Something terrible has happened to Mr Curtis, and someone at Daisy’s house, Fallingford, must have done it. But who? Mr Curtis is horrid, and we do not like him – but all the same, we are members of the Detective Society, and so we must investigate the crime. So here is a list of the people who were there, in the room, at Daisy’s birthday tea.
Miss Alston – Daisy’s governess. There is always a governess in the holidays at Deepdean, to help Daisy with prep and keep her out of trouble. Miss Alston is the very image of a spinster bluestocking: she wears ugly square clothes without a waist, her hair stands out from her forehead in a heavy clump, and she always carries an enormous handbag in ugly brown pigskin. But although she seems very safe and very dull, this is misleading. We are sure that she has a secret – but what is it?
Aunt Saskia – Daisy’s great aunt. A very large and broad old lady, with her hair all done up in a puff around her head, a bedraggled fur and several scarves around her neck and none of her clothes matching. She seems very foolish, but is she as silly and absent-minded as she seems? Is she trying to hide something?
Uncle Felix – Daisy’s glamorous uncle. There are so many rumours about him at Deepdean – that he is a secret agent, that he has saved Britain single-handed, twice, and received a letter from the King thanking him. His blond hair is slicked back, his suit is perfectly pressed, he has a gorgeously bright silk square in his buttonhole and a little glittering monocle screwed into his left eye. But are the rumours about him true? And what is he really doing at Fallingford?
Lord Hastings – Daisy’s father. He has fat pink cheeks, a fat white moustache and a stomach that strains against his tweed jackets, but when he smiles, he looks just like Daisy. He loves to play practical jokes and he seems very nice – but something is wrong with him this hols. Has he done something awful to Mr Curtis because of it?
Bertie Wells – Daisy’s older brother. He looks unnervingly like Daisy – a Daisy stretched out like India-rubber and shorn of her hair – but if Daisy fizzes like a rocket, Bertie hums with rage. He is cross all the time – did he lash out against Mr Curtis?
Stephen Bampton – Bertie’s school friend. He is short and stocky, with smooth reddish hair, and he seems gentle and kind. But he is not well off – could this have made him do something terrible?
Lady Hastings – Daisy’s mother. She is tall and blonde and glamorously beautiful. Last hols she was perfectly nice, if slightly vague, but this time she is quite different – all brittle and angry at everything. What is she hiding?
Chapman – the Wells’ butler. He is white-haired and stooping, and he has been in the family so long that he is beginning to run down, just like the grandfather clock. He has been behaving very strangely – does he know something dreadful?