It was cool and misty when Harry drove to Miss Pinkerton’s place the next day. He stopped the truck in the driveway and sat for a few minutes looking around. The place reeked of old money, so it could well be a potential target for burglary. It was definitely too large for one person to look after.
He got out of the truck, walked up on the porch to the door and rang the bell. A few seconds later the door was opened by a round-faced woman wearing a yellow-flower print apron over a dark blue dress. She greeted him with a smile. “You must be Mr. Hogan.”
“That’s me,” Harry replied.
“Come on in,” she said, standing back to hold the door open wide. “Miss Pinkerton’s expecting you.” She closed the door behind him. “This way, please.” She led him to the living room.
As they entered, Miss Pinkerton looked up from her seat on a velvet-covered sofa. “Ah, Mr. Hogan. Do come in and sit down, please. Do you prefer tea or coffee?”
“Coffee, black, please,” Harry answered, choosing an armchair across from his host.
“One tea, one coffee, please, Glory.”
Harry looked at the woman who had shown him in. “Glory?”
“My younger brother’s version of Gloria when he first started talking, sir. The rest of the family followed suit and the name stuck. I’ll bring the drinks in a minute, Ma’am.”
Miss Pinkerton turned her attention to Harry. “I’m Edith Pinkerton, Mr. Hogan. I’ve heard good things about you from your former fellow officers at the station.”
Harry grinned. “You called them after we talked.” She nodded. “A very wise move.”
“One can’t be too careful these days. This family was never given to collecting or displaying items that spoke of wealth, Mr. Hogan. Oh, there are a few things scattered throughout the house, mostly gifts from others, enough I suppose to attract a burglar but their existence has never been made public knowledge.”
“Is that what you think is behind the noises you’ve been hearing?”
“It is one possible explanation.”
“What other explanation could there be?”
“Glory says we have a ghost.” She hesitated a moment, and then said, “I rather think I am being watched.”
“Why would someone be keeping you under surveillance, Miss Pinkerton?”
“Because of my… involvement in certain actions, Mr. Hogan.” She looked down at her tightly clasped hands. “I have often wondered if it was just a matter of time.”
Harry cocked his head to the right. “Are you talking about criminal action, Ma’am? Because somehow I don’t picture you as a criminal.”
She chuckled. “No, Mr. Hogan, and please keep this between us, but for many years I was involved in helping abused and battered women and children. I helped them escape from intolerable living conditions and helped them find new identities and homes.”
“That’s no crime. I assume you were working with a group, not on your own, so why would that make you a target?”
“Many times, the situations they were fleeing from was controlled by some powerful crime boss or drug dealer. And many times I gave them shelter here until they were relocated. I always knew there was a danger. Some unsavoury character could still be seeking revenge.”