13th August 1975
My dear Fiona,
Yes, you are quite right – Mr Anderson’s new book is based on THAT case. It was nearly forty years ago now, just before the war, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.
Ma and Pa were having a house-party. And an extraordinary party it it tuned out to be!
They had invited that Texan millionaire – Peabody I think his name was, and his wife flashing her diamonds. Not wise when you remember The Wraith – stealing fabulous jewels from here, there and everywhere, and never forgetting to leave behind his calling card. We had a better class of criminal back then!
There was Uncle Richard of course, and he brought down two diplomatic bods from the Grand Duchy. Of course we didn’t know that was what they were at the time, or just what poor Uncle Richard had been roped into.
Edward Thornton came and, of course, Algernon Fotheringay. He was so dashing back then! And that man Devereaux wangled an invitation. I’ve no idea how!
Oh and then I invited Jane. I’m sure you remember Jane. Her family had problems and so she was working in a dress shop back then. By chance I was passing when she told a few home truths to an old barrel-shaped battleaxe, who I’m quite sure would never found a dress to flatter her figure. Fortunately Jane had the good sense to resign and flounce out before they could sack her, and so I invited her down.
It was unfortunate that there were thirteen of us for dinner. Poor Pa was going to have to take dinner in his room but then, as luck would have it, an extra guest turned up. The Baroness Anilese de la Roche arrived claiming that her car had broken down, and so of course ma asked her to stay until it was fixed. I knew there was something fishy about her, but at least it meant Merryweather could fetch pa down to have dinner properly!
Anyway that night everything seemed to happen. The whole house woken by crashing and banging, the Peabody diamonds vanishing, Pa’s burglar alarm wailing, the guns missing and then, to cap it all, a body in the lake!
And there were people in the secret passage, a man drugged, people who turned out to be not who they said they were.
It was just like being in an Agatha Christie novel! I had no idea what was going on, but fortunately Detective-Inspector Wilkins worked it all out. I was astounded!
Of course it was terrible, but I do miss those days. The family, the house, the parties, and what I wouldn’t give to find another butler like Merriweather!
And yes, the egg cosy was very important! But I’m not going to tell you how, you’ll have to read the book. I’m told Mr Anderson has done a very good job.
Anyway, I have rambled on for quite long enough. We really must have lunch next time you come up to town, and catch up on all the gossip.
My love to you all,
Gerry x x x