The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 26

Over the next few weeks, a wide variety of objects came in the post.

“What have we got today?” Harriet asked. To Charlie’s surprise, she had got into the spirit of things.

“Two bone-handled butter knives and a monogrammed napkin ring,” Charlie replied.

“What’s the monogram?” Harriet asked.

“T.M.,” Charlie read.

“So not family,” Harriet said, and Charlie thought she was going to make a cutting remark.

“Why don’t you photograph them and put them on the website?” Harriet suggested. “It’s good publicity.”

“Good idea,” Charlie agreed, and between them they arranged all the items that had come in over the last few days, while Charlie snapped them with her mobile phone.

There were callers to the house, too. A man, who wouldn’t be persuaded in for a cup of coffee, turned up with a set of golf clubs.

“I think my father borrowed these in the 1970s. He always meant to give them back.”

Other callers came to the house with wellies and old coats, most of which were still serviceable enough to be used for the artists’ weekend if the weather turned wet again.

Charlie got back from town one morning, where she had been handing out flyers for the artists’ weekend, to find Katarina serving coffee and almond cake to a couple in the morning room.

“Charlie, these folk are here for you.”

“How may I help you?” Charlie said.

“We saw your query on the website about borrowed stuff and we thought we would drive up. It’s a nice day and . . .”

Charlie got the impression that the couple were embarrassed.

“You’ve kindly brought us something?” she prompted gently.

“Yes!” the woman said, breathing a sigh of relief. “It was my aunt. She never married and used to stay here all the time. She was always interested in books and libraries, and when she died last year we found these in her things.”

The woman handed over a bundle of letters and papers, neatly packaged up in a clear plastic folder.

Charlie took a quick glance at the envelopes. The stamps were old and the addresses were written in black ink.

Might this be another missing piece in Anna’s story?

“Thank you so much for bringing these back. I know Robin Graystone will be delighted. Perhaps you would be interested in having a tour of the house while you’re here?” she offered.

“Oh, yes, we would,” the man said.

Charlie gave them a quick tour while Katarina bundled up a few slices of almond cake for their journey home. They ran a cake shop and promised to put the flyers for the artists’ weekend in their window.

As soon as the couple had left, Charlie went to find Robin.

“I didn’t want to look at these yet, as they are family papers, so I thought you should see them first,” Charlie explained.

Robin was looking at some legal contracts.

“Anything would be a welcome break from this,” he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Let’s have a look, then.

“Well, by the looks of the dates and addresses, they’re old letters to Anna,” Robin said after a while. “I’ve got a big meeting with a client tomorrow and he’s a tricky customer. It means I’ll have to leave these to the weekend. Why not take a snap with your phone and post it on the website?”

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.