Where’s Jane?

Today I am sharing an episode from my book ‘Raddy and Syl; this is the third in my series of novels about the Radwinter family, and in this one Thomas meets a friend, Jess, at a children’s soft play place. His little boy Kenneil races round while Thomas and Jess catch up with each other’s news:

Jess was obviously feeling a little awkward about asking me… and what she was asking wasn’t for me to find anyone living or anyone from the past… she was asking me if I could have a look at a problem her sister’s brother-in-law had… let me get this straight…  Jess has a sister, who is married, her husband has a brother… ok I think I have it. Except it wasn’t him it was his wife’s sister… good heavens… I can’t quite follow all this… but maybe it doesn’t matter.
Sasha, the woman at the end of this chain had a friend who she’d met socially; the two women had known each other for a while and decided they’d like to go to a cookery day… The friend was driving Sasha’s car, and then she’d enjoy a glass or two of wine, and Sasha would drive home later. Sasha had given up drinking as she was on a health kick.
Kenneil raced back to us. He was terribly hot, so I took off his jumper, and he had a drink and off he went again.
I was really wondering where Jess’s story was going but I know she wouldn’t be just wittering on for the sake of it, so I tried to maintain interest and follow the details.
So off they set, all fine, and were driving through Easthope, and stopped at the junction where the High Street meets Beach Road. The friend suddenly said something, yanked on the handbrake, jumped out of the car and disappeared.
“How do you mean, disappeared?” I asked as Jess came to a halt.
“Literally that, the woman just vanished! Sasha sat there in the passenger seat looking round, and then cars behind started hooting, so she quickly got behind the wheel and drove round the corner and parked up to wait…”
Well, this was jolly mysterious. Jess went on to say that the woman didn’t come back… she just disappeared… Sasha waited then got out and wandered round Easthope, asking people if they’d seen her friend. She rang her, texted her and got no response…
Well, what mystery! I asked Jess what Sasha had done… Gone on the cookery day… She felt cross, annoyed, upset… and increasingly anxious… supposing she should have called the police… supposing something had happened to her friend? I asked what the friend’s name was… Jane Smith… I was certainly intrigued by this strange story… but also beginning to get the feeling I knew where it was all going.
So Sasha had driven back to Oak, the little village where her friend lived, went to the address which was one of the old Alms-houses by the tennis courts, knocked on the door… and it was opened by a woman who‘d lived there for about five years and didn’t know anyone called Jane Smith… and couldn’t think of anyone in the row of cottages who it might be.
Sasha was beginning to get a really bad feeling about all this; she thanked the lady, and then went and knocked on the doors of the others in row, but no-one could tell her anything. Jane had left her bag in the car, and feeling a little guilty, Sasha looked through it, but there was nothing, a magazine, make-up, a sachet of tissues… that sort of thing, nothing personal. Sasha she had gone home, and after a lot of thought had got in touch with the police. Was Jane a missing person? According to Sasha, Jane had just got out of the car without any known reason… she was an adult, and not vulnerable… so what should the police do?
Then things got more serious for Sasha; the police had been good at first, taking what she said seriously, but then they‘d virtually accused her of making it all up and wasting police time. Curious reaction from the police I thought, but I didn’t say anything.
Kenneil arrived back and sat on my knee, he‘d worn himself out, and he just flopped, drinking his drink with a straw, and looking at little Riley… maybe he was thinking about his own little brother or sister… This story had taken quite a while in telling and I wasn’t sure I knew why I was being told it.
“I was talking to Milly at your wedding, and she said you have a partner or an associate who is a private detective…”
I do? Do I? I was puzzled…
“A Mr Radwinski,” she said…

If you want to follow Thomas’s adventures trying to find Jane Smith, and other mysteries he attempts to solve, here is a link:


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