A mysterious telegram arrives from a ship at sea. Jackson Elias, noted author acquainted with each of the party members in some way, has contacted you. It’s been a long time, but for the globe trotting author, this is nothing new.
On the afternoon of the 15th of January, 1925 each character receives a phone call from Elias. Short and to the point, he requests a meeting in his room at the Chelsea Hotel at 8pm. He seems anxious and does not respond to any questions. He hangs up quickly.
Arriving at the Chelsea hotel, you find that you were each called and each received his cryptic messages. A knock on his door yields nothing. The British explorer decides to call his room from the house phone by the elevators. No one answers. The rest of the group hears the phone ring and also notices the sound of a couple of people milling about within the room. The explorer heads down to the front desk after his failed attempt on the phone. The contessa notes the smell of opium coming from an adjoining room. The contessa herself goes to the house phone, to call the front desk. Lord Middleton, aka the major, decides to bash in the door with his valet. The antiquarians try to persuade him not to do this, and it was a good argument, however he decides to ignore them and bash in the door anyway. Successful, he is immediately set upon by a man in a strange mask. Two others stand about the room, and Jackson Elias lies in bed, hacked up apparently by the thugs. Two of the thugs are black, as can be noted from tho color of their hands, while the other is white. The thug by the door swings an African bush knife, more like a machete, called a Pranga. He fails so miserably in his attack he imbeds the Pranga into the door frame and loses his grip on the weapon.
A fight ensues, the two other men leave through the window, while the man by the door goes hand-to-hand with the major. James, one of the antiquarians, grabs the Pranga and runs in after the other two thugs. The weapon proves too unwieldy for an unpracticed hand and the white man escapes after the other thug.
The explorer and the contessa speak with the front desk and the clerk calls the police. The return upstairs to find the fight in progress. The explorer heads down the stairwell, while a prostitute slinks out of the adjoining room and quickly leaves towards the elevator leaving the door open. The contessa peers in to see a odd looking bald man, in his late 40’s or early 50’s, passed out from his apparent drug use. She leaves and enters Elias’ room. Looking about, she notices Elias’ wallet on the floor, it had been rifled through and two business cards removed. These lay by the floor and were scooped up by her.
The major takes a kick from the thug which sends him back through the door. He rushes back and knocks the thug by the door unconscious with a mighty blow. The explorer gets out side in time to notice a black hudson speeding away. He jumps into a cab and exclaims “follow that car!” The cabbie obliges and a car chase ensues.
Meanwhile the contessa goes back to the adjoining room. She rifles through the man’s wallet and identifies him as Alexander Lifeson. The dope fiend awakes and a confused conversation ensues. The major finds a handbill wedged into a book on Elias’ nightstand and also a letter on the thug, apparently Elias’.
While the car speeds off to Harlem, cab in pursuit, the police finally arrive on the scene. They cuff the unconscious thug and escort the remaining party down to the lobby. They send an officer out to contact a Lt. Poole. Eventually Poole arrives, takes notes, questions the party. You overhear Poole exclaim that this was the ninth such murder.
Meanwhile, the Hudson arrives in harlem followed by the cab. The explorer finds that a decapitated black man lies in the passenger seat, while the white man is no where to be found. The intrepid explorer seeks someone, and finds a drunken black man on the street. He asks the man if he saw someone run by and he responded by asking the Brit if he was looking for whiskey. The Brit gives the man $, and the drunkard points to a door a couple of steps away. The window of the establishment was covered with posters. Entering he finds an old dive bar playing bad jazz music. Apparently this is a badly disguised speakeasy. He asks a fat woman he mistakes for a hat check girl if he could use the phone, and she gets him a whiskey and allows him to use the phone. She stays within earshot. He phones the hotel and has the major paged. He relates the license plate of the Hudson to the major and explains where he is. He returns to the cab and makes his way back to the Chelsea.