Iron Ref: Cliffhangers

The Musical Clue

by David Morgan-Mar

This is a cliffhanging, pulp action adventure set some time in the 1930s. Suitable characters include just about anything that fits the genre.

The Auction

The adventure begins with an invitation to attend a gala function and auction of items from the estate of Sir Winfred Hughes, at his former mansion. His only surviving heir, Jonathon Hughes, is something of a philanthropist and wishes to both rid himself of his embarrassing uncle's stranger acquisitions and raise money for charity. Sir Winfred, although a distinguished biologist and member of the Royal Society, had a growing reputation for eccentricity in his later years.

If the heroes have some social standing, they can be invited directly to this event. Reporters could be covering it for the press. Less polished adventurers can be tipped off by an employer or patron that something interesting may occur at the gala, and be furnished with invitations through this avenue.

A thunderstorm rages outside, but the evening goes pleasantly and the first few auction lots sell for moderate prices. The next item is a battered-looking violin. After a slow start, two partygoers -- a Chinese gentleman and a stunning young woman -- get into a small bidding war, and whispers echo around the room as the price tops $300. The heroes hear someone nearby saying "Stradivarius", but the auctioneer looks puzzled as one of the bidders indicates . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: August 6, 2004

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