Soli stiffened and pursed her lips. Was Ingrid talking about the ledger Soli had hidden in Far’s trunk? Her stomach knotted at the thought of the Nazis deciphering the clues to the hidden masterpieces.
“Where did you find this book?” Soli asked, keeping her voice calm.
“In the coffer by the sofa-bed. I never go in there, but he asked me to locate his family Bible—not the one he reads every night, but the old one from his parents with all the dates for births, marriages, and deaths written on the first blank pages. I looked around and ended up checking the trunk.” Staring at Soli with wide eyes, Ingrid gnawed on the corner of her thumbnail.
Soli folded her hands in her lap. The ledger. Something had happened to the old ledger. The one Soli thought was safe at the bottom of her father’s trunk.
Trying to appear calm, she hugged herself, squeezing her upper arms until they hurt. “That trunk is always locked.”
“Yes, but I found a key. I only wanted to help your father find the Bible.”
Soli relaxed her grip on her arms. Poor Ingrid. This was not her fault. Soli had to choose her words carefully. If the ledger had fallen into the wrong hands, her undercover work could become even more dangerous. When Nikolai had entrusted her with the journal a few months earlier, she’d promised to keep it safe, learn what secrets the book held within its pages, and use those bits and pieces of information in their clandestine operations. She’d found two masterpieces, but a third one was still out there somewhere, waiting to be found. The missing ledger held clues that would help Soli locate that third piece of artwork. If the Nazis got a hold of that information, they would go to great lengths to obtain the treasure.
Soli got two cups and filled them with warm tea from a kettle. She handed Ingrid a mug and sat down and faced her friend again.
“That ledger is my responsibility.” Soli tipped her head. “Actually, I don’t believe my father has ever seen it. A while back, I asked if I could keep an item in Mor’s trunk, and he agreed—no questions asked, no reservations.” She took a sip of her drink and put the cup on the table. “But I’ll speak with Far about this. I’ll probably tell him I took it with me when I left home last time, or something like that. He doesn’t even have to know what it was.”
Ingrid’s brow wrinkled. “I have no idea why that horrible man threatened me to give him the old journal. Now, I still don’t know, but the expression on your face adds to my worries. This situation is serious, isn’t it?”
“Oh, it is. That book has caused people to become greedy and commit horrible acts, even murder.”
“My goodness. I didn’t know.”
Soli rubbed her hands. Other than her resistance group, only a few people knew about the ledger. Two were dead. The others served Der Führer and were not to be trusted.
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx