The policeman arrived outside our house within minutes of our own arrival. He looked at us; witchlet, Mother-of-witch and the (obviously not yet) Retired Children’s Librarian. He’d been there looking for us more than once. It was as if we had disappeared off the surface of the Earth. Or at least our little part of Sweden.
We had just come from Gothenburg, where we had picked up the Retired Children’s Librarian, who had been off on some kind of other travels, before joining us for the last part of her holiday. It was also where we had put the Pen Friend on her plane back to Heathrow. She had red hair. Lovely sort of auburn.
The Retired Children’s Librarian had red hair too, but less natural, if you get my drift.
Anyway, the policeman wanted to know that the Retired Children’s Librarian wasn’t ‘too retired’, i.e. dead. Her family had reported her missing, suspecting the worst.
The rest of the world might have been reading about the Polanski/Manson atrocities, but Sweden was in the throes of the Bag Murder. Woman’s torso found in bag. Torso with scar from operation.
The Retired Children’s Librarian had just had an operation. With resulting similar scar. The police had interviewed our kindly but confused postman. He could only tell them about our redhead; some vague story about sending post on. That was the Pen Friend.
And speaking of post, none of the many postcards the Retired Children’s Librarian had sent her mother and siblings had arrived. Hence her ‘disappearance’ and possible murder victim status. With me and Mother-of-witch as chief suspects, one presumes.
We didn’t do it.
Ever since, the Retired Children’s Librarian had to phone her mother every day when away.