Double Trouble

Date:  31st December 1999                                                                                       Location: Foxup Manor, Pennines
It is eve of the Year 2000 at Foxup Manor, a country house in the Pennines and the home of Mike Merridew a local builder. Mike has arranged a party for his staff, the centrepiece for which is a children’s party with “The Great Gandalf”, a magician and his beautiful assistant Kate Helpit.  For the evening there was to be a special soiree for a few  friends, where Gandalf would perform more tricks.  At just after 5.45pm heavy snow started to fall, cutting off the only access to the house. Nobody was either going to get out that night, or get to it if they we not nearly there already. Mike had to cancel the party, but still asked Gandalf to perform for him, his business partner, Geoff and his housekeeper, Valerie. “It will be a masterpiece to stun the masses, performed before the most select and privileged audience ever permitted to witness it” Gandalf declared with flamboyance.  All five would dine together with the show to follow. It is now 6:45 and all were about to prepare for dinner when there was a ring at the doorbell. Valerie opened the door to howling wind and a complete white-out, only to find a nun outside with a collecting box. “I’m Sister Mary Gillian. I’m collecting for a Christmas Sleepover for the homeless” Well what do you think will happen at this New Year Party and will all the guests live to tell the tale?

Meet the Cast

Mike Merridew 54, is a founding partner of Merridew and Jackson, a Leeds based firm specialising in high-quality, bespoke bathrooms. He is the Managing Director and Company Secretary, running the sales and administrative side of the business. He is divorced with two grown up sons (Philip 23 and David 21) who live in London. Mike is a local magistrate and active in the Leeds Chamber of Commerce. He lives in the family home, an old manor house in the Pennines. Since his divorce ten years ago he has employed a housekeeper, Valerie Vale, to manage the house. He is a keen golfer.

Valerie Vale 43, came to Foxup Manor nine years ago to take up the job of Housekeeper to Mike Merridew. She moved up from the south. Nobody knows much about her past, except possibly Mike, but if Mike does know anything, he does not say anything. Her mode of transport is a 650cc Honda, Gold Wing motorbike, which she uses to get all the shopping. Much to Mike’s relief she never offers him or his sons pillion rides. When she is not working, she loves to go walking in the Pennine hills. She is a member of the local mountain rescue team.

Geoff Jackson 48, is Mike’s business partner and the other foundering partner of Merridew and Jackson. He is the Operations Director responsible for the delivery side of the business. He too is a keen golfer, spending many weekends and summer evenings on the course with Mike.

The Great Gandalf 50, is an illusionist that Mike hired for today’s party. Mike booked him through a friend in the Chamber of Commerce. He has not met him, or his assistant, Kate Helpit, 33, before.

Nobody has met Sister Mary Gillian, 24 before.

Mike Merridew sends copies of the Estate Agents details, that were left in the house when he brought it ,to all his first time visitors. They comprise a textual description and layouts of the property, which I hope you will find interesting and informative.

Plans of Foxup Manor Estate