Monday, 17 September 2018

A New Case, Chapter 27.

And Now, It's Story Time....!

(Suitable for ages 12+)

(Chapter 26 can be linked to HERE.)

Chapter 27

   The atmosphere at the event was charged with enthusiasm. So much so, conversations were being freely struck up between the guests and staff alike. Mr Herod stood back from the guests for a moment and took stock of how far he had come. This day would be the pinnacle of his career, from greengrocer to host at a function for the nations new monarch. He flushed with pride not just for himself but for his staff too, who were being magnificent. Whatever may come in the days and weeks ahead, Herod’s would be this moment, for him at least. The shadow of the possible closure of the store loomed back in his mind. “Not today,” he told himself, “not today.” There was a tug at his sleeve and a slight cough that brought him back to reality.

   “Excuse me, Mr Herod, there is a telephone call for you. Most urgent the gentleman says. But then he is Italian, and a fashion designer and they are so…… flamboyant shall we say, it is so hard to tell.” Miss Susan Harriett stood before him, though she preferred to be called Ms Harriett. She was five feet one and three-quarter inches tall, and very proud of it. Every one of those inches was the model of a personal assistant and secretary, and beside Mrs Herod, the only person from whom Mr Herod took guidance. ‘Harrier Harriett’ they called her, for her dogged determination to get things done, which she did. She had worked for his uncle for many years and knew the business inside out. She was however soon to retire, a fact that was of great concern to Mr Herod as he would be hard pushed to find another so good and versed in the ways of the store.

   “Oh, Ms Harriett, isn’t this a wonderful sight? If only every day could be like this, then Herod’s would surely blossom once more.” He looked at her, tear forming in his eye, and then pulled himself together. “Can the gentleman not wait, I mean this is the Queen we are talking about….” 

   “I’m afraid he can’t. He was most insistent he speaks to you now. Crucial to business he says. Mentioned stock and supplies and prices. That is the third gentleman to call this morning, all designers, Paris and Milan. I put them all off, but this man says he will come over personally if you don’t. He is already in the country, Scotland, on business.” 

   “Oh dear, I do hope this isn’t to do with, well you know, the stock issue!” Mr Herod felt around his collar and flushed slightly. “I best take the call then, I suppose. You stay here and enjoy the occasion if you wish, I think you deserve to join the happy group for all your endeavours. I’ll be back as soon as I can, assuming my rusty Italian isn’t too bad that is!” He smiled graciously and handed her the list of guest details, and then turned and walked back towards his elevator. 

   Ms Harriett nodded and watched Mr Herod walk off. She was not one for the limelight and so would not stay for more than a moment, just to check all was in hand. She marvelled at how well the young Queen was doing, in the circumstances. It seemed in the space of only a year, she had grown from the infant the nation read about, into this beautiful young lady. Such an elegant gown, not flamboyant, a simplicity that reflected the times and also lifted and expressed the hope of good things to come. She had become the hope and pride of a nation, which was a heavy weight to bear. 

   Her hawk-like eyes scanned the other guests. She was heartened to note that all but one wore a little badge showing four interlocking paws claws and fins. This was the symbol of a growing companion welfare charity called Herod's Four Paws, Claws, Hooves and Fins. The charity, started by Mrs Herod some years before in her corner shop, had grown and now sought royal patronage through the store. She thought she recognised the one without, but couldn’t quite place her. She was exquisitely dressed, very much like the Queen. Ms Harriett got out her glasses and discreetly looked at the dress, and then at the Queens own. There was more than a passing similarity, they were by the same fashion house and no mistake. The detailing on both gowns shared the same exquisite feline-floral motif. It had been cleverly crafted and concealed within the pattern of the lace, as well as embroidered onto the silk and satin panels of the dress. And once you knew what to look for, it could be seen in the silk that trimmed the delicate petite-cloche style hat worn by the Queen. 

   A check of the list revealed that this was Miss Jennifer Darcy and that she had handed to security on arrival, one of Mr Herod’s very own invites. He hadn’t said that he had invited this young lady and her gorgeously dressed cat. There was only a nanny and her charges, a black and white princess, and a Siamese. Still, she was a most welcome addition to the event and seemed an instant hit with the other guests. Placing her face, however, was niggling her well-ordered mind. She couldn't recall her from the society pages or fashion magazines. Mrs Harriett resolved, as she watched all the guests start the final part of the visit, to go to her office and before the end of the visit, find out more about her. After all, it wouldn’t do to let an opportunity to enlist another well to do person to help the companion charity. She just hoped that she did like cats and dogs!

To be continued.........

Well, looks like Ms Harriett may well be about to discover Jennifers true identity– What will happen if she does?
What of Mr Herrod, and the stock losses? Is the Italian gentleman with the international police, or worse still, the fashion police?
Tune in next week when we will be discovering more about the fashion world and how the best laid plans of man can be laid waste by kittens and cats!
Till then..... Toodle Pips and Purrs!