the deacon mystery (part fifteen)

This story started here.

"Can I know what's been going on here?"

That's the question I almost asked, but I stopped myself.

Instead, I said, "FYI: If the body downstairs is Fred Deacon, it may turn out to be important, to some people, to determine which brother died first."

That focused her attention back on me.

I continued, "I should say, as a caveat, that none of this is, so far, documented fact."

She gestured that I should continue.

"I have read that Dr. Deacon inherited his family's money on the death of his father. He believed that this was a good system, to keep a family's estate together. So, the story goes, his own will states that his money, on the occasion of his death, should go to his brother, his only living sibling. Or, if his brother should predecease him, to his brother's elder daughter."

"Oh, crap. I see where this is going."

"Exactly. Fred Deacon, on the other hand, having been his brother's poor relation for all these many years, divided his own estate equally, in his will, between his two daughters."

The sheriff, apparently holding back something either obscene or blasphemous, or both, paused, and then she said, "We don't get these kinds of cases except when Miss Jan Sleet is in town, so it's rude of her not to be available when we get stuck with one."

I made sure not to express any opinion about this.

"On the other hand, I am not implying–" "–Of course not–" "–that I need her help to solve this."

She looked at her notebook.

"Were there any other family members? I'm not aware of any, but you're the one who did the research."

"There's nobody close, either genetically or geographically, as far as I know."

"What about the mother? The girls' mother?"

"She died some time ago. Cancer."

"Aubrey and Fred," she said slowly. "The older brother got all the money and he got the fancy name. Poor Fred, I guess.

"Anyway, here's a question which has been bugging me: Fred Deacon was putting on airs with your boss at the book sale? Letting her think he was well off?"


"How in the world did he think he'd get away with that? Running a con on her?"

"He didn't – that's my idea. He was approaching her because he had to, so he did everything wrong, to be sure she'd slam him down. She can be predictable in that way, in what annoys her, and she is, after all, fairly well known in this area."

"So, the whole kidnapping thing was a fake?"

"One: Let's assume he's desperate for money, for whatever reason, and he goes to his brother. The priest seems fond of his nieces, as far as we can tell, so there's a chance that, yet again, he will bail out his ne'er-do-well younger brother if one of his nieces is in danger.

"Two: Dr. Deacon is tired of Fred's nonsense, so he says, 'Your daughter has been kidnapped, and you don't want to call the police, for fear of what will happen? Fine. There's Miss Jan Sleet, the master detective, standing right over there. Ask her for help.'"

"Which he did – in a way almost guaranteed to annoy her."

"Which it did."


To be continued...

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.