The Thief of Souls

Sometimes there was no explanation, no reason, I thought to myself.  Sometimes, love just dies.  But I saw there was no use talking her out of hiring me, or if not me,  someone else.  So why not me?  I could use the money.  And if I didn’t take it, one of my competitors certainly would.  According to Tom Bridge, Paul Lane, the ex-husband, had been surprisingly accommodating in the divorce, and had left Mrs. Lane quite financially secure.  So now the ex-Mrs. Lane had plenty of money to spend, even for a foolish purpose.

I accepted the job, quoted my usual rate.  She signed a standard retainer and wrote out a check for my initial fee and expenses.

Afterwards, she filled in some details to help me better understand the case, and I had to admit, the more I heard, the more I understood why something was bothering her.  Again she stated her basic premise:  The Paul Lane who had come home from work one night two months ago, and brusquely demanded a divorce, was not the same Paul Lane who had left the house that morning.   How and why that had happened was what she wanted to know.

The night before, they had made love, a torrid session in another of their futile attempts to get her pregnant.  But this session was not a mere biological act; it was full of passion and delight.

“He was my soul mate,”  she said.   “My best friend.  And we had never been closer than that last night.”  She stopped, drew a breath, again close to tears.

She told me a few more things, and some of them, if true, were certainly curious.  For example, the day after he had left her, Lane had inherited the fortune of an eccentric, reclusive scientist, Desmond Rostow, including Rostow’s locally celebrated mansion, a sprawling Georgian monstrosity on Old Lake Shore Road along the shores of Lake Erie.

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