Dear Lord Alfred Nonymous,

Let me first preface this letter by expressing how flattered I was to receive an invitation to your upcoming dinner party at “Redemption Manor” (your remote, desolate hunting chalet located in the darkest forests of Shropshire). Although we have never once met — nor, indeed, have I ever even heard of you before — I found this gesture to be truly humbling.

And yet, Lord Nonymous, I must now regretfully inform you that I will be unable to attend your impending luxe soiree as it is clearly an elaborate scheme meant to entice me away from the trappings of distinguished society so that you may subsequently murder me without fear of public or legal retribution.

So, just to be clear, my RSVP is a “no.”

Do not take this the wrong way, Lord Nonyous; your invitation’s promise of “fresh Autumnal canapes followed by light refreshments in the parlour room” was tempting to say the least. However, the invitation’s additional promise of “a breathtaking after-dinner surprise” gave me pause. Not merely because you had italicized the words ‘breathtaking’ and ‘surprise’ to give them a decidedly sinister heft, but because you had used the words ‘breathtaking’ and ‘surprise’ in the first place. Moreover, your assurance that “I can be as loud as I want, for no one else shall be able to hear my screams of mirth” left me decidedly unassured.

Furthermore, as if this was not enough to rouse my suspicions, your letter contained several utterances that struck me as highly irregular. For example:

  • On no less than seven separate occasions, you make reference to my vast oil-refining fortune and demand (in no uncertain terms) that I bring along every remaining copy of my Last Will and Testament to your soiree.
  • On no less than EIGHT occasions, you make reference to my estranged step-son, Matthias Buddles Bartlett, before tacitly suggesting that “the only thing Buddles loves more than money… is revenge.”
  • In the bottom left corner of the letter, you have drawn a small stick figure (presumably a self-portrait) with two dollar bills in lieu of eyeballs. Next to this stick figure, you have drawn an implausibly large pile of golden ingots. Beneath this drawing you have written out the phrase: “Dad Money.”
  • Apropos of nothing, your letter offhandedly mentions that, and this is a direct quote, “hypothetically speaking, I would be much better than Agatha Christie at planning a murder.”

Finally, and perhaps most conclusively of all, while writing your invitation, you seemingly have scratched out many words with your quill (as if they were hastily written, and then subsequently concealed). For example, here is a small excerpt from the letter you sent to me, including the words you have all-too-poorly attempted to remove:

Additionally, your “name” is A. Nonymous. Which is clearly a pseudonym.

As I have previously mentioned, Lord Nonymous, I do not wish to cause offense. But to be blunt, I believe that your soiree, while tempting, could not possibly be a mutually beneficial affair. And so, on the (may I add, exceedingly) off-chance that you are not my estranged step-son Matthias, I am deeply, truly sorry for this inconvenience.

All the best,
Harold James Bartlett,
Chief Executive Officer of Bartlett Oil Refinery
Bristol, UK.