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The good ladies of Timber are ready to find a wife for their new single minister. Charles has ideas of his own when he meets Fiona, the lovely accident-prone and outspoken part-time librarian. Fiona, on the other hand is holding out for a knight on a white charger to carry her away from her humdrum small town life. Fiona and Charles are thrown together as they begin to solve an old mystery which has turned up in a library book. Will Fiona's white knight ever show up to sweep her away? Will Charles ever run out of invitations for cream cakes and lemon slice? Fiona might just discover the sound of hoof-beats when she least expects it.
FREE 11/13 & 11/14
Copyright 2015 © Sharon McGregor
“I can look to see who checked out the book last,” said Fiona,” but it was likely a long time ago. I mean, how many people would—” There she went again, putting her foot in her mouth. “I’ll check the records.” She clamped her mouth firmly shut before she could shoot herself in the foot again. She giggled a little. What was this fetish she was developing for feet?
She pulled out the pouch card for the book and looked up the member number in the card index. “Last time this book went out was nearly three years ago. It was checked out by Reverend Hamilton.”
“But my predecessor was Jonas Micklethwaite.”
“Yes, but he was only here for a couple of years. I think he got tired of small town life, or his wife did, and they moved to a larger place. Before him, it was Reverend Hamilton. He was here for…well, forever, just about. He christened me and my brother, too. Then his wife got sick and he had to look after her until…well, until she died. He was pretty much ready to retire then, he was quite old, and so he went over to Greenway to live with his daughter.”
“I wonder if these letters are important to him.”
“Well, let’s check,” said Fiona, sliding her nail under one flap.
“We can’t do that! They’re someone’s private letters!” Fiona gave a quick look at Reverend Redpath’s face and concluded the outrage in his words wasn’t echoed in the curiosity in his expression.
“And you call yourself a detective?” she said. Then she flushed as she realized this was her minister she was bantering with, not one of her friends.
“I don’t call myself a detective. You’d asked me why I didn’t become one. Anyhow, we can mail them to him in Greenway.”
“Look, this one isn’t even sealed,” said Fiona, picking up the other letter. “So they’re not really private.” She flipped it open and out popped a sheet of paper. She pushed it between them sideways on the counter so they could both read.
Ch9:15 Blessed be the woman who walketh by the banks of the river.
They exchanged puzzled looks.
“That’s strange,” Fiona spoke first.
“It’s definitely not biblical, I can’t recall that verse in the scriptures anywhere, but it was written by someone copying King James English.”
“It sounds like it comes from Psalms?” asked Fiona.
“It’s made to sound like a Psalm. But Psalm chapter nine verse fifteen is something quite different.”
“Maybe it’s a sort of code?” said Fiona, turning over the envelope. “It has a letter J on the front. Maybe it was a message for someone, James, or Jane, or Jack?”
“But why in code?”
“A rendezvous!” said Fiona. “It’s code for a lover’s tryst.”
“You read too many romance novels.”
“I do not! I read mysteries, and biographies, and even Shakespeare. Well, maybe the odd romance. Anyhow, it’s not a Bible verse, so why make it look like one? And, what is the real quotation? Maybe it’s a clue.”
“Psalm nine is written by King David and it’s a song of praise.”
“But the exact quotation?”
“I’ll have to look it up.”
“I thought ministers knew the Bible by heart.”
“Not all of it verbatim. Where do you have a Bible?”
Fiona took a quick run to the shelves and brought back a Bible with both the Old and New Testaments.
She handed it to Reverend Redpath who thumbed through it until he came to the right page. “‘The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made. In the net which they hid is their own foot taken.’ Not at all like the quote in the message.”
Fiona considered for a moment. “So, if 9:15 doesn’t refer to a Bible verse, it has another purpose. A time? Perhaps a 9:15 meeting?”
“You’re determined it’s a lover’s rendezvous, aren’t you?”
“Can you think of anything better?” Fiona retorted.
“I think you’re probably right about the time.” Then he grinned. It totally transformed his face from the ascetic one of an intellect to the curious one of a small boy about to start an adventure. Fiona had to smile in response. He went on. “But the jury’s still out on the purpose of the meeting.”