The third (and final) adventure in this series of mini-mysteries on LEP. Can I improve my detective skills to work out the disappearance of a priceless painting and a series of gruesome murders? Story by Peter Carlson and available on textadventures.co.uk
Let’s do another text adventure mystery story by Peter Carlson. Listen to me read the story and make choices to solve the mystery. You can read the story with me (link below) or do the game yourself later. This is the first in a series of 3 stories from Peter’s “Victorian Detective Interlude” game on textadventures.co.uk
A message from Luke – 2022, A Year in Podcasting
Hello website visitors! I hope you’re doing ok. Did you have a good Christmas (if you celebrate it)?
These three “Victorian Detective Interlude” episodes will be the last episodes of 2022. What a year it’s been! For me, the year started in our new apartment, and everything was a disorganised mess! I had no pod-room where I could record episodes in peace, and our apartment was so noisy that I even had to record a podcast outside in the street. I talked about it in episode 759. Then I managed to set up my new studio/office in a tiny room in a nearby building. I was quite proud of myself because I put up all the shelves (more difficult than you might think!), painted the room, fitted a desk, procured a free office chair and then carried all my books, equipment and other stuff to the room (up 6 flights of stairs, no less). I talked about all that “DIY” in episode 757. After a looooong time the room finally got electricity and an internet connection, I got a new computer (the old one was kaput) and was able to get back to normal podcasting.
Oh yes, then I changed podcast host in June and everything got incredibly complicated again, especially for premium subscribers! But thankfully we all survived all the stress and I was able to record some episodes that I am very happy with, and LEP Premium continued on Acast+ with more and more new episodes.
If you have recently subscribed to LEP Premium – www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
The best way to use LEP Premium is to add the episodes to a normal podcast app on your phone (not the LEP App, it’s not updating any more 😢, and not Spotify because it isn’t “normal”). Read this page for some important information to help you get started https://teacherluke.co.uk/premium/how-to-add-lep-premium-to-a-podcast-app-on-your-phone-with-acast/
Luke’s English Podcast continues to be the thing I love doing, and I’m lucky to get some income from this work now. I’m happy to say that the podcast continues to go from strength to strength. This year the audio podcast hit 800 episodes, 100,000,000+ downloads in total (incredible), 100+ premium episodes, and my YouTube channel passed 400,000 subscribers (wow!). But maybe the most satisfying thing is that I have received so many messages from listeners with positive things to say about their experiences of learning English with my content.
Thank you for choosing LEP in 2022. Thank you if you left your comments on my episodes. Thank you if you sent me messages of encouragement. Thank you if you sent donations to support this project. Thank you if you signed up to LEP Premium.
I hope you have enjoyed learning English with me in 2022. Here’s to more episodes in 2023! I have lots of plans for more content on a variety of topics – some serious, some funny, but all designed to help you to get more English into your life.
Happy New Year everyone!! 🥂
Episode 803 “The Wraith” will be published tomorrow, probably!
Here’s the conclusion of this online murder mystery text adventure game. Vocabulary is reviewed at the end. Video available for premium subscribers.
Video versions are now available free on YouTube (after being locked in the premium section for 18 months)
Sign up to LEP Premium to exclusive content https://www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
Episode notes and transcriptions
Hello listeners and welcome to episode 614. In this episode I’m going to continue reading through this online text adventure that I started in episode 612. This should be the 3rd and final part of this murder mystery story.
You have to listen to parts 1 and 2 first before you listen to this. They are episodes 612 and 613. If you don’t listen to them first, none of this will make any sense, ok!
So I’m assuming you’ve heard those two parts.
Let’s just recap the story quickly.
We’re on the hunt for the killers of 3 prominent academics in London 1861. Intelligent and brilliant people keep turning up dead, completely naked and with their hearts torn out.
After lots of investigation by us (a brilliant Holmes-style detective) and our partner Mardler, we’ve worked out that the killings have been done by a weird religious cult that worships King Cobras and likes to eat the hearts of people as a way of absorbing their intelligence. So they’ve been preying on academics, scientists, surgeons, historians and so on.
We’ve managed to catch two of the principle murderers – a wealthy member of the upper-classes, a woman posing as a nurse in local hospital and now we are on the tracks of the main bad guy, an old man by the name of Lynch who we suspect is currently holding a French intellectual hostage with a plan to murder him and eat his heart in the next few hours. Earlier in the story we got shot and had to jump out of a window so we are nursing an injury and not at our full strength.
We’ve managed to track down Lynch to a house outside London and now we are about to enter the house and hopefully save the life of the French man and bring Lynch to justice. Let’s see what happens next and what kind of score I’m going to get at the end of this game!
I have a feeling that we’re getting close to the end of the story, based on how it’s going. I reckon this should be finished in the next 15-30 minutes, but we will see. If there is time in this episode I will go through a list of vocabulary items that I’ve picked up from the story.
By the way, there are videos for episodes 612, 613 and hopefully this one available for Premium subscribers. You can see me reading through the story, and there are also some bonus extras including a song in 613 part 2. Sign up to LEP premium at teacherluke.co.uk/premium
Right, let’s carry on then!
- an acclaimed historian
- the odour of varnish
- a furrowed brow
- a loner
- Julian chuckles
- I thought I had you for a minute
- a raving lunatic
- a bookmark
- bags under your eyes
- confident footsteps
- a mutilated corpse
- gutted like an animal
- She has blisters on her left fingertips from the strings
- Gray rummages through his desk drawer for a moment
- Marilyn is taken aback
- Marilyn hastily digs through her bag
- her hand returns clutching two ticket stubs
- This is a pretty good alibi, assuming we can hear from some witnesses that confirm her whereabouts
- you don’t rule her out as a suspect entirely just yet
- birch tree pollen
- They got into a violent scuffle
- scraping your palms on the hard road
- You stumble back onto your feet and catch up with Mardler
- sweat forming on your brow
- sprint across the road
- tripping on a discarded piece of garbage
- Dilated pupils, bloody nose, hoarse voice
- lurking at Hollowleaf Hospital, he’s trying to score some drugs
- Dr Yates slumps down on the ground, defeated
- Another dead end!
- footprints on the floor
- dried mud
- following the faint footprints
- a fist
- a bruise on Julian’s face
- The floorboards creak noisily as you walk over them
- you tackle him to the ground
- Most of the doctors and nurses have gone home for the night, but a few stragglers are left caring for the sick and wounded.
- You wince in pain.
- Your kneecap and head are throbbing.
- a cane
- Sorry I have to ambush you like this
- gears turning
- Crisp morning air fills your nostrils
- You feel winded by the time you reach Palomer’s door
- a shard of glass
- Mardler ponders your theory.
- He was brushing up on German translations when we saw him last
- You limp into the shop
- Quentin Lynch was cold and out of breath
- Discerning detective
Previous detective episodes
Join Luke as we continue to work through this mystery story following a serial killer through the streets of Victorian London. Read the story and play the text adventure game as you listen.
Video versions are now available free on YouTube (after 18 months in the premium subscription)
Sign up to LEP Premium to unlock exclusive content https://www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
Episode notes and transcriptions
Here is part 2 of this new murder mystery detective story.
You should listen to part 1 of this first! Click here for part 1.
In this episode I’m reading through an online text adventure from www.textadventures.co.uk
This one is Victorian Detective 3, written by Peter Carlson.
Listen and enjoy the story and read along with me if you like.
Here’s the link http://textadventures.co.uk/games/view/itwcu1_epk2b-azzulq6cw/victorian-detective-3
Let’s continue the story!
Word list coming in part 3…
Previous detective episodes
Listen to Luke investigating a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ detective story and read along if you like! Learn English in fun ways with stories on Luke’s English Podcast. Video available for premium subscribers.
Video versions are now available free on YouTube (after 18 months in the premium subscription)
Sign up to LEP Premium for exclusive content https://www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
Episode notes and transcriptions
Hello folks and welcome to the podcast.
In this one I’m going to go through another online text adventure in order to try to solve a murder mystery set in Victorian London.
It’s been a while since I did one of these on the podcast.
Several times in the past I have read through online detective adventure stories written by Peter Carlson and available at textadventures.co.uk
There were episodes 338 & 339 (A Murder Mystery Detective Story) and episodes 425 and 426 (Victorian Detectives) in which I was joined by Amber in Paul. (links at the bottom)
These are based on stories and text adventures that you can find at textadventures.co.uk I usually use the ones done by Peter Carlson and in fact after recording the first one, Peter got in touch with me to tell me that he liked the way I did it and was welcome to use his other stories. So, kudos to Peter for being behind us on this one.
In the first episode I read through the story entitled Victorian Detective, and then second one was the sequel “Victorian Detective 2” and now we are on to the third instalment of the series, that’s right it’s “Victorian Detective 3”.
So the idea behind these text adventures is that you read through some text on a webpage and there are certain words highlighted which you can click on for extra information and every now and then you have to make a decision which can affect the way the story turns out. Each decision relies on your observational skills and your reading of the information provided. You have to be like a Sherlock Holmes style detective, or a text detective if you will, to work out the right choices based on the evidence you’ve read.
This sort of thing is great for learning English because you can do tons of reading with very specific goals each time. It’s online so you can check out new words when you come across them and the fact that you’re part of the story makes it extra engaging. You can also read along with me as I play the game, or play it on your own later. And if you do that, consider leaving a comment or review at textadvantures.co.uk thanking Peter Carlson for his work.
You can check out loads of these games at textadventures.co.uk and I’ll let you explore them in your own time.
Right, so what about Victorian Detective 3?
In this series we play the part of a brilliant detective who has skills similar to those of Sherlock Holmes. You have perfect memory, demonstrated by the fact that you can re-read any text so far. Your super fast decision making ability is represented by the unlimited time we have to make our choices in the game. And our vast knowledge is represented by the internet and we are encouraged to google any things we don’t know about.
As a detective we have a police partner that we work with called Mardler. He’s a bit like the Lestrade character in Sherlock Holmes in that he is a police officer who often gets things wrong and is a bit competitive with you. So Mardler is our partner.
So here’s how it’s going to go.
I’ll read through each section and read all the other peripheral info that you get by clicking on different words. I’ll explain things as we go if I think it’s all getting complicated. I’ll invite you to think about the right option each time and if you want you can read along with me by following the link on the website.
I have no idea how long this will take! It might be several episodes, we’ll see. I haven’t done the game before so I don’t know how long it will last. In this episode I think I’ll go for about an hour and then I’ll find a good place to pause the story. Some kind of cliffhanger would be good.
Your task is just to try and keep up with the story, perhaps think about each decision too. If I make a mistake at any point, jump into the comment section and explain your thoughts.
But mainly, just try to follow the story and I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable as a way to learn English through listening.
I’m slightly concerned that my reading of texts might distance you from the story slightly. I really want you to concentrate on imagining the surroundings of each scene. It helps if you really visualise each situation as you listen to it. Use any descriptive language you can find to help you paint a visual image of what you’re hearing in the story. This can make a big difference to your ability to keep up and to stay involved all the way through.
So for this story we’re in London in 1861. Victoria is on the throne. The American Civil War is breaking out in the USA. London is probably quite a dirty, smokey, foggy sort of place with some very upmarket areas and also some slums. People used horses and horse-drawn carriages to get around and do things. It’s the world of Sherlock Holmes basically.
Right, so without any further ado, let’s begin the story.
There’s a little bit of chess at the beginning and I admit that I’ve done this several times to get the right sequence of moves. QUEEN – PAWN – PAWN
Also, as we go through I’m picking up or losing points based on my decisions. I think it’s not possible to die in the game, but the outcome might be different and your score can be different each time.
Previous detective episodes
Word list coming in part 3…
My friend Moz (Michael J. Buchanan-Dunne) from the Murder Mile True Crime Podcast tells us some more true stories about murders from London’s past. Contains some gruesome details and explicit descriptions, and some fascinating and unbelievable true stories! Intro and outtro transcripts available. *Adults only: Contains gory details and explicit descriptions*
This episode features another conversation with one of my friends for you to listen to as part of your learning English diet, and yes let’s imagine that learning English is a bit like having a diet plan, but instead of limiting your intake like you do with a food diet, with this English diet the plan is just to consume as much English as possible and really enjoy it. Just binge on English as much as you like – yum yum yum yum yum.
So yes, here is some more natural English conversation for you to indulge in.
The friend I’m talking to in this episode is my mate Moz, who has been on the podcast a couple of times before. You can find all his episodes in the archive. Just search for Moz – m o z. The long-term listeners will know Moz but if you’re fairly new around here, here is a 2-minute summary of what you need to know about him.
I met Moz (whose real name is actually Mike or in fact Michael J Buchanan-Dunne) doing stand-up comedy back when I was living in london a few years ago.
He lives on a canal boat, spending most of his time in London where there is a canal network that crosses the city.
Moz gives guided walking tours around parts of central London – especially Soho. The theme of these walking tours is murder, and Moz takes groups of visitors to different locations and then describes real murders that happened in those places. The tour includes stories of serial killers, crimes of passion and mysteries that have never been solved. Quite a lot of my listeners have actually taken his tour when visiting London and you can do it too if you’re in town. Just go to murdermiletours.com to get the details and to book a tour. It’s a really different way to explore parts of central London with a local person. It’s much more interesting than the normal boring tourist walks, and it has a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor. Not bad.
Moz also has his own podcast called the Murder Mile True Crime Podcast in which he describes, in plenty of detail, the stories that he tells briefly on his walking tours, and more. He started the podcast just 7 months ago and since then it’s gone from strength to strength. It got a nomination in this year’s British Podcast Awards in the True Crime category.
So Moz is something of a specialist when it comes to describing the stories of true crimes in London. His stories are painstakingly researched using court and police records from the national archives, and Moz is a well-experienced and enthusiastic storyteller.
And it’s the storytelling that I’m interested in here, as much as anything else, because stories can be really great resources for learning English, especially when the storyteller is enthusiastic and the content of the story is gripping. They help to draw you in, make you focus on the details and just get more English into your ears, which is so important, as we know!
Well, Moz is certainly keen to describe the events in his stories and you have to agree that there is something fascinating about the subject of murder. Of course it’s horrible and tragic – especially for the victims and their families of course – these are often appalling crimes, but at the same time it’s hard not to wonder about the motivations of murderers, the lives they led, the conditions in which it could be possible for one person to take the life of another.
This is why crime and mystery novels, TV shows and documentaries are so popular. Apparently we can’t get enough of this kind of thing. So, although their subject matter is dark and quite explicit, I think that these stories are compelling and well-told and that is reason enough for me to present them to you in this episode.
Now, as I usually say when Moz comes onto the podcast and talks about murder – I think I should warn you here – Moz’s accounts often contain some very graphic and explicit descriptions of some truly horrible acts of violence and moments of horror.
So, if you’re sensitive to this kind of thing – if you don’t like blood and violent imagery – if you’re squeamish – you might want to proceed with caution. If you’re playing this with children around, like if you’re in the car and the kids are listening – you should probably pick another episode. My episodes are usually aimed at adults anyway, but this one in particular is not suitable for children. So, that should be clear – if you don’t like gory details, proceed with caution, if kids are present, listen to this later when they’re not around.
Ok we’re very nearly ready to begin here.
At the beginning, you’re going to hear Moz’s quick report from the British Podcast Awards ceremony which he attended just a couple of weeks ago and then he goes on to tell us about some of the murder stories he’s been researching over the last year or so.
So, without further ado, let’s go!
Moz is getting very good at telling these stories isn’t he?
If you enjoyed this conversation, let me recommend Moz’s podcast – just in case you’re looking for more stuff to listen to in English. As he said it is available on all the usual platforms that you use to get your podcasts. Search for Murder Mile True Crime Podcast. Quite a lot of you already listen to his show, which is great.
The next episode is going to include a Vocabulary Quiz focusing on the language of crime – different nouns and verbs for various types of crime. So vocab hunters, watch out for that.
Well done for listening to the end. Good luck with your English. Keep it up!
Leave your comments on the website as usual. Join the conversation and practise doing some writing in English.
Download the app for convenient access to the whole archive of episodes and some bonus content.
Speak to you again soon!
Bye bye bye!
Listen to serial killer Dennis Nilsen Speaking
Listen to the conclusion of this mystery story in which Amber, Paul and I attempt to solve a series of kidnappings in Victorian London.
Welcome back to the this double episode in which Amber, Paul and I are working our way through an online text adventure game. The game is set in London in the Victorian era. We are playing the part of a brilliant detective with a particular set of skills who, with his partner Mardler, is trying to track down and rescue 4 kidnapped girls while also bringing the kidnapper to justice.
This is part 2. We’re halfway through the story. If you haven’t listened to part 1 yet, I suggest you do so. It’s episode number 425.
Thanks to Peter Carlson, who wrote the story. Peter gave me the go-ahead to record us reading it out on the podcast. Nice on Peter, thank you.
You can find the link to the game on the page for this episode (link above) where you read all of the text that we are reading. So you can either just enjoy listening to us going through the story now, or you can listen now and read the story yourself later, or you can listen to us and read the story at the same time. It’s worth checking the text in the story because you’ll be able to read all the words and check certain things that you might miss, like spellings, definitions of certain language etc.
Whatever you choose to do, try to watch out for descriptive vocabulary (particularly verbs for different types of movement), the language we use while working together as a group and also the language we use when making deductions and speculating about the case (things like “might have” “could have” “must have” and so on).
As I said before, the story does contain some descriptions of violence so if you’re very sensitive to the gory details, then be warned, although it’s not that graphic in my opinion and you expect a bit of blood in a detective story, don’t you?
What’s the story so far?
Let’s recap again quickly.
Girls keep getting kidnapped in London. At the scene of each kidnapping there’s a calling card left by the kidnapper in the form of a creepy smiley face scratched into the floor.
We were called to the house of the Worthington family, where the daughter Chloe had disappeared. Using our deductive reasoning skills, we worked out that she must have run away with her lover – a poor Italian paper seller called Joseph. They had 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 deduced 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 discovered that his name is Cade Brewer, and he’s a strange, creepy yet huge and strong man with an appetite for opiate pain killing drugs, woodwork and kidnapping, but we don’t know where he is. Now we have gone back to the police station to consider the situation more carefully.
4 young girls from different social backgrounds have been kidnapped and they all have similar coloured hair – they all have light hair. Then we start receiving notes from the kidnapper, who calls himself Mr Burlap, 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 (I blame Amber). It turns out she’s not at the cemetery at all. In fact, closer inspection of the evidence shows us that he 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 – 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 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?!
Let’s find out.
*** The story continues ***
*** The story ends ***
Here’s a recap of the story, just to make sure you got it.
Part 2 of Victorian Detective – Explained
So, after making a mistake and searching the cemetery for Chloe Worthington, we went to the hospital to track down Mr Burlap the kidnapper, who we suspected was Cade Brewer the weird, big guy from the mortuary. There we find the body of one of the other girls, Amy Anderson, but unfortunately it was too late! We’d wasted too much time at the cemetery and the girl had already died from ingesting poisonous mushrooms. Next to Amy’s body we found a smiley face (the kidnapper’s calling card) and a scratched note from Mr Burlap indicating that another one of the girls was being held somewhere else and that we had a limited amount of time to find her. We then deduced that she was being kept near the Thames river. We went there and discovered another one of the missing girls tied up next to the water. Mr Burlap’s plan was that because the Thames is tidal, the tide would eventually come in and the water level would rise, drowning the girl. Thankfully we managed to rescue her in time. We suspected the Italian uncle of the paperboy from part 1 of the story to be the killer, because Mr Burlap wrote “Good luck” in Italian at the end of the note. Closer inspection of Chloe Worthington’s house revealed that it wasn’t the Italian uncle, and that in fact Cade Brewer had been spying on Chloe and Joseph (the Italian paperboy) and that’s how he knew about the Italian phrase, which he wrote in the note as a distraction. We then worked out that Cade Brewer, who must be Mr Burlap was probably hiding in a forest just outside London – Epping Forest. We went there to investigate, and eventually found a small wooden house where we came face to face with Cade Brewer. There was a bit of a fight at the entrance to the wooden house, Mardler got hit in the face with a shovel, we dropped our gun and Cade Brewer escaped. We then picked up Mardler’s gun and investigated the house, which was full of bear pelts, bear traps and loads of carved smiley faces all over the walls – clearly Cade Brewer was Mr Burlap the kidnapper, and he’d been practising his smiley faces by scratching them everywhere in his house, like the way you practise your signature when you’re young, until you’re happy with it! We decided to chase after Brewer by going down a trapdoor which was hidden by a bear pelt on the floor. In the basement we discovered the 3rd girl, tied up, standing on a chair with a noose around her neck. For some reason we didn’t immediately rescue her from this perilous situation, and instead we chose to try and follow Brewer by shooting the lock on the back door of the basement and opening it to discover a tunnel. We then didn’t look properly and got our leg caught in a bear trap, badly injuring ourselves. It didn’t make much of a difference to the outcome of the story but it must have stung a bit! Then, with the help of Mardler and some police officers we cut down the other girl, rescuing her (2/3 at this point).
Then the point of view changed and we followed the story from Cade Brewer’s perspective. Playing as Brewer was a disturbing experience because he was obviously suffering from extreme side effects because of the Opiax painkillers he’d been taking. In fact the painkillers had driven him mad and he’d turned into a psycho, completely obsessed with a nurse who had cared for him at the hospital where he’d been a patient with an injured leg. With his mind twisted by the effects of the opiax, he’d killed the nurse. Brewer’s mental illness, caused by the side effects of the painkiller, came in the form of the voice of Mr Burlap, who convinced him to kidnap the other girls and kill them as part of some kind of natural cycle, which he had to complete. Poor Cade Brewer was completely overcome by the influence of Mr Burlap, all because of the effects of this untested drug that he’d been given at the hospital. His next step was to kill not only Chloe Worthington, but also the detectives on his trail – that’s us!
Then we returned to the point of view of the detectives who had somehow worked out that Chloe Worthington was being kept back at the mortuary, and there we discovered her, only to be locked inside by Cade Brewer/Mr Burlap who proceeded to try and burn down the building as the conclusion of his natural cycle – having killed the other girls with earth, water, air and now fire. Thankfully we managed to use our articulate communication skills to trick Brewer into opening the door of the mortuary, where we chose to mercilessly shoot him dead without asking further questions (notice that Amber was the one who chose to do that straight away, immediately saying “shoot the fucker!”)
We escaped from the burning building with Chloe Worthington. But tragically we didn’t get 100% success because we let Amy Anderson die in the hospital due to our poor deductive reasoning at the cemetery.
That’s the end.
Let us know your thoughts
As ever, I’m curious to know what you think.
- Would you have made the same choices we did?
- Did you manage to work out what was going on?
- Do you have any language-related questions or comments?
Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section.
Other episodes like this
You could try these episodes if you haven’t already heard them.
- 229. Zombies! (Part 2) Listen to me take a zombie survival test (another text adventure game), with a language focus on conditional sentences.
- 298. The Bank Robbery (Part 1) and 299. The Bank Robbery (Part 2) How will Amber, Paul and Sebastian plan the perfect bank robbery?
- 338. A Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 1 of 2) and 339. A Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 2 of 2) I play another text adventure game written by Peter Carlson. Listen as we discover the story, make some choices based on evidence and try to solve a murder.
- And any other episode with Amber & Paul (just check the archive – try using command+F or ctrl+F then searching for the word ‘Amber’ or ‘Paul’ – your browser should highlight all episodes with those words, making it easier to search the archive.
Thanks for listening!
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 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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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,
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the game.That would be really great if you read Victorian Detective 2 as well.Peter
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: http://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 ***
*** 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.
This episode of the podcast is all about telling anecdotes in English. Anecdotes are little stories about our experiences that we share while socialising. It’s important to have a few anecdotes of your own and to know how to tell them properly. In this episode I’m going to give you some advice for how to tell an anecdote and then you’re going to listen to some true anecdotes told by members of my family that I recorded yesterday evening during dinner.
This episode is sponsored by italki. Speaking practice is very important in developing natural, fluent English and this is now really easy to achieve because with italki you can find plenty of native speakers and teachers to talk to, you can set your own schedule and you don’t even need to leave the house – you can do all of it from your own home. If you want to practise telling your anecdotes, do it in conversation on italki. They have lots of friendly and experienced teachers who are ready to help you to learn English your way. Go to http://www.teacherluke.co.uk/talk to get started and to get a voucher worth 100ITC when you get some lessons. OK, let’s get started!
I’m at my parents’ house for a few days. My brother and I are just taking a couple of days off and spending some time here doing the usual things like enjoying the fresh air, talking to my parents and taking advantage of our mum’s cooking.
Yesterday evening we were eating dessert at the end of dinner and we started talking about anecdotes. I think I asked everyone, “Do you have any anecdotes?” I asked them to think of an anecdote they’d told before. We were about to start when I realised that it might be a good idea to record the talking, so I quickly got my audio recorder and then recorded them telling those anecdotes. Each one is about 5 minutes long.
Before we just listen to their little stories, let’s consider anecdotes and how important they are in English.
From the archives: Another episode about telling anecdotes (episode 44) https://teacherluke.co.uk/2011/10/11/telling-anecdotes/
By the way, listen to this episode from the archives about telling anecdotes. I gave some advice for anecdotes and then we listened to a couple of funny ones. This episode develops the ideas I talked about in episode 44.
What are anecdotes and why are they important?
So, essentially anecdotes are little true stories about ourselves. We are usually the protagonists in our anecdotes, and they’re usually told in informal social situations. Sometimes there are moments in our social interactions when we just start sharing little stories about things that have happened to us in our lives. This might happen at a dinner, or when you’re generally spending some extended time with other people. Anecdotes are a really common part of the way we socialise in English. They allow us to entertain the people around us, while letting them know a bit more about us.
Both of those things are vital in my opinion. If you’re trying to build a relationship with people it’s important to both entertain them and also share some personal information with them. Entertaining the people around you is important because it just makes them feel good. If you can make people feel good, they’re much more likely to trust you, to give something to you in return and also, it’s just good to entertain people around you. It’s just fun and enjoyable to hear about people’s experiences. Also, giving away some personal information is a good way of encouraging other people to do the same thing. That’s how you build trust. For building a relationship you can do two things: ask questions and be prepared to give away details about yourself. Anecdotes help you achieve the second one in a fun way.
So, how do you tell an anecdote in English?
Tips for Telling Anecdotes
- Find the right moment. Usually they take place in informal anecdote sharing sessions. Don’t just jam your story into a conversation. It should add something to the subject of the conversation. E.g. you might be sharing travelling stories, or stories about weird people you’ve met, or university stories, or dangerous experiences. That’s when it’s appropriate to add your story too. Maybe you’re talking about a particular subject and your anecdote will add something to that conversation. E.g. you might be talking about the difficulty of finding accommodation in your town, and you could tell the story of the crazy landlord you used to have. Perhaps someone has just told a story, and you’ve got one that relates to it too. All of those are good moments to introduce your anecdote. Only tell your story if it relates to the conversation you’re already having.
- Keep it short! Don’t get stuck in the details too much. Focus on the impact of the story. What emotion are you attempting to elicit in people? What is the feeling you’re trying to get across? Is it frustration, fear, danger, humour? Focus on communicating a feeling and try not to let the details get in the way. You need to communicate that feeling by explaining the right events. The best anecdotes allow the listeners to discover the same feelings as you did when you felt them, so describe the events and aspects of the situation that made you feel that way. Don’t get caught up in the details. Keep it pretty short and simple. Say the word “anyway” when you get stuck in the details and want to move on to the main stuff.
- Use the right narrative tenses. Usually we tell anecdotes in the past. That means you’ll be using past simple, past continuous and past perfect. Here’s a really quick and simple explanation of how you use those tenses. Past simple – this is the tense you use to explain the main actions in the principle part of the story. E.g. I saw a spaceship, I stopped my car, the spaceship flew above me, all the objects in my car started floating, I saw a bright flash of light, then I woke up lying down in the forest with a pain in my backside.” Past simple is usually used for short actions that happen one after the other. Past continuous – we use this to explain the situation at the time the main events happened. It’s for context. It sets the scene. E.g. “I was driving in my car through the countryside late one night when I saw something strange”. Also, it’s for moment by moment action, and it’s when two things happen at the same time. Past continuous is for the longer action of the two. The action starts, is interrupted by a shorter past simple action, and then may or may not continue. E.g. “I was trying to remember where I was when these guys in black suits turned up and started asking me questions.” Past perfect – this is for giving back story. Use past perfect to talk about events that happened before the main events of the story. E.g. I told the guys that I’d just been camping in the forest and that I’d got up in the night to go to the toilet and I’d lost my tent, and that’s why I was sleeping outside like that. I told them I hadn’t seen any aliens or anything like that.” Past perfect is a difficult one to notice when listening. The “had” is often contracted and can be impossible to hear. It’s possible to identify past perfect because of the use of past participles, e.g. “I’d seen it before” and “I saw it before” but when regular verbs are used it can be almost invisible. Compare “I’d finished” and “I finished”. They sound very similar. Sometimes ‘had’ is not completely contracted but pronounced using a weak form, like ‘/həd/’ e.g. “He had been there before”. It might also be part of a continuous form, like “He had been talking to someone else”.
So, there are the narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous, past perfect. Past simple is the most common one – you could probably just tell the story with that one on its own, but adding the other two will give your stories more depth and range. Think about how you use these three tenses when describing events in the past.
- Tell us how you felt. That’s pretty simple. Just give us some emotional content.
- Use direct speech. Don’t worry about using reported speech, just use direct quotes. E.g. “He said “What are you doing here?” and I said “I’m just camping!” and they both said “Where’s your tent?” and I said “It got stolen in the night, or I lost it, I can’t remember”. I don’t think they believed me but they told me to be careful and to go home.
- Introduce your story with a quick sentence, like “I got abducted by aliens once” or “I saw a weird thing once” or “That sounds like something that happened to me once”. That’s generally a sign that you’ve got a little story to tell. However, if people aren’t really listening, don’t worry about it, this might not be the moment for your story.
- When someone has just told a little story, ask a few questions or respond to it in some way. Show some appreciation of the anecdote – like, “Oh my god I can’t believe that!” or “Wow, I can’t believe that you got abducted by aliens!”
- Try to make it quite entertaining! If the story doesn’t have much entertainment value, keep it extra short. You can exaggerate the story a bit, but don’t lie, that’s just deceptive. For example, don’t just make up a clearly fictional story about being abducted by aliens. Obviously, it should be very much ‘based on a true story’. Repeating anecdotes a few times is quite common. In fact, people carry anecdotes with them through their lives and repeat them again and again. You probably have a few experiences that you’ve described a few times – they’re your anecdotes. Try converting them into English, and it’s ok to practise those anecdotes a few times because you’re learning the language. Think about experiences you’ve had in your life – how would you describe them fairly quickly in conversation, focusing on the main events and how they made you feel at the time?
- Show us when the story is finished. Typically we might say “That’s what happened.” or “And that’s it” or even “That’s my alien abduction story.” It’s nice if your anecdote can end with a funny line or a punchline, but that’s difficult. It might also be good to say what you learned from your experience.
Now, let’s hear my family’s anecdotes shall we? (yes)
By coincidence, all these anecdotes relate to meeting strange people and most of them involve some element of danger (in the case of the boys’ stories) or embarrassment in my Mum’s story.
Imagine you’re at the dinner table with my Mum, Dad and brother. As you listen, think about the things I’ve just mentioned, and try to notice them. You could listen to this episode a few times. Try to notice different things I mentioned about telling anecdotes. Which anecdote do you think is the best? Why is it a good one?
Here are some key points to watch out for.
- Narrative tenses used – in particular, can you hear when past perfect is used? It’s only used in 3 out of the 4 stories. Watch out for past continuous to set the scene. Is that one used in every story?
- When someone says “anyway” in order to avoid getting caught in the details
- What is the main feeling that the person is trying to communicate? Is it danger, embarrassment, weirdness?
- How does the anecdote end?
- Any new vocabulary?
I’ll let you listen to the anecdotes, and then I’ll deal with some vocabulary and make any other points afterwards.
Mum’s Anecdote – Meeting the King of Tonga
(Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than 170 islands, many uninhabited)
*some past perfect is used to explain what the king had been doing before mum arrived
It’s going to fall very flat = it’s going to fail to have the intended effect. E.g. if a joke falls flat, it doesn’t make anyone laugh. If a story falls flat, it is not impressive or amusing.
It’s been built up too much = We say this when people’s expectations have been raised. To ‘build something up’ means to raise people’s expectations of something. You’d say this before telling a joke if you feel like everyone’s expectations have been raised. E.g. “What’s this Russian joke? I’ve heard you talking about it a lot, so it must be amazing.” “Well, it’s been built up too much now, it’s just going to fall flat.” or “Have you seen the new Spielberg film Bridge of Spies, oh my god it is amazing!” “Don’t build it up too much!”
I was nothing to do with it = if you have nothing to do with something it means you are not involved or connected to anything at all. E.g. “Mr Thompson, I want to talk to you about the bank robbery that occurred in the town centre last year.” “Bank robbery? I had nothing to do with it officer, I promise!” or simply “There was a royal visit happening, but I had nothing to do with it. I was just there to pick up my husband.”
I was just a hanger-on = a hanger-on is someone who just hangs on. This is someone who is nothing to do with what’s happening but they just hang around. E.g. musicians often have hangers on. These are people that hang around the band even though they’re not contributing to the show at all. They’re just hanging on because it’s cool or fun to be with the band.
I was skulking in the corner = to skulk means to kind of hide or keep out of sight, often in a slightly cowardly way.
He beckoned to me = to beckon to someone is to wave someone over to you with your hand. It’s to do a motion with your hand which encourages someone to come to talk to you.
He was eyeing her up = this means to look at someone because you fancy them – to look at someone with sexual interest. E.g. the king of Tonga was eyeing up my Mum all evening.
James’ Anecdote – Hastings Story
a skate park = a place designed for skateboarding
the ramp’s in the church = a ramp is a thing for skateboarding on. It has sloped sides so skaters can go up and down on it
a hog on a spit = a hog is a pig, and a spit is a stick that goes through the pig, suspending it above a fire
we had too good a time = we had a good time – but if you want to add ‘too’ you need to say “we had too good a time” not “we had a too good time” – this works with the structure in general. “It was too big a pizza for me to eat” or “It was too long a journey to make at that time of night”
I was too drunk – not in a lairy way = to be lairy means to be aggressive and anti-social. It happens when some people get drunk. They get lairy.
I’m bigger than him, I can take him = to ‘take’ someone means beat them in a fight
We crashed out = to crash out means to fall asleep, usually quickly and often in a place where you don’t usually sleep.
I’ve painted everything in hammerite http://www.hammerite.co.uk/ = hammerite is a kind of metallic paint
He was coming round = to come round here means to wake up, or come back to consciousness
I didn’t get interfered with = to interfere with someone could mean to touch them in a sexual manner
*just past simple
Dad’s Anecdote – Hitchhiking in Italy
*all the narrative tenses used
We got a few good lifts = a lift is when someone takes you somewhere in a car. E.g. “Could you give me a lift to the station?”
This car pulled up = this is when a car stops by the side of the road (also – pull over)
He was a slightly dodgy character = dodgy means untrustworthy or suspicious
The car broke down = stopped working
They turned on him and said “What are you doing?” = to turn on someone (not turn someone on) means to suddenly start criticising or attacking someone. In this case, there were curious neighbours listening to the argument and after a while they turned on the guy – they decided that he was wrong and they started criticising him
I managed to jump in and grab the keys from the ignition = to manage to do something (this is an important verb structure) – also ‘the ignition’ is the part where you put the keys in order to start the car, e.g. “You left the keys in the ignition”
I dangled the keys over a grating / a drain = to dangle something over something is to hold something in the air so that it swings from side to side slightly. E.g. We sat on the edge of the bride with our legs dangling in the air.
Luke’s Anecdote – Liverpool Story
*Includes quite a long passage with past perfect when I described what had happened to the man before he arrived at our front door.
There was some sort of commotion going on in the hallway = a commotion means a period of noise, confusion or excitement
He ran through all the alleyways = alleyways are passages between or behind houses
That’s it for vocabulary!
Which anecdote did you like the best, and why?
Here is the concluding part of this detective story, which is based on a text adventure by Peter Carlson on www.textadventures.co.uk. In the first part you heard me playing an adventure game in which I have to analyse clues and choose the right options to continue a story and solve a murder. Before listening to this episode you should listen to part 1 of the story. Click here here to listen to part 1: https://teacherluke.co.uk/2016/03/31/338-a-murder-mystery-detective-story/ In this episode (part 2) you’ll hear the rest of the story, and if you don’t understand what’s going on – don’t worry, I’ll explain it at the end and you can read a summary of the story below. Enjoy!
The Story – Explained
“Wait, wait, wait! I still don’t completely understand what happened in the story!”
OK, me neither. Let’s clarify.
Story summary (Vocabulary check: Do you know all the underlined words? Check them in a dictionary if you like – perhaps the Cambridge Online Dictionary)
- First we investigate the scene of a murder. A man has been shot dead but it’s not just a random mugging. It appears to be deeper than that.
- We work out the victim’s identity by investigating a smoke shop where he bought some Vietnamese tobacco. The owner of the smoke shop tells us the victim’s name, Mr Gaubert Bouvier, and gives us his address.
- We visit the address and discover that it has been trashed. All the objects in the house have been thrown around. Someone else has been here, searching for something. Who? It was 2 Russian brothers. Why were they searching the place? I’m not sure…
- We discover a hidden science lab where Bouvier was making bombs. It turns out Bouvier was a chemist who specialised in bomb production.
- There’s some action when we discover plans for another bomb attack in a theatre.
- We go to the theatre and it’s the first time we spot the Russians, but we don’t follow them. Again, we’ll come back to that.
- We manage to prevent the bomb from exploding and then discover that the target of the bomb was a scientist called Sir Joseph Swan. He was planning to patent and sell a new invention called the electric lightbulb. The victim of a previous explosion was also a scientist, working on the lightbulb invention. So, apparently the murderer(s) are targeting the makers of these lightbulbs.
- We investigate the whaling ship which we work out is moored in the docks. It was sailing off the coast of Belgium, but it turns now it’s moored in London again.
- Investigation of the ship tells us the navigator of the ship was sending instructions to Bouvier the victim to make bombs.
- We manage to track down the captain of the ship, who runs away from us. There’s a chase through the streets near the docks. During the chase we glimpse a man with a scar on the left side of his face, but it’s not important. We’re chasing the captain.
- We catch the captain. Why was he running? Well, it’s not because he knew about the bomb attacks. It’s for another reason – probably because the ship is involved in some other criminal activity, maybe pirating or perhaps smuggling.
- Anyway, the captain tells us the name of the navigator: Yorick Rozencrantz.
This is obviously a fake name because it’s taken from two characters in the Shakespeare play Hamlet.
- We decide to investigate those two Russian brothers. We work out that they must be carpenters working on a construction site near the river, so we go to investigate them.
- After a fight with the Russians we learn that they were employed by the navigator/Shakespeare/Yorick to plant the bomb at the theatre and to trash Bouvier’s house. (I still don’t know why they trashed Bouvier’s house)
- After a bit more deductive reasoning, we later discover that the secretive navigator/Shakespeare/Yorick guy is a former French soldier who was posted in Vietnam, where France had a colony. In fact, in Vietnam he met Mr Bouvier, the victim of the murder.
- So, Bouvier and Shakespeare knew each other in Vietnam, and as a soldier Bouvier was an expert in explosives.
- With the help of a friend who is an expert on military history, you work out that the Shakespeare character is actually called Renard Voclain. We see a photo of him, and see that he has a scar below his left eye.
- Using our amazing photographic memory, or eidetic memory, we manage to remember where we saw this guy before. It turns out he was there during the chase with the captain, hiding in the crowd of Londoners.
- Our amazing memory recall and deductive reasoning tell us that he must be living near the docks, where he keeps cats. We know this because we remember seeing cat hairs on his trousers, and some other clues.
- We head to the docks and the presence of some cats leads us to the right house.
- There we discover Renard Voclain, the navigator/Shakespeare character and master criminal behind both the killing of Bouvier and the bomb attacks.
- We learn that Voclain was also trying to develop electric lightbulbs and was killing off his competitors in order to have a monopoly on the industry – not a bad idea considering the massive profits that could be made, although we know that crime doesn’t pay.
- After a quick gunfight we manage to catch Voclain, arrest him and send him to Scotland Yard where he’ll be charged and tried in front of a judge in the proper manner.
Results – Am I a Good Detective?
I got pretty average results from my detective work. (Listen to hear me read out my results)
Do you think you can do better? Try playing the game for yourself here.
If you enjoyed it, you can check out other Victorian Detective stories too (I think there are two other ones by the same author) at http://textadventures.co.uk
What do you think?
Why did the two Russian brothers trash Bouvier’s house?
Did I miss any elements of the story?
Have you played Victorian Detective yourself yet? Did you get a different narrative?
I can’t wait to read your comments. :)