“Did you give all of the letters to Berglund?”
“Yes, I did—for the Historical Society. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but then—I swear not an hour went by before someone else knocked on the door asking me for the same thing. Letters from Katie. I figured someone at the Historical Society must have gotten their wires crossed, sending out two guys, so I told him that I already gave the letters to Berglund.”
“You used Berglund’s name?”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t I?”
“This second man, did he tell you his name?”
“Yeah, I remember I thought it was a sissy name.” Shelly chuckled. “Don’t tell anyone I said so.”
“What was the name?”
“Boston Whitlow. You know, he reminded me of Robert Preston, the actor who played the traveling salesman in The Music Man. Boston Whitlow, he was just as slick as Professor Harold Hill was.”
Very slick, my inner voice said.
“What can you tell me about Timothy Dahlin?”
“Kathryn’s son? He’s pretty slick, too, I guess, but I hardly know him. When I was a kid I would see him from time to time at family gatherings, only I was a lot younger than he was and he didn’t bother with me. I remember seeing him at a couple of funerals—Katie’s, and his father’s, and Nana’s. He sent a card and some cash when I was married, and he sent a bouquet of flowers when my mother died, but he didn’t show up either time. Why do you ask?”
“I think he wants the letters, too.”
“What the heck is in those letters?”
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
“Just some family stuff that took place over seventy years ago. I mean, who cares? The people it involved are all long dead.”
It was then that Shelly started asking the hard questions. I answered them as best I could without mentioning Jelly’s gold. I told her about Berglund’s murder and the missing letters. I suggested that the cops might be contacting her but she shouldn’t worry about it. I told her that Lieutenant Bobby Dunston was a good guy, but if he didn’t treat her with the utmost courtesy and respect she should give me a call and I’d kick his ass.
“Oh? Do you often battle the police?”
“It’s getting to be a habit.”
I thanked Shelly for her time, as well as the plastic bag filled with donuts that she insisted I take for the road. When I was going out the door, I said, “I wish you’d give me a call when you and your friends go clubbing. I’d like to buy a few rounds.”
“Oh, McKenzie,” she said as she patted my arm. “Nothing personal, but you are far too old for us.”
“We prefer our fruit right off the tree.”
Her laughter followed me all the way to my car.
Ivy Flynn gave me coffee while I treated her to Shelly’s fabulous donuts.
“Mmmm, nutmeg,” she said.
“It’s the secret ingredient,” I told her.
Ivy chewed slowly, savoring the donut. “I needed this,” she said. “It’s been a terrible morning.” She took another bite. I let her be until she finished eating.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Josh’s parents. They came to … to collect his things. His clothes, his …” Ivy covered her eyes with her hand. After a moment, the hand slid over her mouth and finally to the top of the table. “They’re devastated by what happened to their son. I think they blame me. Somehow they think I’m responsible. Because he was here. Because he was with me.”
“When’s the funeral?” I asked.
“They said, Josh’s parents said, that the medical examiner was releasing the body late tomorrow, so the funeral won’t be until Monday. They didn’t say it, but I don’t think they want me to be there.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.”
Ivy ate more donut and drank more coffee, but I don’t think she was getting as much pleasure from it as before.
“McKenzie,” she said. “From what Shelly Seidel told you, do you think Boston Whitlow broke into the apartment the other night looking for the letters? Do you think he killed Josh when we caught him?”
“It’s as viable a story as any.”
“Are you going to tell the police?”
“No. Not yet.”
“I want to find the letters first.”
“So we can get the gold?”
“So we can get the gold,” I said.
“Do you think Whitlow has the letters?”
“No. He came to me looking for them, remember? For some reason he thought I had them.”
“But you don’t.”
“Ivy, have you searched the apartment? I mean really searched it?”
“Do you think Josh hid them here somewhere?”
“It’s a possibility.”
Ivy shook her head. “It’s not that big a place, and I’ve been—I’ve been collecting all of his things for his parents, going through all the drawers and closets. If the letters were here, I would have found them.”