The Body On The Beach: 36

As arranged, Miss Edith and Miss Piccolo sat down to dinner at eight. They were both attractive and fashionable women, so no doubt some eating at the hotel that evening wondered why they dined without the company of men, such female only association being more common in gentile tea rooms. Nevertheless, this was an age of women having and demonstrating confidence. Here were two such self-assured individuals. They began with pleasantries, as one does, conscious of the fact that they were not that well acquainted. Whereas men will readily dive into conversation with other men, the female of the species usually treads more warily, sensing potential threat. Despite this caution, as the evening unfolded, Piccolo learned much about Edith, her family and her home town on the other side of the world. Edith politely expressed a fascination for Piccolo’s work as a novelist, though she admitted to doing little reading herself. Throughout the various courses they both did a fine job of skating around the subject of Miss Margaret, each awaiting a sign from the other that such a topic of conversation might be acceptable. Eventually, at the end of the meal, as coffee was being served, Miss Edith turned to the reason for her seeking their meeting.

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