Authors: Jane A. Adams
Recent Titles by Jane A. Adams from Severn House
The Naomi Blake Mysteries
KILLING A STRANGER
LEGACY OF LIES
PAYING THE FERRYMAN
The Rina Martin Mysteries
A REASON TO KILL
THE POWER OF ONE
THE DEAD OF WINTER
CAUSE OF DEATH
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First published in 2007 in Great Britain and the USA by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
19 Cedar Road, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM2 5DA.
This eBook first published in 2015 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Ltd.
Copyright Â© 2007 by Jane A. Adams.
The right of Jane A. Adams to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Adams, Jane, 1960-
Legacy of lies
1. Blake, Naomi (Fictitious character) - Fiction
2. Ex-police officers - Fiction
3. Blind women - Fiction
4. Detective and mystery stories
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-6470-3 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-682-3 (ePUB)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
ven a couple of years ago, Naomi thought, she would have been reluctant to step so far outside of her comfort zone, but she felt surprisingly relaxed this time. True, last year she had ventured further afield when she and Alec had spent ten days in Tenerife, but as she had been content to spend most of that either sleeping or lounging on the beach, it didn't really count in terms of adventure. She had been surprised, though, at how unbothered she had been when preparing for this trip. Perhaps that was because in her sighted days she had known this area well. Family holidays spent visiting relatives on the Fens, cycling and walking beneath the big skies that overarched the flat landscape, made this familiar territory.
She had never visited Alec's uncle Rupert, though. In fact, she had barely registered that he had an uncle Rupert â or Uncle Rupe as he called him â until Alec had announced that the old man had died.
âHow old was he?' Naomi had asked.
âRupe is â¦ was â¦ Dad's older brother. Dad is seventy this year and I think Rupe must have been seventy-six, or thereabouts.'
âHow did he die?'
âAh, well that's the odd thing. It seems Rupert had a heart condition I didn't know about. He went out walking one day, collapsed in the middle of nowhere, and was dead by the time a couple of hikers came across him.'
âThat must have ruined their day. Sorry, that was flippant. Were you close? When's the funeral. Will there be problems getting the time off?' Naomi remembered from her own time as a police officer, just how hard it could be to take holidays without a lot of prior warning. âAre we going?'
âYou want to go with me?'
âDon't see why not. I know you hate funerals. We can give your parents a lift over. Doncaster way, isn't it?'
âLord, you have a memory like an elephant. I can't have mentioned him more than a couple of times, and no, we weren't close, though I liked him a lot. But Mum and Dad won't be going. They and Rupe had a major falling out, years ago. I doubt Rupe dying will change the way Dad feels about him. I mean, I'll ask, but I think the answer will be no.'
And the answer had been no. Naomi had been there when Alec broached the subject. His mother had added her voice to his pleading that Rupe was dead now and Arthur, Alec's father, should let the past go, but he was adamant and in the end Alec had given in. Surprisingly though, Arthur had stolen a moment to speak to Naomi just before they'd left.
âI'm glad the two of you are going, actually,' he said awkwardly. âWhat happened between myself and Rupert, well, it was a personal thing and perhaps the two of us should have made peace somewhere along the line. But my quarrels shouldn't be my son's and I'm well aware that Alec kept in touch with his uncle.'
âYou didn't mind?'
âWhat was there to mind?'
âBut you still feel you can't go to his funeral?'
âNo, I can't go. Naomi, funerals are an opportunity to say goodbye to those you love and respect. Honour, I suppose. I don't think I quite stopped loving Rupe, which is why I'm glad Alec kept in touch. I believe everyone deserves to have some family, some connection, if you see what I mean. But respect? No. I didn't honour or respect my brother, so my going to
my respects would be somewhat hollow, don't you think?'
And so, Naomi thought, it was just the two of them. Three, if you counted Napoleon, Naomi's guide dog, snuffling on the back seat, snoring and twitching as he dreamed.
âMust be chasing rabbits,' Alec said.
âNapoleon's an urban dog. I doubt he's even seen a rabbit. Wouldn't recognize one if he saw one.'
âTrace memory,' Alec said wisely. âAll dogs have a trace memory of rabbit chasing.'
âWell, out here, he might just get the chance.'
âIf Uncle Rupe's garden is the way I remember, he might get the chance in there.'
âBig garden, is it?'
âFallowfields was once a farmhouse. Rupe bought it with an acre of land, started to create a garden and then, typically, got bored. The section around the house, maybe a third of the land, is landscaped and lawned and all that. The rest â¦ well, I seem to remember he called it his meadow. In the spring it's all wild flowers and scrubby, self-seeded birches.'
âSounds nice. It's going to seem strange staying in his house, though.'
âNot superstitious, are we?'
Naomi could hear the smile in his voice. No, she could not be described as superstitious.
âIt just seemed easier,' Alec went on. âWe could have stayed in the local pub, but the closest one is all steep stairs and awkward rooms and I don't think either you or Dog would like it very much. At Fallowfields he can run around the garden and you can get used to the layout without crowds of drinkers and family lunchers getting in your way. Rupe wouldn't mind. He'd be happy about it.'
Naomi stretched, shifting position in the passenger seat.
âTired of sitting. Much further?'
âFifteen minutes. Ten maybe.'
âWhat's it like round here?'
âWell, actually, it's very un-fenlike. The big open spaces don't really start until we're out past Fallowfields. Here, it's all very green. The road is enclosed either side with trees and high hedges. In fact, Rupert's house is surrounded by what I'm told is a very ancient hedge. But you get about a mile from the house and it all opens out. Massive fields and those deep drainage ditches banked on either side. I never did like it very much.'
âOh, I don't know. On our family holidays it was good for cycling and I used to love watching the storms roll in.'
âThere is that, I suppose. Rupe always liked a good storm. I remember, when I was just a little kid, going out into the garden with him and getting drenched because he wanted to be out in it. There's a terrace runs the length of the house at the back with steps down on to the lawn â¦'
âVery Lady Chatterley.'
âOh, very. There are these plinth things either side of the steps. I suppose they were meant for planters or something. Anyway, Rupe stood on one, and me on the other, and we perched up there, cheering every time the thunder crashed, watching the lightening strike and trying to count how far away it was.'
âWonder you didn't get struck!' Naomi laughed.
âI was frozen through and soaked to the skin by the time we got back inside. Rupe ran me this hot deep bath. The baths are Victorian and so deep you cause a drought just filling the damn things.'
âBaths? More than one?'
âOh, there's an en suite in Rupe's room and a second bathroom on the floor below. Rupe took over the attic. Dad always said he hoped Rupe had the ceilings reinforced before he installed the second bathroom.'
âYour parents visited the house?'
âOh yes. When I was small we visited often. The storm incident; that was on a family visit. Mum and Dad had gone out somewhere and left Rupe in charge of me.' He laughed. âI often thought I should be in charge of Rupe. That day, Rupe got me in the bath then made this massive jug of hot chocolate. We sat in that great big kitchen of his, Rupe in this elaborate burgundy dressing gown, all velvet and quilted silk â very Noel Coward â and we drank chocolate and Rupe told stories. He knew the scariest ghost stories. I don't think I slept for weeks after that.'
Naomi laughed. âI can't see your mother being pleased about that.'
âOh, she wasn't. Not about any of it. Of course, Rupe hadn't bothered to hide the evidence. There were my soaking wet clothes strewn all over the bathroom floor and, of course, I blurted the whole thing out as soon as Mum and Dad got in, just in case the sopping trousers hadn't given it away.'
âSo, when did this quarrel happen?'
âI'm not sure. I know after I was about eight years old we stopped coming, but I was away at school by then and everything was changing. I don't think I really thought about it too much. I still heard from Rupe at birthdays and Christmas, still got cards with cash tucked inside and long rambling letters about nothing in particular. Rupe was good at that kind of thing. I missed the summer trips, but I don't think I gave it too much thought at all. You don't at that age.'
âI wonder what it was all about.'
âSo do I, but Mother won't say if Dad won't and he was adamant. None of my concern, he said, and you know Dad. Once he takes up a position, his feet are set in concrete â¦' Alec paused and Naomi could almost feel the thoughts ticking by. âOh,' he said finally, âwe're here. I forgot how fast the house came up after that bend.'