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"With any family of society, as you both well know, what is not said is always infinitely more telling then what is..." --Dame Victoria Ellesworth Poole to Smythe and Fiona


In the posh, well-to-do, social circles of Mansfordshire's upper class westend gossip is currency. And above and beyond your net worth, being able to fuel the whispers in the drawing rooms, dining rooms, and board rooms of the westend high society sect is just as powerful a thing. If not more so. And trading in tales both true and tall has made the Pooles wealthy beyond compare. And even as the younger generation of Pooles-The social climbing ingenue Evelynne, the haughty and severely class conscious Trevor, and the carefree, foppish Clifford-stake their claim to their own wealth earned in whispers, rumor, and innuendo, it's the matriarch of the clan Dame Victoria Ellesworth Poole who's razor sharp wit, elephantine memory, and penchant for finding entertainment value in scandal that defines the family. And entangles them in the web of intrigue surrounding the Mangler murders and the suspects therein.

During a dinner soiree in which Smythe and Fiona are grilled about the details of the Mangler case by Evelynne, Trevor, and Clifford, it's Dame Victoria who becomes the evenings center piece. In a captivating ghost story of sorts, Dame Victoria tells a long forgotten tale of the fall of a powerful westend family brought about by the rift of a forbidden marriage, that leads to years of a dark downward spiral into alcoholism, abuse, and madness that ends in a shocking and scandalous murder that would have made Oedipus proud. To the gossip mongers reveling in the tawdry tale, looking to increase their wealth in whispers and rumor in the westend social circles, the devil is in the details. For Smythe and Fiona--So is the motive for murder.

Monique's take on the Pooles was spot on. Based on the character profiles I'd written for her, she had created in one family the complete gamut of stereotypes most folks hold of rich people: Smugness (Trevor), carefree recklessness (Clifford), and conceited self interest (Evelynne). But the really great thing I loved was her take on the Poole matriarch Dame Victoria Ellesworth Poole.

As a woman in her late 70's-early 80's, Dame Victoria may have grown up without the riches her grandchildren hold so dear. As Monique pointed out, she may have spent her youth abroad in India, etc, which would also have helped to shape her as a person. Long before the spoils of wealth would have come about to effect her like it has her social climbing grandchildren. Dame Victoria is one of my favorite character designs that Monique has done.

From the highest of high society we delve into the depths of the lower class eastend with the self proclaimed "most low of the lowdown" in Mansfordshire--Crime boss Connor Nichols aka The Gripper.



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Monique MacNaughton coydog@nb.sympatico.ca
For Darryl Hughes the-deeman@webtv.net

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Monique MacNaughton is a cartoonist/illustrator/general graphics slave living in Fredericton, New Brunswick. ... full profile