Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 -

The Librarian

by Geoffrey Stirling & Margaret Jane
Published: Oct 25, 2013
Words: 51,061
Category: general
Orientation: M/F
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OPENING EXTRACT
Chapter 1: Prince Edward Island

I've stayed in better hotels than The Fishermen's Rest but generally at someone else's expense. On this occasion I'm paying myself and I could be here for a month, so I am being careful. Not that I will need to be for long if this thing works out as it should. In a couple of months I should be able to stay anywhere I want for as long as I want and not give a toss about the cost. The Fishermen's is in downtown Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, and I'm here to visit my attorney. That sounds really odd - my attorney - particularly coming from the mouth of a Belfast boy, but it's true. Of course until two weeks ago I'd never heard of Henry Finklestein of Finklestein, Corliss and Corliss Attorneys; but then I got the letter telling me that my Great Uncle George, whom no one in the family had seen for at least thirty years, had died and appointed me executor of his estate, a property empire worth several million Canadian dollars. What was more, I was the principal beneficiary. Could I please come to Charlottetown to help sort the estate and get it either transferred into my name or realised? Of course I bloody could!

There were dark mutterings from family members, everyone except my sister Bess who was deeply envious of my destination.

"I can't believe you're getting to Prince Edward Island, you jammy bugger. I've always wanted to go there; Ann of Green Gables has a lot to answer for."

"I'll pay for you to come out when I've got my hands on the cash."

Without a backward glance at the British Isles, I flew to Montreal and travelled on to Charlottetown.

On my first morning in town, after a more than generous breakfast at the hotel, I set off to find the offices of Finklestein, Corliss and Corliss in Union Street, on the edge of the historic quarter of the city and near the waterfront. On the way down, I walked, it was no more than a mile according to my city plan, I passed the imposing edifice that is the Confederation Arts Centre and noticed that it contained a public library. I would investigate that later as, if I was going to be here for a month, I would like to know something about the history of the place.

FCC were on the first and second floors of an oldish building above a seafood restaurant. The interior d├ęcor was rather brown and the lady behind the reception desk was rather grey. One wall was taken up with law books so old they were bound in gold tooled leather and were undoubtedly of no use to anyone other than a stage manager or interior designer. This did not inspire me with confidence. Mr Finklestein however, 'call me Henry', was a small, dark, Jewish, whirlwind of a man who no sooner had he met me in reception than he whisked me off to his office, plied me with unbelievably strong coffee, and started to tell me all about my Great Uncle. In him I had confidence, already.