This story started here.
Stuart Anson, our lawyer, was quite elderly, and at this point I think his entire practice consisted of my employer's professional needs, and the many and varied legal needs of U-town itself. He had no staff, and his partner was long dead, but one or two days a week his wife, Bea, came into the office to do his filing and typing. And, as he always put it, to keep an eye on him.
As I heard her voice, I had a sudden inspiration.
"Mrs. Anson, " I said, "it's Marshall O'Connor."
"Mr. O'Connor," she said briskly. "It's very nice to hear from you."
"Is Mr. Anson available later this afternoon? It's fairly urgent, I'm afraid. There's been a murder, and we're concerned that Ron may be accused. Do you remember Ron?"
"Of course. The young lady who didn't ever bathe, as far as I could tell."
"Well, we've adopted her, Jan and I, and–"
"Really," she said neutrally. I got the idea that she was trying to decide which was more improbable: that anybody would have willingly adopted such a scruffy and unpleasant child, or that my wife and I had decided to have a family at all.
"Yes," I said after a moment. "It was her sister, her blood sister, who was killed. She–"
"Oh, the poor dear child," she said, and I was surprised to hear not a trace of sarcasm in her voice. She was clearly speaking about Ron, and for a second I wasn't sure what to say. Stu and Bea had produced several children, all fully grown now, so presumably she wasn't a complete stranger to maternal impulses. However, it was a bit of a shock to have them come to the surface all of a sudden.
"Are you bringing her with you?" she asked.
"Yes, we are. And I was going to ask a favor. She has a project she's working on, and I was wondering if you could keep an eye on her while we talk to Mr. Anson. I'm sure Ron would prefer not to have to hear about the details of the murder all over again."
"Oh, of course. The poor thing. I'm sure she and I will have a fine time. Please come whenever is convenient, and I'll tell that decrepit old shyster that he needs to wait for you."