

      • Catherine

        Sergey, why don’t you donate to Luke or join the Orion team?
        For the positive karma. :)

      • SergeyA

        I think Luke and Orion will be fine even without me contributing.

      • Catherine

        Contributing to a greater good could elevate your positivity ratio, dear Sergey. Why not try it and observe how you feel after that? ;)

      • SergeyA

        because I have much more exciting things to do than helping Orion team

      • Catherine

        I also like this quote:

        “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
        — John Milton

        That means we have a choice (to focus on positive things or to seek the negativity). There is an upward-spiral in both directions. I choose the light side. :)

      • Jack

        deep deep quote that Catherine

  • fubedoluya

    Hi Lepsters, SergeyA is here. Missed the podcast since then Luke banned my account. What’s going on? :)

  • Catherine

    Team, we have a new mystery to solve!
    — Cat


    • Eri Taguchi

      Catherine, cats!!!!!!
      I will be one of the cat ditectives with my cat.

      • Catherine

        Hurray for Eri and her cat! ;)

      • Eri Taguchi

        Finally I solved 2 mysteries!!!

      • Eri Taguchi

        Is that beautiful cat your cat, Cat????????

      • Cat

        Yes. It’s Sir Miawsalot (his new nickname).
        He is very watchful. :))