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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: The Mystery of Keats’ Missing ‘Endymion’— Solved.


The Mystery of Keats’ Missing ‘Endymion’— Solved.

Historian Albert Winslow sat at his desk in a sparsely furnished London office. Using two large wooden tweezers, he gently unrolled the manuscript. Faded calligraphy on tea coloured paper, revealed its age and fragility. With a magnifying glass he studied the almost illegible signature confirming the author, John Keats.

Winslow peered over the top of his wire-framed spectacles and studied the gentleman sitting opposite who repeatedly wiped his balding head with a handkerchief. “Sir, where did you say you found this manuscript?”

“Well ... I didn’t exactly find it. It was ... um ... part of my inheritance.”

Removing his spectacles, the historian eyed the man suspiciously. “What did you say your name was?”

“Kent. Michael Kent.”

“Well, Mr. Kent, this signature doesn’t appear to resemble a Kent.”

“Oh, um … it was handed down on my mother’s side. My mother changed my surname name when she remarried.”

“I see. Leave it with me, Mr. Kent. I’ll have it valued for you by tomorrow. Leave your details with my secretary on the way out.” He rose and shook his client’s hand.

Winslow’s secretary entered his office the following morning. He looked up as she reached his desk.

“Miss Harwich, could you please place a call to a Lord David Keats of Hampstead? Give him my name and switch him through to my office. Give me a few minutes though, I need to talk to Scotland Yard.”

“Yes, Mr. Winslow.”

“Lord Keats?”

“Yes, this is he.”

“I believe I have in my procession your great grandfather’s missing manuscript, ‘Endymion’.”

“How can that be? It disappeared after he died, in 1821, almost a century ago?”

“Yes, I know. I also know that your father, Lord Alfred Keats, passed away last week, my condolences.”

“Thank you, but how do you know and what does his death have to do with my great grandfather’s manuscript?”

“Your father paid me to know. You see, I’m a historian and a private investigator. Your father visited me here in London on December sixth last year. The manuscript had apparently resurfaced and he hired me to investigate its location. I sent him a wire last Monday about my findings; before his heart attack. He didn’t mention it?”

“No, and I’m not sure why he would hire anyone. Until Christmas, my father and I had been investigating the mystery disappearance together for almost a decade.”

Winslow carefully chose his words before proceeding. “Perhaps, Lord Keats, your father discovered he hadn’t been told when someone had found it. That someone decided to use it for his own financial gain.”

“What are you implying, Mr. Winslow?”

“Let me refresh your memory. Two years ago your cousin, Michael Kent, inherited a meagre bequest. While clearing out his mother’s writing bureau, Kent discovered a key to a safe deposit box which contained a letter from his grandfather—your grandfather’s younger brother. With that letter was your great grandfather’s manuscript. The letter described in detail how your grandfather cheated him out of his share or their father’s estate. Your great uncle stole the manuscript after your great grandfather’s death in 1821—before he could have it published. Are you following me, Lord Keats?”

“Continue, Mr. Winslow. I find your hypothesis intriguing.”

“Late last year, your cousin decided it was time to show his hand by attempting to blackmail your father. Because your father didn’t want his conniving nephew to get his hands on his money, he came directly to me. We thought it was an open and shut case until I discovered that Michael Kent had an accomplice—someone who wanted revenge for an unrelated incident years before. Unfortunately, that piece of information inadvertently killed your father. The accomplice was you. Am I right, Lord Keats?”

“You’re very clever, Mr. Winslow. There’s one thing you haven’t explained. How did you get your hands on the manuscript?”

“That was the easy part. After your father’s death, you and your cousin initiated plan B: to sell the manuscript to a publisher and split the profit. However, your cousin decided to have it valued first. Unfortunately for you both, he came to me. I advertise my professions separately and I only display my name on the door.”

There was a notable silence followed by a murmur of voices at Lord Keats’ end of the line. “You’ll have to excuse me, Mr. Winslow. Apparently, I have visitors.”

“Ah yes, my friends from Scotland Yard: blackmail is a serious crime. Good day to you, Lord Keats.”

Authors Notes: English poet John Keats, born October 1795 in Moorgate, London, died in February 1821 at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. His works had been the target of much abuse including his last epic poem ‘Endymion’. John Keats never married, which should indicate that the contents of: “The Mystery of Keats’ Missing ‘Endymion’ – Solved” set in the early twentieth century, is completely fictional.

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This article has been read 1261 times
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Marilyn Schnepp 04/12/07
Much too complicated for my taste; however I did take note of the the procession of the "possession". Nice piece of work for those who enjoy difficult mysteries to solve.
Pat Guy 04/12/07
Wow! I REALLY enjoyed this! I followed every word and had NO clue of the ending! Bravo and kudos to the author!
Sara Harricharan 04/12/07
Awesome mystery!! It fits just right and is so "Sherlock Holmes" I couldn't stop reading from beginning to end. I like the setting and especially the bit with scotland yard and the brilliant detective work on behalf of your sleuth. Very well done and very mysterious! This is my favorite kind of mystery... ^_^
Jan Ackerson 04/12/07
Extremely clever!

I'd love to read an expanded version of this--it's worthy of more character and plot development than can be done with the word limit. Great job!
Marty Wellington 04/12/07
Wow - had me on the edge of my seat--literally. And, yes, I agree, it did have a Sherlock Holmes feel. Noticed a few little glitches and I had to re-read one of the paragraphs where Winslow was describing all the relationships. However, overall it was a terrific read.
CeCe Lane04/12/07
Oh girl, I enjoyed it.
Edy T Johnson 04/12/07
You have written a stunning masterpiece---of fiction, no less! I love it, just the sort of mystery I thoroughly relish. It has the ring of authenticity I enjoy watching in my two PBS favorite TV shows "Mystery!" and "Masterpiece Theater." Thank you for an enjoyable reading!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/12/07
Great job on this! Love the story.
Shari Armstrong 04/12/07
Loved it! A very well done -loved the "got cha" at the end :)
Lauren Bombardier04/12/07
Oh, good job! Yes, very Holmesian the way it was presented. And the culprit was quite a surprise!
Esther Gellert04/13/07
I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of information to fit into 750 words, but I think you did it very well.
Kate Grey04/13/07
Very good story! Brilliant plot. I didn't suspect intrigue from your Keats. I agree that an expanded version would be great.
Lynda Schultz 04/13/07
Sherlock Holmes to the rescue. The "voice" sounds very authentic to the period. Good stuff.
Marilee Alvey04/14/07
This, to me, was a mystery masterpiece. That having been said, it shows why I don't read a lot of mysteries. I'm not smart enough! As I write this comment, it is about midnight, and I find it hard to follow. I must confess, I had to read this through two times: It's, no doubt, my fatigue issues! This has an authentic voice, a surprise culprit, a humorous postscript....what else could you desire from a mystery? I'll be darned: at least ONE of us knows how to write a mystery!
Valora Otis04/14/07
I love this era! This is very gifted writing and I was taken right into the mystery and forgot that I was a reader right away. I was there. Love it! What a fantastic ending! The footnotes were very well written. I hope you place with this one.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/14/07
This mystery is plotted exceptionally well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jacquelyn Horne04/16/07
Interesting account of this mystery. Clever solving. Good writing.
Joanne Sher 04/17/07
Absolutely excellent voice and atmosphere! I was so intrigued all the way through!
Loren T. Lowery04/17/07
Tereffic take on the subject and oh so creative! Woderful job!
Julie Arduini04/17/07
This was very well done, creative and as I'd expect a classic mystery to read!
Joanney Uthe04/17/07
Great story. Lord David Keats' attitude itself was a clue to the culprit. Wonderful job!
Cassie Memmer04/18/07
A very good mystery. You did a great job, even with that lousy word limit! Kept us going and wondering. I enjoyed this piece!
Rita Garcia04/18/07
I really enjoyed reading this! Masterwriting all the way!
Cheri Hardaway 04/18/07
Masterful! Creative! A wonderful entry. I expect to see you in the winner's circle. Blessings, Cheri
Betty Castleberry04/18/07
I love the tone of this. It truly has the feel of a great mystery. The dialogue is right on, and the characters believable. Well done.
Sheri Gordon04/18/07
This is a great mystery! I love the intricacies. My only disappointment is with me. My brain was/is too foggy to follow all the grandfather/great grandfather/father sequences. I'm going to read it again, very slowly, maybe with a pen & paper, and see if I can keep up. Fantastic job with this week's theme.
LaNaye Perkins04/19/07
I love all the twists and turns in this plot. Great job writing this story!
Tabiatha Tallent04/19/07
This was my kind of mystery. I enjoyed it immensely. Great job.