‘A house in Ireland?’ Jenna Sutton stared over the mahogany desk at the lawyer. ‘Someone I’ve never heard of has left me a house in Ireland?’
The white-haired lawyer peered over his steel-rimmed spectacles. ‘A half share of the house, Ms. Sutton. Along with a half share of what, at current exchange rates, amounts to approximately fifty thousand pounds.’
Jenna shook her head and swiped several strands of her hair back behind her ear. ‘I don’t understand, Mr. Moore. Why would this Helena – what did you say her name was?’
‘Miss Helena Keating.’
‘Why has she left me a house and twenty-five thousand pounds? How does she even know about me?’
‘Ms. Sutton, I can only give you the information passed to me by the law firm of Daniel McGrath in Dublin. We were instructed to find any descendants of James Oliver Sutton—’
‘Yes, and as far as we can ascertain, you are his sole descendant. I understand your father died in an automobile accident about twenty years ago. My condolences.’
‘Thanks, but I was six when he died and only have some vague memories of him.’ She frowned. ‘Do you know what the link is between this woman and my grandfather?’
‘That wasn’t part of our instructions.’
‘Have you any information about her?’
Mr. Moore pushed his glasses back up his nose and flipped through the papers in the blue manila folder on his desk. ‘Miss Keating was born in 1920 in County Galway, Ireland, and died last year in Dalkey, near Dublin, where she has lived since 1940.’
‘That means she was—’ She did a quick calculation in her head. ‘About fifteen years older than my grandfather.’
The lawyer picked up another sheet of paper. ‘Yes, he was born in April 1936.’
‘I wasn’t aware he knew anyone in Ireland, and I’m pretty sure he never went over there. He lived his whole life in a small village in Kent.’
She couldn’t imagine her grandfather being anyone’s toy boy either. He’d been devoted to her grandmother, so what on earth was his connection with this Irish woman?
Another thought occurred to her, and she looked at Mr. Moore again. ‘You said I had a half share of the house and the fifty thousand pounds.’ Even saying the words seemed surreal. She hadn’t yet wrapped her mind around what the money meant. ‘Who gets the other half?’
‘I’m sorry, Ms. Sutton. I don’t have that information. The Dublin law firm is dealing with the estate. Our job was simply to—’
‘Yes, okay, to find the descendants of my grandfather.’
‘I’m sure Mr. McGrath will be able to tell you more when you meet him in Dublin.’
‘When I meet him in—? Whoa, who says I’m going to meet him?’
‘Mr. McGrath has suggested an appointment at two-thirty on May 10th, to be followed by a visit to the house the next day.’
‘May 10th? That’s—’ Another quick calculation. ‘That’s next Tuesday.’
‘Yes. Will that be a problem? I would be more than happy to contact your employer and request leave of absence for you.’
‘Erm – well, I’m an actress and – and kind of between jobs at present, so I don’t have an employer.’
‘I see.’ The lawyer cleared his throat, and Jenna had the impression she might as well have said she was a nightclub stripper. ‘That simplifies matters, of course.’
She chewed her bottom lip. Not really, but maybe Charley would lend her the money for a quick trip to Dublin.
No, hold on. If she was due to inherit twenty-five thousand pounds plus half a house, perhaps she could get an advance.
‘Actually, no, it doesn’t. The thing is I’m – erm – I have some cash flow problems at the moment.’ Slight understatement, Jenna.
‘I understand, and in that case, on the basis of Miss Keating’s will, I can arrange for our bank to advance you a small loan to cover your expenses.’
‘Great. Thanks.’ She cocked her head to one side. ‘Why does this Irish lawyer want me to go to Dublin?’
‘As the executor of the will, he has visited the house and requires you to visit, too, before you make any decision about it.’
Jenna narrowed her eyes. ‘Why?’ Visions of a dilapidated Irish cottage flashed through her mind. Had the roof fallen in? Was it riddled with wet or dry rot? Or overrun by rats?
‘I’m sorry, Ms. Sutton, I don’t have—’
‘That information,’ she finished off for him. ‘Seems like I need to curb my curiosity until I get to Dublin. So – erm, this loan?’
‘If you leave your bank details with my secretary, I’ll arrange for the transfer of funds tomorrow morning. How much will you need?’
Jenna raised her shoulders and held out her hands. ‘No idea. What do you suggest?’
‘Would a thousand pounds cover your expenses for a few days?’
‘A thous—?’ She stared at him, open-mouthed. The last time she’d visited Dublin, for a St Patrick’s Day weekend, she’d stayed at a crummy two-star hotel. She and Charley had paid thirty-six euros a night for a cramped room overlooking a railway line.
‘I can recommend the Westgate Hotel, if you’re unsure about where to stay.’
‘Thanks, I’ll check it out online.’
Ten minutes later, she stepped out of the lawyer’s offices and stood for several moments as her mind struggled to absorb the news she’d just received. Half a house and twenty-five thousand pounds.
Taxis turning into the hotel across the road caught her eye and, with a quick grin, she pulled her phone from her pocket.
‘Charley, meet me outside Charing Cross Station in half an hour. I’m gonna treat you to afternoon tea at the Savoy.’