5 Harry Hogan – Found, Not Lost

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“Do you have coffee inside?”

“On a timer, so it’s ready.” He unlocked the door and stepped back, allowing her to enter first. He shut the door behind him and went to the coffeepot. “Cream or sugar?”

She shook her head as she sat down across from his desk. “No, thank you.” She took the mug he handed her, took a mouthful and sighed. “Sorry. I know it’s a habit but I need coffee to wake me up in the morning and my coffeepot died last night.”

Harry chuckled as he leaned back in his leather desk chair and sipped his own coffee. “So what can I do for you, Ms Blackett?”

“First of all,” she said, “cut the formality. The name is Bertie, as you well know, and what you can do is help unravel a little mystery for the Library Board.”

“If it’s for the Board, why did they send the Librarian to ask for help?”

“I’m not the Librarian anymore,” she said. “I recently retired and at present I’m helping to clean out the reference room in preparation for renovations.”

“I read about that in the paper,” Harry said, with a nod. “So what’s the problem?”

“We found a letter, or at least we think it’s a letter. It probably fell out of a book but we don’t know which one and we’d like to find the owner.”

“Is it in an envelope?”

“Yes. It’s sealed and has the name Emma written on it but no surname. We posted a notice on the bulletin board and on the library Facebook page, but got no results.”

“Maybe the right person just hasn’t seen it yet,” Harry suggested.

“Maybe not,” she agreed, “but that was several weeks ago. Our patrons check the page often to keep up on new books being received and I think someone would have seen it.”

Harry rubbed his chin. “Since you don’t know which book the letter fell out of, you have no way of knowing how long it was there, do you?”

“Not a clue.”

“Are you sure it fell from a book, or might it have been tucked between the books on the shelf before it fell?”

Bertie’s eyes widened. “I doubt if anyone thought of that but it is possible, isn’t it? Oh, my goodness.”

“What are you thinking?”

“Well… Harry, what if it was someone setting up a secret rendezvous?”

Harry groaned. “You read too many romance novels. It could be something as simple as a grocery list, or someone’s long-lost research notes.”

“But that wouldn’t be sealed, would it?

“Probably not, but you don’t know how long it’s been there and humidity could have caused the envelope to stick over the years.”

“Or it could have been a spy passing secrets during the war.”

“Oh, come on, Bertie. Do you really think so? Passing information that way only happened it novels, not in real life. It would have been too risky.”

“I suppose so.” She sighed. “It’s kind of like the ‘Lost Letter Mysteries,’ isn’t it?”

Harry frowned. “The what?”

MORE pages to follow: click the page numbers below!
Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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