Orsam Books

That Little Red Diary

Finally, three months after telling us that she had received information from Martin Earl, Caroline Morris reveals what Earl ACTUALLY said about the little red diary, and it's a total disaster for her.

Based on Martin Earl's information, this is what she claimed back on 7 May 2020 that Martin Earl would have told Mike Barrett about the diary (colour added):

  'It's a small diary for the year 1891, Mr Barrett, X by Y    inches, with the dates printed on every page.  Are you    happy for me to go ahead and order it for you?'

On 30 July 2020 she said 'it would be rather awkward to explain if I had made anything up, misrepresented his position or over-egged the pudding in relation to Mike's order specifically'.  We now know that this is EXACTLY what she did.

In the ACTUAL description of the little red diary that Martin Earl would have given to Mike in March 1992 (as per #5701 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread) this is what is stated:

'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.'

Do you see the word 'printed' in that description?  No, nor do I.  It turns out that was an invention. A misrepresentation right there.

And what else do we find?  This beauty:

'Nearly all the pages are blank'.

Anyone who has been even half-reading my articles will surely know that I have been predicting for months that Earl must have told Mike that the pages in the diary were blank.  That's exactly what Mike had been asking for.  A 'minimum of 20 blank pages'.  And that's exactly what he was being given!  But there was no mention whatsoever of this in Caroline Morris' summary posted on 7 May 2020.  It was a material omission.

We are not told if Mike was sent this description of the diary in the post, or if it was just read to him over the telephone, or neither, but I'll bet that, if he had read it, or it was read to him, and we could look inside his brain, this is how he would have viewed it: 

'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.' 

Sure, it also states that it is 'dated 1891 throughout' and that are 'three or four dates to a page' but, in my view, what Mike would have seen or heard was the key information that nearly all the pages in the diary were blank.

That's why he agreed to take the diary.

If anyone says that he would have asked questions of Earl to the extent he was uncertain, I don't think that Earl had seen the diary himself when speaking to Mike.  All he would have had was that short description.  It was only when Mike gave the go-ahead that Earl would have placed the order himself with his supplier and received the diary for onward transmission to Mike.

There's a lovely misrepresentation of the situation by Caroline Morris at the start of her #5701 when, before giving this description, she says, 'here again is a description of what Mike Barrett asked Martin Earl to send him'.

The word 'again' is simply false because she'd never posted that information before (even though she seems to want to give the impression that she had) but a more accurate way of presenting the information would be to have said, 'here is a description of what Mike Barrett was forced to accept because it was the only diary that Martin Earl had been able to find and without it he had nothing.'

What Caroline Morris also reveals (although you have to read very carefully to spot it) is the reason why Mike could not have asked for a refund.

We are told that:

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

Another, more helpful, way of reading that is:

'Customers could NOT return items if they were as described'

The item provided to Mike was as described.  He couldn't challenge it because he had, indeed, been given a diary in which nearly all the pages were blank and, to the extent that there was any ambiguity, he had been told that there were three or four dates to a page and it was dated 1891 throughout.

Now, when you have a positive or hopeful outlook and you are told that nearly all the pages are blank, and when you simply have no other options, you accept what is available.

We shouldn't forget that, even if he had thought that 1891 was printed at the top of each page, Mike might have imagined he could slice and dice.  Cut off the top of the diary, all the way through, to create a smaller but undated one.  If you used the right tools you could do it.

The concept of three or four dates to a page doesn't necessarily mean that any dates were PRINTED on the page.  To Mike's mind, it might just have meant there were spaces to include three or four dates to a page which were written in by the diarist.  

Until he saw that diary, he didn't know if it would be suitable, especially with the promise of those blank pages throughout.

As we now know, when Mike received the diary, he would have seen not only that it was too small but that the individual dates printed on each page would have precluded any attempt to use it for a fake 1888/89 diary.  He couldn't have returned it because Earl had given him a correct description.

My suspicion is that he just put his head in the sand, hoping that Earl wouldn't chase for payment and looked at other options to obtain a blank diary.  When Earl did chase for payment he ran to his wife to bail him out.

The most important thing here which I need to repeat is that Mike was told he would be getting a diary in which nearly all the pages were blank, exactly as I predicted.

In her summary, Caroline Morris includes the statement that, 'Martin says it was not possible that Mr Barrett was unaware that he was being sent a diary for the year 1891'.  No-one that I know of has suggested he was unaware of this.  As far as I've always been concerned, this was the one thing that Mike would definitely have known because the first thing Earl would have told him was that he hadn't been able to locate a diary from within his required date range of 1880 to 1890, so was he prepared to accept one from 1891?  That much is obvious.  It always has been.  The only question was whether Mike knew that 1891 dates would be PRINTED on each page to such an extent that those dates could not be removed.  That information wasn't in the description but what was in the description was that nearly all the pages were blank!  This is what Mike was really after.  He didn't particularly care if it was a diary from 1889, 1891 or 1899.  He just wanted the paper to be of the correct period in a properly bound volume. 

Now that we've established that, there are a few things about the way the Martin Earl information has been provided that we need to discuss.

Caroline Morris told us on 30 July 2020 that the information came from 'the emails that Martin Earl sent me in May, that most pleasant of months, explaining in great detail the way he ran his bookfinding business'.

That being so, it is very strange that we are presented with a summary of information provided by Earl which reads like a note of a conversation with him rather than his actual emails.  Already confusion is caused because we don't quite know what the diary description Caroline Morris has reproduced actually is and whether it was sent or read to Mike at the time.  Why not post Earl's actual emails?  Is it because she is trying to hide the questions that she and others were asking him?  Or is she trying to hide something in his answers?

A consequence of her doing it the way she's done it is that we don't know WHEN she received this information.  Is it a composite of information obtained by Keith Skinner (over the telephone?) back in 2004 and information received by email in 2020 or is it only information provided by email in 2020?  If by email in 2020, on what date or dates was the relevant information provided?

As we can now see, the words Caroline Morris used on the Forum to describe what Mike was told by Earl about the diary in March 1992, such as 'full description', 'described in detail' and 'precisely' were not Earl's words (as I predicted), they were Caroline Morris' own words.  And each of those descriptions hid the fact that (a) Mike was NOT told that individual dates were printed on every page and (b) Mike WAS told that nearly all the pages in the diary were blank.

She wraps up her summary with the words, 'And there you have it.  I doubt if anyone would stay in business very long if they paid their supplier out of their own pocket for an item the customer hadn't asked for, and then sent to them without even discussing what they had located and how much it would cost'.   Well if that's what she thinks she's found out, she hasn't found out anything useful.  I already knew all that.  I posted over THREE YEARS AGO on the Forum, in response to one of her own posts, that there must have been a discussion of that nature between Earl and Barrett prior to Earl sending Barrett the diary in the post.

Amusingly, when Kattrup confronted her with that fact, she responded weakly (#5709 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread), by saying, 'I didn't know Orsam had made any such suggestion - or if it was made here on the casebook I'd forgotten all about it'.  Unfortunately that just sums her up.  I did make such a suggestion on Casebook but she either just ignored it or completely forgot about it and so here we are now with her thinking she's found out something new and important - and boasting and crowing about having done so - when it was no more than identical to what I posted in January 2017. 


There are two mysteries relating to the information posted by Caroline Morris.

The first one is how is it possible that when summarizing what Earl had told Mike on 7 May 2020, Caroline Morris categorized the size of the diary as 'X by Y inches' when Earl has given her the precise measurements as being 2.25 by 4 inches?  That's rather strange isn't it?  Is it possible that, after her initial post on 7 May, she realized that she needed more information and went back to Earl so that she was, in fact, posting from a position of ignorance in her first post on the subject?

Secondly, the description of the little red diary makes no mention of any pages having been torn out. Yet, in the image of that diary posted on the Forum by Iconoclast we can see clear evidence of a page or pages having been removed from the front of of it.  

Here is that image with the torn page or pages clearly visible: 


Who removed that page or pages, when and for what purpose?


The focus on the red diary by Caroline Morris has not only been a disaster for her, with the evidence not supporting what she claimed it would (while supporting what I said we would find), but it has been a classic conjuring trick to distract us from the real issue of Mike's Bookdealer advertisement in which it was made clear that what he was really after was a totally unused, and thus completely blank, diary from the 1880s or, at least, one with a minimum of 20 blank pages.  Caroline Morris simply cannot explain this requirement for blank pages, even though the explanation is perfectly obvious, so she tries to dismiss the overwhelming evidence that Mike was engaged in a forgery plan due to his acceptance of the red diary which he was, of course, forced to accept from Martin Earl because nothing else was available.

We all know that the little red diary was unsuitable for the purposes of forgery.  Mike said so himself.  But until he saw it with his own eyes he wouldn't have known that.  Once he saw it, he had to pay for it because that's how Martin Earl's business worked. 

No-one should be fooled by a pathetic conjuring trick.  The information obtained by Caroline Morris confirms that the requirement for a minimum of 20 blank pages was 'a specific requirement' from the customer and that, 'There would be no reason for Martin to add that in otherwise'.  The customer's instructions also specified a diary from the period 1880 to 1890.  Earl has confirmed that there was not 'a lot of choice' in what he was offered so that the 1891 diary was the best he could do for Mike and that was, therefore, Mike's ONLY CHOICE!!! 

The real question is: why was Mike seeking such a diary from this specific decade with blank pages in the first place?  As to that, I repeat that no sensible answer has ever been forthcoming from Caroline Morris.  Keith Skinner literally promised me he would answer the question more than two years ago but has still not done so.  The Diary Defenders are in disarray over this question.  They just can't work it out.  And that's because they refuse to confront or consider the obvious solution.  They are so obsessed with the almost certainly fabricated Battlecrease story, and the enticing legend of the biscuit tin containing gold under the floorboards, that they can't think straight. 

Once again, new information provided by the Diary Defenders supports my theory about the origins of the diary.  Funny how that keeps happening! 


19 September 2020