A/N : A new, longer historical piece. Be ready for some intellectual stimulation, action, and romance :) (I have a general idea, but no promises as to when I'll get it finished)
Disclaimer: I do not own The Nanny or anything related to it, it is the property of its owners and creators: Fran Drescher, Peter Marc Jacobson, CBS, Highschool Sweethearts, etc.
Summary: England, 1887. When a body is discovered on the grounds of the house, Mr Brightmore, valet to Lord Maxwell Sheffield, finds himself involved in a murder inquiry. To his surprise, he is helped in his quest by insufferable yet beautiful American heiress C. C. Babcock…
The Brightmore Agency
Book 1: The Affair At Sheffield Manor
"A most unremarkable death"
In Little Ascott, Surrey, it was a fact generally admitted that Edmund Uriah Milton Porterhouse was a most remarkable man. From his neatly trimmed beard to the cloth of his well-tailored lounge suits, from his well-known fulgurant rise to riches and the multiplication of his factories, from his manner to his temper, from his occasional generosity to his usual parsimony, … there was no denying to the inhabitants of Little Ascott that Mr Porterhouse was an exceptional man.
It was thus with much disappointment, and some annoyance that they had found themselves reading his most banal obituary in the local journal:
We deeply regret to announce the death of the following:
Mr E. U. M. Porterhouse (1824-1887) died during a stay in Yorkshire on 7th Sept. 1887. Mr Porterhouse, director of the infamous Porterhouse company, who has died at the age of 53, was only 29 when he bought his first factory from Mr Mason of Mason & Sons. Quickly, Mr Porter had remodelled the entire factory to proper efficiency and quality, then gradually took over half of the pie industry in Britain. In October 1885, he build his last factory to date, equipped with all the machinery of modern pie-making. He established himself in Little Ascott, Surrey, in 1876. Mr Porterhouse shall long remain in memory for his contribution to industrial chicken pot-pie, and to various charities including the Lakeside Orphanage and the Saint Mary's School for Destitute Young Ladies. He leaves a nephew, Henry.
The obituary said nothing more, but everyone knew it from a former front-page article in the old gazette: the death appeared to be accidental. During a walk in a particularly secluded side of the moor, Mr Porterhouse had lost his footing and fallen to his death on the big rock formation the locals called "The Witch's Tomb", which was said to be damned.
The nephew was sure to inherit the business and all the money, the pub regulars told whoever listened. Some even started rumours that Mr Pot-Pie's death was more suspicious than the police thought.
His death was a shock to everyone, and the emotions alimented the already well-fed rumour-mill so much so that, by the time this reached the polices' ears, everyone had their own view of Mr Porterhouse and his death:
"And wasn't he here just a fortnight ago? I think the priest saw him then."
"And that nephew, where is he? Are the police sure that he did not do the dead?"
"And wasn't he also at Graves', the blacksmith? I reckon he could also tell us a thing or two about ol' Porterhouse's cheapness"
"Maybe someone wasn't happy to get a low pay, huh?"
And the old biddies, the village's gossip central, to recall how much of a "bon vivant" he was : liked his drink, he did, and was something of a ladies' man with wandering hands, sometimes…
But always a man who would give to charity – what a contradiction – and not shy to employ any man who might need work. Even patronized an orphanage, and a school for gifted destitute girls, it seems…
"A remarkable man"
His death, as we said, irked: a man who lost his footing and crushed his skull on some rocks… how commonplace!