The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 16

“Nonsense. Everyone wants to be pampered.” Harriet scowled.

“Go on, Charlie,” Robin said, ignoring Harriet.

Charlie started up the presentation she had put together on her computer, complete with pictures she had taken.

“Why don’t we encourage guests who will see Little Wood and the outbuildings as an advantage: walkers, artists, creative types who want somewhere to walk, take pictures and have picnics during the summer?

“If they want studio space, it wouldn’t be too hard to convert the old dairy room into a studio or something.”

Charlie showed them estimated figures she had compiled and went through the rest of her presentation.

“I think you have something there, Charlie,” Robin said approvingly, as Charlie clicked to the last slide.

“The problem will be getting them to make the booking in the first place.”

“You’re hardly going to find a bride who wants to get married in wellies and an old waxed jacket, are you?” Harriet said.

Just then, the phone rang.

“I’ll get it,” Charlie said, glad to be out of the discussions about upgrading Anna Grace to be a premier wedding venue, and went next door to pick the phone up in the outer office.

“Anna Grace Hotel, how may I help you?” she answered, reaching for a pen and notebook.

“Is that the old hotel at the end of the Mayor’s Bridge Road?” a man’s voice asked.

“Yes, this is Charlotte. How may I help?”

“I’m in a spot of bother,” the man continued. “I’ve been speaking at a conference in town and there’s no way I’ll get home. It’s not worth the risk.”

Charlie looked out at the snow, which had turned from sleet to fat, swirling flakes.

She had been so busy with the presentation that she hadn’t noticed that the driveway was now completely covered.

“The satnav’s stopped working and I pulled into a country lane to see if I could get it working again. Now I haven’t a clue where I am.”

Charlie took a deep breath and asked the caller to point out any landmarks. She thought she knew roughly where he was, so she began to talk him through some directions.

“I’ll get Albert to meet you in the Land-Rover at the entrance, in case you’ve any difficulty,” Charlie said.

The caller, whose name was Grant Thornberry, thanked her and hung up. As Charlie dialled Albert’s number, she wondered why the name was familiar.

Albert was as unflappable as ever, but as Charlie went to the kitchen to warn Katarina about an unexpected guest, all she could hear was the sound of Robin and Harriet arguing.

How on earth, Charlie thought, can we save this beautiful house when Robin and Harriet seem to sabotage everything with their endless quarrelling?

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.