The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 22

“Your ideas are normally pretty sound, Katarina,” he commented.

“The cottages. What is to stop you letting out the older ones down by the lake? One is full of old junk, the other two need repairs, but you now have an extra pair of hands with Dean. Albert says the structure of the cottages is sound.”

Robin sipped his coffee.

“Go on,” he urged.

“The guests would still come here for their breakfast and have the evening meal, but we could put microwaves and fridges down there.”

They had taken out the fridges a few years back, as Mrs Cecilia always forgot to keep tabs on who had drunk what when guests checked out.

“We couldn’t do it right away,” Robin pointed out, ever the lawyer.

“You young people have no patience. You could start with the planning and Dean and Albert could clear some of the junk.”

“And Charlie told you to speak to me about all this?” Robin asked.

“Yes,” Katarina said. “She is a wise woman, not rushing into big decisions without your saying-so.”

“She is indeed,” Robin agreed. “Those ideas Charlotte has for the artists’ weekend are good. I had a look at her plans last night.

“We can afford it, and if it’s a success it would be something we could run regularly. Wynford’s already agreed to be the facilitator, and Charlie suggested that Mum takes the guests on some woodland walks, so she feels included, too.

“I must tell her on Monday,” Robin added.

Before Katarina could stop him, he took two more biscuits and ran from the kitchen.

Katarina looked at her watch. What had she been thinking? She needed to see Mrs Cecilia. Dinner would not cook itself.

*  *  *  *

It was a few days before Charlie got near Anna’s journal again. She had spent the day e-mailing artists’ groups in the county to try to garner some publicity for the weekend.

She had also posted a brief entry on social media, with a link to Anna Grace’s website and some of the photos she had taken of the old house in the snow.

Harriet had at least shown Charlie how to use the electronic booking system, so whenever anyone phoned about the artists’ weekend, she was able to book them into a room then and there.

Things with Harriet had not been easy and Charlie was tired of either trying to push her point home or be endlessly diplomatic.

Charlie knew Harriet was annoyed, as Robin had made no further mention of the wedding venue plans.

Eventually, afraid she would say something to Harriet she would later regret, Charlie took herself off to the library to look at the old household ledgers to see if she could piece together more of Anna’s story.

Then she had dinner with Albert and Katarina at Katarina’s cottage.

Katarina sent Charlie back to her own cottage with a slice of lemon drizzle cake. Charlie made herself some tea and settled down to read the next journal entry.

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.