Once inside, Isadora double checked that the mansion’s door was locked. She leaned against it and allowed the breath she’d been holding to slowly dissipate. Being interim team leader had sounded like fun when she was first approached. Now that she’d gotten a taste, she was overwhelmed. On her shoulders were the day-to-day interactions with psychics and office personnel, plus the orderly administrative functioning of the mansion. Fortunately, Chester oversaw the security aspects and repairs.
Isadora heard footsteps and turned to see Garrett Alterman coming down from upstairs. A scarlet housecoat—tied around his substantial middle with a golden cord—flared open at the bottom to reveal the hem of bright-green silk pajamas. Middle aged, he was the facility’s medium and logistics man. A former government requisitions clerk, he seemed able to locate anything that Hamilton House needed. The roundness of his middle attested to his expertise as a gourmet cook using war-rationed foods. He’d see that Rebecca was well fed.
“Just the person I need,” she said.
“I thought I heard voices outside.” Garrett’s soft voice, with a touch of lisp, sounded groggy from disturbed sleep. He yawned.
“You did, sweetie.” Isadora swallowed hard. “Remember when we first learned about a niece who was the magic-act assistant to that Nazi wizard?”
“Yes.” Garrett’s voice rose, as with a question.
“You’re not going to believe this, but she’s in the chauffeur’s apartment above the first garage.”
Isadora had read novels in which jaws dropped. This was the first time she saw it in real life. She filled in the details, then added, “Later, I’ll telephone orphanage management and verify her story. It’s early, so they may not even know she’s missing.”
Garrett said, “I should take her a nice, hot cup of tea with lots of sugar.”
“Just the ticket. Would you also take her some of that leftover cornbread you made for last night’s supper?”
“Leave it to me.”
Garrett turned toward the kitchen as another thought entered Isadora’s mind. “And Garrett.”
“Yes?” He turned back toward her.
“Would you rustle up some blankets while you’re at it?”
He nodded. “I’d better add a broom, a bucket, and some dust rags. That place hasn’t had anyone in it for ages.”
While Garrett headed for the kitchen, Isadora went to the switchboard to wake up Chief Michael Posner and Yeoman Peter Hawk. Dealing with the presence of Deryk’s niece needed an all-hands-on-deck approach.
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