She was in the library cleaning up the last vestiges of the gentleman's party. Brandy glasses were strewn about on countless tables and tail coats were left draped and forgotten over love seats and couches. Her hair fell into her face blocking her vision momentarily, and she had to place the tray onto the table in from her to free her hands.

Her small slender hands never reached the loose strand of soft, blonde hair. Large strong hands belonging to a man came to lie on her shoulders, startling her and earning a cry from her throat. As her eyes landed on the intruder she relaxed slightly. Her clear round face contorted into an anxious frown.

"What do you want?"

The blow to her head sent her falling to the floor with a fractured skull. The object came down a second time, crushing the bridge of her nose. The third blow shattering her delicate cheek bones. The next blow split open the soft flesh of her beautiful face and each time the object was pulled back over its wielder's head blood was splattered against a snow white waist coat.

There was a gurgling sound.

Crunching bones.

Panting. Deep heavy breaths.

The object, slick with blood, flew from trembling hands. A shaky body was pulled upright by quivering legs. The object was not forgotten. It was scooped lovingly into adoring arms.

Lights were distinguished and the door creaked open. The only sign of the murderer's existence a bloody smear on the brass door knob used to hide the hideous scene within from the world.


Police Evidence File # 5023295

Surviving fragments of the Inquest of Mary Anne Chapman

Discovered in Aftermath of fire of Coldstone Hall

Case Unsolved

Inquest: Mary Anne Chapman

Sunday, May 30th, 1804

Yesterday [30 May], Dr. O'Neil, M.P., the coroner for the North- Eastern District of Hereford, opened his inquiry relative to the death of Mary Anne Chapman, the woman whose body was discovered on Sunday morning, horribly beaten, in a room on the ground floor of Coldstone Hall, owned by the honorable James E. Attenborough, Earl of Clarendon, and inhabited by the Right honorable Lord Henry J. Attenborough.

Superintendent J. Arthur, C Division; Inspector Chambers, of the Criminal Investigation Department, and Inspector Hoodsby represented the police. The deputy coroner, Mr. Richardson, was present during the proceedings.

Dispositions taken in the study of Lord Henry Attenborough between the hours of eleven am and five pm.

Lord Henry J. Attenborough Deposed: We are all close friends that came together for our last summer before my cousin John goes off to the Navy. None of these men would have done such a thing.

[Coroner]: We are not accusing anyone. We just need to know what you were doing last night when your made was murdered.

-I was drinking with friends. We were all drinking. I remember little past the hour of seven.

[Coroner]: Did you see Miss Chapman throughout the night?

-Of course I did. She was running up and down the halls making sure the rooms would be ready by the time we retired. We had only just arrived.

[Coroner]: Was Miss Chapman known to drink?

-Not that I have ever seen.

[Coroner]: Could another one of your servants have committed this horrendous crime?

-I find it infinitely more likely than one of my dear friends having committed such a crime.

[Coroner]: Sir Charles Nottage and Mr. John Attenborough are estranged brothers. Has there been any tension in the house recently.

-They have a relationship. I sensed no more tension than is usually displayed.

[Coroner]: Have the two argued recently?

-Not that I know of. John and Charlie are generally quite polite and warm to one another. They have a common bond over the love of their mother.

[Coroner]: What time did you retire?

-I was the last to go to bed. I instructed Annie to clean up the library and then she could take the next day, today, off.

[Coroner]: For the record, Annie is Miss Chapman?

-Yes, Mary Anne Chapman is known to all that know her affectionately as Annie.

[Coroner]: You went to bed after this?

-I did.

[Coroner]: To your knowledge did anyone leave their rooms after retiring?

-I did

[Coroner]: and where did you go

-I went to enjoy the company of one of my other maids.

[Coroner]: Thank you Lord Attenborough.

Sir Charles A. Nottage deposed: I was rather drunk and I was brought to my rooms. I do not quite remember getting there but I think that Malcolm brought me up. I fell asleep shortly after being placed onto the bed.

[Coroner]: You do not remember anything after going to your rooms?

-No I fell unconscious

[Coroner]: Anything before?

-I do not remember anything

[Coroner]: Did you see Miss Chapman throughout the night?

-No I do not even know what she looks like.

Malcolm Molyneux, Earl of Rutland deposed:

[Coroner]: Was anyone besides Sir Charles severely drunk before retiring for the night?

-Charlie was not drunk. It was John that could barely stand.

[Coroner]: How would you describe Sir Charles' level of intoxication?

-He nursed the same glass all night. It was not even finished when I left. It is possible he got drunk afterward, I left quite early, but I doubt it.

[Coroner]: It was Mr. Attenborough that was heavily intoxicated?

-He started drinking in the afternoon. He is on leave from the marines. You cannot blame a man for that.

[Coroner]: No blame here, my Lord. Did you see Miss Chapman as all?

-Yes, she refilled my glass a few times. She was a very sweet woman. Reminded me of my dear, sweet mother some.

[Coroner]: Was she distressed at all?

-No more than any other maid running a party. She was quite flustered. She spilled a glass on Henry's favorite suit. He was furious, but not enough to kill most certainly. Why are you interviewing us? Why are the servants not being questioned?

[Coroner]: They are being quarantined alone in their rooms and will be questioned after the four of you. You are going first for your own convenience.

-All I know is that she was a hardworking young woman that had no enemies. She was flustered, which is normal, she had a short conversation with Charlie, and she spilled a glass on Henry. That is all I know.

[Coroner]: Was the conversation angry? Violent?

-No it was a small passing of words that did not strike me as significant in any way. Even now, I am just telling you what I know. This is what you want is it not?

[Coroner]: Thank you Lord Rutland.

John W. Attenborough deposed: I truly wish I could be of more help but I cannot remember anything past yesterday afternoon.

[Coroner]: Did you ever see Miss Chapman?

-I knew her from previous encounters. I did not see her this visit to Coldstone, or should I say I do not remember it if it happened. To be completely honest, Sir, I believe I am still rather drunk.

[Coroner]: Thank you for your time.


A/N: The Inquest is based off the Jack the Ripper Inquests. They can be found online if you're interested. They are quite a read.

I will say the murderer is not John but it is one of the other three.