Icy Cold Was the Summer is Carol Lemon Allen's first mystery novella; it was recognized at the 35th annual Local Authors Exhibit of the San Diego Public Library.
Just before Jim and I left Phoenix, Arizona, for our month-long trip to the United Kingdom, I received a letter from some old Canadian friends--the Cramptons.
The Cramptons had been a young, childless couple we had known in Calgary before they were moved by a communications system to London, England. They had been there for several years, apparently quite successful in business, and now the parents of three young children.
We intended to visit them in their townhouse on Trevor Place, near Hyde Park. I opened the letter, began to read and sank into my chair with horror at the contents:
“ May 26,1995
Dear Carol and Jim:
We are anxious to see you and are so looking forward to your visiting us in London. It's been too many years since Calgary. And to Don and me, there is nothing more rewarding than spending time with our old friends from Canada. Those were good years, eh? We have lots of reminiscing to do together.
You have our address and phone number. We have your schedule. Please call us when you get into Euston Station, and we’ll come get you--and do a little sightseeing on the way home.
On a sadder note, all of us are in the middle of a terrible nightmare here. We have been keeping Douglas, Lee and little Janey on a very tight leash since the kidnapping and murder of one of Jane's classmates in infant school. It has been horrible. All we parents are taking our children to school, picking them up afterwards, and watching them every minute. Going outside has been out of the question, and we have stopped letting them play in Hyde Park which they used to love to do after school in the afternoon. (If we go at all, we go as a family in the evening--just for a walk.) I am even afraid getting in and out of the car by our house. What if the murderer is hiding there in the shadowy bushes ready to grab one of our children? Since January we have been in fear throughout the neighborhood.
It all started with a series of rapes in and near Hyde Park. The rape victims were mostly young working girls on their way home. And, as horrifying as those rapes were, the most devastating tragedy occurred in March. One of Janey's little classmates did not come to infant school (kindergarten to you North Americans) one chilly morning. When little Kimberly Clarke's parents were called, they said that she had left home at the regular time and had walked the short distance to school, just as she did every morning. They had not seen her since. No need to tell you that panic struck us all. Pleas went out on radio and television for all of us to help in the search for Kimberly. Her description was broadcast, and the picture of a pretty, smiling little dark-haired girl with rosy cheeks was everywhere.
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