Wendy and Murray are celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary. The family have gone for meal at the Flying Pig. Grace is happily occupied – busily sculpting every scrap of paper she can find and continues to fold the pink napkin that Fiona places in her lap.
What with the mayhem and confusion associated with transporting a young family and their friends, it’s hardly surprising that they hadn’t noticed that their eldest daughter, Grace (8), wasn’t with them.
Hastily turning their people-carrier around, they traced their steps back from the Poppleton ring road to Gawthrop Farm, Little Sniffy. They went to the llama field – her favourite. No, she wasn’t there. They looked around the sheep enclosure, but no, she wasn’t there either. Nor was she picking fruit or spinning wool. So, once more into the Maize Maze they went.
It was probably closer to half an hour before they found her, sitting crossed-legged, right at the centre, a seraphic smile on her face, having conquered the labyrinthine vortex.
But find her they did, and their prodigal daughter was handsomely compensated with chocolate ice cream.
All the tractors have been out lowering: making hay whist the sun shines.
Winskill’s coming on apace: Bob’s laid the underfloor heating in the limecrete foundations and the steel frame’s in place. The glass walls arrive later this week, and then he’ll get the solar tiles on. They’ll be topping off in no time at all.
They told stories and listened to music, they danced and sang and talked about their god: Justin Bieber. They baked chocolate coconut squares, and then scoffed them with crisps at midnight. And they made garlands of paper flowers, with which they adorned each other.
Meanwhile, having heard some highly disturbing noises whilst walking in the Estate’s arboretum, Simon shinned up a bael tree, where he stayed until dawn, picking off the leaves and praying for salvation.
Paul King would often take a turn around the Castle bailey after work: he found the majesty of the ruins inspiring. He liked to stand and watch the boats go up and down the Burbling and he liked to go over the events of the day in his head.
Today was special though! They were switching on the laser display: sharply focussed beams of light blazing from the keep’s arrow slits, up into the sky and down onto Poppleton.
He was slightly perturbed to see Inspector Force and Sgt. John Constable there, doing a thorough search of the grounds. Apparently they were looking for a missing boy. He was obviously keen to help, and did so until they met Grace Merryweather, who was returning the kisby ring to its container.
Grace Merryweather found a clue in a note on her father’s desk yesterday. Even though it was upside down, it was easy to read the elegant handwriting in blue fountain pen ink. It simply read, “ǝɹıɥsʞɹo⅄ oʇ ǝuoפ”, but she comprehended.
Now, if only Lilly Watts could find her spectacles…
The police were called to Poppleton castle last night.
Local gossip, Noel Tall, has it that she was pregnant by Chorley paramedic, Rex Unwin, and killed herself – unable to face her father, Walter, with the truth. But her body was bruised, so perhaps there’d been a struggle and she’d been held under the water?
However, Noel Tall proffered another tit-bit of gossip – that arch rival, Poppleton fireman Mike West, who rents a room at Widow Bartlett’s, also had the hots for the victim. Could he be the murderer?
The police were certainly scratching their heads with the mystery, until young Grace Merryweather ( aged 8 ) passed over a note with the solution written on it. It seems that she’d just finished reading Death by drowning by Agatha Christie, and knew the answer to the Murder Mystery.
[No actors were murdered in the performance of this mystery. In fact, they all went down to the Dew Drop Inn afterwards.]