The library was only 4 blocks away from the diner. Mike thought back to the days where he did most of his author research at the library before the internet was such a widely used tool. It’s been years, but he was confident he remembered how to use the Dewey decimal system. Mike followed the turns from the GPS instructions on Anna’s phone. She hadn’t muttered a word to him since finding out about the suspected murder.
They pulled into the cement parking lot. The small library was a square orange-red bricked building with tan accents around the 9 large double windows. Mike pulled into a parking space only seeing 3 other cars in the lot. He leaned over, putting his had on his wife’s shoulder. She turned away from him.
“How long are you going to stay mad at me?” Mike sat up then reached for her hand. “I was going to tell you about it.”
“I just don’t know if we should get caught up in this.” Anna readjusted in her seat, pulling the seatbelt away from her neck. “The right and sane thing to do is to hand over the diary to the local police. We are not detectives, peanut. We should leave the investigations to the experts.” She pushed her purse to the end of her knees, reaching down to unbuckle her seatbelt.
“You heard Randy! No one here would ever believe there was a murder. Hell, I don’t even know if there were a murder, but I need to find out.”
Anna opened her door. She squeezed his hand. “I know you do. I’m thankful to see your passion is back. Just promise me you won’t go too far with this. I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
The short walk to the heavy wooden double doors of the library proved to be challenging. The blustery wind blew so hard, the couple found it difficult to walk straight. Pulling on the door handle, Mike held it open for his wife to enter.
“Welcome to Clover Library, Mr. Sharpe.” A short chestnut brown haired girl greeted them just inside the door. She held out her hand with a goofy smile on her face. “My name is Lindsey. I’m one of your biggest fans.” Mike accepted her hand in his, giving her a strong handshake.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Lindsey.”
“Randy called me to let me know you were on your way.” Anna and Mike looked at each other. The closeness of this small town was unusual for them. Anna raised her eyebrows. “I can’t even tell you how much of an honor it is to have you in our town. Is there any way I can ask you to take a picture with me to post on the library website and get you to sign your books?” She walked backward towards the front desk.
“I would be happy to oblige. So, do you know why I’m here? Can you help me?” Mike removed the cloth and the diary from his jacket pocket.
Lindsey nodded her head. “Typically, people do their property research at the Town Hall in the public records, but I’m glad Randy sent you to me. I’m the secretary of the local historical society. We’ve been working hard to scan our records online to make it easier to search. It is the age of ancestry.com.” The librarian reached over the desk for the stack of Mike Sharpe science fiction books. She grabbed a sharpie and placed it on top of the mountain of books.
The author flipped open the first cover of the top book, scribbling his name inside. This is not what he had in mind of research, but it sounded like he was in good hands with Lindsey. Such a small price to pay for information.
“I would love to set up an author’s signing also if you’re interested of course. It would only be a small venue, but it would be great exposure for the library.” Lindsey walked around the desk and sat down in front of the computer.
“I’m here for a few months working on the next book to Bitterline. I’m sure we can make some arrangement sometime. But I really would like to figure out who owned the property of my cabin.” Lindsey snapped a picture of him signing a book with her cellphone. “I’m sure you’re going to be very helpful in my quest.” He smiled and looked up at the camera.
After all the novels were signed and pictures were taken, Lindsey led them to the main part of the library. She pulled up a few chairs next to one of the public computers. “Scanning all the property deeds into the library system has been my baby for the last 2 years. We should have everything you need on the computer. Randy said you’re staying at the old Olsen farm. Is that correct?”
Anna pulled a piece of paper from her purse. “2116 Kettle Road is the address of our cabin.” She dropped the paper back in her purse then sat it on the ground next to the table.
Lindsey typed in the address. “Do you know what time period or have a name?”
Mike opened the front cover of the diary again. Chills crept up his spine. “I read through the diary. There is no name of the author, but she does mention a man named Micky and two girls named Dot and Pearl. The first entry in this diary is marked August 14, 1908.”
Lindsey held her hand out for the diary. Mike was reluctant to give it up not knowing if he would get it back from a member of the local historical society. He slid the diary in her hand. “That’s completely amazing. What a lucky find. This should be in a museum somewhere.” She looked at the first page and carefully flipped through a couple pages before handing it back.
“My intent is to track down the family that this belongs to. They can make the decision to donate if they chose.”
“According to the records, your cabin was owned by Bernard Olsen in 1908. He inherited the property from his father that passed away in 1904. He lived there with his mother at the time.” She turned in her seat to face the couple. “So, I’m sure this diary belonged to his mother.”
Mike laughed at that statement. His wife looked at him in disappointment. He felt bad for his impassive reaction. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come across rudely. It’s just that the author of the diary was still in high school when she started the diary. I don’t believe that fits the timeline.”
“I just printed off all the deeds to the property. I’m sure this is where you’re going to want to start your search.” The handbell at the front desk dinged. “You’ll have to excuse me. A librarian’s job is never done as long as there are inquiring minds or research papers due.” She got up from her seat. “Let me know if I can be of any more assistance.”