A ten-year-old boy wakes up from a nightmare of himself as a man being shot and buried.
The next day, women protest for universal suffrage and their leader, Lydia Belworth, handcuffs herself to the gate of a government building. The boy walks up with flowers and Lydia assumes that they're for her. He says that Lydia murdered him, draws a gun, and shoots her in the arm.
Arthur checks on his daughter Mary, who is in bed and says that she doesn't feel well. He realizes that she's upset rather than sick, and Mary says that she's unhappy that she has to study housewifery. Arthur tries to explain that there are things Kingsley can do that she can't, but he doesn't get very far. Mary agrees to grin and bear it,
Kingsley is preparing for school when Arthur comes down and says that Mary won't be staying home.
At Scotland Yard, Merring is reading a story about the "past life shooting". He warns Gudgett that the shooting will just fuel the fire, just as Harry and Arthur arrive. Merring figures that the boy was hired to kill Lydia, but Arthur hopes the boy's story will prove evidence of life after death. The chief inspector suddenly says that he can use their help.
Later, Arthur is in the records office doing research while Harry watches. Harry refuses to consider the idea of reincarnation, and Arthur points out that millions of people accept it as real. The magician finally suggests that they question the boy, and Arthur warns that Gudgett won't allow it. They go to see Adelaide, and Arthur bets Harry 10 pounds that he won't get Adelaide to go out with him for dinner. Adelaide joins them and Harry feigns interest in Lydia's movement. She realizes that he's faking it and objects to their condescending, but agrees to do it.
In the cell, Adelaide tries to get through to the boy. The boy says nothing and Adelaide takes a gentler approach. He says that he had to kill Lydia for killing him.
Later, Gudgett discovers that they were questioning his suspect and confronts them. As he warns her off, Adelaide says that the boy's name is Martin Upton from Aldgate. Lydia comes in and Adelaide goes to greet her. The woman is impressed that Scotland Yard has assigned the first female constable to the case, and Harry gives her the impression that he and Arthur are Adelaide's "consultants." Lydia figures that someone in the home office hired Martin to shoot her and scare her off rather than make her a martyr, and wants them to find the real culprit. She's never heard of Martin by name, and isn't impressed with either Harry or Arthur. Once Lydia leaves, Gudgett comes back and says that there is a missing-person report on a Martin Upton from Aldgate, but he's 29 years old and went missing 12 years ago. Once the sergeant leaves, Harry suggests that they have Martin take them home.
In Aldgate, a vicar is on the street and Martin runs up to him. He identifies his wife and the vicar remembers marrying Martin and Beatrice 17 years ago. Harry is still unimpressed and figures that Martin faked the whole thing. As Martin leads them on, Harry says that everyone tells half-truths. Adelaide says that she doesn't, and Harry challenges her to a game of Truth Trade. She agrees and he starts by asking her if she's a virgin. Adelaide says that she isn't, and she asks why Harry didn't ask her something meaningful. He says that he wanted to see how she would react, and Adelaide says that he's lying.
A dog runs up and Martin calls it by name. He sees a gate from his nightmare and goes inside to the spot where "she" buried him. Arthur and Harry start digging, and finds a man's skeleton. They call in Gudgett, who finds the dead man's ring and confirms that it's initialed MU. Harry irritably admits that he doesn't know how Martin led them to the body, and Martin leads them into a nearby tenement. It's the address they had for Martin from 12 years ago. Martin easily finds a hidden key and lets himself in, and says that "he" hasn't changed a thing. They look around and find sketches of near-nude women, and Martin says that was how he made his living. Several of them are of Lydia, and Harry figures that she was lying about knowing anyone named Martin Upton.
A woman, Beatrice, comes in and draws a gun. She demands to know who they are and why they're there, and Martin greets his widow. Adelaide shows her the ring and Beatrice admits that her Martin had a wandering eye. She remembers Lydia and says that Martin was smitten, and they fought about it on the night 12 years ago when he went missing. Martin hit her with a cup and Beatrice hit him back. He then hit her and ran out the door, scared. Beatrice has a gun, and Harry points out that Martin was shot in the head. She insists that she didn't kill her husband, and says that everyone loved Martin. Harry figures that Beatrice hates Lydia for what she did with Martin 12 years ago, and figures that Beatrice ran into Martin and convinced him to shoot Lydia. Beatrice says that she never saw Martin before, and Adelaide figures that they need to talk to Lydia again. As they go, Martin tells Beatrice that she was the only one he ever loved.
The trio goes to Lydia's office, handcuffing Martin to the railing outside, and ask her why she lied about Martin. They explain that they found Martin's paintings of Lydia, and Lydia admits that she had a brief affair with Martin 12 years ago but broke it off immediately. She kept it secret to avoid getting a reputation as a fickle woman, and says that she wasn't Martin's only woman. Lydia doesn't recall the woman's name but remembers that she was a heavyset blonde. As they go, Martin looks at Lydia through the window.
After they collect Martin and Harry jokingly shows him how to open the handcuffs., the trio takes the Underground home. Harry insists that Lydia lied to them. Adelaide insists that Lydia is telling the truth, and Harry dares her to another game of Truth Trade. She agrees and Harry asks why she works when she is wealthy and beautiful, and Adelaide says that she's trying to prove that women have nothing to prove. She then asks Harry what his father did to him that causes him such unhappiness that he hides. Harry insists that he loves his father very much and then leaves when they reach his stop.
Arthur returns home and his maid, Vera Tufts, tells him that she received word that Mary was absent from school. He goes to Mary's room and says that he won't have his daughter truant. Mary cries and Arthur says that he's worried about her, and that they'll forget about what happened if Mary goes to school. She agrees and Arthur tucks her in.
At the station, Gudgett tells Adelaide that Martin has escaped from the custody desk where she left him handcuffed. The next day, the trio meets with Merring and Harry says that it was his fault for showing Martin how to slip the cuffs. Merring says that Gudgett will tell Lydia that he misplaced Martin. Arthur warns that Martin will go looking for the mystery blonde and finish the job. As for Martin's parents, Adelaide noticed that the boy was far-sighted and checked the records for missing boys with glasses. Martin is apparently Peter Bennett, and his parents reported him missing three days ago. Merring is reluctantly impressed, and tells Adelaide to follow it up.
As the trio takes a carriage to the Bennett home, Arthur reluctantly asks his associates if they ever went truant. They assure him that it's normal, and Harry says that any truly successful man is self-made. Adelaide objects and Harry points out that a woman without an education has no chance of becoming anything other than a wife. He asks what Arthur says, and Arthur says that his wife has tuberculosis and has been unresponsive for six months.
The trio talks to Peter's parents, Clara and Frank, and Adelaide explains that they were holding him for Lydia's shooting. Clara says that Peter changed a year ago and became distant and sullen. They tried to talking to Peter but he treated them like strangers, and often missed school. The trio checks Peter's room and finds sketches as well as a hidden journal that belonged to the adult Martin. Harry figures that the obsessed Peter used the spare key to break in to Beatrice's home, and used it to learn all about Martin. There's also a sketch of the blonde woman, and they wonder how they'll find her.
That night, Harry breaks into Lydia's office and cracks open her expensive safe.
Somewhere in London, Peter takes out a revolver and loads it.
Harry goes to Scotland Yard and tells Adelaide that he has something that may help find the blonde. First he wants to play another Truth Trade. He suggests that they answer the same question, writing down their answers and trading them simultaneously. Harry asks, "What is your biggest fear?" and they both write down "Being unloved." He then explains that he discovered that two years ago, Lydia was married to millionaire Edward Belworth. Edward died in a horse accident, and her first husband died as well. Lydia's maiden name is Derst, and there's a journal entry that Derst and Maguire found out about each other. They figure that the blonde is Maguire.
Later, someone goes to the flat of Margery Maguire and discovers that the front door is unlocked. The killer finds a woman standing inside, her back turned to him, and shoots her in the back repeatedly. Arthur arrives and grabs the gun, and realizes that the shooter is Lydia. The dead woman--Harry--removes his bulletproof vest and complains that Arthur should have stopped Lydia before she shot him. Adelaide comes from the flat across the hallway and says that Lydia played into the hands of her detractors. Lydia insists that once they found Martin's body, they'd eventually trace the murder to her. She was going to kill Margery and pin it on Peter to tie up the loose ends. Margery comes out and says that Lydia always was a bitch, and insists that she always loved Martin. Lydia says that she was pregnant with Martin's child, and when she asked him to marry her, he laughed in her face. She came back later and shot him, and gave birth the next day. Adelaide realizes that it was the same day that Peter was born, and Lydia explains that her mother told her the baby was stillborn.
Arthur leads Adelaide and Harry to the cellar of Beatrice's tenement. Peter is there and Arthur remembers that he smelled Camphine earlier from the boy. He figured that Beatrice had it and would have kept it in the cellar. Harry tells Peter that he's Martin's son. Adelaide figures that Peter learned it a year ago, and identified so closely with him that he set out to avenge his father. When Peter says that his father is dead, Arthur assures him that Clara and Frank are waiting for Peter at home. They take Peter home and he's reunited with his parents. Adelaide tells the Bennetts that Lydia is dropping all charges against Peter.
As the trio leaves, Harry points out that the case was solved without any paranormal involvement. Arthur and Adelaide point out that Martin somehow knew where the body was, and Arthur suggests that spirit guides or psychic imprinting may have been responsible. Harry then invites Adelaide to dinner and she accepts.
Arthur returns home and Vera says that Mary was truant again. She's also found a flyer for aspiring housewives. Arthur goes to Mary's room and apologizes for not realizing she was upset over her mother. Mary hugs him as Arthur admits that he forgot anyone else could miss her as much as he does.
At a restaurant, Adelaide reveals that she knew the date was a bet. She asks if the note was a trick, and Harry reveals that he switched the note for one saying the same thing she did. He then explains that he idolized magician Robert Houdin but realized that he was just a fraud. Harry suggests that just because Lydia was a fraud doesn't mean her cause was, and suggests that Lydia take up women's rights. She points out that Harry doesn't know if she has any skeletons in her closet, and Harry admits that he doesn't.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 15, 2016