The Dean Takes Charge

It is far too early in the morning and I am standing in The Dean’s rooms, head pounding and feeling rather sick. My night out with Head Porter is entirely responsible for this, one way or another. My personal feeling is that his sherry was definitely past its best and this feeling has nothing whatsoever to do with the copious amounts of house red in The Albatross.


Through the fuzz of white noise in my head I am aware of The Dean tutting and cursing prolifically. I have just relayed to him the exciting revelations from last night and he is, as ever, furious. Not so much about the murderous antics of his fellow academics, more so that he hadn’t been invited to partake in any of them, or was even aware. As The Dean of College he should have been informed. This, apparently, is far more offensive than the deeds themselves.


I have tried to impress upon The Dean the potential dangers involved, for example – going the same way as Professor K and Senior Bursar – but he remains unmoved.


“If anyone tries to kill me, they’ll know about it!” he declares, shaking his fist in the air.


“Right Sir,” I reply, amused by his turn of phrase.


“I can’t believe the buggers didn’t ask me to be involved, to be honest” he shakes his head. This is a fair point. I think The Dean would have been a brilliant member of The Vicious Circle. Certainly, the most enthusiastic. “Anyway, all that aside, this is all very good for our investigation.”


“Do you think so, Sir?”


“Absolutely, Deputy Head Porter! Listen. We know for sure that there are nefarious deeds afoot. I think we can be fairly certain about why they were killed. Now we just need to find out who killed them. Now…” The Dean begins to pace the room, rubbing his hands together. He is thinking. There is a knock at the door. “Bugger off!”


The door opens anyway and a very sheepish-looking Head Porter stumbles in. Rarely have I seen a man look so unwell, unless they are about to actually die. You see, I was right about that sherry. The Dean gives him a sideways look, then turns his attentions back to me.


“Now, Deputy Head Porter,” he continues “Remind me, will you what it was we decided?”


“Sorry Sir, I don’t follow?” What is he on about?


“Holmes and Watson” The Dean replies “I can’t remember which one I was going to be. Probably Holmes, I would have thought.”


Head Porter leans over to me, understandably baffled.


“What’s going on?” he asks, his voice displaying all the hallmarks of one so obviously in tremendous pain.


“Don’t ask,” I reply under my breath. Then, to The Dean “I don’t think that’s our primary concern right now, Sir. Maybe we should…”


“Ridiculous, Deputy Head Porter” The Dean cuts me off. “We agreed. But now we have Head Porter in on this too… well! Who is he supposed to be? And why do you look so bloody awful, man? What’s the matter with you? Good God! You haven’t been poisoned as well, have you?!”


“It might have been something I ate, Sir” Head Porter replies, weakly.


“Well, this won’t do. It’s time I took charge of this situation, and that is exactly what I intend to do! I shall start by delegating. Head Porter, any ideas?”


“I could be, um, Colombo?” Head Porter suggests. I can see The Dean is considering this. I feel it is time to bring something sensible to the discussion.


“I think, gentlemen, that we should consider the information we already have available,” I venture. I am not immediately silenced, so I decide to continue. “Professor VJ Duke was right when he said we need to find out what key was really missing from The Lodge. Someone has obviously gone to some trouble to cover that up. Also, the typed note to Head Of Housekeeping requesting the new kettle. Clearly, Senior Bursar didn’t send that note, but his killer probably did. And someone sent me an email from Senior Bursar’s account after his death. I believe these are the main things to look at initially.”


“I was thinking exactly the same thing, well done Deputy Head Porter!” exclaims The Dean. “Now I knew things would start moving once I took charge of things. Right, well, we can’t do anything on empty stomachs. I suggest our first move should be to get some breakfast. What do you say?”


I see Head Porter visibly heaving at the very idea of food, but I think it is an excellent suggestion. I realise I am suddenly ravenous. Today might not be so bad after all.


  1. *giggles* I can’t see the Dean pursuing a life of crime. He’s just too… hmmm, how to put it??? Too… open-hearted. 😛 Maybe that’s why they never asked him? 😛

    1. Ah. 🙂 It’s kind of funny how there are different dialects in the English language, they’re all close enough for different speakers to understand but just different enough to throw people off from time to time. For instance, over here in America, a jumper is a girl’s dress meant to be worn over a blouse, but from what I understand in the UK it’s basically what we would call a sweater. 😛

    2. Yes, a jumper over here is what you would call a sweater. Also ‘jam’ and ‘jelly’ are different things this side of the pond, I think. Funnily enough, I have a friend from Nashville staying with me at the moment and we often compare notes on the subtle differences. Although, he has been to the UK many, many times and has a good grasp of ‘English’.

      I always encourage my non-English readers to give me a shout if there is anything they need explaining 🙂

    3. 🙂
      Over here, jam has fruit bits in it, while jelly doesn’t (it’s made from straining the boiled fruit and juice through a cheesecloth and then cooled or canned–which should probably be called “jarring”, since it involves jars rather than cans. :-P) Fruit spreads are generally not cooked down much; I think they just add lots of pectin, rather than letting the pectin in the fruit do its work. Fruit butters are made of pureed, cooked down fruit. Apple butter is my favorite, and I tend to prefer the types of toppings that contain whole and/or pureed fruit to jellies. Except grape jelly. That is good, and I can not really comprehend trying to eat something with the grape skins still in it! 😛

    4. Our jelly is a wobbly thing that in theory is made from fruit but I’m guessing it is just flavourings. Small children like it with ice cream (so do I).

      Jams sound the same, actually. Never tried fruit butter but sounds awesome! 🙂

    5. I think that sounds more like flavored gelatin to me. 😛
      It is. Mmm… (I know this mainly because my family does lots of canning and preserving. 😛 )

    6. 😛 I don’t eat Jello. Too many synthetic ingredients that either cause migraines (to which my family is notoriously susceptible,) or which I’m outright allergic to. We normally have to make our own gelatin, with all natural ingredients and such. (Interestingly enough, I don’t like gelatin with milk or chocolate in it. Maybe it just tastes all wrong to me, or the texture is wrong with the taste, or something.)
      One time, our friends tried to teach me how to eat gelatin with a straw. It was pretty weird. 😛

    7. 😛 Dark Art of Jello. I like that. X-P Maybe I should write an incredibly silly story in which Palpatine is obsessed with Jello, Obi-Wan trips and falls on the rug in Palpatine’s office, and Anakin can’t keep his mouth shut? I think that would make a great conclusion for Star Wars week on my blog. ;-P

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