“I could tell you stories that would bring bitter tears to your eyes,” I said.
“Please don’t.” Ivy brushed her eye with a knuckle. “I’ve had enough of tears.” She laughed as if she had said something funny, but there was no humor in her voice. When she finished, she said, “This Boston Whitlow, what’s his part in all this?”
“He came to me this morning with a deal. He offered me half of Jelly’s gold in exchange for some letters that he believed Berglund had given me. He was convinced that these letters would lead us to the treasure. He was very surprised when he discovered that I didn’t have them.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Neither do I. How did he know I was working with Berglund? What made him think Berglund gave me letters? Then there’s the big question—what letters?”
From her expression, Ivy seemed even more confused than I was.
“Did Berglund mention anything about some letters to you?” I asked.
“When I last spoke to him, Berglund said he was looking into some private collections. Do you know what he meant by that?”
“Some families keep heirlooms—diaries, letters, photographs—handed down from one generation to the next. Some even put them on display.”
“Perhaps he found something in one of the collections.”
Ivy thought about it for a few beats before shaking her head. “No,” she said. “He would have told me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Most of Josh’s research led to dead ends. He said there was no sense in discussing it. He always shared the information that seemed important.”
“That’s what he told you?”
“Did you believe him?”
“Of course I believed him.”
“Do you know who he was talking to yesterday? Who he went to see?”
Ivy hesitated before she answered. “He didn’t tell me.”
“I have a tough question for you,” I said.
“Could Berglund have been working with someone else? Someone he would have been comfortable leaving the letters with?”
“Do you mean another woman?” Ivy said.
“Doesn’t have to be another woman. Could be a friend, someone in his family.”
“Josh didn’t have many friends, at least none that I met, and he didn’t get along all that well with his family. As for a lover—they say that the woman is the last to know. That’s not true. If Josh were cheating on me, I would have known. I might have been the last one to admit it, but I would have known.”
“Okay,” I said.
“You don’t believe me.” Ivy took a deep breath and pushed herself off the chair. “You sound like the cops, like that guy Lieutenant Dunston. I’ll tell you what I told them. I loved Josh and he loved me and there were no secrets between us. We trusted each other. It was like—Josh once said it was like we were ancient spirits who have known each other for a millennium.”
Tell it to Heavenly, I thought but didn’t say.
“Have the cops asked you about the gold?”
“Of course. When they’re not asking how well Josh and I got along, they’re asking about the gold. So has the TV.”
“The reporter, what’s her name, Kelly something. She asked about it, wanted to interview me. She was very insistent. I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She kept asking what I had to hide. Finally, I just shut the door.”
“Good move,” I said. “Somebody leaked the story to Bressandes, but right now it’s just gossip. If she finds a second source to verify it, someone she can put on camera, then it becomes news and she’ll broadcast it. That’ll make it more difficult to find Berglund’s killer. It’ll also make it harder for us to find the gold. It’ll be like the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt. Everyone with a metal detector will be out there.”
Ivy crossed her apartment and looked out of the sliding glass doors that led to her balcony. Whatever she saw out there held her attention for several minutes. She didn’t speak, and neither did I. I was starting to feel uncomfortable when she spun to face me. Her eyes were moist with tears that didn’t fall.
“You think we should keep looking for the gold.”
“Yes,” I said.
“It doesn’t seem very important anymore.”
“I’m not saying it is, but I want to make sure whoever killed Berglund doesn’t get it. Besides, it’ll give you something to think about other than your troubles.”
Ivy closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and held it as if she were making a difficult decision. “Yeah, why not,” she said with the exhale. She opened her eyes and extended her hand. “You and me, McKenzie. Fifty-fifty.”
“Deal,” I said. Ivy always had a strong handshake.
“I’ve been cleaning up, trying to put Josh’s notes in order,” she said.
“Let’s take a look.”
Ivy led me to the room they used as an office. Photocopies of newspaper articles and other documents were neatly stacked on top of the desk, along with scores of handwritten notes and a log in which Berglund had recorded his progress.