The Lombardi Emeralds – Episode 24

The Pocket Novel cover for The Lombardi Emeralds with woman in a green dressing, man in a black shirt behind her on a seaside backdrop at sunset

“I spotted the resemblance immediately but I wasn’t sure until you said you were English. Then I knew.”

“You knew my mother?” May’s heart was pounded so loudly she could hardly hear her own voice.

“She was one of The Twins, wasn’t she?” Rosamunde’s eyes sparkled with delight at the memory. “You’ve got the same colour of eyes. They were so unusual it drove the young men wild. I was madly jealous.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“Have some tea,” Rosamunde urged, “and you must try one of those coconut bites.”

To please her, May poured out two cups of tea in the delicate cups provided and took one of the small biscuits.

“Where did I meet Tish?” Rosamunde pondered the question. “I can’t remember exactly. I suppose it must have been at a party. In those days Migoleto and I were invited everywhere.

“Your mother and her friend would entertain us and afterwards there would be a buffet or reception or some such. We held many parties here. The girls were such fun. They would get everyone dancing and tapping their toes. The music was so vibrant.

“They were always late arriving but that added to their charisma. People didn’t mind waiting. Their transport would break down but with an army of young men on hand to help out no-one seemed to care. They could write their own rules. Things were done differently in those days.”

“Do you know anything about the jewel robberies?” May seized her chance to interrogate the Contessa before Vin returned.

“A sad business. I lost some rings. Stupidly I left them in the bathroom and when I went back for them they had disappeared. I asked around but no-one had seen them. They were never recovered.”

“My mother was a suspect, wasn’t she?”

“We all were. The same crowd went to the same parties. The police interviewed everyone.”

“Do you think my mother was involved?”

“Heavens, no, she and her friends were out to have fun. They weren’t criminals. Is your mother here with you?” Rosamunde leaned forward, an eager look on her face. I would like to see her again.”

“She doesn’t know I am here.”

“I sense intrigue. If it’s not too impertinent a question, what are you doing here?”

“Do you know Florence Amaria?”

“Not well, but we have met on occasions. She left the group, as I recall.”

“She was their driver. Her husband Andreas was also a chauffeur.”

“I remember now. He worked for a man none of us liked.” The Contessa wrinkled her nose. “A bulky individual with horrid eyes and bulbous lips. You had the feeling he was working out how much you were worth. What happened to Andreas?”

“He got a job working for Sr Lombardi and after he died Florence stayed on.”

“It was Florence who sent out the invitations for Auguste’s birthday party, wasn’t it?”


“Did your mother also receive one?”


“Which you acquired?” Rosamunde raised a plucked eyebrow.

“It fell into my hands.”

“And you came out here without her knowledge?” Rosamunde waited expectantly for May’s answer.


“May I ask why?”

“I was born in Milan,” May explained, “but my mother would never talk about her time in Italy. All I want to know is why.” “And you bumped into all sorts of nonsense about her being a jewel thief.”

“She gave me a pair of earrings for my twenty-third birthday. Everyone is saying they are real diamonds and emeralds. I thought they were costume. I don’t know what to make of anything.”

“Please don’t think I am speaking out of turn . . . ” Rosamunde paused as if uncertain how to continue.

“Anything you can tell me would be of help,” May urged. “All the people I have spoken to have a connection with Auguste and I’m not sure who to believe.”


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!