Turbulent Watersby Julie Heginbotham
"Fatty, isn't the view marvellous?" said Bets, standing by the large bay window and looking out to sea. "This is going to be a really wonderful relaxing break for us all."
With no forthcoming answer, Bets turned to Fatty, to see him stretched out on the large double bed, his back supported by numerous pillows, reading a letter, with Buster snoozing by his feet.
"Sorry." Fatty raised his eyes from the letter, and smiled at Bets. "Yes, it's lovely, dear. An uninterrupted view of nothing but ocean." He folded up the letter and, leaving the bed, popped it back into his jacket pocket that lay over the chaise longue.
"Who's the letter from?" she asked, as he came to stand beside her.
"Oh, just an old friend who I knew in the force," he returned, evasively. He smiled as she looked up at him, speaking before she could ask anymore. "You can see some of the other islands dotted in the sea. I wonder which ones they are."
"Well, St. Mary's is the largest," said Bets, "and as it has to be in that direction," she pointed, "I would make a guess and say that one is the main island of St. Mary's."
Fatty nodded. "I think you're right."
Bets moved over to the dresser and put the kettle on to boil. "I could do with a tea, unless you want to go down to the lounge and order some?"
Fatty shook his head. "We'll have our tea in here, if you like. They keep us supplied and it's nice and peaceful with just the two of us. Plus, of course, Buster is snoozing soundly after his long walk around the island this morning."
Bets grinned at the sleeping dog on the bed, and began to prepare the tea, thinking of the forthcoming few days of relaxation that was ahead of them here, on one of the Isles of Scilly. They'd arrived late afternoon yesterday, with Pip and his wife Mary, Daisy and her husband Paul, Larry and his wife Helen, Lisa, now fully recovered from the gunshot wound, and Ern and his wife Bernice. Thinking of Ern and Bernice brought a sudden smile to her face.
"I hope I remember to call Ern 'Edward'," she began, with a smile, "and of course we all have to try and remember that Ern has only just met up with Bernice and not give away that they're in fact married."
Fatty grinned. "Yes, it's rather cloak-and-dagger, all this undercover business. When I suggested we all go away, I hadn't really taken on board all the confusion it was going to cause having Ern along with us."
Bets handed Fatty a tea and sat down in the armchair opposite, by the large window. "It rather made me smile the way we all came over to the island yesterday," she began, "all wrapped up against the biting wind, the boat rocking dangerously against the high waves, and just glancing at each other now and then. All wondering who was who and knowing we were all coming to the only hotel on the island."
Fatty laughed. "I can't forget how I had to hold tightly onto Buster's collar. I didn't want to shout 'dog overboard'."
"Well, I guess we shouldn't really grumble about the weather, it is late January after all," returned Bets.
"Well, it's certainly a lovely island," said Fatty. "But one heck of a journey getting here."
Bets nodded with a quiet smile, remembering the coach journey they'd all taken to Penzance, then the trip over to St. Mary's on the helicopter, where a pre-booked seat had to be removed in front of where Fatty sat, to allow a dog cage to be bolted to the floor, so that Buster had a safe and secure cage to sit in, and was still able to see his master and mistress sitting by him. Then from the heliport, a vintage bus had taken the passengers to the quay, where they waited for the small ferry to take them over the water to one of the smaller islands. Once they'd landed at the small quay, a tractor and trailer was already waiting, and its driver placed everyone's luggage onto the trailer and then made its way up from the quay to the only hotel on the small island, leaving everyone to take their time in walking up to the hotel, where they were finally greeted with a warm welcome from two receptionists, who handed over their keys and said their luggage would be brought to their rooms shortly.
"Well worth it though, Fatty," smiled Bets. "I can't help thinking how lovely it would be in the summer time. The sand here is so fine and almost off-white. And the sea is so clear. Even though the sea was rough yesterday, as we approached the island I looked over the side of the boat, and the sea bed was clearly visible."
"Yes, it's a real paradise island, Bets. A bit cut off though. The receptionist was saying this morning, that when the weather gets really bad the ferry boat can't always come to this island, and sometimes during the winter they've been cut off for days."
"Sounds rather romantic," said Bets, with a raised brow. "Almost like an Agatha Christie novel where the characters are marooned on an island with a murderer until help can get to them."
Fatty raised an amused brow and pulled a slight face with a sigh. "I think I'll have to start curtailing some of the books you read, my dear. Stick with Enid Blyton, it's safer."
Bets laughed and planted a kiss on Fatty's cheek. "The day I let you curtail anything that I do, Fatty, there'll probably be snow ball fights at the equator."
Fatty grinned good-naturedly. "Yes, you're probably right there, my dear."
* * *
Fatty and Bets entered the lounge and looked around for the others. "There's Daisy," said Bets, spotting her sitting by the window, quietly reading a book. She looked up at them both on their approach.
"Hello you two. Where's Buster?"
"He's gone out with Mary and Helen, for another walk around the island," Fatty told her. "Where's Paul?"
"He's out for a walk with Edward Tupping," she returned, with a knowing smile. Remembering not to mention Ern by name.
Fatty and Bets grinned at her expression as they sat themselves down on the settee opposite to where Daisy sat. A few of the other guests had watched them enter and nodded their acknowledgement as they walked over to Daisy.
"Didn't you fancy a walk?" said Bets to Daisy, watching her place a marker in her book before closing it.
"No, it's a bit blustery out there for me." She glanced over to the door and saw Pip and Larry approaching. "Here's my dear brother and Pip."
Pip and Larry joined them, sitting down into the large comfortable arm chairs. "It's a bit parky out there," began Pip, rubbing his hands together. "We've just been watching our wives taking Buster out. Standing at the door was enough for me."
Bets threw her brother an amused scowl. "Honestly Pip, you and Larry, you're going worse as you get older!"
"What've we done now?" asked Pip.
"Letting your wives go out in this wind alone," said Daisy, shaking her head.
"Buster's with them," said Larry. "They'll be fine. It'll take them less than an hour to walk around the whole of the island."
"What possible harm could they come to?" said Pip, raising a questioning brow.
"Didn't Bernice fancy going with Paul and Edward?" said Fatty, looking around for her.
"No." Daisy shook her head. "She's in her room writing a few post cards."
Larry grinned and leaning his head forward whispered, "It's so hard trying to remember that those two have only just met."
The others nodded silently, with knowing smiles.
"Oh, there you all are," came the voice of Lisa, as she entered the lounge and walked over towards them, smiling at the other guests.
They looked up as she sat down. "And what have you been doing with yourself this morning?" asked Bets, with a smile.
"I went for a swim in the indoor pool. It's lovely and warm. And then I had a facial in the beauty salon." She patted her cheeks. "Can you see any difference?"
"Not really," said Fatty, teasing her.
"Take no notice," said Bets. "You look lovely, my dear."
"Thank you, Bets." She pulled out her tongue at the grinning Fatty.
"I see most of us are gathered in the lounge," added Lisa, looking quickly about her, seeing some guests reading newspapers and others chatting amongst themselves. A few of the guests had arrived yesterday with Fatty and his party. There was an elderly couple, called Mr & Mrs Wright, and an elderly woman holidaying alone, who turned out to be a Miss Simmons, who noticing that Bernice seemed to be alone, had taken to sitting and talking with her whenever possible.
"I bet Miss Simmons is wondering where Bernice is," whispered Lisa to the others.
They nodded. "She's in her room," whispered Daisy, "and when Ern returns, he'll pop in and see her, he said."
"Oh yes," said Lisa, whispering mischievously, "I'll have to keep my eye on those two!"
"So what are we all going to do this afternoon?" asked Pip, in a normal voice, getting a little tired of all this whispering.
"There's not much we can do, really, apart from go for a walk," began Larry. "The weather's not calm enough to take a boat trip to any of the other islands."
"Well we did all vote to come here for the peace and tranquillity," Daisy pointed out.
"It's certainly that," said Lisa. "I feel a bit cut off to be truthful. And there are no young single men here in the hotel."
The others looked at Lisa's frown with sympathy. "I suppose the next few days are going to be rather dull for you, Lisa," said Larry.
"Not really," she said mischievously, with a smile. "It's never dull when Frederick's around."
The others looked at her and Fatty with wry smiles. It was certainly never dull with Lisa around, vying for supremacy with Fatty.
"So who's for a walk then before afternoon tea?" She asked, looking at the others with a raised brow and a smile lighting up her face. "Frederick, what do you say about a romantic walk around the island?"
The others laughed lightly. "Gosh Lisa, if your idea of romance is a walk with Fatty here, then you're easily pleased," said Larry, throwing Bets a mischievous wink.
Lisa laughed good-naturedly. "It doesn't take much to make me happy. Well, Frederick," she looked at him with a knowing smile. "Are you coming for a walk or not?"
"Don't keep your date waiting, Fatty," said Bets, grinning at him.
"Okay, then," he said, with a sigh. "I'll meet you in the lobby in five minutes, I've just got to put my coat on, so don't keep me waiting."
"He's so masterful," she said, with a smile, rising from her chair. "Better make it seven minutes then, I'd hate to be late." She threw everyone a smile and a mischievous wink over at Bets before leaving.
"She's a character," said Daisy. "Oh, to be young again."
"She certainly keeps Fatty on his toes," said Pip, with a wicked grin. "A bit of competition for you there, sister dear."
"Don't be ridiculous, Pip," said Bets. "Fatty has eyes only for me." She looked at Fatty with a sweet innocent smile.
"Only for you my dear, you know that," he said, in reassuring tones. He planted a kiss on her forehead, as he rose from his chair. "I'll see you all later."
"We may as well have a drink in the bar," said Larry to Pip, rising from his chair. "We'll leave the women to chat about us."
"Get along with you," said Daisy, giving her brother a gentle push. "And don't be too surprised if you find your ears burning."
* * *
With the weather taking a turn for the worse, Fatty and Lisa returned to the hotel as quickly as they could just before the heavens opened and a torrential downpour followed. The sea was quite a spectacular sight to see as it threw up high waves that lashed along the smooth white sand and rocky coastline. The ferry boat just leaving the island was thrown around from side to side and Fatty hoped it returned to St. Mary's safely and in one piece. As they entered the hotel, a couple and another young woman on her own were just checking in at the reception desk.
"They must have arrived on the ferry boat that's just left," whispered Lisa. "They were lucky to land. If this storm keeps up we won't be seeing that ferry for a few days."
Fatty looked at her with concern. He didn't much like the thought of being trapped on the island. But I suppose it was always a risk coming at this time of the year. Buster, spotting his master came running up to him, followed closely by Bets, who greeted them both with a smile.
"I'll catch up with you both later," said Lisa, making her way over to the stairs.
"I'm glad you got back just in time, Fatty," said Bets, indicating the torrential rain now bouncing off the closed glass doors in the lobby area. "Come on into the lounge by the roaring fire and I'll order us a tea."
"I'll just pop upstairs and hang my coat first," said Fatty, with a smile. "Have you got our key?"
Bets handed it over as Fatty said. "Order a pot of tea, dear and I won't be two ticks."
Bets nodded and walked back into the lounge, Buster following closely by her heels, looking forward to getting back to the spot which he'd just vacated, in front of the roaring fire.
Fatty entered their room and hung up his coat. He glanced over at the jacket he'd discarded earlier on the chaise longue. Picking it up he felt in the pocket and pulled out the letter he'd placed in there. He opened it once more and read its contents, with an angry scowl on his face. It was lucky he'd been the first to collect the post yesterday morning before they'd left. What if Bets had seen this letter and opened it? She'd have been devastated and wouldn't have come away.
Fatty contemplated where to put the letter. It was too risky to leave it in his jacket pocket. He popped it back into the envelope and read the postmark. It read, Sheepsale, 11:45am. His face pulled once more into an angered frown, as he thought back to the spiteful letters many years ago. He pulled his wallet out from his pocket and placed it securely inside. After hanging up his jacket he went into the en-suite and quickly rinsed his face with cold water. After towelling himself dry he paused and took a look at his reflection in the mirror. There was nothing he could do now, he had to get this letter out of his mind and deal with it once he got back to Peterswood.
Locking the bedroom behind him he went downstairs and entered the lounge, smiling pleasantly at the other guests, who nodded their acknowledgement as he walked by. For a brief second he wondered if any of those smiling faces were the guilty party. Spotting Bets smiling at him, he walked over to her and planting a kiss on her forehead sat beside her, watching her pouring a much needed cup of tea.
* * *
All the guests turned out to be a pleasant group of people, and Fatty's group got to know some of them a little better that evening after dinner. The Wrights were around the same age as the Find-Outers and were called Herbert and Alice, from Devon. Miss Belinda Simmons, who'd never married, was a retired school teacher. The couple who'd arrived only that afternoon, were Richard and Gaynor Roland, and having reached their twentieth wedding anniversary had decided to treat themselves to a winter break. And the lady who'd arrived with them was Vera Johnson, who'd been widowed a few years back, at an early age.
The conversation flowed freely, between the drinks, touching on various topics of conversation. Suddenly picking up a magazine from one of the various low tables, Belinda Simmons, said. "That reminds me, you're in here, Frederick." She waved the magazine in front of her. "Along with your wife and friends." She flicked through the pages of the Nostalgia magazine, until she found the page, reading out the words, "The Five Find-Outers and Dog, Then and Now. And here you all are, holidaying here on this little island. What a small world it is."
"Really, how exciting," said Gaynor Roland, holding out a hand for the magazine. "Let me see." Belinda handed it over and Gaynor quickly looked through the article. "I must take this upstairs and read it later."
"Can't think how she's going to manage that," suddenly whispered Lisa by Fatty's ear. "She's already drank enough to sink the Titanic."
Belinda started to ask the Find-Outers about the article and everyone listened intently, asking their own questions.
"I feel like a celebrity," said Larry, with a grin, glancing around at everyone. "It was done for the 40's gala that Peterswood held last October.
"It was a wonderful weekend," began Bets, and went on to tell all the eager faces about the event, whilst outside, the storm was gaining strength and rain lashed loudly against the windows.
"The weather is getting worse," commented Helen, to her husband Larry. "The sea must be quite spectacular to watch."
"I don't fancy going out in this weather to watch it though," said Pip, with a smile. "Not that you'd be able to see it, being so dark outside, with no lighting."
"The crossing from St. Mary's was bad enough," said Gaynor Roland, placing down her sherry glass with an unsteady hand, due to the rather large number of them she'd managed to consume.
Lisa grinned, and sent a sly glance over at Fatty. "Yes, we saw the boat leaving. You managed to get over just in time."
"I think that's the last of the ferry we've seen for a few days," put in Vera Johnson, looking around at everyone with a large knowing smile. "It's rather exciting being cut off on an island like this." She gave a sudden giggle, and gently gave Ern, whom she was sitting next to, a slight push on his arm. "The only single man here and three of us ladies all vying for your attention. What a lucky man you are." She gave a laugh like a hyena, which had Ern smiling politely, and throwing Fatty an amused glance with a raised brow. Bernice, sitting on the other side of him, managed to give him a warning push with her elbow.
"Can I get anyone else a drink?" Ern said, suddenly, rising from the settee, wanting to make a quick exit.
"I'll help you," said Fatty, making a note of everyone's order.
"I'll join you," put in Larry, with a grin, meaning to tease Ern at his predicament.
They made their way over to the bar, leaving everyone chatting away. "I can see this break is going to turn into one heck of a nightmare," whispered Ern, to Larry and Fatty with a sigh.
Fatty laughed. "Well you're the one who insists on being incognito."
"You know I haven't any choice, Fatty. I'm supposed to be deceased, remember."
"As if we could ever forget," said Larry, dryly. "It's bad enough having to remember not to call you Ern. But couldn't Bernice have been Mrs Tupping just for once." He shook his head gently. "Let's face it, Ern, who is going to know you on this island? There's only a handful of people who live on it."
Ern made a point a looking around him. "Walls have ears."
Larry and Fatty grinned at each other with a tut, then nodded to Pip who came up to the bar. "That Roland woman is knocking them back," he mused. "The only thing she'll be doing tomorrow is nursing a bad head."
The others laughed, and Fatty opened his wallet to pay for the round of drinks the barman was placing on a couple of trays, not noticing the letter falling onto the floor. Spotting it fall, Pip bent to pick it up, and glancing at the postmark stopped in his tracks at handing it to Fatty. "Sheepsale, 11:45am," he said, slowly. "That takes me back."
As he passed it over to Fatty he didn't miss the guilty expression that spread across his face. They looked at each other for a split second, before Pip whispered. "Fatty, is there something wrong?"
Fatty made an indication to say nothing, and took his change from the barman, before he moved away to wash up some glasses. Picking up one of the trays, and Ern picking up the other, Fatty indicated a quiet corner of the bar.
"The letter came yesterday morning, before we left," began Fatty. He showed the eagerly awaiting Larry the envelope. He looked at it and then at Fatty.
"Are you saying that's an anonymous letter?" he said, with wide eyes.
Fatty nodded slowly. "I'm just glad Bets didn't pick up the post. She doesn't know anything about it."
"What's inside the letter?" said Larry.
"I can't show you here," said Fatty, quietly. "Everyone will wonder what we're doing. We'll find a quiet corner of the island tomorrow and have a chat about it. And in the meantime we don't say anything to the women. Okay?" Fatty's brows rose firmly. The others nodded in silence and followed Fatty back to the lounge, where everyone gave a cheer as they entered carrying two trays of drinks.
* * *
"Wait for me, and I'll come with you," said Bets, watching Fatty put Buster on his lead the following morning just after breakfast.
"I won't be long," said Fatty, turning to her with a smile, "besides it looks like it's going to start another downpour. We'll go for a long walk around the island this afternoon and get back for a lovely cream tea, by that roaring fire in the lounge."
Bets watched Fatty, walk towards the bedroom door, with Buster leading the way. He turned to look at her before going through. "You go and seek out Daisy; I think she's looking a bit tired of late, poor thing. Maybe her marriage to Paul isn't going too well." He raised a questioning brow, and threw Bets a smile before leaving the room.
Bets stood watching the closed door for a silent minute, a suspicious glint in her eyes. Yes, she'd go and hunt out 'poor' Daisy, and between them they'd find out exactly what Fatty was up to!
* * *
Larry, Pip and Ern, read the hand written letter again, before Fatty popped it back into the envelope.
"Well, we can safely work out, that it's definitely someone connected with the original letters all those years ago," said Larry, looking at the other three.
"Top marks for stating the obvious," said Fatty, with a wicked grin.
"But let's not forget that Mrs Moon, must surely be dead by now," said Pip. "So it's got to be one of her relations."
Fatty and Larry nodded. "That's what I think," agreed Fatty. But until I get back home, I can't really begin to investigate that possibility."
"I remember you telling me about the mystery of those letters," began Ern, "but of course, they were before we all met."
"I wonder how old Mrs Moon would have been when we were children?" said Pip, thoughtfully. "And the question we need to know is, did she have any children?"
The others nodded at Pip. "As I say," said Fatty, "it's very annoying because I can't do anything about it whilst we're on this island."
"Well I suggest you just ignore it," said Larry, pulling up his coat collar against the biting wind that was whipping around the disused lighthouse they were sitting huddled against on the east side of the island. "Gosh, it cold and blustery here."
"And remember," began Fatty, firmly, "not a word to the women. Bets was suspicious I came for a walk without her as it is."
"Seems like I had reason to be," came Bets firm voice from the other side of the lighthouse. She and Daisy walked around to face the men, now all looking up at them from their sitting positions perched on the wide ledge that surrounded the red and white striped lighthouse.
"Thanks for warning us, Buster," said Fatty, dryly, watching him greeting his mistress with enthusiasm.
"Buster knows better than to upset the hand that feeds him," said Bets, looking at Fatty firmly. She held out her hand. "May I see this letter?"
Fatty having no choice, handed it over. "I didn't want this to upset you, just as we were coming away."
Bets read the letter, then handed it to Daisy. Turning to Fatty she said, "How long have we been married? Did you really think something as ridiculous as this would upset me?"
Recognising the signs, Pip whispered in Fatty's ear. "You're in trouble now."
"And not only Fatty," said Bets, firmly, looking at her brother.
"Don't bring me into this," said Pip, raising his gloved hands in submission. "I was just doing as Fatty asked."
Daisy was looking at Larry's amused expression. "I suppose my dear brother is also to blame for not mentioning this."
Larry shook his head. "Pip and I are sitting on the fence with this one. Anyway, now you've both read the letter what do you think?"
Fatty moved along the ledge making room for Daisy and Bets. "Well it's obviously some relation of Mrs Moon but as we didn't really know her that well, I can't really see how we're going to find out," said Bets.
"But if she had children, surely she would have mentioned it," put in Daisy. "And she did stay with you and Pip."
Pip nodded. "She did have a niece, as she said she was bringing in her niece to help once Gladys had gone home."
"Now there's a thought," said Fatty, looking at everyone, "her niece. I would reckon that she'd be about the same age as Gladys is now."
"She could even be one of the guests at the hotel," said Ern, raising a brow. "There's a number of guests similar age to us."
"True, but you can't really suspect everyone that's our age," said Larry, with a frown at Ern. "Besides, this letter was sent to Fatty at home. What's the chances they're here at the hotel? Very slim I'd say."
The others nodded in agreement.
"I think you'd be best to forget about this letter, Fatty," said Bets. "Let's just enjoy our break, we're only here for a few days."
The others all agreed, and with Buster leading the way, they walked back to the warmth of the hotel.
* * *
"The weather's getting worse," said Bets, as they all made it into the hotel before there was a huge downfall. "We'll meet you all in the lounge for morning coffee once we've hung our coats."
The others agreed before making their way to their various rooms on the first floor. After entering their own room, Bets noticed an envelope on the floor, and bent to pick it up. The envelope was addressed to Mr Frederick Trotteville.
"I wonder who's popped this under the door," said Bets, handing it to Fatty. "Probably Lisa, saying she's organizing a swimming race or something for this afternoon."
Fatty nodded with a grin as he tore open the envelope and took out its contents. Bets watched his face change from the grin to a frown as he read the letter. For a split second a cold shiver ran through her, as she watched Fatty with concern. "What does it say?" she said, hardly daring to ask.
Fatty handed her the letter and sat by the large window watching her expression. With the letter in hand she came to sit beside him. "This proves Ern's theory is right, Fatty. The letter writer is staying in this hotel."
Fatty nodded and took the letter from Bets. He read it out.
"It's unnerving," began Bets, in a small voice, "for someone to be so friendly and chatting to our faces – but to torment us like this behind our backs."
Fatty agreed. "That's what bothers me, this not knowing. We don't know who or what we're up against. This person could be dangerous or just plain callous. Either way, Bets, you stay by my side at all times until I can figure this out."
Bets looked at Fatty with a puzzled frown. "Surely you don't think they'd actually harm us?"
"Who knows how the mind of an anonymous letter writer works," he said, in serious tones. "In fact, I'm not even happy at staying here now. I'm going to ring down and get us checked out." He rose from the chair, but was stopped in his tracks.
"Not yet, Fatty. Let's see what the others have to say. There is safety in numbers."
Fatty thought silently for a moment, looking at the turbulent waters from the window. "We'll discuss it with them later this morning over our coffee. If they're all in agreement, then we head for home."
Bets nodded with a small smile, and picked up Buster sitting by her feet. She hugged him closely to her, determined not to let Buster out of her sight either.
* * *
"This is rather worrying," said Pip, handing the letter back to Fatty. The five of them and Lisa were all sitting in a quiet corner of the lounge, drinking their morning coffee.
"Well it proves the letter writer is someone here in this hotel," began Larry. "Seems Ern's ridiculous statement has turned out to be correct. Where is he anyway?"
"He's with Paul in the games room having a game of snooker," said Daisy, "and Bernice has gone with Mary and Helen for a sauna."
"I don't think there's much to worry about," said Lisa, with a shrug. "So we have some crackpot amongst us who's writing these stupid letters to Frederick. The old proverb sticks and stones and words spring to mind here." She looked around at everyone with a raised brow.
"I don't think you understand just how serious something like this can be," said Fatty, in strong tones. "This person knows where I live, and it's quite obvious that he or she has done their homework and discovered where I'll be for the next few days. Even going to great lengths to follow me and all of us here."
This thought hadn't quite sunk in with the others before Fatty mentioned it.
"That's true," said Daisy, in low tones. "But who are they trying to target, Fatty. You or all the Find-Outers?"
"That's a point," said Pip. "The letter was addressed to you Fatty, but the first one did mention all of us. And this second one mentions you singularly."
Everyone was silent for a few moments, and Buster pawed at Bets' knee wanting one of the biscuits sitting on the plate. She picked one up and broke it in half, offering Buster one.
"Well there's nothing for it, but to investigate," said Fatty, firmly. "I would suspect it has to be one of the guests, and not staff. So let's go to work and get into conversations with them all. We can do this easily enough, by each of us getting into deep conversations and trying to get a bit of back ground on the person we're chatting too."
"Good idea," said Lisa, with a smile. "I am included in this aren't I, Frederick?"
Fatty looked at Lisa with some doubt and said evasively. "Only if you keep it simple and don't make it obvious you're trying to find something out. And no heroics of any kind. You know what happened last time."
Lisa lowered her eyes with a rush of colour spreading on her cheeks. Bets took pity on her and said. "All right, Fatty. I don't think Lisa needs to be reminded of that."
Lisa smiled at Bets, as Fatty felt a rush of guilt race through his veins. "No, I'm sorry, Lisa. I didn't mean to say that."
"That's okay, Frederick," said Lisa, with a smile. "I know you're concerned about us all. But as long as we're never alone with any of these guests, I'm sure we're all safe."
"Right, well let's get to work first thing after lunch then," said Larry, rising from his chair. "Right now, I'm off for a game of snooker with Ern and Paul."
* * *
"There's a storm brewing," said Bets to Fatty over their lunch, "and I heard the receptionist telling Belinda Simmons that the ferry can't get across today, and is doubtful whether or not it can get across tomorrow. So we can assume that at this moment in time, this island is actually cut off."
"So no one can land and no one can leave," returned Fatty, in a low voice.
"It appears that way," said Bets. She put out her hand across the table and touched Fatty's. "Don't worry, nothing could possibly happen to any of us whilst we're here in the hotel. If this person wanted to hurt us, they'd make sure firstly that they've got an escape route from the island, and let's face it, Fatty, not even the few local fishermen would dare to take out their boats in this weather."
Fatty sent Bets a reassuring smile. If only he felt as reassured inside. He didn't have the heart to tell Bets that his instinct was screaming out that it wasn't himself that he was concerned about, but his beloved Bets and what's more, the awful feeling that she was in danger was growing by the hour.
* * *
"So what have we all learned?" asked Fatty, as he looked at the other five, whilst they sat in a quiet corner of the bar that evening.
"I'll start," said Lisa, eagerly. "I got chatting to Belinda Simmons. And I don't think you've anything to worry about there. She's lived most of her life over in Australia. She went out as a child just after the war at the age of seven, and was a teacher until she retired ten years ago. As she was born in this country, she decided to return, and has been living in Cookham for nine years now.
"Well Cookham's not that far from Peterswood," put in Larry. "We can't rule her out."
"Possibly not," said Lisa, with a shrug. "But she sounds genuine enough, and she did say that she even went along to the 40's gala day over in Peterswood last year. So if she's got something to hide surely she wouldn't have mentioned that to me."
"Mmm," said Fatty, thoughtfully pulling a face. "Larry, what have you learned?"
"Well Daisy and I got into conversation with Herbert and Alice Wright, from Devon. They've never been to Peterswood at all, and had not even seen the article about us in the magazine until it had been passed around. They're about our age, and by all accounts have lead reasonably normal lives. So nothing of what they said sounded suspicious at all."
Daisy nodded. "I have to agree, Fatty. They came across as a genuine pleasant couple."
"The Rolands, Richard and Gaynor are an odd couple," said Pip. "I could be wrong but she has a deep problem, mainly drink. I don't know why because it sounds as if they're really well off. They have a large house in Poole, a holiday villa in Spain. The jewellery she wears looks like it costs an arm and a leg. He runs his own computer company and travels around the world. They've never been in our part of the country, I did ask that. Oh and it's their twentieth wedding anniversary tomorrow so they fancied spending it somewhere they'd never been before and choose this island."
"Right, and Bets has already told me about her conversation with Vera Johnson. She's forty six, and works in the theatre. She's about to start an Agatha Christie play, set on an island, and came here wanting to get the 'feel' of what it would be like to be stranded with only a few guests for company," finished Fatty, with a raised amused brow.
"So, we're no further forward then," said Daisy, with a frown.
"Someone has to be lying," said Larry, "but who?" He glanced over at the door to see his wife, Helen approaching. "Something tells me we're about to get an ear bashing," he suddenly whispered to the others.
"Can we expect you all to join us in the lounge at some point this evening?" she said, looking at the huddled little party.
"Sorry, Helen," said Fatty, with an apologetic smile. "We've finished chatting here."
"And with no results, by the look of your faces," she guessed. "Honestly, sometimes I think you'd have been better to keep your noses out of what went on in Peterswood when you were children, instead of trying to be detectives."
"Find-Outers, please," said Larry, rising with dignity. "Someone had to solve the mysteries. Goon didn't have the capabilities." He looked down at the others and grinned. "Come on, let's join the others before we get further into bad books."
* * *
That evening whilst lying in bed, Fatty read the article about themselves in the magazine that had done the rounds amongst the guests. It had been a few months since he'd read his copy, so he thought it would probably be beneficial to read it once more, especially about what had been written on the 'Spiteful Letters' mystery. He read it a couple of times wondering if by any chance some kind of hint would jump out from the pages, but nothing did, and so discarding the magazine and turning out the bedside light he lay back and listened in the darkness to the steady breathing of Bets as she lay asleep besides him and Buster's gentle snore as he lay heavily on his feet. He seemed to lay there for what seemed like hours before he too fell into a troubled sleep.
* * *
"I'm really enjoying the breakfast we have here, Fatty," said Bets, as they entered the bedroom, feeling satisfying full after eating a large plate of bacon, eggs and mushrooms. "We'll have to diet when we get home."
"Speak for yourself," said Fatty, grinning and patting his stomach. "I've got a name to live up to."
Bets laughed but stopped suddenly as she noticed another letter on the bedroom floor. Fatty quickly closed the door, as Bets bent to pick it up, gently pushing Buster away as he tried to lick her face. It was again addressed to Mr. Frederick Trotteville, but Bets tore it open and read it out.
Fatty took the letter from Bets and read it again silently. "This has to be somebody one of us spoke to yesterday. The writer is taunting me knowing we're puzzled as to who this person is."
Bets nodded. "What can we do? Should we call the police?"
Fatty shook his head. "If the ferry isn't running today because of this bad weather, no one can land anyway."
"But we could phone and lodge the complaint and deal with it when we get home," said Bets, in pleading tones. "We're off home tomorrow anyway. That is if we can get off this island."
Fatty walked over to the window and looked outside, silently contemplating. "Let's hope the writer doesn't know that."
"Well I suppose they could always ask at reception," said Bets, vaguely.
Fatty shrugged his shoulders. "We'll make some discrete enquiries when we go to walk Buster."
"Have you noticed, Fatty," began Bets, picking up the letter from the bed where Fatty had thrown it, "the writer hasn't used hotel paper or envelopes, they're a well known brand name, so therefore they must have bought a writing pad and envelopes with them."
Fatty looked at Bets and nodded. "I had noticed, my dear. Which only goes to confirm that we were followed here intentionally."
Hearing Fatty's words sent a sudden shiver down Bets' spine. This little holiday break which they'd organized for everyone wasn't quite turning out to be the peaceful rest they'd all hoped for.
* * *
After taking Buster for his morning walk along the blustery coastline, Fatty and Bets stopped at the reception desk and asked the receptionist whether or not she knew if their plans for leaving the following day would have to be changed due to the adverse weather conditions.
"As far as I know Mr. Trotteville, guests scheduled for leaving tomorrow morning will leave as planned. I have heard that the weather will ease by this evening, so until any further forecast comes our way, nothing will change."
"Thanks," said Fatty, with a pleasant smile. "Has anyone else enquired about leaving, due to the weather?"
Not that I'm aware of," she returned.
Fatty nodded his acknowledgement and with Bets and Buster headed for the stairs.
* * *
"Well I think we should all just relax, forget about these letters and enjoy our last day here," said Ern, as they all sat in a quiet corner of the lounge after lunch.
"I agree," said Paul. "Don't let something as trivial as this spoil the last day."
The Find-Outers looked at each other and finally nodded their agreement.
"Good that's settled then," said Lisa, with a smile. "So what are we all going to do?"
"Bernice and I are going into the TV lounge to watch an old black and white film we want to see. Anyone coming?" said Ern, as he and Bernice made a move.
"Yes, I think I will," said Paul, rising from his chair. "What about you, Daisy."
"I may join you all later," she replied.
"Come on, Mary," said Larry's wife Helen. "Let's go and see which film it is. We'll see you all later."
"I'm off to the beauty salon to see what I can treat myself to," said Lisa. "Bets, didn't you say you wanting to have your hair done?"
"Yes, I'll come along and see if they can fit me in. Look after Buster, Fatty, I don't want him to follow me."
Fatty called Buster to sit at his side, Pip and Larry closed their eyes and dozed and Daisy picked up her book and read.
* * *
With Bets still not back from the beauty salon, Fatty decided to take Buster for a stroll around the gardens, and told the other three he was just off to get his coat.
"I'll come with you," said Daisy, putting down her book. "I feel like stretching my legs."
"We'll come too," said Larry, giving Pip a nudge.
As they approached the stairs, they met up with Gaynor Roland just coming from the bar. "Hello," she said, with a smile. "I've just been having a bit of a laugh with Rico, the barman. We were chatting about your village. He's just read about your mystery solving as youngsters, and was saying what a funny name your policeman had, Goon."
The others smiled pleasantly at her. "Yes, it is rather an odd name," said Daisy.
"Same as that woman's Mrs. Moon. That's unusual too," said Gaynor, making towards the stairs.
Fatty's ears pricked up on hearing Gaynor mentioning the name of Moon.
"Where did you hear that name from?" He asked. "Needing to protect their families, there is no mention of any offender's names in that article."
Daisy, Pip and Larry looked at Fatty then back at Gaynor Roland, the same thought occurring to them. Is she the letter writer?
"Wasn't it?" she said, rather puzzled. "Oh, I know. Belinda Simmons told me about Mrs Moon. She was her grandmother, you know."
"Grandmother," repeated Fatty, a cold shiver suddenly running through him. "Come on," he turned to Larry, Daisy and Pip, "we'll go and find her."
Gaynor stopped on the stairs and turned to look at them. "She's not in. I saw her going out with your wife, Frederick. They both passed by the window in the bar."
Fatty and the others looked at each other in horror. "Get your coats quickly," said Fatty. "Bets could be in danger!"
* * *
Just as Fatty was leaving the hotel with Buster, Daisy, Pip and Larry, they bumped into Lisa in the hallway. "Going for a walk? She asked, with a smile.
"Bets could be in danger," said Daisy, panic in her voice. "We know who the letter writer is."
"I'll get my coat, and follow you," she said, with concern. "Where are you heading?"
"The coast path behind the hotel," said Larry, just before he followed the others through the door.
With Buster leading the way, they headed for the coast path, pulling their coat collars up against the biting wind. At least thankfully the rain had stopped.
Reaching the highest point on the island, Fatty started to shout for Bets, panic rising in his voice as he tried to shout above the wind. "Find Bets, Buster," he said to the dog. "Where is she? Find her!"
Buster sniffed the air and raced ahead, the others following as fast as they could. By a large boulder just before the land fell away down the cliff face, Buster stopped and started barking. Catching him up, they heard Bets crying for help.
"She's over the cliff," shouted Fatty, in panic. "Bets! Bets! We're here."
"Fatty!" screamed Bets. "Help me." Bets started to cry uncontrollably and Fatty made for the cliffs edge.
"Don't lean over," shouted Lisa, who'd just joined them. "This wind will throw you off the edge."
"I've got to get to Bets," shouted Fatty. "If she falls any further she'll kill herself."
Larry and Pip, pulled Fatty back against the large boulder. "I'll phone the coast guard," said Pip. "Help will be here sooner than you know."
"I can't leave her there," shouted Fatty. "She's terrified, she could even be hurt."
"If you try and get down there you'll fall yourself," shouted Lisa at Fatty. "And what use will you be to Bets then, lying dead at the bottom of the cliff face."
"Lisa is right," said Daisy, trying to calm the shaking Fatty. "Pip has phoned for help. We'll keep talking to Bets and just wait." Daisy was shaking with fear herself, as they all were.
Looking at each of them Lisa suddenly made up her mind. "I'll try and get down and sit with Bets. She'll be safe with me."
"No Lisa," shouted Larry, "it's too dangerous. Fatty, tell her it's ludicrous to try such a thing."
Fatty knew it was too risky and said. "No, Lisa. Larry's right. We'll sit and wait."
Lisa looked at their worried faces, tears and panic in their old eyes. There was no way she was waiting without trying to do something. "Like it or not I'm going to try and get down." She moved to the edge and got down on her stomach.
"Wait," shouted Daisy, taking the belt from her coat. "Can you hang on to this as you go down?"
"Good idea," said Fatty, removing the belt from his coat. "We'll knot them together and you can hang on to them one end and Larry and I will hold on to the other."
Lisa raised her head with a grateful smile. "Nice thought, guys. But personally I think I'd prefer to take my chances with the cracks in the rock, than to a couple of elderly gentlemen holding onto a knotted coat belts."
Without saying anything further and going feet first Lisa started to find foot holes in the cliff's face and lowered herself down to the terrified Bets.
* * *
"Look, Fatty," said Daisy, hearing the sound of a landrover. "They're coming to help us."
The Landrover stopped not far from them and two men with ropes came running towards them.
"A Sea King rescue helicopter is on its way from the main land," one of the men said, "and the inshore lifeboat from St. Mary's has been called. Whereabouts is the casualty?"
"It's my wife," said Fatty, in urgent tones. "I think she's hurt and she's fallen down the cliff face, about 40 feet down I think."
"Someone's with her," said Daisy. "A friend of ours climbed down."
Quickly taking in the scene before them a winch was attached to one of the men, who was wearing climbing gear and down he went. The others stood by feeling helpless and anxious, but glad that help was now at hand. Buster kept close to Fatty, knowing his master was upset and his mistress was in trouble.
Then thankfully in the distance they saw and heard the rescue helicopter as it made its approach, and the inshore lifeboat circled below the cliff. The man, standing with them suddenly rushed to his radio in the Land Rover and made contact with the rescue team.
By this time a few local people had come along to try and help and were talking and comforting the eagerly waiting, Daisy, Fatty, Pip and Larry, as they watched the scene unfolding before them.
The sounds of the helicopter now hovering above over the sea was tremendous and everyone watched as a man was winched down the side of the cliff to Bets and Lisa. Everyone at the top couldn't see what was going on and Daisy was clinging to Fatty to reassure him as much as herself. Those minutes for Fatty seemed like hours.
Then they saw the man rising inside the helicopter, a woman strapped securely to him, but it wasn't Bets. "That must be, Belinda Simmons," said Pip, straining his eyes to see. "She must have been down the cliff with Bets."
Everyone watched as the woman was taken safely inside the hovering helicopter, then down went the man again, and before they realized Fatty was witnessing his beloved Bets being subject to the same rescue technique. The tears that burned his eyes gave way and fell down his face.
"I've got to go with her," he said, turning to the man who'd come from the Land Rover to stand by them.
"Sorry sir," he shook his head. "They've got to rescue as quickly as possible then head back to the mainland. They'll take your wife and her friend over to the hospital in Truro. There's a large landing pad there for their Sea King."
With Bets now safely inside, the large doors were pulled closed to and the helicopter took off heading over the islands to the mainland, disappeared almost instantly from site. Fatty's heart lurched. His beloved Bets was alone, probably in pain without him and there was nothing he could do, but watch as she disappeared from his sight.
* * *
Suddenly appearing back on land was Lisa, being helped by the man who'd gone down to help. He released the rope he had around her, and she came over to the others feeling exhausted and mentally drained. They all rallied round her, each hugging her in turn. A few of the watching locals gave her a round of applause for her bravery, then they all slowly walked back to their normal lives.
"How was my Bets?" asked Fatty, softly against her ear, as he hugged her gratefully.
"She was so brave, Frederick," sobbed Lisa. "They've taken her straight to the hospital in Truro, with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder. Belinda is unconscious with as yet unknown injuries."
"Let's go back to the hotel," croaked Daisy. "We're all in need of a stiff drink, then we can phone the hospital soon and ask about Bets."
They thanked the two men who had come along in the Land Rover, and they said, they were glad to be of little help, as they were the only two retained firemen on the island, and were there also for any other emergencies.
It was a sombre little group that walked back to the hotel; they didn't even notice the sun that had suddenly popped out from behind the clouds.
* * *
"Everything is running to schedule for tomorrow, Mr. Trotteville," said the receptionist. "The ferry leaves the island at 10am, and the helicopter leaves St. Mary's 11.30am."
Fatty thanked the young lady behind the desk and went back to the lounge and joined the others. "Everything will be running as usual tomorrow, thankfully," he told them. "So the sooner tomorrow comes and I can be with Bets the better I'll feel."
"She'll be fine," said Daisy, reassuringly. "The hospital said she's doing well, and has been given a sedative to allow her to sleep."
Fatty smiled and stroked Buster sitting next to him on the settee. "I just need to be with her."
"We know," said Larry, in sympathetic tones. "Drink your tea, Lisa has put some whiskey in it."
Fatty smiled at Lisa sitting next to him. He picked up her hand and kissed it. She was a brave girl, he thought, sitting with Bets and comforting her until rescue came. She smiled at Fatty. "Tomorrow will soon come, Frederick. We're all here for you, and you have Buster too."
Fatty looked at his friends with a smile. At a time like this you needed dear friends around you and he had the best friends in the world.
"I'd love to know what happened though," he said, for the umpteenth time since getting back to the hotel hours ago.
"You'll find out soon enough," said Pip. "But don't rush Bets when you see her. Give her time. This must have been such a terrifying time for her."
Fatty nodded. "I know."
"Evening meal is about to be served," said Daisy, "Come on, Fatty; you'll feel better after you've eaten. You can sit with Paul and me."
"I couldn't eat a thing," said Fatty, shaking his head.
"Nonsense," said Larry, firmly. "You'll be no use to Bets wasting away."
Everyone ushered Fatty into the dining room, determined to keep up his spirits. Buster looked at them leave and snuggled back down on the settee in front of the roaring fire.
* * *
"Bye," everyone shouted to Fatty as he left the coach. "Give Bets our love and tell her we'll see her as soon as she's home."
"Don't worry about Buster," said Daisy, "he'll be fine with Paul and I until you both get home."
Fatty waved as the coach drove away. It was very kind of the coach driver to say that he would be happy to divert through Truro, so that Fatty could get off at the hospital rather than getting a taxi all the way from Penzance where the coach firm had picked them up once they'd landed at the heliport. He picked up his small case containing his and Bets clothes for a few days, as he wasn't sure how long she would be in hospital. The rest of their luggage was in the safe hands of Daisy.
Entering the hospital he looked at the signs and followed for the ward that Bets was staying in. His heart was beating ten to the dozen at the prospect of seeing his beloved Bets once more. Last night was the longest night of his life without having Bets with him, and he never wanted to go through anything like that again.
* * *
Fatty leaned over the bed and gently hugged Bets, not wanting to hurt the arm which was in a sling. "Oh, Fatty," she began, tears falling down her face, "I missed you so much last night. But they are awfully kind and caring here, so I can't complain."
"I missed you too, my dear," he said, softly. "How are you feeling? Have they said when you can come home?"
Bets smiled. "Tomorrow hopefully. My arm was a clean break so didn't need any surgery, and my shoulder that was dislocated is just fine. The cuts and bruises will heal over time and I've got pain killers, so there's really no need for me to be here any longer than necessary."
"Oh that's good news, my dear. I'll get a room in one of the Truro hotels for tonight, and I'll see about the train times."
He looked at Bets, wanting so much to know what had lead to such an ordeal, but didn't want to bring back any horrific memories for her, just yet. Bets read the look on his face and said. "I'll tell you about it tomorrow, Fatty. Not just yet. Belinda Simmons is on this ward but is in a room by herself. She's very ill, and still unconscious. They've kept me up to date on her progress as I said she was a friend of mine." She paused for a moment, before continuing. "They've asked if she's any family they can contact, but I couldn't help them."
"Don't worry, dear," said Fatty, sympathetically. "You just concentrate on getting better. Everyone sends their love and Buster is in the capable hands of Daisy and Paul."
Hearing Buster's name, Bets' face crumpled immediately as she cried in the safety of Fatty's arms.
* * *
As Bets slept her troubled mind dreamed of her cliff ordeal and once again she was transported back to relive the whole event from beginning to end.
"I'm glad I've bumped into you," said Belinda Simmons, as she saw Bets coming from the beauty salon. "I need to have a word with you. Can we go out for a walk?"
Bets looked at her puzzled, wondering why she couldn't say what she had to say here in the hotel. Belinda must have read her thoughts, as she said, "I don't want us to be overheard. Please come."
Bets nodded. "I'll just get my coat, and join you in five minutes."
"I'll get mine too," said Belinda. "My room is next to yours, so we may as well walk together."
Before long the two women were passing the bar, glancing through the window as they passed, and noticing Gaynor Roland drinking alone.
"I feel so sorry for her," began Belinda, linking her arm in Bets as they walked. "She's so lonely, that's why she drinks. Her husband spends many days away on business and they've no children."
"Shame," said Bets, sympathetically. "They're well off though by all accounts."
"True, but let's face it, what use is all that money if you're unhappy."
They came to the highest part of the island, and stopped at the huge boulder by the cliff edge. The sea was very rough and the white horses were dashed against the rocks below, sending their spray high in the air.
"Be careful, Belinda," said Bets, "if you go to near the edge you'll fall over in this wind."
Belinda looked at her with a sad smile. "I'm past caring. Going over this cliff will end all my fears and nightmares."
Bets looked at her with concern. "What's wrong? Do you want to talk about it?"
Belinda moved from the edge and leaned against the large boulder next to Bets out of the wind. She looked at Bets and nodded. "My Grandmother's name was Moon."
Bets looked at her. Suddenly it was not only the cold that ran through her. She made to move but Belinda took hold of her arm and said. "Please, I'm not here to harm you, I just want to explain."
Bets reluctantly nodded. "Then explain."
"I was five years old when my Grandmother went to prison. My own Mother was twenty-five, and by all accounts was just as bad as her own mother. She too got into some sort of trouble and was imprisoned and I had to go into an orphanage. I was there for two years, and was reasonably happy as far as orphanages go in those days. Then some of us were told we had to go away, I was one of those children. I had no idea where, until we were all gathered together, put on a large ship and was told we were going to Australia." Belinda was silent, looking into space, the memory obviously painful. Bets couldn't take her eyes from her, wanting to know what had happened.
"Brothers and sisters were split up, you know. No thought for how we felt at all. I remember they broke up twin girls. One stayed behind, the other was on the ship with me, crying almost every day, and was beaten for doing so. The crossing was terrifying and we felt sick and ill, not knowing where we were going, and knowing that those who had a family would never be able to see them again."
She paused to look out at the turbulent waters, then back at Bets. "Some of the kids were lucky and went to good homes, others like me ended up worse off. I just kept living from day to day, and was determined to get a good education so I could become a teacher."
"I'm sorry you had such a terrible time, Belinda," said Bets, softly.
Belinda looked at Bets and shrugged her shoulders. "When I came back to England, I began to try and trace my Mother and Grandmother and all that had happened to them. I learned of what my Grandmother did in Peterswood all those years ago, and then I read about you and the others in that magazine and went along to the '40's gala.' That's when I had the idea of writing letters to the person who had been responsible for putting my Grandmother away."
"How did you know we'd be here?" asked Bets.
"I've been making small enquiries about you and Frederick for a few weeks, and learned from one of your neighbours that you were taking a break away and where to and so I booked the same holiday."
"But why write those letters?" asked Bets, puzzled.
Belinda shook her head. "Why indeed. I really don't know. Because I wanted you to worry and suffer like I had, I suppose. I wanted to hurt you both and rock your safe little world. Deep down I suppose I feel you're responsible for the life I was forced to lead." She shook her head. "The turbulent water out there, Elizabeth, is how I've felt nearly all my life. And now I feel I just don't want to fight it anymore."
Bets looked at Belinda with deep concern. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I can't carry on. The prospect of giving in is far too strong." She moved to the cliff edge and Bets followed grabbing hold of her arm.
"No, Belinda. We can help you. This is not the answer."
Belinda looked at her and smiled. "You are both very nice people, and for what it's worth I'm sorry for what I did." She tried to pull away from Bets, who clung to her tightly, shouting all the time, "No, don't."
But Belinda was strong for her age and determined, and as she threw herself from the cliff, she took poor Bets with her. Immediately they began to fall, Bets let go of Belinda's arm as instinct took over and she tried to stop herself from falling. The cliff although high, was not straight and many rocks of different sizes jutted from the cliff face. Bets managed to come to a grinding halt on one such rock, and clung on tightly, crying out in pain as she felt her arm break. Belinda came to a halt on the rock just below her face down. Bets could see her head was badly injured having taken the full force of her fall. Trying to remain calm, Bets sat as still as possible, holding onto her injured arm. She glanced up at the cliff and thought for a moment whether or not she could try and climb back up. But the pain in her arm told her otherwise and she knew that all she could do was to sit and wait for help to arrive.
* * *
"Well you're looking much better, Bets," said Daisy, with a smile. "It's so nice to see you back home where you belong and Buster is happy too I see."
Bets smiled and fondled the dog's ears. "Yes, he's hardly left my side since I came home yesterday."
Fatty had told everyone yesterday all that Bets had told him about Belinda Simmons, and everyone felt sympathetic towards the women still unconscious in the Truro hospital.
"I'm just looking forward now to relaxing and taking it easy," said Bets, looking at the other Find-Outers. "That short break away was just a little too close for comfort."
The others nodded but didn't want to discuss the happenings as they knew it was still too vivid in Bets mind.
"Well you've certainly got a good excuse for Fatty having to look after you for the next few weeks at least," said Pip, with a grin, indicating Bets plastered arm. "How is it feeling anyway?"
"Not too bad," said Bets. "The pain killers help. And I go to see my own doctor tomorrow."
"So what have we got to look forward to next," said Fatty, passing a tray of drinks around.
"Well Larry's eightieth birthday will be coming up soon," said Daisy. "Have you anything planned?" Daisy asked him.
"I think Helen has got all that arranged," he said, evasively. "So you'll all have to wait and see."
The ringing of the phone interrupted their conversations and Fatty went into the hall to answer it. He came back a few minutes later and looked around at the others, then at Bets.
"That was the hospital in Truro," he said, in serious tones. "They just wanted to inform us that our friend, Belinda Simmons pasted away ten minutes ago."
Bets looked back at Fatty, tears welling up in her eyes. "Poor soul," she whispered. "At least now she's happy at last."