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Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Diary

Sam’s Diary #8

12th March 2008

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I’ve signed the lease and obtained the keys to the flat. With Dan away for the day covering a football match for the local paper, I stuffed everything I could into my suitcases and made repeated journeys to the flat. The flat is partially furnished, so at least the basics are in place.

As I unpacked my things, I thought about my mother. She died before I met Dan, of alcohol poisoning. Ironically, I think she would have liked him in some bizarre way. I also thought about my father, though I have no idea who he is. My mother used to insist that he was an American soldier stationed at a nearby base. Somehow, I think this was fantasy, but I’d like to know the truth. I’d like to meet him and ask him why he never acknowledged me as his child. Was he ashamed of me? I have always assumed that I am to blame for some reason, that his absence from my life is all my fault. Maybe this is an irrational thought, but it’s a thought that undermines my entire being.

Before I left the house, I left a note for Dan. It simply stated that I had left him, that I hoped he’d be happy in his life and asked him to please leave me alone.

I was screwing the third of three deadlocks to my front door when the enormity of what I’d done hit me and a silent tear trickled down my cheek. I brushed it away, forced a smile and told myself that tomorrow would bring fresh hope, that I’d made the right decision and I should consider myself reborn.

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Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Diary

Sam’s Diary #7

5th March 2008

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I went house hunting today and, third time lucky, I think I found somewhere suitable to live. It’s a second storey flat in an old Victorian tenement, a building that has been converted into flats. My rooms overlook the gas works, so not glamour central, but at least it’s a start. I will meet the landlord again next week with a view to signing the agreement and moving in.

Meanwhile, I think Dan’s affair with Tina has hit the buffers. He’s drinking heavily again and he’s become very moody. I don’t think he suspects that I’m on the point of leaving him or that I’ve instigated divorce proceedings. The divorce papers are due to be served soon and I’m dreading his reaction. I want to be out of our house before the papers are served because I’m frightened that he might lose his head and try to kill me. I’ve been looking into the prospect of taking self-defence lessons. There’s not much of me, five foot five and no heavier than a bag of potatoes, soaking wet, but if I can learn the techniques maybe I can defend myself. I still get migraines from when Dan fractured my skull, so whatever happens, I can’t afford to let him hit me again.

No joy with the secretarial agency, I’m still stuck with the mocking crowd. Why they are so bitchy towards me, I don’t know. Maybe they think I’m a soft target. Cassie, the only person at the office I would call a friend, reckons a lot of them are jealous of my looks. Despite all the batterings, I suppose my face is quite pretty, though I’ve never considered myself to be attractive. I must learn to look in the mirror and appreciate what I see, and not shy away as I do now.

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Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Diary

Sam’s Diary #6

2nd March 2008

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I met Angus Read, the private investigator, at Fry, Gouldman and Fletcher, Solicitors. There, Angus introduced me to Mr Fry, a large man with a jovial countenance. He looked like a cross between your favourite uncle and a benevolent character from the pages of Dickens. He even offered me a glass of sherry, which I declined.

We got down to business and I showed Manny Fry the evidence I’d gathered of Dan’s affair with Tina Mahoney. The evidence consisted of photographs, shop receipts, bank statements and telephone bills that all pointed to Dan showering his affection on Tina. Several times during our conversation Angus and Manny said that they were impressed with my ‘professionalism’. I take pride in my work, even if it’s only typing a letter, and I have to confess their praise did make me smile. I walked out of Manny Fry’s office feeling taller than my modest five foot five.  Before I left Manny’s office he concluded that I had gathered enough evidence to instigate divorce proceedings. He said the next step was up to me and I told him to go ahead. All hell will break loose when Dan learns of the divorce, and I have to admit I am fearful about his reaction. Ironically, one of the tasks Angus carries out for Manny is serving divorce papers.

The future is full of uncertainties with the prospect of finding a new job and a new home – I’ve decided that I will move out, rather than make Dan leave. If I confront him about moving out, that will lead to a battle and while I’m slowly gaining in strength, self-belief and confidence, I’m not ready to face him head-on, yet.

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Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Diary

Sam’s Diary #5

18th February 2008

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Dan went out this afternoon wearing his best jacket and a new pair of trousers. His journalism is suffering because of the booze so we’re living on my money, as we have done for most of our marriage. He walked out of the house without saying a word. I gave him a moment then I slipped into my new coat, pulled a silly, floppy hat over my head, placed my camera in a carrier bag and set off in casual pursuit.

After two minutes of walking I knew where Dan was heading – the Crown. He entered the pub without glancing over his shoulder and I stood for awhile in the rain while he drank his whisky, his favourite ‘poison’. I felt sad as I stood in the rain, sad that my life had reached this point. I considered forgetting about the whole enterprise and walking home. Then I reminded myself of the past four years and Dan’s aggression. I had to see this through and bring this misery to an end.

After forty minutes Dan emerged with a buxom bottle-blonde, Tina, the barmaid. I knew her to say ‘hello’ to, but nothing more. In the pub car park Dan leaned towards Tina and kissed her. In the hedgerow, I cursed myself for not having my camera ready.

In the event, they were so wrapped up in each other that I could have followed them on an elephant and they wouldn’t have noticed. They walked through a park where they paused for a kiss and a grope. Click! Then they went into the shopping centre, a jewellers. After ten minutes Tina emerged with a gold bracelet on her wrist, bought with my money. She turned to Dan and smiled longingly. Then she gave him a big, smoochy kiss. Click!

From there, they walked to Tina’s flat. While she fumbled for her door key, Dan fumbled under her dress. Click! I felt a bit grubby, taking these photographs, but reminded myself that Angus said I didn’t need anything explicit – the implication that Dan was having an affair should be enough.

With Dan and Tina in her flat, I walked to Angus’ office and told him about my afternoon. He was very impressed with me and said that I’d made a promising start. He recommended a solicitor, Manny Fry of Fry, Gouldman and Fletcher, and arranged an appointment with him. Meanwhile, Angus would discretely interview people close to Dan and Tina to gather more evidence of the affair. He advised me to be on the lookout for any additional evidence – I should check Tina’s rubbish bag to see if I could find any sexual evidence of the affair, a task I decided to postpone. I should search Dan’s pockets and wallet for telephone numbers and shop receipts. Also, check my bank statements for gifts Dan had bought Tina.

I did most of the above. I am on my way, there is no turning back now.

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Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Diary

Sam’s Diary #4

15th February 2008

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I called on Angus Read this morning. He gave me advice about following Dan and his lover, and about collecting evidence. He suggested that photographic evidence would be my best bet and advised me to buy a quality camera with a telephoto lens and a decent shutter speed. He said tailing Dan might be a problem because he’d recognize me, so I should do something to hide my hair, maybe style it differently or wear a hat. Also, wear dark glasses and buy a reversible coat – whenever the opportunity presented itself I should reverse my coat, don or remove my hat, and make full use of a range of sunglasses. It all sounds very ‘I Spy’ but he’s an experienced investigator and he must know what he’s doing. Another tip he gave me was to use windows and reflections – don’t look directly at your subject. If I follow his advice, Angus reckons that I should gather enough evidence to satisfy a solicitor. I must say, I’m feeling both nervous and excited about the prospect of ‘playing detective’, but I also have in mind that this is a serious matter and I have to get it right. From Angus’ office I went straight to the shops, where I bought a camera, a reversible coat and some headwear.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting some strange phone calls. Whenever I pick up the phone the line goes dead. I’m wondering if it’s Dan’s lover trying to contact him. If it is, it’s brazen of Dan to give her our home number. But Dan can be like that – very sure of himself when in the company of women. Though, that said, he usually needs a few drinks to reach that level of confidence. I wonder what she thinks of me. Do I care? Not really. I have to think of myself in this situation and, for the first time in my life, put myself first.