This story started here.
“So, mom, when did you know?”
We were having dinner that night with our daughter, Ron — after doing the paperwork for Ana’s arrest, and then, I confess, taking a nap — and Ron was, as usual, cutting right to the most important point.
“Well, of course I had the chance to go through their luggage…”
Ron rolled her eyes. “Their passports,” she said.
Jan laughed. “That certainly would have made it easy, but no. Their passports were not there, and they didn’t have very much cash, either. I believe that they left those things in the safe at the hotel where they stayed in the city.” She shrugged. “We do have a reputation for lawlessness around here, after all.
“No, the clue was their clothes. Ana is substantially larger than the princess was, and a princess’s clothes are not identical to an assistant’s. The items which were more luxurious, and in many cases handmade, were all the princess’s size, not Ana’s.”
Ron nodded thoughtfully. “Why did she do it? And why did the princess make her sleep on the floor? I mean, shit, I shared a bed with a girl at camp, and it wasn’t that bad.”
“Apparently it didn’t occur to the princess — the real princess — that they could share a bed. They were friendly, but they were not friends — although it seems that for a while Ana thought they were.
“Ana has admitted that she was offered money — a lot of money — not to interfere with the murder, but I believe that resentment played a part as well.”
“What will happen to her?”
“The court will decide. She betrayed the princess — I’m not sure if there’s enough evidence to establish that, but she’s admitted it — but then she did try to save her. She also admits shooting Glover, but that was in a struggle and apparently it was an accident or self-defense. We’ll see what the verdict is.”
Ron looked thoughtful. “Ana was gonna get stiffed, right? No money in her luggage, and all the cash was about to go out the window in whats-his-name’s pocket.”
Jan nodded, smiling. “I can’t argue with that. Very good.”
Ron’s smile was so fleeting that it may have been a trick of the light.
“So, can I come along with you guys?”
“Come along?” Jan asked innocently.
“Well, you’re gonna go see the king, right? To tell him what happened?”
Jan nodded. “One of his children has apparently been involved in the death of the other one. His majesty should hear the details of what happened as accurately as possible.”
Ron snorted. “The prince is going to be fucked.”
“We don’t know that it was him. It could have been somebody around him, somebody who thought they’d benefit.”
Ron made a face which said she was sure of the prince’s guilt, but she didn’t pursue the question. Instead she said, “And you’re going to find out whether the king’s son is killing him.”
Jan nodded. “That, too, of course. It does seem possible that the sudden decline in his majesty’s health, at a relatively young age, is not entirely natural…”
“So, mom, when did you know?”
Jan looked at me, and I shrugged. “If she’s coming with us, she’ll figure it out.”
Jan nodded. “That’s true.” She reached over to her desk and picked up a magazine, which she handed to Ron.
Ron looked at it. The cover was King Fernando — a photograph of his last official portrait. It showed his impressive mane of dark hair, his luxurious salt-and-pepper beard and mustache, a dark suit crossed by a red sash of state, and his striking, pale blue eyes. Which we knew he had passed down to both of his children.
Ron nodded. She knew that a world famous amateur detective would not want it known that she had solved a mystery by such a plebian method as noticing the eye color of two women.
After all, even I had spotted that.