A Dangerous Inheritance
My husband inspired me to write this a book when he bought a vehicle via the internet, and then travelled to Manchester to collect it. The vehicle was an American GMC Safari. After gaining possession he removed two of the back seats and discovered a deliberate slit in the carpet which had been previously hidden. Knowing it had last been in Latvia for a year, he wondered whether anything had been hidden there and I thought 'what if' ....... We have travelled extensively across Europe and I had been particularly entranced by the ruined Byzantine city of Mistras set on a hillside near Sparta in Greece. I decided to incorporate this setting in a book, as it seemed to be the ideal place for stolen artefacts to be hidden. The book starts with an event at the end of WW2 when a German soldier stationed in Greece decides to defect and steals a few artefacts from a hoard plundered by his Senior Officer. On his way to the coast he hides the artefacts within some old ruins he has taken shelter in on his journey. Once back home the soldier decides it would be prudent to make a new start in France. Eventually he marries a French girl, has a family and later his wife becomes very sick. He never manages to return to Greece. When his friend decides to sell his GMC Safari American Day van the ex-soldier buys it. About this time, he makes a trip to Strasbourg and come face-to-face with his ex- Senior Officer who recognises him and he has to beat a hasty retreat hoping the vehicle has not been spotted. On another trip he suspects he is being followed. As he has the map with him, he decides to post it to his grand-daughter but because he has no stamps, he needs to buy pre-paid postage envelops from a service area. In the service area car park, where he bought the envelopes, he decides to hide the map and envelope under the carpet in a special hiding place. Two Latvian stowaways witness him leave the van unlocked and decide to steal the van. To the present time (2012), my main character, Perry Smithieson, buys a vehicle via the internet, and after collecting it from Manchester discovers an old envelope hidden under the car's carpets. Inside the envelope is a sketchy map of a site in Greece. The envelope is addressed to a French lady. Perry decides that he will attempt to deliver the letter. In doing so, he discovers that the lady is a young school-teacher. As they get on well, they decide together it would be fun to try and find whatever her Grandfather had indicated was hidden. It is not long before they discover that they could be exposing themselves to danger .... The artefact that they locate is a diamond - the Akbar Shah diamond.