A Nose for Danger, part 4

“You mean the Rebecca Winthrop?”

“If by that you mean the daughter of J. Chesterton Winthrop, indeed I am. Why do you ask?”

I did some quick mental calculations. Winthrop was not only filthy rich, he was also filthy. I’ve been around enough to know that the guy was behind pretty much every crooked racket in this crooked city. All hidden by a well maintained veneer of respectability. I looked at the dame standing in my office, at the high class cut of her clothes, her haircut, the way she carried herself, and I realized that she wouldn’t know about any of this. Daddy had probably sent his little princess to the finest English boarding school money could buy. Just one thing though. If all of that was true, how the hell had she made it to the office of a shamus like me?

I didn’t share any of this of course. It wouldn’t do to make daddy mad. “No reason,” I said. “Just that your dad’s a great guy. Gives a lot to charity. He’s kind of a hero in this town.”

She gave me another one of those million dollar smiles. “Yes, daddy is a wonderful man. He has helped so many people.”

“So what’s the case?”

“A missing person. I … I knew you were somebody I could trust with this.”

Now I was genuinely curious. “Why is that?”

“Why, because you are the Smellephant. We learned about you at school:

      “He is loyal and sturdy and awfully kind
       Beloved wherever he goes
       Whatever you’re looking for, he’ll help you find
       The Smellephant follows his nose”

There it was again, that damned poem, bane of my existence. There were a lot more verses too, and it was clear my new client believed every one. Well, maybe that wasn’t so bad — being a legend could be good for business.

“And who is it I’ll be looking for?”

“My sister.”

“You got a picture or something?”

“She shouldn’t be all that difficult to recognize, Mr. Smellephant. We are, after all, identical twins.”

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