Saturday, 3 March 2007

Chapter 35

If Danny Longhurst seemed to be relaxed enough, his mind told a different tale. He knew he’d done the right thing by linking up with Harry McFry, but he was starting to worry that it wasn’t going to be easy getting Lillian McFry’s medals to Laurel. He’d noticed that Harry had spotted the inscription on the back of them – something he hadn’t done, even though he’d had them a couple of days before he’d sent them to Harry. The problem he was grappling with now was how he might get them to Laurel without her linking them to the current investigation. Danny realized, too, that his knowledge of world history was sketchier than it might have been – what he knew about the Spanish Civil War he could probably write on a beer mat. He’d assumed that the medals had belonged to Lillian’s husband, but now he was starting to wonder – what if they were actually awarded to Lillian herself? What could that little old woman in Telford have done to merit them?

While Harry refilled the coffee jug, Danny looked around the office. When he’d ‘called in’ to collect his portfolio yesterday, he hadn’t had the luxury of much time, and had hardly noticed the surroundings as he’d homed in on the notebook on Harry’s desk. Now, he surveyed the scene more carefully, A couple of battered, three-drawer filing cabinets. An old desk, and a computer that didn’t look much younger. A bookcase, crammed with files and folders, alongside standard family history reference books.

The whole place looked as if it could do with a good clean – that dusty Venetian blind, in particular, And the stale smell of tobacco, mingled with coffee that it took a non-smoker to detect. Danny thought it didn’t give much of an impression about ‘Harry McFry Genealogical Private Investigations’. Yet he knew Harry’s reputation, and had seen him at work over the last fifteen minutes. He’d learn a lot by working with Harry, he was sure.

Harry returned with the coffee jug filled with water, and poured it in the filter machine.

“Where’s our Miss McFry, I wonder?” he asked Danny, but just then, a buzzer sounded, and Harry reached to press the intercom button on his desk. It was Laurel, and she was heading up to see the two of them. “Remember – don’t give anything away,” Harry cautioned Danny: “The first rule of a genealogical private investigator is the client only gets to know what we want them to know.” Danny shifted, uneasily, in his chair, hoping he wouldn’t give the game away. Harry watched him: “Oh – and don’t forget rule two: a genealogical private investigator never looks nervous.”

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