An Incomplete Revenge
paused, thoughtful. “However, I do have two observations. First, you and Doreen have gone through too much for this discord to drive a wedge between you. And second, perhaps it would be a good idea for you to have a chat together, about whether you really want to know what might happen in the future.” Maisie waved to George in the distance, who had seen them walking in his direction; then she turned to Billy. “How much better it would be for you both, to sit down and talkabout what you would like to see happen in your family and then go about discovering what might be done to point your ship in that direction, if you know what I mean.”
    “All very well, if you’ve got the money.”
    “It doesn’t take money to use imagination, Billy.”
    “It does if you want to go to Canada.”
    GEORGE WAS VISIBLY relieved when Maisie informed him that his sons were not being held at His Majesty’s pleasure in Maidstone Prison, though the thought of them in a boys’ reformatory kept him unsettled.
    “So now all we’ve got to do is prove they didn’t do it.”
    “That’s more or less what needs to be done. There must be a cache of stolen goods somewhere—the question is where?” Maisie turned to Billy. “Normally, I would refrain from the widespread search of a property—it can be time-consuming at a point when manpower might be better utilized elsewhere. However, in this case I think it’s better than nothing. Billy, the boys found the silver close to the chestnut tree where they were collecting conkers. If we make an assumption that whoever made off with the goods leaped over the wall and then dropped the locket and paperweight as he landed and ran, more items might have been lost or a trail might still exist.”
    “I doubt that, Miss.”
    “Any better ideas?”
    Billy shook his head.
    “Right, so you and George—not now, when the sun’s still high; wait for dusk—map out a trail from the chestnut tree, across the road, and then see if you can get a sense of which way the thief might have run.”
    “Better than nothin’, eh, George?’
    George seemed doubtful but nodded accordance. “Can’t do any harm.”
    Maisie checked the watch pinned to her jacket lapel. “I’ve just enough time to try to see Alfred Sandermere. Then I have an appointment to join a friend for a nice cooked tea.” She paused before proffering a word of advice to Billy “Oh, and when you cross the road, try to suspend what you think for a moment and see if you can just go where you feel might be the right direction.”
    “Alright, Miss.”
    Maisie left the two men, who watched her walk away before speaking.
    George frowned toward Billy. “What’s she mean, Bill?”
    “Nothin’. Come on, let’s get back to work for an hour or two.”
    MAISIE PROCEEDED OUT onto the farm road, then back toward the MG, parked at the entrance of Dickon’s Farm. Starting the motor without delay, she pulled out onto the main thoroughfare in the direction of the Sandermere manor house. She didn’t think Billy and George would have any luck today, but there was a lot to be said for keeping people busy when they might otherwise get in the way.
    “ MISS DOBBS, DELIGHTED to meet you. The solicitors acting for Viscount Compton informed me that you would be visiting, though I thought I might have a little more notice.” Alfred Sandermere descended the staircase and held out his hand toward Maisie as he walked across the black-and-white checkered tile hallway. As they stood facing each other, Maisie thought they must look rather like chessmen, each waiting for an opportune move. She was surprised not to be shown into a reception room to meet her host, but it seemed that Sandermere had responded to the news of her presence with speed, coming straight from his study on an upper floor to greet her.
    Sandermere was dressed as if he had only just dismounted his horse. He was wearing beige jodhpurs, Viyella shirt, and waistcoat, with a rich tweed hacking jacket

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