The lady vanishes

I’ve been sharing some extracts from my Thomas Radwinter novel, Raddy and Syl, and so far the extracts have been about Thomas’s family and his genealogical investigation into his own past. There are other story-lines in the book, and this is how Thomas hears about a mystery he’s going to be asked to solve:

Jane 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 trying to get pregnant. So off they set, all fine, and were driving through Easthope, and stopped at the junction where the High Street meets Beach Road. Jane 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, Jane 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 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.
This story had taken quite a while in telling and I wasn’t sure I knew why I was being told it. I still wasn’t clear what she wanted me to do…
“Can you find Jane, Thomas? Can you find out what happened to her?”

Here’s a link to ‘Raddy and Syl’ – maybe you’ll discover what happened to Jane!

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