Monday, September 1, 2008
We don’t generally open the shop on Mondays but as I said I’d make the effort and go in, Harold decided to as well. I think it was partly because he was worried about the missing C-section. A bookshop is not complete without one*. I, on the other hand, couldn’t give two hoots about it and wanted to continue with my investigation of St. Marples’. There was a mystery there that I wasn’t willing to let slide.
I fingered the envelope I’d found, nestled as it was in my jacket pocket. “Harold,” I said, “What is it about St. Marples that un-nerves you.”
He looked at me over his bowl of frosted corn flakes. “I’m not really sure,” he said. “I just remember Ada pulling me away from it when I was wee, and the sense that something is watching me whenever I pass it.”
“Have you never been inside?”
“Why should I?” Harold shrugged. “It’s been closed and boarded for as long as I can remember.”
“So this letter I found inside means nothing to you?” I put it on the breakfast table, as if it had just arrived in the post. He stared at it.
“It looks official,” he said. “Look at the size of the window. It’s a fact that the smaller the window of an envelope the worse the news.”
“But why,” I said, having to point out the obvious anomaly, “was it addressed to Harold Waterman Esq. St. Marples’ Church, Laverstone?”
*For those late to the Jasfoup Diaries, this doesn’t refer to a caesarian birth but to the curious phenomena of all the book with a title subject beginning with C – Catholicism, Chauvinism, Closed-mindedness and so on – had gone missing over the weekend.