The Brighton Black Cat Mystery. A Tale (or Tail!) of Intrigue.

The Brighton Black Cat Mystery. A Tale (or Tail!) of Intrigue.

Posted on: 03/06/2020

Two and a half months into lockdown and I got to wondering what I had achieved in my enforced spare time. Had I learnt to play a musical instrument?..No. Had I learnt a foreign language?..No. Had I managed to do more than 20 keepy- uppies with a toilet roll?..No! What I have almost completed though is my version of one of those books you may have read when you were younger when you chose which way the story developed by making choices at the bottom of the pages.
Look out in a few years for the adventures of Jamie (or JC) and his school football teammates. Aimed at 8-12 year olds the reader influences what Jamie gets up to on and off the pitch. You can even decide who is going to take the penalty!  Before `all good bookshops` get to sell this, as it does take a while to get through all the production stages, the whole idea set me off at a slightly different tangent. 
With virtual quizzes, Zoom meetings and house parties the time felt right for an interactive, virtual treasure hunt book. Based on Black Cat`s knowledge of Brighton he will be writing a mystery adventure that you and your family can read together and see if you can solve the clues to discover what has happened. Explore Brighton and maybe follow the Black Cat at the same time!   As with the story mentioned above there will be choices to make. Make the right ones and you will not only follow a great treasure hunt route, but you will uncover all the surprises  and work out the mysterious events too. There are five different endings  and if you get things badly wrong  you could land up miles from where you should be and return home without ever knowing what might have been! It will take a few months before the story can be launched on the website, but for now try a few pages below:  The Brighton Black Cat Mystery: A tale(or tail!) of intrigue.
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Page1
It was a blazing hot day when the Watson family had left home. The train journey had been stifling too, especially with most of the seats taken. Simon, the father, was reading a guide to Brighton and occasionally mentioning possible highlights of the forthcoming visit. "Quirky North Laine...spectacular Royal Pavilion...historic top attraction,The Lanes....the one and only Brighton Pier....the bustling seafront  with the artists quarter and fishing museum...the amazing, ascending i360 tower."
If he was being honest he would accept that no-one was really listening to him. His wife, Kate had rattled off a cryptic crossword and was now on a Sudoku whilst his two  daughters were also successfully ignoring him.
Jenna was reading a thriller whilst Jade was listening to music on her headphones. His eight year old son, Jack, had been playing a `spotting` game out of the window, but was now a little impatient.
"Can we go straight to the Pier when we get there dad?"
"We will go there, but maybe not immediately. The train station seems to be a bit of a way from the seafront." replied Simon casually.
Jenna at 12 years old was the middle child and slipped off her headphones as the train pulled in at the station before Brighton."Have you found some vegetarian cafes in your `amazing`guide?"
"Brighton seems to have everything Jenna. I`m sure there will be." replied Simon, not quite picking up on Jenna`s sarcastic  use of the word amazing.
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Page 2
"Can you let mum show us round. Your book looks like it has seen better days."
"Nothing wrong with this guide Jenna. It`s very up to date. I think Casper (the family dog) might have got hold of it last year, that`s all."
Jenna had put her headphones back on so that she did not have to hear the whole reply. One thing that none of the family had noticed though was the fact that every single person in their carriage had got off at London Road, the last stop, or if they had no-one mentioned it.
The train curved round towards Brighton station, looking down on large swathes of terraced housing.An impressive sight and yet still hiding the adventures to come.
Kate completed her Sudoku and then stood up to gather her shoulder bag from the rack above the seats."Ok, everyone. Time for fun. Get your stuff together. Jack , don`t forget your water."
The train slowed and came to a halt at platform eight over what was the far side of the station if you were leaving Brighton, but the first platform for arriving trains such as this.

As the family got off the train they were greeted, if that is the right word, by an eerie silence. The only sound that you could hear if you really tried was a bird flying about high up above in the rather ornate, Victorian ironwork.  Jade was the first to ask the obvious question that the others seemed to want to ignore."Where is everyone? I don`t like this." she said in a small voice.
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Page 3
Plenty of light normally came through the glass panels in the roof, but seemingly from no-where clouds had turned the forecourt area noticeably dark. Most of the electric lights had failed and emergency lights had come on. "I`m not sure love." replied Simon more uncertainly than you would hope from someone who was so buoyant in mood ten minutes earlier.
"Can we go to the Pier now dad?" asked Jack, who was looking up at Simon imploringly.
"Not yet Jack. I think we need to find out what`s happened." 
"Can`t we just head for the main shopping centre. Surely that will be where everyone is? asked Jenna, irritably.
Kate spoke now for the first time since the family had got off the train, but by not being the first to do so meant she was more considered and understanding of what should happen. "We must keep together. If you see anything else unusual let me or dad know straight away.I`m sure there`s a simple explanation.There`s a cafe over there. Someone`s bound to know."
As the family walked slowly into the middle of the station there was a noise and a small movement over in the far corner.

"I think it was a black cat." shrieked Jade,"How lovely. Let`s follow that instead."
Time for your first decision. If you think it best to ask at the cafe as Kate mentioned; which is inside the station, then go to page 4. If you want to follow the black cat out of the station as Jade has suggested then go to page 5.
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Page 4
The family decided to head left first of all into the cafe in the corner. From the outside it looked small and unremarkable, but Kate was determined to get some help on what they should do before they went any further into the city.
Kate pushed the door open slowly as the others followed single file. "Hello?Anyone there?"
There was no reply, but Kate went in anyway. Half drunk cups of tea and coffee and plates with partly eaten sandwiches and pastries were strewn on the rustic looking wooden tables. Up in the top left hand corner of the room was a television with a sign above it saying train departures, but the screen was fuzzy with a mass of black and white dots. On the floor was a newspaper with its pages blown to different parts of the room.
The rest of the family had followed Kate in by now.
"Where is everyone, there is not even anyone serving on the counter." observed Simon, but stating a rather obvious point.
"We should have followed the cat." mumbled Jade rather disappointedly.
Jenna had been picking up the newspaper and suddenly exclaimed "Look at this! This newspaper is from 75 years ago. Let`s read through it and see if there are any clues as to what is going on."
Almost at the same time Kate had picked up a torn piece of paper which Jack read out loud. "Help us Nelson.."
Continue on page 6. 
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Page 5
"Yes! Yes! Let`s follow the cat. Maybe it will take us to the pier." Jack shouted.
"I suppose it can`t do any harm. There`s nothing going on in here." admitted Simon.
The family walked together silently to start off with, but then passed a piano in the middle of the station. "Maybe I should play a little tune to wake everyone up in this place." added Simon.
"No dad! There`s no-one here anyway. I thought we were going with the cat." replied Jade  desperately.
Kate had gone a little ahead as the others glanced at the piano. "Are you sure you saw a cat Jade? Come and have a look at these plaques. They are all about how many people from Southern Railway lost their lives in the two world wars."
Simon sensed a chance to distract Jade from following the cat and from Jack going on about the pier. "Well this station is certainly full of surprises even if it`s not full of people. Maybe we should go out the front and see what else  we can find. I`m sure there`s probably just a problem with the lights in here and everyone had to leave.We`ve got loads to do today."
As they came out the front there were about a dozen taxis queued up on the left, but with no drivers in them and no passengers waiting. Directly ahead there were also a coupe of double decker buses, but once again parked and with no driver or passengers in them.

It was Kate, although looking puzzled, who offered a solution. " I was hear a long time ago and I think if you head right from here, you can then go left down through a tunnel in front of the station. It is the best way to the North Laine that dad was talking about in the train.It was very busy there before. "
"I`m pleased someone was listening to me." smiled Simon.
Continue on page 7.
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So there you have it. Are you ready for this interactive story of mystery,intrigue and exploration and discovery?  Contact Tim at info@blackcattreasurehunts.co.uk  to receive personal notification of when this book is going to be released and downloadable from this website.



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