Shocked by the intrusion of such deadly information into
their light-hearted game, everybody forsakes the table and its message as a
poor joke. But Major Burnaby is disturbed enough to leave immediately,
claiming he'll walk through the snow to see if Captain Trevelyan
is indeed all right. When he reaches the Captain's cottage, the doors are
locked and there's no response. He calls the local police, and together Burnaby
and Inspector Narracott find a side door open and
the Captain face down on the carpet, killed with a blow to the back of his
neck by a sand-filled drought stopper. The doctor called in determines the
death to have occurred at approximately .
After tea at Sittaford House,
one of the guests suggests the group amuse themselves with 'table turning'
a somewhat psychic game akin to the ouija board.
Everyone sits around a small table in front of the fire with their hands on
the top to ask questions of the spirit world. The table replies by thumping
out yes, no, or so many thumps for so many letters of the alphabet to
answer. This is how the gathering played at first, with the initial results
being both frivolous and fun. Suddenly, the table thumps out the name
TREVELYAN, followed by the word MURDER. The time is in the afternoon.
The Sittaford House has new
tenants, a widow and her daughter who cause the whole town to wonder what
they're up to. When a seance at Sittaford summons a spirit who claims that the house's
owner has been murdered, a snowstorm descends upon before anyone can verify
this ghostly premonition.
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