Abram Solinski, the famous detective, looked at the people seated around the room. Behind every expression of nonchalance, he glimpsed a secret. Celia, Thomas, Brandon, Tanzi, Leonard. Doubtless, each one of them knew something about the death of their aunt, the wealthy Mary Reynolds.
“Every second we sit here is a waste, Solinski, so get on with it,” said Brandon the businessman.
“Far from him to tell us what he’s thinking,” said Celia, young and beautiful and terribly cynical.
“Good people,” said Solinski in the rather sarcastic yet soothing tone he often employed in such situations, “be patient with me. How can I speculate yet, having just arrived on the scene? I know very little about your aunt, or about the circumstances of her death.”
“Just that she was murdered,” said Tanzi, the dutiful niece who had sat by her ailing aunt’s bedside for so many years.
Kindred, thought Solinski, are wonderful, when you can trust them and know that they love you.
Love. Musing, Solinski searched the faces around the room again, and found no trace of real grief. No sorrow from Brandon, who needed business capital, or Thomas, who needed financing for an archaeological expedition, or Celia with obviously expensive tastes in fashion. Or Tanzi, the faithful old maid, or Leonard, the unemployed drifter
Poor, poor Mary Reynolds! Querulous and wealthy spinsters were born victims, perhaps. Regardless, it was his job to avenge this one.
So what did he know, then? The last words she had whispered with her dying breath: Evil Flower. Unhelpful, he thought. Veiled and nebulous, perhaps meaningless...
X-ray-like, his eyes fixed upon one of the women–the shrinking little old maid, Tanzi.
“Your name, what is your real name?” he demanded, and was not at all surprised when she whispered, half choking,
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