Daniel Levine (stage name Damien Silvermead)
*Charles Groud is innocent.
It's an ordinary morning for you, and as you go through your news feed (or however you keep up-to-date with current happenings), you spot a small article about yet another celebrity death. At this point, they barely even faze you. This time it was for Daniel Levine--better known by his stage name, Damien Silvermead. He was an incredibly talented magician, known as the Houdini of his day. But while Houdini was an escape artist, and the popular magicians now were illusionists, Daniel's specialty had been tricks involving deception--from impersonations to ventriloquism, he could do it all. While the height of Daniel's popularity was quite a while ago (especially since he retired), his fame has not declined, and he is still a household name across the globe.
You soon receive, however, a most unusual email. It is a request from a woman claiming to be Daniel's sister. The email notifies you of Daniel's death (it seems to fit with the article), and requests that you come to his mansion to deal with an issue pertaining to his death--immediately. It's a strange request, and at the last minute... but you decide to accept. She arranges travel for you, and soon enough you're on a plane to the Pacific Northwest.
At the airport you meet a chauffeur who escorts you to a sleek black car, and he begins to drive... and drive... and drive. You leave the city, go past the suburbs, and just when you begin to suspect you've become the victim of some sort of scam or kidnapping scheme, the trees part to reveal a large, two-story mansion. On each side of the mansion, you can see the sea stretching out into the distance; from the perspective, you can tell that you appear to be on some sort of cliff.
You step out of the car, and the smell of saltwater fills your nostrils. On a nicer day the view is probably breathtaking, but today the overcast sky and gray waters simply give the house a gloomy, foreboding feeling. It's too bright outside to see in through the windows, but patches of ivy cover the walls in some areas. As soon as you take your suitcase out of the car, the chauffeur zooms off, leaving you with only one place to go. As you approach the mansion, a factoid from the scant research you performed before departing pops into your head. Daniel Levine apparently christened his house with the same title as his primary stage show...
The Den of Deception.
Unsure of what exactly to expect, you take a deep breath and use the knocker on the front door. After several moments the door opens to reveal a tall, thin man in a suit with sharp features, snow white hair and a neat, trimmed mustache. His icy blue eyes look down on you--both literally and, you can't help but feel, figuratively. He is clearly the butler, and you can tell he is analyzing, dissecting, and judging you with his gaze.
"You must be one of the detectives," he says in a low voice. "Please, come in. Let me take your suitcase." He gestures you inside the house. You don't have time to take in the foyer before he leads you to a door and nearly thrusts you in. "Please wait in here, and I will notify Rachel you have arrived." You recognize that name as the woman who contacted you. The butler gives a short bow, and closes the door.
The room you find yourself in has beige wallpaper with a white floral pattern. In the center of the room is a glass table with a potted fern on top, around which four armchairs are arranged. Two people--from the look on their faces, they're as confused as you are--are already sitting in the chairs. The chairs have a wooden frame and white fabric with a colorful floral print. A rug with a matching design is laid out underneath the chairs. Slightly larger, beige armchairs are also in one or two of the corners. In another corner is a tall wooden cabinet with glass doors. A mirror in a gold frame hangs on the northern wall. Some windows overlook the lawn, and the only door is the one you just came in through. There is an obsidian statue of dragon of a pedestal in the southeast corner of the room.
You are currently in the parlor with two strangers.