It wasn’t as much the hunting Carrie down, as the getting away from my mother and brother, that was going to be the problem.
Tucking the letter into the pocket of my jeans, I glanced about the exhibit. My mother and Benny were 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over the same 'Trapped' monument, still amongst the growing crowd that engulfed it.
So, I crept passed the various paintings, back the way I had come, once again marvelling at the beauties on display. Then, finally, I was out into the fresh Moscow air.
I had been told to meet Carrie at a place called Karkroff Hall; that was all the information that she had kindly given me. No street name, no map…it seemed ridiculous that I had come all this way on simply nothing. I guessed Caroline had done it for her own protection. There was a lot of bad surrounding her past, and if the people of Moscow heard about it, she’d probably have to find yet another sanctuary. Nevertheless, Carrie was British, like me, and I stuck by her word.
Carrie supposed she knew my intellect, brought on by a love of puzzles and mysteries, and so she had set up this first task to prove it genuinely was me.
Ducking into an internet café, I paid for a caramel-flavoured crushed ice-drink, and drink the overly-sweet froth that floated on the beverage whilst I Googled ‘Karkroff Hall’.
It was easier to find than I expected. Karkroff Hall, it turned out, was a national site of some interest:
Karkroff Hall, the grand home of the Karkroff family since the 1600s, when the first Karkroff, Sir Byron Karkroff, claimed it as a matter of trade. The current owner is one of Sir Byron’s many legitimate inheritors, Gustaf Karkroff…
The article went on for some time, discussing lineage and terms of inheritance of the Hall, including a rather odd point that stated that, as demanded by Sir Byron, the Hall‘s next owner was not to disturb the crypt or dig further to expand the wine-cellar. Weird. As if anybody would want to.
Luckily, squidged in at the bottom of the page, was an address (just ‘Vanhelm Street’), along with a map. Grinning, I said a little prayer of thanks in my head for Carrie’s ingenuity, and printed off the map as I finished my cooled sugar drink.