the sister mystery (part thirty-one)

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"I had a good conversation with young Ron," Bea said, "and I gather that your approach to child-rearing is rather..." She hesitated.

"Bohemian," Jan suggested.

Bea nodded, though I had the idea that she'd been thinking of something stronger.

"I doubt that I'm going to get you to change that, or to get her to dress decently for a young girl. But I did wonder why she insisted on wearing that bulky, dirty sweatshirt even though it's a warm day. Well, we talked and she relaxed, and it turned out that your 'daughter'" – I could hear the quotes – "doesn't own any underwear. It's all fallen to rags. And now she is just beginning to develop and she is mortified that people will notice, especially because she doesn't own a brassiere and she was not comfortable asking you to buy her one."

She sighed. "I tried to get her to buy some other clothes, something more appropriate for a girl her age, but she declined."

We were saved from hearing the details of Ron's refusal because the phone rang. Stu reached for it, but Bea grabbed it out of his hand. "Hello," she said, "Stuart Anson's office." She paused as Stu waved at me. I had pulled out my wallet, prepared to reimburse Bea for the things she had purchased for Ron, but he shook his head and I put it away.

Bea pantomimed, "Take the money, you old fool," as she said, "Please hold, Inspector. I'll see if he's available." She pressed the Hold button, hung up the receiver, and returned to the outer office, closing the door behind her.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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