The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 34

It was quite a load to carry, but eventually Robin and Albert were carefully unrolling the old tarpaulin on the table in the library.

It revealed two tapestries, one showing Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and the other showing an apple tree with a woman in mediaeval-style green dress reaching out to pick a ripe apple.

“They’re beautiful,” Charlie said, not daring to touch them. “Look how vibrant the colours are, even after all this time.”

“The thieves must have thought they were in the boathouse and tried there first,” Robin said.

“They’ll get a shock when they discover all they’ve got are old tennis nets.” Albert laughed. “But how did they know about the tapestries in the first place?”

“You know how many people we’ve had staying over the years. I’m not talking about the paying guests. The hangers-on . . .” Robin began.

Charlie remembered the tale of the guest whom Katarina had found with the tea set under his arm.

“Those hangers-on could have heard about the tapestries,” Charlie added.

“Thank goodness we’ve found them,” Robin said. “This house has a funny way of giving up her secrets.”

*  *  *  *

It was after midnight by the time Charlie got back to the cottage.

She had brought the old journal with her, and she sat in her pyjamas on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and Ghillie the cat, who had followed her from the big house.

The more she read, the more the upset of the break-in began to recede. She still felt that connection to Anna, who was now talking about how beautiful the seaside was.

Wait a moment, Charlie thought. Something had happened with the dates.

She fetched her notebook and checked the dates. There was a gap of nearly a year. Although she would have expected Uncle Tom to get muddled in his dates, she knew Anna wouldn’t have recorded the dates wrongly in her own diary.

All thoughts of sleep gone now, she read on, anxious to find out what had happened to Anna.

William, the last baby, must have been a difficult birth. No explanation was given for this, but this entry was nearly a year later.

Anna had even written the location – a seaside town some miles off – at the top of the page.

This is my rest cure, Anna had written. It’s such a pretty village and Jacob says it is good to see colour back in my cheeks after a difficult year. William grows stronger every day. Mrs Fanshawe will not let either of us out of her sight. It is so cumbersome to feel this way. I can hardly manage to dress myself and I am given to fits of weeping.

The seagulls awakened us both this morning, but William is a good baby and a determined fellow as well!

So both Anna and her baby had survived. Charlie wiped an unexpected tear from her eye.

However, it still didn’t solve the mystery of why neither of them was buried in the local churchyard.

She carefully put down the journal on the coffee table and lay back on the sofa, thinking. Before she knew it, it was morning.

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.