Thursday, 5 July 2007

Chapter 114

Once safely back at Alan and Yolanda’s flat, Danny didn’t feel much like hanging around. Yolanda had opened the door to them looking flustered, speaking quickly in that strange language that the sisters reserved for themselves, and had hastened Ana into the lounge, gesticulating all the while. Danny, meanwhile, made straight for his room, where he collected his bag before heading back up the corridor, ignoring the discussion between the two women.

“See you later!” he shouted, closing the door behind him as he left. As he did so, he caught a glimpse of Ana, in the doorway of the lounge, and saw that she looked worried.

Just for now, though, he wanted to clear his mind of all that Ana had told him about Harry, and he was pleased, finally, to be alone again. Last night, after he’d split up from his colleague, he’d walked the streets until he’d found an internet café that was open well into the early hours of the morning. He’d spent a valuable few hours researching Dacre Lawrence, and was now relishing returning to the fray to pursue this, and one or two other, lines of enquiry. He’d guessed (correctly) that Harry hadn’t spent much time ruminating on these matters, a fact that Ana had (perhaps unwittingly) confirmed during their earlier discussion. It seemed to Danny as if their visit to Madrid could so easily have been a waste of time. Well, he for one wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to do a little research, when it presented itself.

He’d already discovered, pretty quickly, that Dacre Lawrence was the son of John Lawrence and Margaret Spears: born in late 1946, in Thirsk. The couple had married in the early part of 1946, in the same North Yorkshire town. Danny made a record of the reference number, in case Harry could magic up the certificate when they returned to Birkenhead the next day.

Then, some ‘deep Googling’ had revealed that Dacre had gone up to Oxford to study medicine, but had moved back to North Yorkshire to work in a small GP practice there in late 1960’s. A trawl of the birth index hadn’t uncovered any obvious siblings for Dacre – but Danny had learned to reserve judgement after the lessons he’d learned from working with Harry the previous week. Just because there was no obvious record, it didn’t mean you could trust there not to be something, somewhere, hidden away.

Danny had speculated to himself, earlier that morning, whether the Margaret Lawrence who was a witness at Philip McFry’s wedding to Colleen Blythe might have been this same Margaret Spears… he hadn’t had a chance to share his findings with Harry, but it was a notion which, once it took root in his mind, he was finding hard to shake off.

Now, as he took his seat in the same internet café and logged on, he pulled his notepad from his bag and started leafing through it. All around him, kids of his age were busy e-mailing friends, family or who knew who else, locked in their moment of revelation. It was busier than when he’d left the place in the early hours, but the clatter of the keyboards was strangely re-assuring, and better than the clatter of the McFry brothers and their mixed-up lives. It was a refuge for Danny, a place where he could ‘get into his zone’: do what he knew he could do, and do it well.

He found his sketchy notes of the discussion with Lillian McFry. Dacre Lawrence had told her that Thomas McFry and his father were cousins. Well, that would suggest that John Lawrence’s mother (or father) were brother (or sister) to one of the parents of Thomas, Stuart and Philip McFry.

He paged back through his notes until he found the birth details for Philip McFry, and reminded himself (with a jolt that prompted a broad grin to erupt on his face) that Philip’s father had been James McFry and his mother Anne … Lawrence! If he could prove that Anne and John were siblings, he knew at least that this would explain the ‘cousin’ relationship between Dacre and Thomas.

Working at something like a fever pitch, now, he pulled up the 1901 census records and searched for an Anne Lawrence born in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. The 1901 census was the latest, publicly-available, English census and, if he could find Anne – preferably with a brother John - there was just a chance (he knew) he’d be a little closer to solving the mystery of Laurel McFry’s missing family. Which, he reminded himself, was what this was supposed to be all about, after all…


Anonymous said...

Thank you :-)

Fanton said...

Keep it coming!

*Cracks whip*

the domestic minx said...

Oh I love how this is unravelling or, in fact, ravelling...