The Bloodstained Letter: Part Twenty

This is the twentieth part of a fiction serial, in

The revelation from Claudia was very interesting. A woman who had a bookcase full of crime novels, including all of his, and now the news that she had written one herself, only to have it rejected. Jon allowed himself a second glass of wine as he assessed the situation. That was a motive to harass him perhaps, but there were many other successful novelists writing in the genre, including at least six who sold twice as many books as he had.

Could it be that it really was just a spiteful game by the family, and that nobody was in danger? But the fact remained that they had sent the letters to him in York. Even though they didn’t know the full address, his move north had never been publicised, and his current personal information online had not been changed from being resident in Brighton. That had to mean that someone had told them. If it wasn’t Claudia, then who?

As well as Lawrence, there was the removal company, and the next door neighbours the Andersens, who only lived in their house at weekends. The other side was a holiday let property, and he would never have told anyone staying there where he was moving to. Did the Andersens even still live there? They had often mentioned him being on a short contract, and that they planned to return to Denmark one day. It seemed unlikely that anyone would have asked them about him, or the removal company. Besides, the removal firm knew his actual address, even though they should have known never to give it to anyone. If they had broken that confidence, the sender would have had the full address from the start.

That left two main possibilities. Lolly, and Dennis. It was very likely that Lolly would have told Dennis when he stayed there, and he only knew it was York, not the street name or number. He wanted to go back to Brighton, find Dennis, and see if he knew anything. Not least Lolly’s whereabouts. The outside chance was someone in the Post Office in Brighton. Jon had his mail redirected for the first six months after the move, so whoever dealt with that paperwork would have known. But they would also have had the full address.

He now had a headache, and it wasn’t just because of two glasses of wine before dinner.

One thing he did know was where to stay in Brighton that had a car park. He rang and booked a hotel for two nights, hoping that was long enough to track down Dennis. While he was on the south coast, he might well drive around to Broadstairs and confront Eloise Parker-Hill with the new information. But that would depend on what Dennis had to say when he found him. On the plus side, he might well be living in the same small flat, and Jon knew where that was. His last job that afternoon was to ring the car hire company and arrange for a similar Mercedes to be delivered on the day after tomorrow.

Having to wait in for Claudia’s contract to arrive meant he had to delay by one full day.

Settling for a mixed platter of cold meats and cheese and biscuits that evening, he was soon back to work on the laptop, polishing the draft manuscript to the style he knew Claudia would expect and enjoy. He scrapped the part about digging up Amelia’s garden, and instead wrote in more interest surrounding Eloise. That would make any later sexual liaison between her and Inspector Johnson more credible, as he would be spending longer in Broadstairs.

38 thoughts on “The Bloodstained Letter: Part Twenty

  1. (1) Claudia’s revelation about the private eye book was very interesting, but not quite as interesting as John of Patmos’ book of revelation.
    (2a) Jon’s next door neighbors in Brighton were Hans and Christian Andersen. British society condemned their incestuous relationship, but Jon claimed it was the stuff of fairy tales.
    (2b) There’s something rotten in Denmark. And that makes me wonder if the Andersens have returned.
    (3) Lolly Gohightly fancies himself a British geisha. As to his whereabouts, Jon should check out Tiffany’s in the morning.
    (4) There’s a small flat in the Dennis Tree. But getting information out of Dennis is going to be as hard as pulling teeth.
    (5) Bad citation: “The outside chance was someone at the Post Office in Brighton. Had the town provided its postal workers with four walls and a roof, it would have been an inside chance.”
    (6) Jon was soon back to work on the laptop, polishing the draft manuscript. (You mean, like with a cloth?)
    (7) In the book, “Inspector Johnson and the Deep Sea Mystery,” undersea agent Ringo Starfish suggests Johnson and Chen dig up the shaded garden of Amelia the Bow-Legged Octopus.
    (8) Overheard:
    Eloise: “Go right ahead, love! Investigate every inch of my body!”
    Inspector Johnson: “And so I shall, but I must warn you that when it comes to an investigation such as this, I always go by the book.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John has a rather old-fashioned agent sendin the contract as hard copy, when so many legal contracts are now sent by email and signed electronically. Or perhaps it is his preference. Not relevant to the story I guess, however it struck me as interesting that in this digital age a literary agent would still insist on a hard copy contract and a physical signature. Best wishes. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kevin. It was only to suggest that Claudia is rather ‘old-school’. I am sure you are correct about modern technology, as she was happy to receive the six chapters as a word document. Perhaps she doesn’t trust electronics when it comes to earning money? ๐Ÿ™‚
      (I still send cheques by the way, so I might be rubbing off on my characters…)
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. Jon is very well off, and careful with his money except when it comes to living well. He also intends to claim all of his recent expenditure back against his taxes next year. Hence his free-spending attitude during this investigation. He doesn’t want to rekindle his romance with Lolly at all. He just wants to know if he told anyone he had moved to York. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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