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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to have these prints of Denmark on my workshop wall. Why is a long story already. A long-ago club match between West Hamley Slot Car Club and Elsinore Dansk Slotteren Klub. It was a great trip. Good racing, lots of lager, and the old boy who ran the club took a kind of paternal interest in yours truly. We spent hours drinking, talking, and comparing cars. On the last night he gave me those prints as a sort of souvenir. One was of the Elsinore Club in the middle of Aarhaus (a very very very fine haus, in the middle of Aar street), one was a curious sort of underground tunnel map, something about the wartime resistance, and the other, strangely enough, was of the deeds to the club.
The other day I noticed they were gone. Didn't think much about it, being rather hungover at the time, but then it started to dawn on me that someone had been in my workshop. In the middle of the night. I checked through all my car boxes, all my tool shelves, everything I could think of. Nothing else seemed to have been disturbed.
A few weeks later Inspector Thumb was at the club. I hate talking shop with him- he's a busy man. When he's investigating slot-car crime, he's working. When he's at the club, he's racing. Everyone respects that. But while we were both in the coffee room waiting for our heat, I mentioned my lost prints of Denmark.
His nescafe shot across the room like a fire hydrant. 'Denmark? Elsinore Slot Club? Spit fire and save matches! When did you say this happened? Quick- pack your bags. We're going to Elsinore right now. I'll call Argent and get him to bring the car over. We've got to move fast...'
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
'What do you mean, pack? Pack what? And won't I need a passport?'
'OK, OK, I'll get Special Branch to take care of that while you go home with Argent. You'll need a change of underwear and your slot box. We're going undercover.'
'Undercover? Me? Why?'
'Stop wasting time. I'll explain on the ferry. You want your prints of Denmark back, don't you?'
'Well, I could live without them.'
'Listen- one good man has already died because of them. Does the name Axel mean anything to you? Bengt Axel?'
'Bengt- but he's the man who gave them to me- the chairman of Elsinore Slot Club- he was like a fither to me- the nicest guy I ever met!'
'And the deadest. Ah- here's Argent. Get moving, Howmet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was in a state of shock. But what a nice guy that Argent is. Got me home, made some coffee and rustled up some fairy cakes while I tried to get my bag packed. Helped fold my clean socks, insisted I take some deodorant and some hair product and rushed off to the all-night chemist when I told him I hadn't got any. While he was out I looked around the workshop to decide what cars I should take. My current favourite car was the Chapparal, but it's a bit of a shelf queen. I went to town on the interior detail, but as a runner it was a bit fragile, and not reliably fettled. So I thought to myself; 2D or not 2D? That was the question. Whether the modeller in me should offer the Stingray or Arrows that cost an outrageous fortune, or take cars across the sea with troubles. I was getting confused. All I wanted was to sleep, a chance to dream...
Argent bundled me up in the car under a fluffy embroidered purple blanket which he produced from the boot. 'There there' he said. 'Don't worry. You get your beauty sleep. I'll wake you up in Denmark.'
Fat chance. I woke up in the cabin on the ferry with the sound of the ships engines throbbing in my ears. I heard some movement in the bunk opposite and coughed experimentally. Thumb's face appeared from behing the curtain.
'Awake, eh? Argent isn't sleeping either, are you lad? Put that thing down or you'll develop a lisp. I'd better explain everything now. We'd should have our stories straight before we get to Elsinore.'
 

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Russell Sheldon
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2D or not 2D indeed....

Sikke noget møg! Howmet's trip to Denmark is just yet another excuse not to finish his Xylon*....



*It's a really tiny car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
'Right, Howmet. Listen to me. First thing to remember is- this isn't my case. In fact it isn't officially a case at all. Denmark doesn't even have a Slot Car Division, so Argent and I keep a weather eye open to whatever's happening world wide. Something about this Elsinore business got my crime juices simmering right away. But the Danish police havn't done a thing. Death by misadventure? Don't make me laugh'. 'I've been trying for years. No luck so far' chipped in Argent.
'Shut it Sargeant. Now let's start from pole position.'
 

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Alan Tadd
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Howmet.....Brilliant........When is the Canadian guy coming back into it, he's got to be in there somewhere.......

Regards

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What- the one who beat the sledded Polacks on the ice?
Can anybody tell me where the heck this is going?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
'OK, I'm listening' I said.
'Well' Thumb adopted his best Holmesian voice and proceeded with the disposition. 'Until a few months ago, Elsinore Slotteren Klub was doing fine. Its chairman, Bengt Axel- who you knew well, Howmet-' Here I choked a little- 'was a fine racer and a sportsman, who kept the club going through lean times. When Slot racing returned to the big time, Elsinore flourished, even better than before. Envious eyes were cast at the best race track in northern Europe. Then Axel was found dead in the club house. A classical murder setting- he was found alone in a locked room, with all the doors and windows, including the skylight, locked from the inside. Poisoned. The Danish police could make nothing of it, but I caught the reports on the Scotland Yard computer. I knew something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Especially when this guy Lars Gaasp turns up very shortly after, married to Axel's widow-'
'No!' I shouted involuntarily- 'Not DeDionne! She wouldn't!'
'She would, I'm afraid, son. And sure, I know what DeDionne Axel meant to you, Howmet.'
I was mad. Suddenly I wanted to smash the porthole with my bare fist, or start declaiming poetry or rotten puns. DeDionne, Bengt's French wife, was the loveliest woman I had ever known. Especially as an impressionable teenager, the time when I first went to Elsinore and stayed with the Axels. Their house became my home, my happiness their only concern. Bengt taught me about slot racing, De Dionne about sex. Like the kind of parents you dream of...
What kind of man could get her to marry him, with poor Bengt only just checked out of the planet? At that moment I kind of turned in on myself- you know what I mean.
'Of course' Thumb continued in his pompous monotone 'that confirmed in people's mind the suspicion that Bengt had done himself, mad with jealousy-'
'No!' I grunted. 'DeDionne would never have done that to him.'
'And I must say I agree with you, Howmet. What confirmed my own suspicions was that Gaasp then produced the deeds to the Elsinore Club, and proceeded to take over the running of it without a murmur of dissent. It was when you told me that those deeds had been stolen from your workshop...'
'No- it was only a cheap print- Bengt gave them to me as a friendly joke, a souvenir- he said I almost lived at the club so I might as well take it over when he-when he-'
I couldn't finish the sentence.
'Well he just did, Howmet. And I don't think those prints were copies. I think he gave them to you for safe keeping. I think he did want you to take over the club. I think he knew the danger he was in all along! We're going to Denmark to reclaim what is rightfully yours, Howmet. Elsinore Slotteren Klub!'
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
'Some would call this madness, ' I said. 'Here we are on a night boat to Denmark- this is one step beyond..'
'No. This is sanity. Justice, if you prefer. Officially I am investigating the theft of your prints of Denmark' said Thumb. 'But the real purpose of this mission is to nail Lars Gaasp for the murder of Bengt Axel. I don't know yet how I'm going to do it, but I know I will. And you're going to help me. As far as the Danish customs are concerned, we are the Slot Club of Upper Maddingley, or SCUM as it says on our papers. We are going to Denmark on a racing tour, which will of course take us first to Elsinore. There I propose to re-enact the crime during the race finals in order to trap Gaasp into a confession. Then either I will bring him back to Britain to stand trial for the theft of the prints of Denmark, or the Danish police will be forced to take him in for first degree murder. Whatever the outcome, you, Howmet, will be left in full legal ownership of the Elsinore Slotteren Klubbe.'
I couldn't cope with all this. Was I mad? Or was it Thumb? There was nothing left but to catch some shut-eye before the ferry docked in the morning.

Worse was to come for me. The next evening we arrived at Elsinore for some warm-up laps. I think this was the real purpose of Thumb's visit. All he was interested in was to try his scratchbuilt Bentley Speed-8 on one of the legendary tracks of continental Europe. Argent plugged his old Renault Clio rally car in for some perfunctory laps, and I put my 2D on carmine lane, where I soon found myself dicing with a rather deadly looking Ferrari 333SP. I looked to the side and saw Jens 'Dirty' Laertes. Not just the filthiest driver in Scandinavia, but the brother of my first girlfriend in Denmark. The one I'd inadvertently insulted at an all night party at the Carlsberg Brewery all those years ago. Trying out my elementary Danish, I'd tried to tell her there was none better looking than she. Apparently what I actually said was that she should become a nun. She joined a Convent the next day, and since then, 'Dirty' Laertes had been after me. Right now, he was standing beside me. Preparing to nerf my 2D into the boondocks...
 
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tx, this story is the final straw, if you don't put all these great stories in a book. I will have to put Doc Pea's book on hold and do your's instead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RR
 

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I am with you Rail, Howmet's book should be the first priority.

" 2D or not 2D? That was the question." Brilliant quote, Yorrick von Cox!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I thought things couldn't get much worse... but it was just then that Lars Gaasp made his regal entry into the clubhouse with DeDionne Axel on his arm. Like the king and queen of inconsequence they made their way through the throng of racers. I could not take my eyes off DeDionne. She was just as I remembered her from those idyllic days, those evenings when she took me in hand and taught me about- about women, to be frank. Everything I ever achieved in the oldest game I owe to her. She looked wonderful- one of those women who just look better and better as the years pass. The sort of woman that could kick Christina Aguilera, J-Lo and Halle Berry out of your bedroom and still make you feel grateful. And there she was, hanging on the arm of this Gaasp fella. She should still be with Bengt, I thought, as the rage welled up inside me.
Well, 'Dirty' Laertes was still a present danger on the inside lane. I had nothing to lose now, nothing to prove. If Dirty wanted a fight, he'd come to the right place.
I'd noticed a neat '68 Trans-Am Camaro- a good model of the legendary Smokey Yunick car- putting in some tidy laps on aubergine lane. So I let him run interference for a while. I tucked in beside him until 'Dirty' Laertes' 333SP had caught up with us again, his tail twitching ominously. Round turn three and into the Karousel I kept station with the Camaro, but on the entry to the Station hairpin we were all poised. At the crucial moment I eased the throttle, just as Laertes' Ferrari lashed round viciously, expecting to cream my Chaparral. But it wasn' t there. Fractions of a millimetre ahead of the pointed nose of my scratchbuilt 2D, the tail of the Ferrari slammed into the Yunick Camaro. The effect was exactly as I planned. The Camaro was shot off the track like a crossbow bolt and buried itself up to the front axle in the plasterboard behind me. The chassis quivered, the body shell and various other bits exploded into the air and showered themselves onto the ground around the track. Laertes, I have to admit, recovered his tailslide well, and drove the Ferrari round on half throttle. I pulled my controller plug, and with an air of insouciance borne of sheer terror, picked my Chaparral from the track and headed for the out door. Picking up the shattered shell of the Camaro I reflected, making a show of cool that I hoped would impress the Elsinore regulars. 'Alas, poor Yunick', I said, 'I knew him, Argent- A fellow of infinite...' Laertes blocked my way. He looked at the club sticker on the nose of my 2D.
'Slot Club of Upper Madingley, eh? Scum. How appropriate. I know who you are, Howmet, and why you're here. We have a score to settle. Race night is Saturday. Let's do it then. Man to man. On the track. Be there!'

Still trying to affect an air of detached amusement, I turned to find Thumb at my shoulder. 'Come with me, Howmet. I have something to show you.'
He didn't wait for any argument, but shoved me into the little side room that served as the club coffee bar. It was empty. 'This is where Bengt was found, dead.' said Thumb. I looked around, still feeling overwhelmed. My best friend, his wife, my first girlfriend, her brother... I really, really needed to get as far away from this place as possible. But Thumb was urging me on. 'What do you notice about the room?' he said. 'Blimey. I don't know. Small. One storey. Roof lights. windows. Coffee table.' 'Yes- but look at the skirting boards.' 'OK. There are skirting boards. Normal. And there are ventilation grilles let into them.' 'And look closely at that one, there.' 'Yes. I see what you mean. Someone has hit the retaining screws with the wrong sized screwdriver. Recently. Scratches all over the place.' 'And what does that tell us, Sherlock?' 'Personally, nothing whatsoever, Inspector.'
'Yes, well- that's why I'm a Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard, and you're just a.. what exactly are you, Howmet?- anyway. While you've been enjoying yourself on the track, I've been carrrying out investigations. It turns out Lars Gaasp is a bit of a gas car nut. He was into R/C racing before he picked up on slots. Now where does that take us, Howmet?'
'Buggered if I know' I replied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
'Try and think like a detective, Howmet, not a love-lorn schoolkid. You lose some prints from your workshop- prints which you believe show the Elsinore Slot club, the deeds to that club, and an old war time map of the tunnels and ventiliation systems. A week or so later, the owner of that club is found dead in a locked room- no visible means of entry or exit. And a little later, an ex-R/C racer takes over his widow and his club. Are you there yet?'
'I wish I was elsewhere, frankly.'
'Listen to me, Howmet. Saturday is the big race. Before it starts there is to be a bit of a ceremony in the coffee bar. Argent and me are going to stage a recreation of the crime. You just watch Lars' face while it happens.'
'I'll be looking out for ol'Dirty Laertes- he's got it in for me.'
'Don't you worry about him- Argent's got him covered. If Gaasp cracks in the way I think he will, I'm going to be there to take his confession. Then I'll be off back home with a medal from the Danish Police, and you'll be the proud owner of your own slot car club. What could be easier?'
'Surviving the next few days?'
 
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tx, it just get better all the time!

I am half expecting ABu Rus'l to appear out of the wood work at any moment.

RR
 

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QUOTE BTW wasn't Jens' sister kown as Offelia

Actually, "Ophelia"....
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Precisely - despite tx's whitewashing, I suspect he did invite her to explore alternative career paths in a nunnery when she put back his blue car on red
 
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