• Ejuen Armstrong

The One-Eyed Man

A twisty tale of revenge among the aristocracy

They say home is where the heart is. If it’s anything like Tanglebridge House, it’s where all the drama is too. Here’s a short list for starters:

My mother, Elinoe Delancey, Duchess of Brifhon, is an enraged psychic.

My father, Jacques Delancey, Duke of Brifhon, is going blind.

We’ve got several convicts roaming the grounds.

My dead identical twin Chadize is haunting us.

That last one’s a bit tenuous: none of us have seen Chad to say he’s haunting us. But my point is there’s a lot going on in Brifhon. We’re on the south-west coast of Devon; forty miles shy of Brixham but with better historical place names than Cowtown and Fishtown. We’re a rhombus-shaped settlement of shops and houses that look out to the Channel from what is still affectionately called Griffon’s Eyrie.

There’s a general belief that some untried medieval clerk got his letters mixed up and turned a king’s favour from Griffon into Brifhon. When trips to the seaside grew popular in the 1870s, local boarding houses started to pronounce it as Bree-fon. That’s when the n flounces up your nostrils and disappears in a fit of Parisian aloofness.

However, ultimately, most residents will tell you that the pronunciation is what changed our image for the better. What was once an outcrop of limestone famous for piracy and fishing is today a picturesque part of the English Riviera. All year round, 40,313 gregarious souls welcome over four million eager visitors to our town. And if they’re looking for the unexpected, they’ve come to the right place.

No-one could ever claim that things are quiet around here. This place can turn into the Twilight Zone at any time. Take Christmas before last, when something fell from the dining room ceiling of Dinniver Inn and landed on the 24-pound turkey.

It turned out to be a human skull.

One of the guests later gave us an account. ‘One minute our host was carving. Next, there was a cracking sound from above – and then dust and debris all around! Someone screamed and pointed at the turkey, and there it was – perched on the crown like some split-personality Halloween decoration. Imagine it being up there all those years! All the police could say was that it was murder by person or persons unknown.’

Persons who must have been tired of the usual murder mystery tropes: 'Caroline Cresswell, you are accused of murdering Mr Leonid Vargas on the night of 27th March 1977 and burying him in the basement of his home. How do you plead? '

'Not guilty, Your Honour.'

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