Laurel McFry was sipping a café latte in the coffee shop tucked away at the back of her favourite bookshop, whiling away time before an appointment with the bank. She was one of those rare and fortunate individuals sometimes encountered in life who didn’t need to work for their living. When her father died,
She thought about her meeting with Harry McFry the night before. He’d been younger than she’d expected, from his telephone voice. She knew his reputation, of course. Had seen the write up of the Hartshorn case in the local papers, and felt if anyone could work out what had happened, Harry could. But she hadn’t liked the way he’d dismissed her telling him they were related. She knew she was only a ‘dabbler’ in genealogy when set beside someone with McFry’s expertise, but from the start her approach to researching her family history had been meticulous. She felt sure all her work was accurate – those hours spent poring over census records and microfiche, wheedling out tiny facts that helped piece together exactly who Laurel Blyth McFry was. Maybe Harry McFry wasn’t as smart as he liked (or liked other people) to think he was? Or then again, maybe she hadn’t been as diligent as she’d thought? Yet, when she’d first seen Harry as he entered the local records room, her instinctive thought was ‘I know this man’. She knew that, if she was right, she shared only a tiny fraction of the DNA handed down from their common ancestor. Perhaps it was the gene for doggedness, she mused.
Fortunately, her private income gave her plenty of opportunity to develop her new interest. Yet, she was careful in what she spent. Someone else in her circumstances might have merely hired a researcher to go off and complete her family tree for her – but that wasn’t
She remembered, of course, the funeral. All those strange faces, everyone dressed in black including, for the first time in her life, herself – a peculiarly itchy, black dress, she recalled. A day or two before, in the period that was a daze of grief, her father had somehow found time to take young
Another sip of her coffee: it was cold now, and
Intrigued as Harry was by the three medals in the cardboard box, he knew they’d have to wait. No accompanying details, just three beribboned medals, with the inscription ‘LB, 1937’ on the back of them. Maybe he’d get a call from someone asking if he’d got them, apologising for forgetting to include a letter explaining what they wanted Harry to do with them? That was one of the pleasures of being a genealogical private eye – there was always something interesting around the corner. For now, though, he had work to do. He logged onto his Ancestry.com account, dragged a cigarette from the pack on the desk, and set to work hunting out his namesakes.