WHAT IT IS
Davey Doucet was a young man, barely twenty-one years old, but from the time he was ten he had known he wanted to grow up to be a private investigator, or as uncle Ned would say …a gumshoe. Ned, a patrolman in Beaver County Pennsylvania, invited his nephew down from Davey’s home in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to help his uncle work a suspicious house fire case. Ned was actually humoring the boy, but he liked Davey and rather enjoyed the young fellow’s company.
Cinder Willoughby was admiring the long, bright yellow canola fields when he spotted Ned and Davey walking along the side of the rural road. He recognized Ned right away and pulled over his pick-up truck to see what was going on. Ned told Willoughby of young Davey’s investigative aspirations, and how Davey seemed determined to find the cause of the fire. Willoughby offered the two the diary he had found at the scene of the fire, although it contained little information. However, it was evident that at some point the diary had been immersed in seawater. He also suggested that there might be a connection between those who lived in the house and Brier Island…a place not far from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Willoughby explained that the plants found in the garden of the burned house may have originated on Brier Island.
This could be Davey Doucet’s first official investigation. Coming from a town not far from Brier Island made Davey especially enthusiastic to take on this investigation, although who was going to pay for his efforts remained unclear.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Will Offley was up at first light. Under his skillful hand the tractor, with a grader blade attached, scraped the gravel runway to a smooth surface. His daughter, Samantha Gallant, was flying her Beaver aircraft to the farm to be stored in one of the barns, and she was staying to help with the canola harvest.
Samantha arrived right on schedule. Will and Beatrice recognized the sweet high pitch sound of her approach and were anxiously waiting on the runway when the plane touched down. Will grabbed Samantha’s gear. Walking ahead of them all the way to the house, he gave the two women space to reenact their mother and daughter customs and familiarities.
After supper, when Samantha and Beatrice were doing the dishes, Will approached Samantha about something that had been upsetting him. Several weeks ago a young man from Nova Scotia had driven onto the property and had asked a lot of questions about Samantha, about when she was a child and about a house fire up the county near Ellwood City. The young man had given his name as Davey Doucet. Samantha stated flatly that she did not recognize the name.