Tempt Not the Stars | Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer
by Julius Falconer
It is not my purpose, you may be glad to hear, to describe in detail the events of the house-party held at Abberton Hall on the weekend of 27-28 February 1965. Young people’s parties are, to my elderly and perhaps cynical way of thinking, both predictable and tedious: trivial conversation, alcohol and flirtation, all in immoderate amounts; erratic consumption of sustenance and snatches of sleep; loud music (if music is the right word for the cacophony and inconsequence that young people seem to enjoy); disorder and jumble on the ground. This sum of frivolity known as partying, with its stupefying convention and obligatory hang-over, is perhaps relatively harmless in the spectrum of all possible human activity, but it does not make for a thought-provoking read except in the hands of a practised novelist – ahem.Furthermore, the house-party in question here was a relatively staid affair, given that the participants came from civilised and educated stock (not that that is always an assurance of probity and good order). Finally, I know perfectly well that you, the discerning reader, have not selected the account of a criminal investigation from the inspiring pen of Stanley Wickfield with which to stimulate your cerebral faculties in order to engage in tabloid voyeurism. I shall, however, give you a general picture, because it was with this party that our investigation began.
The Abberton Lambtons senior had given the hall over to their nephew for the celebration of his twenty-first birthday. Since they were obliged by other commitments to be absent for the weekend, they would not have to endure the noise and the squalor and could therefore afford to view with relative equanimity the approaching mayhem (as they thought of it). The party began on the Friday night. Present with the express purpose of sleeping over until the Monday morning were the contingent from the Bristol flat consisting of Gregory himself, blond Kathy, dark and willowy Sheena and rugby-playing, bagpipe-toting Philip...