the golden mystery (part sixteen)

This story started here.

"So," Ms. Tumolo said to the Golden, "you didn't cheat, this time, but you did lie. You lied about not recognizing Corey when he walked by, as he knew you would."

They didn't react, but my employer limped forward. "I'm more pedantic than the Golden, apparently, and I know I'm more pedantic than my husband, so I will explain. The Golden didn't lie, at least in what they told us today. They made three statements, all of them true, in order to lead you to a false conclusion."

She held up one finger. "They did see somebody walk past the door. That's obviously true."

She held up a second finger. "They couldn't say who it was. Also true, because nobody would have believed them."

A third finger. "It's not good to accuse people if you're not sure." She smiled. "Also true. It can cause a lot of harm. They never asserted a connection between the second and third statements, they just let you assume that there was one. As most people would have. But they didn't lie."

Ms. Tumolo left without a word, and the Golden stood up. "Mrs. O'Connor?"

She had turned toward the back of the room, where Dan, Audrey, and Corey were talking, but she turned back, surprised. Nobody ever addressed her by her married name (other than her husband, occasionally, in private).

"We live with a man, Mr. Bostwick, and he is a fan, of your writing and of your detective work. We know he would enjoy meeting you. Would you and Mr. O'Connor like to come and have dinner this evening?"

"Is Mr. Bostwick a relative?"

"We have no relatives."

"Then how did you come to live with him, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Mr. Bostwick is quite elderly, and he can't get around without a wheelchair. We take care of him. We prepare his breakfast, and we leave him something for lunch when we can't get there in the middle of the day. Then we cook his dinner and we eat with him. He always wants to hear how our day was at school, but we learn all sorts of things from him. He is very old, and he knows a great many things. Soon he will die, and that will all be lost. We also keep the house clean, we do small repairs and run errands for him."

They gestured at the clock over the door. "We have to get to class now. We look forward to seeing you this evening."

I looked at Ron as they left. "You probably have a class to get to as well."

She nodded, somewhat disgruntled that I had figured that out.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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