Orsam Books

Item Not As Described

 
In this article I'm responding to Caroline Morris' posts #583, #591 and #592 in the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread on JTR Forums.
 
After an entirely unnecessary and snarky 'season's greetings' comment to Kattrup in #583, Caroline Morris said of Martin Earl's return policy:

'Customers could always return items if they were not as described.'
 
That is correct, meaning, as Kattrup pointed out in his response, they could not return items if they were as described.
 
Dear reader, please do remember that Caroline Morris started off her post with the statement that 'Customers could always return items if they were not as described'.  We will be coming back to that.  
 
We then have a very general statement:
 
'Suppliers provided full descriptions, and if needed Martin Earl would go back to his supplier for any additional information needed or asked for.'
 
I'm sure that suppliers did provide full descriptions and here is what Earl would no doubt have regarded as the 'full description' in the case of the little red diary:
 
'A small 1891 De La Rue's Indelible Diary and Memorandum Book, 2.25" by 4", dated 1891 throughout – three or four dates to a page. Nearly all of the pages are blank and at the end of the diary are two Memoranda pages.' 
 
It's a description that Earl provided to Caroline Morris, which she posted on Casebook, and may be regarded as the official description.  It is a perfectly adequate description in normal circumstances and one cannot conceive of why Martin Earl would have needed any additional information or asked any questions arising from it. After all, he didn't know that he was supposed to be finding a diary for which it was possible to forge the diary of Jack the Ripper!  
 
Then Caroline Morris tells us that:  

'As a reminder for Mr Earl, he was sent images in May this year of the 1891 diary now in Keith Skinner's possession, and a copy of the original advert he placed in March 1992 on Mike's behalf.'

Oh great, so that means he must be able to remember everything from 28 years earlier!

Then we are told:

'Mr Earl also said there was no way Mike would have been unaware that the diary was for the year 1891 when it was sent out to him.'

Thanks for pointing out the obvious.  No-one is disputing that Mike was aware that the diary was for 1891.  That much is obvious because Mike's original request was for a diary between 1880 and 1890 so he MUST have been told by Earl that the diary was for 1891 prior to being sent it.

I genuinely think that, until this year, Caroline Morris has been under the impression that Earl simply sent to his customers whatever he received from his suppliers, regardless of whether it was what they had asked for, and it was for his customers to return items if they weren't satisfied with them.

Clearly that could never have been the case and, as I wrote on the Casebook Forum many years ago, it was obvious that Earl must have spoken to Mike on the telephone telling him that all he had been able to find was a diary from 1891 and asking him if he wanted it.

It's only because Caroline Morris isn't reading my articles that she keeps making irrelevant points as if they are in any was significant.

Here is where the falsehoods begin:

'Whichever way you cut it, the diary could have been returned and Anne could have saved herself £25.' 

That is a ludicrous statement for two reasons.

Firstly, Caroline Morris must have forgotten that Martin Earl told her that 'normal settlement time was 30 days' (as she posted in #5701 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread).  By the time Anne paid £25 in May 1992, well over 30 days had passed since receipt of the diary so that any chance of being able to return it had gone.  Let's not forget that this line of discussion started when Caroline Morris said to Trevor Marriott in #571 that, 'instead of returning it, she [Anne] paid for it and kept it', as if that was significant, but, as the 30 day period had passed, she literally had no choice but to pay for it.  Returning it wasn't an option.

Secondly, Earl's normal practice was that customers could return items if they were not as described which means that the diary could NOT have been returned if it wasn't as described and we have no reason to think that Earl didn't accurately describe the diary to Mike.  In fact, as we have seen, Earl has given us the official description of the diary!!!  That description is accurate and would not have afforded Mike or Anne an excuse to return to the diary because the diary WAS as described!

It's incredible that Caroline Morris doesn't seem to understand this. 

How can she possibly use the expression "whichever way you cut it" as if there was some kind of entitlement to return a diary which couldn't be used for the purposes of forgery!

Now, in #590 of the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread, Caroline Morris claims FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME that Mike was sent the diary 'on approval' so that he had 'the option to return it, or retain it and pay for it'.  But this is NOT what she originally claimed she was told by Martin Earl. 

If we look at her post #5701 in the 'Incontrovertible' thread, this is what she revealed Earl had told her:

'Normally he would have asked for payment with the order, so it is likely that Mr Barrett specifically asked to see it before sending payment. Given the time taken before the cheque was sent [by Anne] it is highly likely Martin had to chase it, probably by phone. From memory, he says normal settlement time was the standard 30 days so he would have chased it up after that period. Customers could always return items if they were not as described....Normally Martin asked for payment with the order once the customer had agreed to purchase what was offered, but in Mr Barrett's case, given the delay in receiving payment, that was clearly not the case. For books not paid for when ordered, there would have been an invoice sent, giving the standard 30 days for settlement.'

That's everything he said on the matter but nowhere in there does one find a statement that Earl sent the diary to Mike 'on approval'.   All we have is reconstruction on the part of Earl that, because he had to chase payment, he hadn't insisted on payment from Mike before sending him the diary (or arranging for it to be sent to him) so that it was 'likely' that Mike had wanted to see it before paying for it.  That doesn't necessarily mean it was sent on approval, and Earl evidently has no actual recollection of the transaction. 

Furthermore, it's obvious that Earl did not ALWAYS insist on payment up front because he was able to explain his process for when payment was made after receipt of the item.  In such cases, he would send an invoice giving 30 days for payment. The notion that Mike was sent the diary 'on approval' seems to be an interpretation of Caroline Morris for which there is no warrant and it is entirely inconsistent with Earl's clear statement that items could be returned if they were not as described.  If Mike was being sent the diary 'on approval' it surely means that he could have returned it for ANY reason if he wasn't satisfied with it.  But, if that was the case, Earl's statement that items could be returned if they weren't as described is superfluous and meaningless.  It would be odd if Earl gave information to Caroline Morris which was entirely irrelevant to the transaction being discussed.

Surely it must be a possibility that Mike was sent the diary prior to payment because he made clear he wanted it urgently.  Sending it before payment would have considerably shortened the time it would have taken for him to receive it.  Earl might well have agreed to this because it wasn't a rare or secondhand book which Mike could have read (or even copied) before returning it with some flimsy reason why he didn't want to keep it, and, that being so, the only reason he could have returned it was if it wasn't as described. Yet, Earl was apparently never asked by Caroline Morris and Co. about the possibility of Mike having said he wanted the diary urgently which just about shows the standard of the investigation.

In any event, even if the diary was, in this case, sent to Mike on approval, it still means that ANNE could not have returned it in May - which was Caroline Morris' original claim (in #571 as we have seen) - because the period of 30 days had elapsed. 

Then it gets worse:

'It did not have 20 'blank' pages and was outside the 1880-1890 years specified.'

If it did not have 20 blank pages, why does Martin Earl's description tell us that 'Nearly all the pages are blank'?  Is she accusing Earl of giving Mike a false description?

Of course the pages of the diary were blank.  There were no handwritten diary entries on them, which is what is meant by 'blank'

And Caroline Morris is confusing Mike's original specifications, as set out in the advertisement, with what he would have been told by Earl about the diary over the telephone.  Sure, it was outside the original terms of reference but the whole point is that Mike would have been told by Earl that he could only obtain an 1891 diary (in which nearly all the pages were blank) and would have been asked by Earl if he wanted him to go ahead and acquire THAT diary on his behalf.

Caroline Morris seems to be saying that Mike would have been entitled to return the diary because it was from 1891 which shows that she has STILL misunderstood the entire process! 

Then she says:

'It was for 1891 and had 3 or 4 printed dates to a page.'

Yes, it did, but we can see that the word 'printed' was not in Earl's description so that Mike would not have been told this. 

Then we have this (underlining added): 

'If the supplier had misdescribed the item to such an extent that Mike assumed he was ordering what he needed: a diary of the right date, and with enough blank pages, for the fake musings of James Maybrick, who died in May 1889, he'd have been under no obligation whatsoever to purchase what was actually sent to him.'

The first thing to be said about this statement, made in her #583, is that it is entirely inconsistent with her later claim, in #590, that Mike was sent the diary 'on approval'.  For, if he was sent it on approval, it simply didn't matter if the item was misdescribed or not.  If Mike didn't want it for any reason, and was sent it on approval, he could have sent it back within 30 days.  Being sent something on approval means, by definition, that you are not obliged to pay for it if you don't want it. To me, this strongly suggests that between her #583 and her #590 Caroline Morris had been brooding over Kattrup telling her that Earl's policy that customers could always return items if they were not as described must mean that they could not be returned if they were as described (something which, in #590, she blatantly avoided making a direct response to) and she invented this'on approval' malarkey to get herself out of a jam, despite Earl himself never using that expression.

It gets even better than this because in #591 she returned unilaterally to the subject, having obviously been brooding further, to tell us that:

'While Lord Orsam may have argued that customers 'could not return items if they were as described', that would not have applied in Mike's case, because Martin Earl had agreed to let him see the item after describing it, with no commitment to purchase'.

Once again, Caroline Morris is simply inventing evidence.  When she posted a summary of Earl's emails in #5701 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, nothing whatsoever was said in that post about there being 'no commitment to purchase'.   This is brand new.  It's been pulled as if by magic like a rabbit from a hat and created alongside her 'on approval' fiction.  

And it wasn't me who 'argued' that customers could not return items if they were as described.  I was doing no more than repeating (in reverse) what Martin Earl had himself said when he told us that customers could return items if they were as described.  

Now, Caroline Morris seems to want us to believe that when Martin Earl stated that customers could return items if they were as described, he was speaking generally (with regard to 'most cases') but NOT in relation to Mike Barrett's transaction regarding the diary.  Aside from it being very strange that Earl told Caroline Morris this if it didn't apply to Mike who, we are now supposed to believe, could have returned the diary for ANY REASON because he had made no commitment to buy, it's entirely inconsistent with the way Caroline Morris herself presented the position on the Forum.  Let's remind ourselves of her post #583:

 

There it is!

In response to Kattrup querying whether Anne could have returned the diary if it wasn't what Mike had wanted, Caroline Morris said:

'Customers could always return items if they were not as described'.

As soon as Kattrup pointed out to her (in #589) that this means that items could not be returned if they were not as described (and that I had said this), Caroline Morris did a complete u-turn.  The claim that 'Customers could always return items if they were not as described' suddenly didn't apply to Mike!!!  Suddenly, he received the diary with no commitment to buy, meaning that he could have returned the diary for any reason!!!

It's all balderdash and, to my mind, is nothing more than Caroline Morris misunderstanding what Earl told her when he said that it was likely that Mike asked to see the item before paying for it.  That doesn't mean he had no commitment to pay for it or was receiving it on approval.  It just means that payment was to follow receipt. 

Naturally, Mike wouldn't have had to pay for it if, after seeing it, it didn't match the description he had been given by Earl, as per Earl's normal trading terms and conditions.  But I suggest that he most certainly would have had to pay for it if it DID match the description because he wasn't being sent it on approval without commitment to buy.  That's not what Earl said at all, nor is it consistent with Earl's business practices, and Caroline Morris hasn't provided any further evidence to support the claim that this is what he meant in his emails.  Such a thing would be entirely inconsistent with Earl's statement that customers could always [and only] return items if they were not as described, something which Caroline Morris herself adopted as applying to Mike's purchase of the diary....until the implication of it was pointed out to her!!! 

The new claim of receiving the diary without commitment to buy is, of course, also inconsistent with Caroline Morris telling us that Mike would have been under no obligation to buy if the diary had been misdescribed to him. Let's repeat that statement (with underlining added):

'If the supplier had misdescribed the item to such an extent that Mike assumed he was ordering what he needed: a diary of the right date, and with enough blank pages, for the fake musings of James Maybrick, who died in May 1889, he'd have been under no obligation whatsoever to purchase what was actually sent to him.'  

How is that in any way consistent with her new claim that Mike was under no commitment to buy the diary after he received it?   She was clearly saying in the above passage that the absence of obligation to buy was conditional on the item being misdescribed, the very opposite of having no commitment to buy!!   If Mike's obligation to buy was terminated had the diary been misdescribed, then he must have had an obligation to buy in the first place!

Caroline Morris is obviously changing her story from post to post, introducing, as usual, new elements which are not backed up by evidence.   

Furthermore, and worse, the notion that Mike paid for the diary when he simply didn't need to, and could easily have returned it, is inconsistent with her own explanations for why Mike ordered a Victorian diary in the first place!!!! She's variously told us that he wanted to see what a Victorian diary looked like, if it was possible to buy a Victorian diary with blank pages, that he wanted to know the cost of such a diary etc. etc. each one of which would simply have involved him receiving the diary, looking at it, and then sending it back to save himself from paying for it.   So perhaps Caroline Morris will now tell us why he simply didn't return it on or within 30 days of 28 March. 

If we stick with what Earl actually said (and one assumes he said it for a reason), namely that items could [only] be returned if they were not as described, then Mike's assumptions are neither here nor there.  That introduces a subjective element into the process which does not exist under Earl's terms and conditions. The only thing that would have entitled Mike to a refund is if the diary was not as described.   As to that, the date WAS right.  Mike was told he would be getting an 1891 diary.  The diary was from 1891.  Again, Caroline Morris is confusing Mike's original request which was superseded once Earl told him that he couldn't find a diary from the required date range.

To state the obvious. Mike did not necessarily need an 1888 or 1889 diary.  He just needed a diary from the Victorian period with paper from that period. 

I think at this point I need to repeat my collection of images of diaries from the Victorian and Edwardian period:

 

 

None of the above have printed dates on them, and any of them could easily have been an 1891 diary.  With a minimum of 20 blank pages, Mike, as forger, could simply have torn out those pages with writing on and used the remainder for a fake Jack the Ripper diary. 

If Mike assumed that Victorian diaries didn't contain printed dates on the pages, he would have been entirely justified, as the above collection shows, so that an 1891 diary in a similar form would have been equally as suitable for his purposes as an 1888 or 1889 diary.  It's a very simple point, and easy to understand, probably the easiest point to understand in the entire diary saga, but Caroline Morris seems to have trouble with it. 

There were 'enough' blank pages in the 1891 diary offered to Mike because they were nearly all blank!  So there was a minimum of 20 blank pages which was Mike's stated requirement.  Nearly all of them being blank was perfect. It's just that the printed dates being on the page (which was not expressly included in the official description) rendered it impossible to be used in order to fake one from 1888/89, but Mike could hardly use this as a reason for a refund could he?

Caroline Morris' statement that Mike would have been under 'no obligation whatsoever to purchase what was actually sent to him' is utter cobblers.  He had ALREADY purchased the diary and received an invoice.  His obligation now was to pay for it.  The only legitimate reason for him not to pay for it was if the diary wasn't as had been described to him prior to purchase, which it clearly was, based on the description that Martin Earl himself has provided! 

Caroline Morris continues to be wrong when she writes: 

'Similarly, if we allow that the item was described fully and accurately, by people who were in business to turn a profit, by selling books to satisfied customers, Mike could simply have said it was not what he had asked for and would not be ordering it.'

What Caroline Morris is doing here is confusing Mike 'ordering' the diary, prior to receiving it, with him paying for it after having ordered it.  Frankly, I don't know what period of time she is referring to here because she conflates them both.   Of course, if Mike didn't like what Earl told about the diary over the telephone he had no obligation to order it.  At that stage, Earl hadn't himself acquired it from his supplier and, as the diary did not meet Mike's original specifications, he could simply have passed on it and said he didn't want it (and, indeed, at that stage, he could have passed on it even if it had met the specifications).  

But that is clearly not what Caroline Morris is saying here because she is talking about 'satisfied customers'.  So what she must be talking about is the period after Mike had received the book in the post and, at which point, she is trying to claim, Mike could simply have said it was not what he had asked for and would not be paying for it.

In doing so, she is simply ignoring Earl's stated terms and conditions which were that the only reason for not paying for an item, and returning it, was if that item was not as described.  While ignoring those terms and conditions she is now introducing speculation, based on no evidence, that Earl's priority would have been to ensure that he had satisfied customers and that if Mike didn't like what he had received, despite having been given an accurate description beforehand, well, in order to keep him happy, he would be allowed to return it, and Martin Earl would then have to fight with his own supplier to get HIS money back!
 
Well, of course, it's possible that Earl could have been generous and taken a commercial approach to ensure repeat business, thus allowing people to return their books if, FOR ANY REASON, they weren't happy with them.   For me, it would seem like madness for someone selling books which could be read and returned, with no real obligation to pay, so I strongly suspect that Earl did not run his business this way.
 
It's critical to remember that Earl did not have his own stock.  He would have to buy the books himself before being able to send them to his customers. So the way I see it was that it was vital for Earl to receive payment from his customers (because he had to pay his suppliers) and equally vital for Earl to ensure that all books sent to his customers were 'as described' so that they had no legitimate reason to return them without payment.

If Caroline Morris thinks otherwise she needs to provide some evidence.  When she writes 'Still no obligation to buy' she is stating the very opposite of the truth.  As I've said, Mike had ALREADY bought the book at the point that Earl sent it to him.  His legal obligation wasn't to buy it, it was to pay for it! 
 
The nonsense continues:
 
'Assuming even Mike would have seen the problem with a diary for 1891, two years too late for Maybrick, he could have asked Martin Earl for more information from the seller about the date and  how it appeared on or inside the diary.'
 
Mike COULD, of course, have done many things.  But did he, in fact, ask Earl for more information? 
 
He didn't, of course, need to ask for more information about the date of the diary.  As we all know, but Caroline Morris clearly does not, the fact that it was a diary from 1891 would have been the very first thing he was told! 
 
Yes, of course, Mike could have asked how the date appeared on, or inside, the diary but, if he didn't think to ask that question, that's the end of the matter.  Martin Earl evidently doesn't have any recollection of being asked such a thing.  That being so, Mike wouldn't have known how the date appeared inside the diary before he received it.
 
One thing to bear in mind is that when Earl spoke to Mike he wouldn't himself have seen the diary and would have been relying on the description from his supplier.  So if Mike had asked him any questions, Earl would have had to have reverted to his supplier, thus causing delay.  No doubt Mike was eager to get his hands on a Victorian diary with blank pages, so that as soon as Earl rang him to tell him that he'd found a Victorian diary in which nearly all the pages were blank he agreed to buy it on the spot.
 
It is, I'm sure, as simple as that. 
 
But Caroline Morris tells us: 
 
'It was a two-way conversation.'
 
Not really.  If Earl hadn't seen the diary he couldn't tell Mike any more about it than what he had already been told by his supplier which is no doubt precisely what he told Mike over the telephone. There was no 'two-way conversation' about it.  Having given Mike the description, the only issue was whether Mike then gave the go-ahead for Earl to purchase the diary on his behalf.  Having been told that nearly all the pages in this Victorian diary were blank, it's difficult to see what there was left for Mike to discuss.  Even if he wasn't entirely sure whether he could work with it, he might have felt that the best thing to do was to get his hands on that diary fast and see if he could use it.  
 
But Caroline Morris is still going on down the wrong tracks about the year, saying: 
 
'He didn't have to imagine if the year would be a deal breaker; he only had to ask.'

The flipping year is irrelevant!  Of course Mike knew it was an 1891 diary.  Jeez!   
 
And here we get to the crux of the matter:
 
'He'd have been told that the days/dates of the year were printed on the pages.'
 
This is a palpably false statement.  Why would he have been told this?  We have the official description direct from Martin Earl which says NOTHING about days or dates being printed on the pages.   Caroline Morris is not only ignoring the evidence in the case but is ignoring the evidence which she herself posted on Casebook!!!
 
She replaces the actual evidence with what she speculates Mike would have been told, while ignoring the fact that the official description provided by Martin Earl includes the statement that nearly all the pages in the diary were blank! 

It's not the first time she's done this and, unless she is challenged, and called out on it, I'm sure it won't be the last. 
 
She continues: 
 
'The pages were unused for noting down any appointments, but the dates made them of no use at all for prose and poetry supposedly written in 1888 and 1889.'

Yes, we know this.  Mike told us in his January 1995 affidavit that the diary was unsuitable.  That's why he said he next tried an auction house.  What is it about this that she doesn't understand? 
 
Next, she says: 
 
'If Mike wasn't given that information, then the description wasn't detailed enough for his needs.'
 
But, according to Earl's terms and conditions (as Caroline Morris has reported them), Mike wasn't entitled to a refund if the description 'wasn't detailed enough for his needs'.  I mean, at the very start of her post she told us exactly what would entitle a customer of Martin Earl to a refund.  It was if the item was not as described.  That's totally different to it being 'not detailed enough' for a customer's needs.  And how was Mike supposed to explain his needs to Earl?  Unless he had told Earl that he needed a Victorian diary in order to forge a fake diary of James Maybrick as Jack the Ripper, it wasn't Earl's problem, and Mike was legally obligated to pay for the diary which he had already purchased.
 
And then: 
 
'The fact that Martin Earl let him see the item before committing himself, shows that he could have returned it if he considered the description to be inadequate or misleading.'
 
Unless there is any evidence to support the notion of receiving the diary 'on approval', Mike had already committed himself to purchase the diary, prior to being sent it.  Caroline Morris has clearly misunderstood the entire process.  Martin Earl was not letting Mike see the diary!!!  That's not how it worked.  Earl gave his customers a description of the items he was able to obtain for them and then the customers decided, on the basis of those descriptions, if they wanted to purchase them.  Once they purchased them (by confirming to Earl that they wanted them) and received them, along with an invoice, they could only return them if they were not as described.  They were NOT given them on approval to view them before committing themselves.  They were legally required to pay for them on receipt, having already been purchased.
 

Let me just explain this in another way.

When Earl normally sent out a book to a customer after receiving payment from that customer, that customer would SEE the book and would be able to match the book to the description he had been given (or she, if female).  If it didn't match the description, he would be entitled to return it and get a refund.  If it did match the description he had to keep it. In Mike's case, he was sent the diary before payment at which time he was able to SEE the diary and was able to match it to the description.  If it didn't match the description, he was entitled to return it without paying.  If it did match the description he had to keep it and pay for it.  So there was no difference in the fundamentals of Earl's transaction with Mike other than the order in which things were done.  Earl did not say that the fact that Mike was sent the diary before payment meant that he was being sent it on approval with no commitment to buy and pay.  On the contrary, he made clear that his normal terms and conditions applied by which any customer (including Mike) could return the item if it wasn't as described, the corollary of which being that they could not do so if it was as described.

Remember that what Earl said was 'likely' was not that Mike was sent the diary on approval but simply that Mike had specifically asked to see it before sending payment. That's all he said on the matter.  
 
In any case, the idea that Mike could have returned the diary if he subjectively considered the description to be inadequate or misleading is entirely inconsistent with the notion that it was sent to him on approval or was receiving it with no commitment to buy.  If he was sent it on approval, with no commitment to buy, it didn't matter if the description was or was not inadequate or misleading because he would have been able to return it for any reason if it was not to his satisfaction.  That's what 'on approval' means.   You can send back if not satisfied, or if you just don't want it.   The fact that Caroline Morris claims, at the same time, that he needed a reason to return it, shows that she is confused as to whether he was sent it on approval or not.  That's because she's invented the idea herself! My view is that Earl stuck with his normal terms and conditions, which he described to Caroline Morris, whereby Mike COULD have returned the diary before paying for it but ONLY if it wasn't as he had described it (and only within 30 days of receipt).  If it was as described, it couldn't be returned, but legally had to be paid for.
 
This perfectly explains why Mike did not think to ask for a refund, although an equally good reason is that he naively hoped that Earl would fail to collect payment or, knowing that he didn't have to pay for 30 days, he put it aside and simply forgot about it until he was chased.  By that time, after the 30 day period had elapsed, there was no option but to pay which is why Caroline Morris' statement that sensible Anne could have decided to return it is total and utter nonsense of the type that this individual has been posting online for the past twenty years.
 
The rest of Caroline Morris' post #583 is rambling nonsense about Anne's motives and whether she would have participated in a hoax.  I'm not going to quote it all here but the basic flaw in her approach is to think that if Mike made money out of the diary Anne would not have benefitted.  That is just ridiculous.  Any money made by Mike from the diary would have flowed into the family.
 
I'll just quote one thing from that part of the post.  She asks:

'Who was likely to become a millionaire, from Anne's point of view in March 1992? Did she really expect Mike to make a fortune out of this old book when he told Doreen he'd been given it by some old boy who had then popped his clogs?'

Truly, I find it hard to understand the mind of someone who asks a question like this.  The story that Mike got the diary of Jack the Ripper from an old boy who popped his clogs is the very story that Mike gave to Shirley Harrison and Robert Smith, both of whom believed it and went on to publish a book on that basis!  Why should Anne Graham in 1992 have thought no-one would believe it?  After all, no-one would have been able to disprove it.  It was a simple story which explained how Mike had acquired the diary while leaving its real origins as a mystery.

I can't help thinking that when Caroline Morris speaks of what Anne would or would not have done she is always actually talking about what she (Caroline Morris) herself thinks she would or would not have done in the same circumstances.  I mean, she has no special insights into the mind of Anne Barrett, a woman she barely knows and can't have met on more than a handful of occasions.  So everything she says about her is probably no more than projection of her own thoughts and feelings. 

It's easy to see that Anne, living in near poverty with Mike and with an expensive mortgage to pay if she wanted to go on living in their house, and a daughter to bring up, might well have gone along with a money-making scheme of Mike's.  She might well have thought that if she helped with the diary it might have stood a better chance of being accepted as genuine and enabling them to live a more comfortable life.  And, of course, she would have been right.  The diary made thousands of pounds for its owners (the Barretts) and, had Mike not confessed to forging it, might well have made hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions.

 

LORD ORSAM 
16 January 2021
 

 

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