the family murder case (part ten)

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"Alright," she said, leaning back. "We make progress. Three final questions, then. Six: Does Claudia want my help? Yes or no. Seven: Does Erika want my help? Yes or no. Eight: Does Claudia's family want my help? Yes or no."

"I don't know," he said quietly. "I assume they do."

"That's a big assumption. Assumptions. Well, here's what I propose. Go to your office, where you will have access to a telephone. Call the Forrester house. Try to talk to Claudia or Erika, if available, or at least to somebody in the family. Find out as many facts as you can. Promise nothing. Find out who, if anybody, explicitly wants my assistance. If we come there, will they put us up? Oh, and get current train schedules. We will meet you at your house this evening, and then we will make plans.

"This is, I agree, apparently a very serious situation. She may even be guilty." He started to protest, but she ignored him. "But this is not an emergency. Even if she has been arrested, she will not be charged, tried, convicted, and executed in the next few hours, or even the next few days. If the Forrester family is behind her, it will be months, or years, or never. So, we can operate calmly and rationally. Agreed?"

He nodded.

"Oh, and you can let them know that, if we do come, there will be three of us."

He looked up.

"Marshall, myself, and somebody for security," she explained, stubbing out her cigarette.

He nodded.

"You were a bit rough on him," I said after he'd gone.

She smiled. "Well, he's a college professor, not the tremulous heroine of some nineteenth-century novel. He looked like he was about to succumb to an attack of the vapors, whatever that is."

"Or brain fever."

"Exactly. My professional diagnosis is that he needs to buck up."

"So," I said idly, "I guess that's why, if we do decide to go, he's not coming with us."

She laughed. "Don't be disingenuous. You know very well that we're going. And you're right, not with him."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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