Friday, 13 April 2007

Chapter 76

Bill Blunt didn’t garner much more information from Galloway over their late lunchtime drink. Their conversation was interrupted by a call his companion received on his mobile phone. Galloway had turned slightly away from Bill as he took the call, but it didn’t stop him noticing that Galloway was angry about something. And why wouldn’t he be? It was Colin McAllistair, informing him, cold as day, that McFry had ‘disposed’ of the medals. And with them, no doubt, the box, and the very valuable piece of paper it contained.

When he rang off, Galloway looked flustered.

“Bad news?” Bill asked, chummily enough.

“You could say that. This Mr McFry is leading me something of a dance, and it seems my visit here today has been a waste of time,” Galloway replied, not hiding his bitter tone.

“Well, if you have to go back to Telford, maybe there’s something I can do to find this Harry McFry character for you? Why don’t you leave me your details, and I’ll see what I can do?” Bill’s question was expressed with such affability it was hard for Galloway to turn down the request. He pulled out a card and passed it to Bill.

“That would be a great help to me, Mr Blunt. Feel free to ring me any time. And now, I’m afraid I had better go. No sense hanging around here much longer,” Galloway said, rising from his seat.

‘Hmph!’ thought Bill: the cad might have just bought him a drink before he left, even as he bade his companion a good trip, and nodded his goodbye. He fingered the business card as he watched Galloway leave. This was another piece in the jigsaw, he was sure.


Meanwhile, across town, Laurel McFry had returned from a day out visiting a friend to find a letter waiting for her. She didn’t recognize the writing, but the postmark was for Thirsk in North Yorkshire. She wondered idly who it might be from as she pulled it open. Inside, she found a handwritten note, hard, at first, to decipher:

My dear Laurel

I have no doubt you will be surprised to receive a letter from a ‘stranger’ that includes a warning to you, but believe me I mean no harm to you and just wish you to take heed.

My dear girl, I have never had an interest in my family history, but I learned something today that links our families more than you could imagine. How I wish I had taken interest in these matters sooner.

There is a man named Cyril Galloway who I fear is after what is rightfully yours. Please take care and do not trust him - I have learned that the hard way.

Yours Affectionately

D Lawrence

The letter was undated, but postmarked Thursday – the day before. It was franked with the name of the Chapel Road Health Centre.

Lauren struggled to place the names. The tone of the letter was very familiar, but she didn’t know a ‘D Lawrence’, nor had she ever encountered the Cyril Galloway he felt he had to warn her about.

And what was it that was ‘rightfully’ hers that this Galloway character wanted? She thought she’d better ring Harry – it could only be wrapped up in the case she’d employed him to work on.

She found his number and dialed it, and after a short while heard the click of the answer phone and Harry’s cool voice, requesting callers to leave a message, and he ‘would get back’ to them. She left a message, saying she’d had a letter, and that it might be something he needed to see, and asking him to ring her back. It would be useful, anyway, to hear where he was up to.

She kicked off her shoes and walked to a sideboard where a bottle of vodka sat, poured herself a small drink and mixer, and lay on her sofa. This was already the worst week in Laurel McFry’s life, and the slight chill she’d felt when she’d read the letter didn’t help – it didn’t help in the least.

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