The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 52

Cast of characters dressed in 18th Century clothing stand in front of white cottage

Dorcas Whitlock arrived at the Bell in a fluster of angry outrage. 

Sweeping into the inn, she found Amaryllis on her knees polishing the oak settle, a basket of rags, brushes, cloths and beeswax beside her. 

“You and I have never been close,” Dorcas began. “I wouldn’t be here if I had anybody else to turn to, but you’re the only one I can tell. 

“You must never breathe a word about this. I will not be publicly humiliated and made to look a fool!” 

“What’s wrong?” Amaryllis asked, not unduly concerned because Dorcas was prone to exaggeration. 


She flung a slender, glittering bracelet down on to the basket of polishing cloths. 

“Adam promised me something special for the Fenwick ball, and this trinket is what he gave me!” 

“It’s very pretty.” 

“It isn’t my exquisite diamond and sapphire necklace, though, is it?” 

“Well, no –” 

“After Adam went out, I searched his dressing-room and his study,” she cut in bitterly. “There’s no sign of my necklace anywhere! 

“Where is it, Am? Who’s he given it to?” 

Amaryllis’s jaw dropped. 

“Surely you can’t  

believe –” 

“Don’t be naïve!” Dorcas sneered. “Adam’s given my necklace to another woman. Married gentlemen may take mistresses, but I’m one wife who will not be made a laughing stock. 

“I intend finding out who the baggage is, and putting a stop to Adam’s dalliances once and for all!” 

*  *  *  * 

“Father organised it while Kit and I were in Yorkshire,” Penelope was explaining. “After we returned and I went to the pottery, there was a new sign above the gates: Whitlock And Daughter, Master Potters.” 

“You deserve it, Penny!” Amaryllis exclaimed. “Great-aunt Mathilda was only saying . . .” 

She broke off when the chaise neared the inn-house and Ethel called from the kitchen garden. 

“A message has come from Dorcas. It’s on the mantel-shelf.” 

Reading the note, Amaryllis was alarmed. Dorcas had followed Adam! 

He’d taken private rooms at an establishment called Thornton’s Hotel. She hadn’t seen his mistress yet, but . . . 

“Is anything wrong?” 

Amaryllis faltered. 

“I’ve no idea what to do, Penny.” 

*  *  *  * 

Penelope drew the chaise to a halt a carriage length from the Whitlocks’ imposing residence. 

A young groom was waiting directly outside, holding his master’s favourite bay. 

In horror, Penelope watched her brother marching furiously from the vestibule, almost knocking Amaryllis aside and muttering a gruff apology. 

“What’s going on here?” Penelope demanded, stepping into his path. 

“None of your concern,” he retorted brusquely, snatching the reins and dismissing the groom with a cursory wave of his hand. “Make yourself useful by ensuring Dorcas doesn’t follow me.” 

“Why on earth would your wife wish to follow you?” 

“What I’m about is dangerous,” he confided unexpectedly. “I believe the ringleaders behind the smuggling and wrecking are regular card players at the King’s Arms. 

“I’ve taken rooms at the hotel opposite and have been keeping a watch upon various comings and goings at the tavern.  

“Why haven’t you taken this intelligence to the garrison?” 

“I can’t. Not yet. Gerrard is one of the card players – along with Simon Baldwin and a Manx fisherman – but Gerrard is my friend, Pen. He once risked his own life to save mine. 

“I owe him the benefit of doubt,” Adam concluded. “I won’t call in the military until I’m absolutely certain Gerrard is involved.” 

Adam glanced down at her from the bay’s saddle, his impetuous grin broad and confident. 

“This time, I’m on the side of angels.” 

Once indoors, Penelope hurriedly explained. 

“I was wrong about him!” Dorcas gasped, relief rapidly becoming fear. “But what if Adam gets hurt?” 

“Has he told the garrison?” Amaryllis chipped in. 

Penelope shook her head. 

“But I intend doing so immediately.” 

“I’ll come with you, Penny.” 

“So will I,” Dorcas snapped. “I’ll have Groves bring round the carriage.” 

“There’s no time to be lost.” Penelope started into the hallway. “We’ll use the chaise.” 

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.