So how come nobody knew Winthrop had two daughters, I wanted to know. He’s a pretty public guy, and that kind of thing is hard to hide. There was a mystery here alright.
“All I know, Mr. Smellephant, is that Louisa showed up in my life one day, nearly a year ago. Until then I never even knew I had a sister. Heaven knows why Daddy would keep something like that a secret. Mother passed away when I — when we — were born, so he’d be the only one who could explain it. But Louisa made me promise not to tell him anything.
That took me by surprise. “Your pop doesn’t know?”
“Well, what could I do? Imagine finding out one day that you have a sister — an identical twin. What would you have done?”
“If I found out I had an identical twin sister? I’m pretty sure I’d be more surprised than you are.”
“Well, yes,” she said, thinking that over, “I imagine you would. Anyway, dear Louisa had just walked into my life, and it was all so wonderful. When she made me promise not to tell, there really wasn’t much to do but agree. Frankly, I was afraid…” she hesitated.
“Yes…” She gave me a searching look. “Afraid that if I didn’t honor her request, she would simply disappear, and I would never see her again. And that … that seems to be exactly what has happened anyway!”
And then she broke down and started to cry. I hate when dames cry. Makes me feel all stupid and useless. I would’ve offered her a tissue, but I’m not the kind of shamus who keeps tissues on his desk. So I did the next best thing.
“Sounds like a good case. I’ll take it.”
“Oh Mr. Smellephant, you are so wonderful!” she said, throwing her arms around me. It felt good. Real good.
But in this business an elephant needs to be professional. So I gently pulled her off me. “You better go home, Miss Winthrop, get a good night’s sleep. I got a feeling I know how to crack this case.”
I saw her to the door, trying hard to ignore the part of me that wanted her to stay. I had a different kind of date planned for tomorrow morning — with the office of county records.