Richard Hitchcock is sitting comfortably in a leather arm chair by the roaring fire. He smiles as he takes a sip of his English Breakfast Tea, knowing his assistant will come any minute to tell him his five guests have arrived, and how wonderfully he has put his plan into action.
Richard Hitchcock wasn’t always Richard Hitchcock. In fact, the name Richard Hitchcock didn’t exist until 10 years ago when a 21-year-old wannabe novelist wrote what deemed the greatest suspense novel of the generation. That wannabe novelist was Manny Ashcroft.
Growing up, Ashcroft was probably what people called an Alfred Hitchcock fanboy. Despite the kids from his generation were watching X-men and Harry Potter, he would watch Alfred Hitchcock films over and over especially the film “39 steps.”
After graduating college with a degree in English and successfully publishing his first novel, Ashcroft decided to change his name. “Manny Ashcroft, sounds like the name of a pimply teenager who never escape the life of living with his parents, not the name of a New York Times Bestseller.” His lawyer peered at him behind his glasses when Manny told him the reason because ironically, Manny is that – even in his 20’s, his face had more scars from acne than the moon’s surface.
He wanted to change his name to Alfred Hitchcock but he didn’t think he could live up to the reputation of the greatest filmmaker in history. Richard was his grandfather’s name, Manny’s favorite person until he died when Manny was 16.
From that day forward, Manny Ashcroft seized to exist. In its place was Richard Hitchcock.
After publishing over 20 books in the span of a decade with 30% of the books sold for movie rights, Richard decided to call it quits. “I’m serious,” he told his publicist on the phone, “after so many books, I can’t write anymore. The well has run dry.”
“Then what will you do?” His publicist responded, “Your money don’t grow on trees.”
“I’m not an idiot,” Richard snapped. He had already put a plan in motion to keep his money flowing.
A rhythmic knock on his library door drags Richard back to reality. “Come in.” Without turning around, he said, “Is that you, Micky?”
“They have arrived, sir,” Micky replies.
Richard set down his cup of tea and stands, putting pressure on his cane. “Excellent. Was the pickup smooth?”
“Well, not exactly. None of them were ready to go. They all thought the invitation was, um, some kind of hoax.”
“So, no luggage?” Micky shakes his head. “Even more excellent.” Richard grins, baring his teeth like a predator about to devour its prey. Let the plot begin.
Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion
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