“Hi Tara, I was exploring the house and didn’t hear the doorbell at first. I hope you and this sweet looking puppy dog didn’t wait too long.” Tara had just informed me that Mr. Bairnsfather had wanted to come home for tea. “Is he Aunt Marti’s dog?” I asked.
“He sure is,” Tara informed me as they walked through the door. “We call him Mr. B for short. Bairnsfather is a mouthful. I have no idea where Aunt Marti came up with that name in the first place. I took him to my house when she became ill, but he has become unhappy and barely eats. I thought it might help him to be back in his home for a few hours.”
“Poor baby,” I said. “Let’s go into the parlor and wait there until everyone gets here. I was just reading an article I found in an old trunk in the attic. Mr. Bairnsfather was a British soldier in WWI. He took part in the Christmas Eve truce of 1914. Do you know who Bernard was or is? His name was on the envelope containing the information.
Tara thought for a moment before shaking her head. “No, I don’t recall Aunt Marti ever mentioning anyone named Bernard. It is interesting to know who Mr. B was named for, though. I thought Bairnsfather was a name she made up.
Within 30 minutes all 5 cousins were there along with the attorney, Mr. Danes, who arrived last. Tara’s husband, Tom was there as well. He had picked cousin Drew up at the airport. Tonja and Grayson, who lived in Pleasant Run had driven over together. Everyone declined tea or coffee, so once we had visited a short while, Mr. Danes handed each of us a packet that contained a letter from Aunt Marti and a copy of her will. The attorney instructed each of us to first read our personal letters, and then he would read the will to all of us.
Thank you for making the long trip to be here. I have a lot to ask of you.
I have left you my home, which, as you already know, is over 100 years old. It was one of the first houses to be constructed in Pleasant Run. I purchased it when I turned 30, and it became clear to me that I would never marry.
As I write this letter, I am 90 years old. If you are reading it, it means I have passed on without solving the mystery.
I don’t know what happened to the family who lived here. The house had been vacant for 20 years before I purchased it.
I found several things in the attic that caused me to be extremely curious, even alarmed. The remarkable thing is that no one living in Pleasant Run at the time I bought and restored the house knew much about the former inhabitants.
I know I won’t be able to rest in this life or the next until the mystery is solved. Please find out what happened to Holly. She was born on Christmas Eve, 1914. Her father was fighting in Belgium.
You will find all the information I have been able to accumulate in the chest in the attic. My attorney will give you the key to the strong box inside.
I know you are a retired sleuth. Maybe you will decide to make this house and Pleasant Run your home…once you have solved the mystery…
Love and blessings,
You are the sleuth and sleuth writer extraordinaire! My friend has a King Charles Cavalier and she’s the most beautiful sweet dog, though deaf. This has me hooked.
Thanks Cuz, I’ve been missing your writing!
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Mr. B is a beautiful tri-folor Cavalier! Thank you.
He will be a wonderful companion and assistant sleuth.
Charli thanks you.
Tell Charli your welcome. This is fun!