The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 11

Charlie wondered about the maid who had been brought up by her grandmother, whom the normally severe Mrs Fanshawe had taken a shine to, anxious to secure her a good position.

Charlie suspected that the maid was Mrs Fanshawe’s daughter, in an age when illegitimate children were subsumed into families and brought up by grandmothers.

She also thought, as she switched out the light, that Anna had known this.

She wondered for a moment where the family were buried, and if the gravestones would yield some further information. Or perhaps she could write something about Anna’s journal on the Anna Grace website.

What other secrets was the old house hiding, Charlie wondered.

*  *  *  *

It was the next Friday afternoon and Charlie was on the phone to the IT firm, as she couldn’t get the printer to work.

“I’ve changed the printer cartridge and there’s plenty paper,” she explained.

“Switch it off and on again,” the man suggested.

“I didn’t think that was the most high-tech solution,” Charlie replied.

“Sometimes the high-tech solutions are over-rated,” the man teased.

Charlie was trying to print out a sample menu for an artists’ weekend she was hoping would be part of her events management role.

She could have e-mailed her ideas to Robin, but his e-mail replies were a little like his demeanour at the job interview – brusque and to the point.

“Can you stay on the line?” Charlie asked.

When the man agreed, Charlie set the receiver down and knelt under the desk to switch off the computer and printer at the wall.

She was glad Harriet was on a half day as she no doubt would have told Charlie it was all her fault.

That was when she saw a pearl earring, glinting in the weak winter sunshine.

It was the sort of thing Harriet would wear, Charlie thought, thinking of the sharply tailored dresses and jackets.

Charlie flicked the switch on the plug and the printer spluttered back into life.

“Are you back in business?” the man asked when she picked up the phone.

“Gosh, that’s great,” Charlie replied, thanking the man and hanging up.

“What’s this?”

It was Robin, still wearing his work suit and carrying the dark rucksack that contained his laptop.

“Just some ideas, still in the very early stages,” Charlie explained.

She wished Robin hadn’t caught her at such an awkward moment.

She brushed fluff off her skirt, hoping Robin would take the hint and go on up to see his mother.

Then she remembered that Mrs Cecilia was out this afternoon.

Robin took the papers from the printer.

“Where’s Harriet?” he asked.

“She has Friday afternoons off,” Charlie replied.

“And that new couple who have booked for the weekend?”

“They e-mailed to say they wouldn’t be here until nearer eight.”

“In that case, give me a few minutes to look at these. Ask Katarina to make us some coffee. See you in the back office in half an hour,” Robin said.

“They’re only ideas,” Charlie repeated.

“All the more reason to discuss them now. Ideas are best when they’re fresh.” Robin went up the stairs to his room.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.