Susan Davies, a young up-and-coming features writer at the Tormane Weekly Gazette stared at the box of notebooks on the desk in front of her. The accompanying letter in her hands had left her lost for words. The acclaimed crime novelist Kimberly Dent wanted her, an unknown feature writer, to write her life story. Without warning the box had arrived in the mail addressed to Susan.
‘I best see what the crack is’ she thought and dialled the number on the header of the letter. No answer. Instead, she took a notebook out of the box and flicked it open. It soon became apparent these were more than a writer’s notes but also the diary of the woman herself. She looked in the box. All the notebooks had been packed in date order. Miss Dent was clearly organised. Susan replaced the notebook she was reading in it correct place.
Grabbing her car keys and the letter she left the office. She drove out of town towards the nearby village on the letter. If she was going to write this story she needed to at least talk to the woman herself. As she slowed on the little village back road she saw a police car parked outside the cottage she guessed belonged to Miss Dent.
Knocking on the door she was greeted by a burly village policeman. She asked for Miss Dent. ‘Miss Dent isn’t at home’ said the constable, ‘what is your business with her?’
Susan showed him the letter. ‘I need to talk to her about this’
‘Well that is very strange indeed. When was the last time you spoke to Miss Dent?’
‘That’s the point, I never have, only this letter and a box containing her notebooks.’
‘I see, why would she send them to you?’
‘I don’t know, that is why I need to talk to her. Why are you asking me these questions?’
‘You best come in, lass, I don’t think we should discuss this out here.’
Susan stepped inside the cottage. Immediately she was struck by the utter chaos the place was in. Certainly not how she had expected the organised lady who sent her the box to live. It was a mess.
‘Last week Miss Dent asked me and my colleague to check in on her every day as she feared she was in danger. Everything seemed fine until this morning and I arrived. The door open and the house ransacked with no sign of Miss Dent. Do you know anything about that?’
‘No, of course not.’
‘Nothing in those notebooks then.’
‘I haven’t had chance to read them yet.’
‘We best go and look then.’
A few hours later Susan and the constable were sat at her desk reading the latest set of Miss Dent’s notes. It was becoming clear her research for her new novel was treading on some unfriendly toes, but whose?
©JG Farmer 2018