Cherringham--The Secret of Combe Castle

Cherringham--The Secret of Combe Castle by Neil Richards

Book: Cherringham--The Secret of Combe Castle by Neil Richards Read Free Book Online
Authors: Neil Richards
anything of value that Riley hasn’t already knocked over.”
    She saw him take a deep sniff of the smoky vapours coming off the steaks.
    She had to admit: the smell was amazing. With baked potatoes and the Caesar salad she’d brought over, it was a hearty meal for a chilly night.
    “Oh,” he said, “and you really need a cast-iron pan. Nothing cooks like one, conveys the heat perfectly … you get a good char.”
    Sarah took a sip of the drink Jack had made for her. An Old Fashioned, her first, a classic cocktail, sweet and powerful.
    “Okay,” he said, “time to flip ’em. Here we go.”
    And Jack turned three of the steaks, charred sides now up, revealing a dark crust.
    “I’ll get the potatoes and the salad,” Sarah said.
    “Great,” Jack said.
    And soon the steaks were off the stove, and onto a pewter platter for the last bit of Jack’s method — resting.
    Who knew steaks had to rest?
    But in moments they were all at Jack’s small table, tucking in.
    *
    Which is when Chloe asked about the castle.
    Normally, Sarah didn’t talk much about what she and Jack did.
    When that local teacher had been killed, she’d decided just to reassure the kids that those responsible had been found.
    And that had been enough for them.
    But this ‘case’, featuring the wacky Combe Castle?
    It was ‘one for the books’ — and one she had no problem talking about.
    “So, Jack,” Chloe said in between bites, “those people planned all that to get you and Mum to find the treasure?”
    “Except for Oswald FitzHenry’s wife. She didn’t have a clue.”
    “The amazing thing is,” Daniel chimed in, “that you two actually did it.”
    Sarah smiled at that. She might just be in danger of being a detective first, a mum second, at least in her kids’ eyes.
    “Thanks to what your mother, um … found … we could see the hidden room.”
    “That’s where,” Sarah said, “old Basil FitzHenry had hidden all the doubloons. But he never told a soul.”
    “Wow,” Daniel said. “A real lost treasure.”
    Sarah speared a forkful of salad, the balance of lemon, parmesan and garlic perfect.
    Nothing like it.
    Chloe looked confused though.
    “But hang on — isn’t what they did, like …I dunno … illegal?”
    Jack took a sip of the wine, a deep red cabernet (courtesy of Oswald) that matched the meal perfectly.
    “That it is, Chloe. Reporting false threats, a phony attack. Technically, against the law …”
    Now Daniel looked concerned. “Does that mean they won’t get to keep the treasure?”
    It had to be disappointing to her son to think of finding all those gold coins then having them snatched away.
    Jack looked right at her.
    Even this odd mystery had parts that she wasn’t sure he should share with the kids.
    But she tilted her wine glass to him as if to say … go for it.
    “We had a chat with Officer Rivers about that, Daniel. True the FitzHenrys had done something they shouldn’t have. But nothing really big; and no one got hurt. Was kind of fun for us, actually. And your mom and I also saw an opportunity to have something good come out of all this … and not just for the FitzHenry clan.”
    “Fortunately,” Sarah added, “Alan agreed. No harm — really — no foul.”
    “What was the good thing?” Chloe said. “Do we get coins as well?”
    Sarah laughed at that.
    “No. But with the treasure found, FitzHenry and his wife can finally leave the site that’s gone to ruin.”
    “Yup,” Jack added. “They’ve agreed to sell the house and turn the actual ruins over to the Cherringham Historical Society … for free.”
    “Cool!” Daniel said.
    “And there’s this neighbor, a farmer who couldn’t even get a right of way to his land across the river. They’ve agreed to that as well.”
    “Also at no cost.”
    “Oh — and they’ve also promised to fund a new lighting system for the village theatre. They’ll even get a plaque for that …”
    “‘Funded through the generosity of the

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