"She’s coming back.”

Sam looked up from his morning paper. He didn’t have to ask who Moe was talking about; that was clear from his voice, eager and wistful and a little unsure.

“How do you know?”

“The colonel told me. She requested to be reassigned to Station X, and they’ve approved the transfer. She’ll be back at her post tomorrow.”

But Moe didn’t have to wait an impatient 24 hours before he saw Rob Morgenstern again. With the news of Johnny Miller’s tragic death, Rob had vanished from Bletchley, not even coming to retrieve her personal effects from the staff locker room. It suddenly occurred to her friends and colleagues — Moe among them — that Rob had never discussed her immediate family, and no one had a telephone number or address or any way of contacting her.

But now, with a firm knock on the Brauns’ door, she was here, standing before them.

She didn’t look wan or pale or wasted, as Moe had feared and half expected. If anything, her cheeks were ruddy and shone with good health. Only her eyes, if you looked closely, seemed different: their sparkle had dimmed, like the final smoky remains of a plane gone down in searing flames.

“Well, here I am.”

Fanny enveloped her in a hug, Sam’s smile lit up his face, and even Moe couldn’t stop his treacherous lips from grinning.

Over tea, scones, and late-season blueberries with Devonshire cream, she revealed where she’d spent the past few months.

“I’ve been a Land Girl.”

Moe, puzzled, looked at Rob’s ironic half-smile and at Sam and Fanny’s surprised faces.

“What’s that?”

“That, my ignorant Yank friend, is someone who brings much-needed food to our hungry Empire. I’ve pulled endless potatoes out of the ground and scrabbled through the mud looking for a pumpkin bent on escape. I’ve fought a war against weeds, giving no quarter and taking no prisoners.” Then, taking pity on him, she finally explained. “Land Girls are volunteers who are replacing the farmers, who are now mostly in uniform. There are thousands of us city dwellers going back to the land we are told we love, though I must admit I’ve acquired a firm dislike for British mud and pebbles.”

When she’d devoured the last of the blueberries — “We pick them, but we don’t get to eat them,” she’d laughed — Rob looked at the Brauns’ grandfather clock. “I’ve got to go and check in, and get my orders.”

“I’ll come with you,” Moe said quickly, and the two walked out into the village’s tranquil streets.

“I… we… that is, the Brauns have been worried sick about you.” “And I’ve been worried sick about myself,” she answered, still with that tone of ironic laughter. “But, like a bad penny, I’ve turned up again.”