The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway)

The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths Read Free Book Online

Book: The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elly Griffiths
in something. Remember I said that there were traces of something waxy on the bones?’
    Nelson dimly remembers something of the sort. The trouble is, Ruth always gives him so much information that the important bits sometimes get filtered out.
    ‘Well, the body may have been wrapped in oilcloth, tarpaulin, something like that.’
    ‘Deliberately buried then? He didn’t just lie where he fell?’
    ‘It doesn’t look like it. No.’
    There is a silence. Nelson thinks of the house rising up out of the flat landscape. ‘This marshy ground, could it be somewhere like the grounds of Blackstock Hall, for example?’
    ‘It’s possible.’
    When Ruth has rung off, with promises to call later with news of Kate’s second day at school, Nelson turns to Clough.
    ‘I think it’s time we had another word with Old George. He was the only one around at the time that Fred went missing.’
    ‘Don’t forget the other brother who mysteriously disappeared.’
    ‘I won’t,’ says Nelson. ‘Wonder if his body’s buried in anaerobic whatsit too.’
    ‘Better go gently, boss. Remember Granddad’s already complained about us.’
    ‘I’ll take Johnson with me,’ says Nelson. ‘He can hardly get nasty with a pregnant woman.’

    Not far from Norwich (Norwich, Vermont, that is), Nell Blackstock Goodheart is reading a letter headed ‘The History Men: Bringing the Past to Life!’. She reads impatiently, getting some of the breakfast preserves on the paper. When she has finished, she calls to her husband, Blake, who is watering the plants on the porch.
    ‘Looks like they definitely want to make a film about Daddy.’
    Blake Goodheart appears in the doorway, watering can in hand.
    ‘Who are “they”, honey?’
    ‘The TV people. Remember, I told you about them?’
    She doesn’t show him the letter because she knows that the exclamation mark would cause him actual, physical pain.
    Blake puts the watering can on the three-legged stool reserved for that purpose. Then he changes from his porch shoes (subtly different from his yard shoes) into leather slippers. Nell watches him. Forty years of marriage have made her supremely tolerant while never tempting her to join her husband in any of his foibles. She doesn’t own a pair of slippers and regularly gardens in her bare feet.
    Blake joins his wife at the breakfast table and pours himself coffee.
    ‘Why would a television company want to make a film about Fred?’ He has never met his father-in-law, who died when Nell was three, but, along with the rest of the family, he always refers to him with familiarity. Fred’s shadow loomed large over Nell’s childhood, just as his picture – sombrely handsome in his pilot’s uniform – now looms over her nightstand. For over forty years Blake has gone to bed with that tense young face staring at him. It’s no wonder that they’re on first-name terms.
    ‘Well, you know they found his body in the plane. They’ve positively identified him as being the pilot.’ It will hardly be a body after all these years, she thinks. She doesn’t say this aloud though; Blake is squeamish about all aspects of life – and death. ‘It seems that they’re planning a programme about American airmen in Norfolk.’ She pronounces it ‘Nor-fork’. ‘And they want to include Daddy. Especially as he was born in those parts.’
    ‘But you wouldn’t want to get mixed up with something like that,’ protests Blake. ‘Television.’ The couple possess one small set, which is kept in Nell’s sewing room and reserved for the exclusive use of their grandchildren. But if Blake had his way, even this one concession to modern life would be banished. There’s nothing wrong with playing cribbage in the evenings. Besides, reception is terrible in the Green Mountains.
    ‘It’ll be a proper academic programme,’ says Nell. ‘Frank Barker’s presenting it. You know you liked his book about Victorian England.’
    Blake grunts

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