I RETURNED HOME FROM WORK TO FIND A CURIOUS MESSAGE ON MY ANSWERPHONE

It has been some time since my last post but this does not mean I have been idle or have in any way let up in my quest to find Emma Fielding (nor has my disquiet about what happened in Cley entirely gone away). It is disappointing to me to report, however, that I have once again drawn a blank with regard to making contact with DCI Jeffery (Deborah Buchan, I have been told by her manager, is on retreat in Tibet, a claim I do not believe for a second). Nor have I been able to find out where Jeffery lives, as was my intention (link to April 5 post: ‘retracing Emma’s last known journey) as there are no details about him on the electoral role. But this task has been overshadowed by something strange that occurred last week when I returned home from work to find a curious message on my answerphone. At the time I could neither understand its meaning nor its intent but I can only conclude now that it is connected to Emma’s case. What follows is the telephone message verbatim:

Hello Dr Delgardi, Giles Tester here. I am sorry about the slight mix up over the name. I do hope you will understand and accept my sincere apologies for this. The book has finally arrived and is here for you to collect when you get the chance, although sooner rather than later would be best as I will be going a way in a few days’ time. When you arrive just ask for me by name or, should I be out, please ask for my colleague Julian Coleman and he will attend to you. Thank you.”

And that was it. I have thought long and hard about this curious message since I first played it (and over and again since then) – I know for certain that I have not ordered a book from any book store, nor do I know anyone at all who goes by the name of Giles Tester or Julian Coleman. And there was something singular about that voice over the phone too, an aspect to it that seemed in some way disingenuous, that gave the impression the caller was not what, or who he claimed to be. I cannot truly put my finger on what it was that leant the voice a false air but something about it indicated that here was something more than just a simple mistake. One thing is certain: I know I have not ordered any book and so I can assume only one of two things: either the message was not meant for me – but the man mentioned me particularly by name, and Delgardi is far from common, so that cannot be the case; or it is some kind of (perhaps hidden?) message relating to Emma Fielding and my investigation into her disappearance.

For two whole days I thought about that message and what it could mean – really mean, that is. Then, while on a quiet walk in the woods with my dog, and like a torch beam in the night that flashes immediately to life, it came to me. I raced home at once to consult ‘street finder’, and within minutes I knew – not all of the meaning hidden in that coded message, not at first, but enough of it at least to know exactly what I needed to do next, where I should go. Readers who are familiar with such Delphic mysteries will no doubt decipher the message more quickly than it has taken me. In which case, they will know also where I intend to travel as soon as I am able to get away (in truth, I am cautious about revealing too much here about my intentions through fear of being followed, or of discovering that I have been hopelessly misled). Those readers who have not yet figured it out I will leave to ponder further on its hidden meaning, while I set out to collect a mysterious book that I never ordered.

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