The year is 1927, late March. The unrelenting carnage, the death toll piled up by the Spanish flu and the Russian civil war, and all the chaos of the postwar years in Germany, France, and the rest of Europe has abated…somewhat.
Drake House, in the town of Arkham, in southern Massachusetts, is a private firm and auction site. Drake family legend says they are the descendants of Francis Drake’s nephew. When the Stuarts took power and Elizabeth’s former favorites fell, the family was stripped of most of its property and emigrated to the colonies.
Drake’s handles a great many estate sales, where they are contracted to broker the auction, and they rely on professional consultants to gauge the value of property. Their primary lawyer, Simon Black, hired Doctor Walter MacPherson, to replace Doctor Falkes. On his first assignment, they assign him a driver, an Australian veteran of the Great War, Solomon Hayes.
The Fairman family of Great Britain is well known and wealthy; a great deal of their property is entailed. However, Sir Francis Fairman is the last of his particular branch and with his death, all the property outside the entailment will be dispersed. A source of Drake’s in the British courts has sent a telegraph, and if they can gain the rights to handle the auction and sale the fee will be a small fortune. Douglas Fairman holds Francis’ power of attorney, and can sign the necessary papers, if Drake’s can get to him before the British solicitors (currently on a fast liner crossing the Atlantic) can.
Douglas Fairman is another veteran of the Great War, and is a resident at Bledsoe Hospital, a private sanitorium. Dr. McPherson’s first assignment is to get in to see him, get him to sign the papers, and then if successful, travel to England to evaluate and appraise Sir Francis’ estate.