In this, the thirteenth book in the Libby Sarjeant murder mystery series, Libby and the gang visit the Isle of Wight for the funeral of an old friend. For once there is nothing suspicious about the death, but their invitation to the funeral comes from elderly cousins who do have an unexplained death in the family. As her best friend Harry seems to be involved somehow, Libby is determined to ignore the growing reluctance of the cousins to help as she investigates
Available at Bramley, Halton and Pudsey.
Tonight, they were booked in at the nearest café.
‘Had we better ask if we can change our booking?’ asked Libby, as they climbed the steps to the deck. ‘If we’re going up to see the sisters at half past eight?’
‘Yes, we’d better,’ said Peter. ‘Seven instead of half past?’
‘That’ll give us enough time,’ said Ben. ‘All right, Hal?’
Harry shrugged. ‘Fine with me.’
Libby sighed with exasperation, but didn’t say anything.
Once they were settled back in their respective positions on the deck, Peter and Libby on sun loungers, Ben at the table and Harry, as was now usual, over at the balustrade, Libby started again.
‘What are we going to be looking for on the computer?’
‘If there’s an online diary,’ said Peter.
‘Emails,’ said Ben.
Harry said nothing.
‘We might not be able to get in without passwords,’ warned Ben.
‘Yes, we will,’ said Harry.
A kind of profound silence settled over the deck. Peter was the first to break it.
‘How do you know?’
‘Because he told me.’
‘He told you?’ Peter sounded puzzled.
Harry sighed and came to sit at the table with Ben.
‘You know we kept in touch,’ he said. ‘The same way old friends usually do.’ He looked at Peter. ‘You should know there was no more than friendship.’
Peter leant over and placed a hand on his partner’s arm. ‘Course I do.’
‘Well, we were talking on the phone one day – oh, must have been a year ago or more – and we got on to the subject of passwords. You know how you do, sometimes, and everyone complains about having to remember so many.’
‘I do,’ said Libby. ‘I’m not very good about them.’
‘Neither was Matthew. He said it was because he was getting old. And he said he had to use things that had meant something to him in the past, it was the only way he could remember them. So my name was one of them.’
‘Just Harry?’ asked Ben.
‘But that’s only one. We’ll need one to get into the computer itself and at least one more for the email programme, probably,’ said Peter.
‘What meant a lot to him, Hal?’ asked Libby, ‘apart from you?’
‘There must have been other – er –’ began Ben.
‘Lovers?’ said Harry, with the first grin they’d seen for several days. ‘Yes, of course there were, most of them before he met me. But there was the man who I think was the love of his life.’
‘Really? Was he there yesterday?’ asked Libby.
Harry shook his head. ‘No, I think he might have died about two years ago. Matthew just stopped talking about him.’
‘Did the sisters know? Did he bring him here?’ asked Peter.
‘No. They never actually lived together, and this man had – well, a reputation.’
‘A reputation?’ repeated Libby. ‘What, as a bit of a lad?’
‘No, a reputation to keep up. A public figure.’
‘Oh, God, not that old reason again,’ sighed Peter. ‘Scared of losing wife and family, was he?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Harry uncomfortably. ‘Matthew never told me who he actually was. All I knew was the name he used – called him by. So that would be a good password.’
‘It could also be a very good reason for blackmail,’ said Ben.
They all looked at him.
‘But the man’s dead,’ said Libby. ‘And why would someone blackmail Matthew about it?’
‘We don’t know he’s dead, and what about the man’s family?’ said Ben. ‘They could be blackmailed.’
‘Using evidence found in the little blue book?’ said Peter. ‘But Matthew would never give it up for that reason.’
‘Which was perhaps why Celia was killed – because she’d been told to say it wasn’t for sale?’ said Libby.
‘And the killer didn’t find it anyway,’ said Peter.
‘It makes a sort of sense,’ said Libby, ‘and gives us a starting point with the computer.’
‘It feels like …’ said Harry, and trailed off.
‘An intrusion?’ said Libby. ‘Of course it does. But think how good it will be if we find out who killed Celia, and by extension, Matthew. Because that’s what we all think, isn’t it?’