The series is set in the 1920s in England. Daisy has just achieved an assignment to write a magazine article about an earl's mansion, Wentwater Court, so she has joined a family and guest house-party.
In the morning, Daisy rose with the sun, which, as Wilfred
had pointed out, was not particularly early at the beginning of
January. Skipping the cold bath and postponing the outdoor
exercise, she dressed warmly and went down to the breakfast
parlour, a pleasantly sunny east-facing room. James, Fenella,and Sir Hugh were there before her. Sir Hugh lowered his Financial Times momentarily to wish her a good morning before retreating once more behind that bastion.
She helped herself to kedgeree from the buffet on the
sideboard and joined them at the table.
"Will you skate with us this morning, Daisy?" Fenella asked.
"I know you're frightfully busy but this weather may not last and
we don't get such spiffing freezes very often."
"Yes, I'd like to, if I can borrow skates?"
"We have a cupboardful," James assured her. "There's bound
to be something to fit you."
"Jolly good. I'll finish off the roll of film in the camera
down at the lake, and spend the rest of the morning developing my
Sir Hugh, emerging from his newspaper, told her he owned
shares in the Eastman Kodak company and asked about the
developing and printing process. Daisy explained as she ate.
James and Fenella lingered over their coffee until she had
finished her breakfast, then took her to look for a pair of
Outside, the air was crisp and still. Daisy couldn't resist
leaving a footprint or two in the glistening untrodden snow
beside the path. It crunched underfoot.
James carried the skating boots down the hill for her as she
was laden with camera and tripod. While she set them up, he and
Fenella sat on the bench and put on their skates. They circled
slowly at the near end of the lake, waiting for her.
"Go ahead," she called, already chilled fingers fumbling
at the stiff catch that attached the camera to the tripod. "I'll
be with you in half a mo."
Waving to her, they joined hands and whizzed off towards the
bridge. As they reached it, James yelled, "Stop!"
They swerved to a halt beneath the arch. James moved
cautiously forward into the black shadow cast by the low sun.
And then Fenella screamed.
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