Hunting Down








From the personal diary of Juliette Huntingdown


I’m not sure why I am doing this now, but when researching the book that was recently published “Huntingdown: The Woman and The Science” I had a chance to look once more through the few books of Great Aunt Jane that had survived the burning of her papers. They were old textbooks, and I presumed contained nothing of material interest, and now that the book was published, I was preparing them to send to Curt to add to his own research library.


One in particular had a padded leather cover, and I was wrapping it in tissue paper when I noticed that the inner lining had come loose. I was wondering what to do about that when I noticed some yellowed sheets under the paper, and my curiosity got the better of me. It was the early hours, and Klaus was asleep, so I headed to the kitchen and found a sharp knife, and carefully cut away at the lining, not wanting to damage it in a way I could not fix.


What I found inside were several folded sheets of paper, so I put them to one side and used some glue to re-seal the lining, then placed it in the box with the other books. Making myself some coffee, I took that and the sheets back to my library, and put the mug to one side as I opened the sheets up, and stared at the top line of the first page.


“Dear Juliette.”


I could not believe those words as I looked down on the document, “and you are probably amazed that I have guessed it is you who will find this document, but already at even such an early age you are showing signs of an intelligence, which without boasting, that matches my own.” 


“Of course, there is a small chance and I may be wrong, and if the reader is not my brother’s granddaughter, then I offer my sincerest apologies.” 


“You weren’t wrong,” I whispered as I read on.


“I have left a provision in my will that on my death your mother should burn all my personal papers. This is to protect both the guilty and the innocent, but above all to protect the person I have loved with all my heart for over 50 years, my dearest, darling, Annabel” 


“Is that all you are going to say Aunt Jane?” I asked myself, “simply that you loved her? Not if you and she were lovers like Sandy suspects?” 


 ”There is also a lot of information that even after this many years relates to my wartime service with the YY Group, and I will not insult your intelligence darling by saying that you haven’t long since found out about that. Anyway, there are a lot of things in my personal papers that even now should perish with me on my death.” 


“For a moment I’ll digress and tell you something that just maybe no other person still alive knows and that is why we were the YY Group? As anyone who ever knew Annabel would probably guess it was her doing. At first, we had no name, but it was Annabel who said that incorporating as we did personnel from both sides of the law that we represented the Ying and Yang of the underworld. Officialdom was not enamored however of us being called the Ying Yang group, and they abbreviated it so simply we became the YY.” 


“That makes sense,” I chuckled as I took a drink, and laid the mug well out of the way.


“Anyway, getting back to why alone of all the things I had written in my life I alone chose to hide the document you hold in your hand let me just say please read it, read it carefully, and when you have you may understand just why I have hidden it in the hope that one day sometime in the future you Juliette will find it and will make an appropriate decision just what to do with it.” 


“I am leaving the decision in your hands and you can choose to destroy it, keep it private, or indeed publish it. I am too big a coward to make that decision myself so I’m sorry that I have put it in your hands.” 


For a few minutes I sat there quietly just trying to think what with all I knew about Aunt Jane might make her do something like this. From her wartime career I knew little that even scared her, let alone would cause her to chicken out of a decision and pass it on to me. 


“Okay Ju,” I told myself, “Speculating will tell you nothing, you had better read.” 


So, I laid the cover letter to a side and started to read. 


Politics, wealth, power, and a deep criminal psychosis, when all are put together make for a very dangerous cocktail, and in my career as a forensic scientist I was called upon to review the evidence on several cases and to give my opinions and conclusions. None however had the effect on me as a human being that the case I am going to outline here had. I will warn the reader that much of what I am writing here will deeply shock any person with ‘normal’ human traits and thoughts, but I beg of you to not form any definitive conclusions until you have finished reading.


My involvement with the case would start in a rare fashion with Inspector Patrick Mulligan of the Boston Police Department, for perhaps the first time ever, actually asking for me to consult on one of his cases. It was the summer of 1951 when I actually got a polite call from Mulligan inviting me to come to police headquarters to look at the evidence in what he was moved to describe as “maybe the nastiest moider case it’s been my duty to try solve...ever.” 


So I left my apartment and took the short trip to headquarters, the brownstone on Berkely Street as imposing as ever. The sergeant at the desk smiled and nodded as I came in the privilege of being known for my skills and I made my way to Mulligan’s office. Knocking on the door, I heard the gruff Irish voice saying “come” and walked in to see him sitting at his desk, still wearing the ill fitting suit but with grey now in his short, cropped hair.


“Thanks for coming in doctor,” he actually sounded grateful that I’d dropped by as I entered his office and sat in the seat he offered. “Can I offer you a drink?” 


“A coffee would be nice...” 


“No, I mean a real drink,” he interrupted me, “you may need something a lot stronger than coffee inside you with what I’m goin’ ter show yer doctor.” 


“An Irish then Patrick,” I smiled I knew as he stood up and retrieved two glasses and a bottle from a filing cabinet, “and just what is so bad that you advise this at 10 o’clock of a morning” 


“You’ll see doctor,” he passed me a large shot, then downed his own drink at one go. 


“Bottoms up,” I sipped my own drink. 


“Has youse been reading der newspapers doctor?” 


“Every day. Why?” 


“Did you catch the coupla fires in recent weeks where a charred body was found in the aftermath?” 


I nodded it had a passing interest to me, given my interest in such matters, but nothing in particular in the reports had given me cause for concern.


“I did - The fire department put them down to gas leaks?” 


“That was what we thought,” Mulligan said as he sat down, “but after last night none of us is certain now.” 


“May I ask why?” 


“Because last night a similar fire got put out before it took hold, and what we found inside der room wasn’t fer der faint heated if you catch my drift?” 


“Someone was murdered?” I speculated. 


“Yeah, and I aint gerna try explainin just what we found, when youse have fortified yerself I’ll take yer down the morgue and show youse.” 


I could see the genuine fear in his face as I finished my drink and said “Well, let’s do it.” That was my introduction to what would be the most terrifying yet interesting case I ever worked on. 




The mortuary at that time was based in the basement of the station. and managed by one Doctor Troughton.  A Scotsman, he was about my height, with short dark hair and a penchant for playing a penny whistle - but when Mulligan and I walked into the room, he was silent, deathly pale - not his usual self.


“Doctor Huntingdown,” he said as he looked at me, “Mulligan tell you the background?”


“Only that it wasn’t nice,” I said quietly.  We made an odd trio - Troughton with his light blue jacket buttoned at the neck, Mulligan in his ill-fitting suit, and me in my grey jacket and skirt with a white blouse underneath.


“An understatement,” Troughton said quietly before he walked to a bank of steel doors against the far wall, and opened one.  He pulled out the stretcher and lowered the legs as we both walked over, and he pulled the cover off the face of the victim.


Whoever it was, they were young - but it was almost impossible to tell if they were male or female, because it looked as if every bone from their mandible to their skull was broken in multiple places.  Their dark hair was matted with blood.


“Goddess,” I whispered, “did they die from blunt force trauma?”


“No,” Troughton said, “have another guess.”  He pulled back the covers to reveal their chest - it was a man, as I could now tell - but it was criss-crossed with red lines.  Some were the results of blows, others clearly inflicted with a sharp knife or a scalpel.  I slipped on some latex gloves and traced some of the lines, before I said “who would do this.”


“That’s not the worst of it,” Mulligan said quietly as he nodded to Troughton, who revealed the poor man’s lower extremities - and the hideous mutilation that had taken place there.  I had seen many terrible things during the war, but this...


“So it was a heart attack?”


“No - exsanguination.” Troughton lifted his arm, and I saw the neat needle hole.  “Whoever did this drained his blood?”


“While inflicting these injuries - there was very little blood in the chest wounds.  Who...  Who would do such a thing?”


“Dat’s the question, Jane,” Mulligan said, “and why we need yer help. Will you?”


I nodded in response, before saying “can you let me have the full autopsy report, and the reports on the other fires.”


“Ye’ll have them later today and thanks Doc. I have a bad feeling this ain’t the only one we’re gonna see.”


I nodded as I said “forgive me” and walked quickly out, making my way to the reception area. Whoever had done this to that poor man was a pure sadist, but if this was indeed the third victim, he or she had to be stopped.


You may be surprised at why I said he or she but as the war had taught me, evil is a gender neutral affair. And this this was at the top of that particular tree.


“Hello Dr Huntingdown,” a voice with a faint European accent interrupted my thoughts as I stood for a moment in the reception area of Boston police headquarters trying to calm myself down. 


“I’m sorry do I know you?” I said as I looked the woman behind the voice up and down.  She was a little taller than me, wearing a dark jacket and skirt with a black top underneath, a small hat perched on her dark hair.


“My name is Heidi Schmidt,” she said with a smile, “I work for the International Red Cross in Geneva, we met a couple of times during the war years.” 


“Oh yes I vaguely remember you,” I smiled, “you work in their registry.”  There had been occasions in those dark years when I had spent time in Geneva.


“I do,” the woman smiled back.  “I must admit, I did not expect to meet anyone I knew on this occasion.”


“So, what brings you to the Boston PD this fair morning?” 


“I just flew in,” Heidi said, “but I thought it important I come here straight away.” 


“It sounds urgent that you flew rather then come over on a boat. Can I pry and ask what is so urgent?” 


“A relative of mine vanished from the sanatorium she was a patient in three months ago,” Heidi said quietly. “A mutual friend thinks she has seen her here in Boston, and I’ve come to ask for help in locating her.” 


“Hmm,” I paused for a second, “should I ask why she was being treated?” 


For a moment the Swiss woman seemed to ask herself several questions, before she said “look Doctor I know of your reputation, I hope I can trust that you will keep this confidential?” 


“Of course.” 


“She was being treated for a psychiatric disorder.” 


“Is she dangerous?” I asked concernedly. 


“Her doctors do not think so, but I worry she may be a danger to herself.” 


“I understand.” 


“So to whom should I go see?” 


“Well let me put you in the safe hands of this young man,” I grabbed a young beat cop in uniform. “This is Officer Clancy Delaney, and I’ve known him since the day he was born. 


“That she has,” the young redheaded man grinned. 


“Clancy dear this lady has come to try find a relative who absconded from a sanatorium in Switzerland but who she has reason to believe is now in Boston, can you steer her in the right direction to both make a report and request aid.” 


“I can. Would you come this way please Miss.?” 


“Thank you young man, and thank you doctor.”  As she went off with Officer Delaney, I turned and headed for the door, my mind once again turning to the grizzly corpse that I’d been shown. 



Mulligan was as good as his word, and the files were delivered to my apartment in the later afternoon. I glanced at the two fires one body had been found in each case, and were presumed to be the residents of the house and apartment. The house was the home of a Mrs Joan Connors she was found in the main room of her house after the fire, her body burned to a crisp, if you will forgive the choice of words. Her husband had been away on business when the fire broke out.


Eric Bartholomew was found in the smoking embers of his apartment block two days later. As for the corpse today, dental records were awaited, but it was presumed to be one Thomas Dolby, a twenty year old engineer.


So, a woman in her mid-thirties, a man in his late forties, and a twenty year old the obvious thing to do was to establish any connections between the three, but first I need a strong coffee and a chat with my closest friend



“Good Evening.”


“Good evening Margaret,” I said as I stood with the receiver in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other, “is Mrs Rockland at home tonight?”


“One moment, Dr Huntingdown.” I waited until I heard the familiar voice saying “Jane darling, this is an unexpected pleasure.”


“Annabel how are you keeping?”


“Oh you know me,” she laughed, “I saw Annie last week she sends her love.”


“Good anyway Annabel, I need to make use of that photographic memory of yours darling,” I said as I put my coffee down and sat in the armchair. 


“Oh?” I could sense her beautiful smile as she said “something fun?” 


“Unfortunately not.” I replied with a sigh.


“Pity - with Rocky being recalled to active duty and shipping out for Korea I could do with a distraction.” 


“No this is about a very grizzly murder, maybe three linked murders that have occurred up here.” 


“And you need my help how?” 


“You saw the report on what Birgitte von Furstenheim did to several of her victims?”


“Yes.” I could hear her take a deep breath. “Both the written report, and the photographs.” 


“Do I remember hearing she occasionally drained the blood from her victims as well as eviscerating and mutilating them?” 


“That is putting it in a form of language that disguises the sheer barbarity Jane,” Annabel paused, “we both saw some incredible horror during the war, but nothing even approached what is in the photos.” 


“But she did do that to her victims?” 


“Occasionally yes. Why does this relate to your murder case?” 


“Unfortunately, yes, and having seen what I saw in the morgue earlier I can understand your disgust at those photographs.” 


“Whose case is it?” 


“Mulligan,” I laughed, “he actually looked happy that I was there to assist.” 


“Do you need me to come up?” 


“No, this is not really your type of thing darling. But thanks for the offer.” 


“Well, call if you want me.”


“I will,” I said quietly as I put the telephone down, and picked up the coffee. Had I known of two things that were happening as I drank my coffee things I found out about later I may never have finished that drink.


One was a meeting in a hotel bar.


“Mistress thank you for coming.”


“You called, I came,” Heidi Schmidt said to the grey haired woman sitting there, “what has happened? You know I can only come if it is essential.”


“I believe it is I have felt the strongest of calls this last week, from one seeking release. One who is being controlled by person or persons who do not know who she is.”


“The question is, is it the one I seek, and is she a willing servant.”


“I have seen reports, heard rumours hence my call to you. I apologise if you have been insulted by this “


“No I was with another cousin, a new blooming, but I came because I felt the disturbance as well. Let us talk “






The second meeting was in a quiet suburb, where a young man and woman were strapped to dining chairs. They had been stripped naked, cloths stuffed into their mouths, blood coagulating on their chests from the scalpel cuts but not flowing.


That was because of the tubes running from their arms, their blood flowing into decanters as they looked at each other, knowing they were going to die as the woman stood in front of both of them. She then reached down, the man seeing the flash of steel before he screamed in agony and the woman screamed as his penis was pushed inside her, the blood still pumping out.


With his dying breath, he saw the second man standing there, and cursed him in his mind as the life ebbed away


“So,” I said aloud as I paused my reading and made myself some fresh coffee, “if I read this correctly then Aunt Jane came across the work of a Daughter of Hildegarde back in 1951


“Hmmmm - I wonder what she would think if she knew that by having given birth to a ‘daughter’ myself that I have an insight into this that would amaze her if she knew?


“Should I ring Carina and get her opinion on this?” I paused to think, “no, maybe it’s better I read a bit more before I do that.”


That so many lives over such a long period of history meant that families were interconnected, and remained so to this day, would probably be considered pure imagination if someone wrote them in a piece of fiction, but as I well knew, sometimes the truth was totally unrealistic in a way that would blow the minds the minds of most ‘normal’ people.


“Oh well,” I poured myself a cup,” let’s see what Aunt Jane wrote next.”


Later that evening, I was immersed in the textbooks, reading what I could find on the connections between psychopathic behaviour and ritualized murder - when to my surprise the doorbell rang.


“I’m coming,” I yelled out, went to the door, looked through the peephole and was shocked to see Annabel standing on my doorstep, wearing a camel long coat and the brightest of smiles.


“Hello Jane darling,” she said as she came in, then kissed me, as I let her in.


“What are you doing here darling?” I said quietly after I had kissed her back.


“Well after your phone call,” Annabel said as I closed the door to the apartment, “I decided your murder case sounded far more interesting than me sitting around the house getting bored rigid, so I decided I’d drive up and see if I could help out in any way?”


“How many speeding tickets this time?” I laughed as I looked at her.


“Oh Only three.”


“For you that’s a quiet, peaceful, journey,” I laughed again as I dragged Annabel’s suitcase into the bedroom.


“Pretty much,” Annabel removed her hat and gloves, revealing her long dress, and then she glanced at my reading material, “not your usual area Jane love?”


“I know,” I shook my head, “but if I’m going to understand the physical evidence in this case and help Mulligan catch the killer, then I think I need to know a bit more about what motivates someone to do something so vile.”


“And are you learning anything?”


“A few bits,” I paused, “can I offer you a drink?”


“I think a g and t as dear Barty calls it would not go amiss at this time.”


“Coming up,” I smiled, “I heard from him and Gladys a few days ago.’


“How is life as a member of parliament suiting him?” Annabel asked as I passed her the drink.


“He thinks that he prefers the company of burglars and thieves,” I laughed as I sat down and sipped my own drink, “at least they are honest about being crooks...”


“Unlike politicians,” Annabel laughed as she interrupted me.




“Alright to more serious matters,” Annabel leaned forward, “there must be some way I can help?”


“Only if you know a way I can interview Birgitte von Furstenheim and draw on her expertise in matters like this,” I said quietly.


“Funny you should say that” Annabel reached into her handbag, “but when she was being interrogated she would sometimes seem to the people asking the questions to take on a different persona, and without apologizing for what she had done, told tales explaining the how’s and why’s.”


“She was schizophrenic?” I was very interested in that idea. The Butcher of Belsen had become a case study for those still following the fallout from the war, as well as criminal psychologists the world over.


“They could never decide, and as she know she pled guilty to every charge except betraying Princess Lexa.”


I shook my head at what Annabel had said. “That always puzzled me I’ll admit. She freely admitted to the atrocities she had committed, but remained silent on that one question I wonder if she wanted to spare her family the details.”

“Who can say? Anyway,” Annabel smiled again as she held up a large bundle of papers, “I got a friend to send me copies of some of what she said.”


“Oh well done you old thing.”


“I just hope that somewhere in here she maybe said something can give you some insight Jane?”


“I hope so,” I said as I put them down, “but they can wait until the morning. I’m tired I think I will turn in.”


“Want some company?”


I smiled shyly as I went to the bedroom, Annabel walking behind me




The next morning found me at my small breakfast table, eating an English muffin as I sat in my dressing gown, while Annabel came out of the bedroom, wearing a floral print dress with a pair of red heels.


“So what are your plans for this morning,” she said as she looked at me.


“Shower and then read some more notes,” I said as I sipped some coffee.


“Okay - while you enjoy yourself reading all that grizzly testimony lover,” Annabel smiled in the mirror as she fixed her hat, “I’m going to take Mike Kelly out for coffee, and to pick his brains.” 


“You do remember that Mike resigned from the FBI darling?” I asked as Annabel decided she didn’t like that hat she had on and reached for one of mine. “What help do you think he can be?” 


“There that is much better,” she said as she smiled at her own reflection, “and as to Mike he may have made a lot of enemies in certain quarters for the way he pressed the investigation of former Nazi’s somehow getting into this country....” 


“And those who have welcomed and sheltered them,” I broke in. 

“Yes, but he still remains maybe the best-informed agent of the law I ever encountered, and just maybe that brain of his might provide us with some insights that others won’t have.” 


“It’s an idea, it’s a very good idea,” I put my coffee cup down, and started to look at the extracts from Birgitte’s testimony. “And even if he can’t help I know he will welcome seeing an old friend.” 


Annabel turned and looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “He is still bitter with some people then?” 




“Oh well then, I will try cheer him up. Damn I need to run,” Annabel glanced at her watch as she pulled on her gloves. “I’m late.” 


“For you lover, no you aren’t,” I laughed a little, “and Mike knows you well enough to know that on time for you means at a minimum you’ll be twenty minutes late.” 


“True we’ll talk later,” Annabel said as she left the apartment, and I headed to the bathroom.


So, with Annabel out the door, and a fresh pot of strong coffee to help keep my senses alert, I sat down to read what Birgitte von Furstenheim had told her interrogators. It made for fascinating reading, especially for a brain trained as mine was in the forensic analysis of crimes. She denied nothing, never tried to excuse herself, but as the rumors had said at times it was like another person within her body tried to explain what had happened. 


Was she in fact schizophrenic? The words “I should have been strong enough to resist her,” leapt off the page at me. “Was ‘her’ a second personality?”  


I read on, trying in my mind to put together the hints and the clues within her words. It certainly did seem that in some ways she was aware of the great evil within herself, but she talked as though the twisted desires to torture and kill were in her own word ‘irresistible’. 


Was it possible that a psychosis could exist whereby an otherwise normal person could be aware of their own evil and was unable to deny themselves the visceral pleasures that the practice of their evil bought them?  We still understood so little of the world of mental aberrations the Nellie Bly story had sadly led to very few improvements in the way we treat the mentally ill, and the psychiatric profession seemed to me to still be arguing over whether Freud or Jung were right. They were also, sadly, far too likely to prescribe the likes of Lithium, despite the terrible addictive potential of such drugs.


But back to my thoughts about Birgitte von Furstenheim was it possible? “Well of course it is Jane,” I told myself, the pages of history were littered with mass murderers including within Birgitte’s own family the notorious ‘Blood Princess’. 


Almost by instinct I walked to my bookshelf and pulled down the Encyclopedia Britannica, turning pages till I found the relevant entry. Even in the dry language of the encyclopedia it was possible to notice the similarities between Princess Hildegarde’s crimes and her descendants.  


It was all interesting, but it was a distraction. Their lives were separated by centuries, there could be no links. 


And then there was the intriguing question of why she did not admit she had called her own great aunt. I remembered meeting Princess Alexandra during my time in Europe a formidable woman, and one had a great respect for. Returning her ring to the von Furstenheim family had at least granted them some comfort. But for someone who is willing and happy to confess what they did and yet not admit to just one? That did not ring true to me, and I did wonder if there was more that could be done. Sadly, the chances were we would never know her sentence took care of that.


Sitting back down, I started to consider the whole concept of a serial killer. It wasn’t a term in common usage outside law enforcement Ernst Gennat when describing the case of Peter K rten called him a serial murderer, but by and large they were known as multiple murderers. We had a few in the US before Earle Nelson came to mind but for many it was a European thing, not part of their world. Vera Renczi in what is now Yugoslavia, for example. But from what I knew of those cases, there was a factor that linked them Renczi married and murdered rich men, Nelson was for sexual gratification. These three there was no obvious link yet.


The telephone ringing snapped me out of my thoughts and I answered it, saying “Huntingdown?”




“Inspector what’s happened?”


“I need ye to come and meet me I’ll give you the address.”


“Another victim?”


“No two.”



The house was in a suburb of the city, but as I drew up outside I could see the fire crews outside, as well as the police car. Getting out of the car, I walked to where one officer was standing at the end of the drive.


“Doctor,” he said as he touched his cap, “Mulligan and the coroner are inside. It’s not a nice picture.”


“I’ve probably seen worse,” I said as I pulled on some gloves and walked in.




“In here,” I heard Dr Troughton call out, and I walked into the dining room. The acrid scent of the smoke was still in the air, but that was not what made me choke. It was the sight of the two bodies in the chairs one obviously female.


“Hey Doc,” Mulligan said as he came beside me, “ah don’t think dese two sat here willingly.”


“Well, I agree what happened?”


“Neighbour called in the fire in de early hours de boys put it out at dawn, and then came in to find this.”


I looked more closely at the bodies, before saying “I’d hazard a guess they were strapped to these seats see how the burning is less intense at the wrists and ankles.”


“Very good, my dear,” Dr Troughton trilled. “According to the fire chief, the source of the fire was on the other side of the room, but it didn’t spread much beyond this area.”


“Still I pray they were already dead when it was lit.”


“I think they were I’ll need to examine the bodies, but I think they died 1”-15 hours ago. The fire was reported five hours ago, Inspector.”


“Summat like that whacha lookin at Doc?”


I was looking carefully at what remained of the woman’s skin, before I said “Doctor Troughton, can I call on you later today?”


“Of course my dear I’ll arrange for the unfortunate Mr and Mrs Cann to be transported to my place of repose as soon as possible.”




“James and Diane Cann early thirties. Again, no obvious link to the others, but “


“But a similar method of killing. Inspector, do me a favour get one of your boys to check with City Hall to see if these names are connected to something there?”


“Whacha thinking?”


“I hope I’m not thinking the right thing given what happened with Old Joe a few years back “





When I returned to my apartment, Annabel was already there and she had brought a guest. Mike Kelly stood up as I came in, the smile on his face a genuine thing as he said “there you are how are you, Jane?”


“I have been better,” I said as I was surprised by his embrace. The grey in his temples was starting to show, but he was still the tall, well built friend of many years. He wore the suit, but somehow he looked more relaxed than the last time we met.


“What happened,” Annabel said as I poured myself a drink and downed it in one gulp.


“Two more bodies but that can wait until later. How was coffee?”


“Intriguing have you heard of a Heidi Schmidt?”


I looked at Mike and said “yeah I bumped into her yesterday. Why?”


“A contact at BPD sent her to me she’s looking for someone who absconded from a sanitorium, right?” Mike handed me a photo as he said “this is her her name’s Astrid Hildetochter, and Heidi has engaged me as a PI to help if I can.”




I looked at Annabel with a raised eyebrow and said “I don’t know perhaps we can help each other “


As we talked, I could still see the hurt in Mike’s eyes, despite the fact it had been a few years since the incident with his “assistant.” But he was doing the best he could with what life had dealt him and who can ask for more than that?


“So what do we know?”


I briefly laid out the details of the case for Mike, Annabel listening as he rubbed his chin and seemed to be a state of deep thought.


“You’re right, Jane the MO is the same in all four cases by the sound of it,” he eventually said, “but there is no obvious link between the four. Any word on background checks?”


“Nothing so far but you know what the Boston PD is like at the best of times.”


Mike nodded, before he said “let me do some digging I can ask around places they don’t like to go.”




“Fair enough,” Annabel said with a smile, “so why don’t we all step out and have a late lunch, clear the air and your mind, Jane.”


That seemed like an excellent idea, so we went to a little bistro near my apartment the fettucine there was more than passable at that time and ordered some food.


“So do you hear from Jayes and Barty?”


“We do,” I said with a smile, “or if we are being pedantic, the Right Honourable Sir Bartholomew J Rhymaes, MP. Believe me, he hates it when Gladys uses his full title.”


“I can imagine,” Mike said with a smile. “And Jayes still works for him?”


“those three are inseparable,” I laughed as I took a drink. It was good to laugh and it would be some time before I did so again.


The mood changed a little when I saw Mulligan walk over. One look at his face told us all something had happened.


“Kelly,” he said as he nodded at Mike, “meeting up with old friends?”


“In a way the ladies were bringing me up to speed on what’s going on. Any objections to my involvement.”


Mulligan shook his head as I poured some wine into my glass. “Nah I could use the help, truth be told. What made you think of that hunch at City Hall?”


“Why what did you find out?”


“All four have one, and exactly one connection they were selected for jury duty in a recent case, but rejected by the defence lawyer.”


“What case and what grounds?”


“The Crowenshaw case and Graves rejected them because they were Jewish “





Unknown to me, Heidi Schmidt was walking up to the front door of a brownstone on the outskirts of Boston, smiling as she rang the doorbell.


“Can I help you Miss?”


“Good afternoon,” she said with a smile, “Heidi Schmidt to see Augustus Graves?”


She handed a card to the maid, who said “you are expected come in please,” standing to the side as Heidi came in. she stood in the hallway, smiling as the maid went off, and then closing her eyes.


She could sense the person she was looking for, but there was no response, as if her mind was dulled somehow. But she knew she was on the right track.”


“Miss Schmidt?”


“Thank you,” she said as she followed the maid into an oak panelled room, looking round as she did so. The man who was sitting behind the desk had greying brown hair which was swept back, making his forehead more prominent, and was wearing a three piece suit. Handmade, as far as Heidi could tell, the shirt made from cotton, the dark tie silk.


“Fraulein Schmidt?” He stood and shook Heidi’s hand, and indicated she should take a seat. “How can I help the International Red Cross today?”


“Well, it is a matter of some delicacy,” Heidi said with a smile. “I work with refugee support making sure those who were displaced as a result of policies in Germany have found good and settled homes. We have lost touch with one such person and when I enquired at your city hall who would eb able to assist me, they told me you were in a position to make some enquiries on my behalf.”


“I see,” Augustus said as he sat back, his fingers under his chin. “Well, I do have good contacts in the Jewish ex-pat community in the city perhaps you could give me some details?”


“Her name is Astrid Hildetochter,” Heidi said as she took from her purse an envelope and hand it over. “This is a copy of her Red Cross file. She suffered severe trauma in the war I merely wish to ensure she is safe and well, and then I can return to my work.”


Opening the envelope. Augustus pressed a button on his desk and waited as a young man came in. “Charles, my assistant,” he said as he handed over the envelope. “We will make enquiries on you behalf, Fraulein Schmidt. If we need to contact you?”


“I am staying at the Parker House Hotel,” Heidi said as she stood up, looking at Charles. “I look forward to hearing from you, Herr Graves.”


“My maid will show you out,” Augustus said as the maid came in, escorting Heidi out before she closed the door. Looking at Charles, he said “what do you have to tell me?”


“The PD have called in a specialist Dr Jane Huntingdown.”


“The criminal forensic expert? Oakenshield had a run in with her a few years ago we may have to pay her a visit. How is our guest?”


“Quiet for now your instructions sir?”





As we sat in my apartment, Mike and Mulligan having retired to compare notes, I sipped on my brandy as Annabel looked at me.


“So how is that brother of yours anyway?”


“Alex? The doting grandfather I was at Vanessa’s birthday party last week. She is going to be a beauty when she grows and I suspect, as much of a reel as me.”


“Surely she isn’t “


“No but there is the fire in her eyes,” Annabel said with a twinkle in her own eyes. A twinkle I knew all too well, as she came over and put her arm round my shoulders. “So, can you put this to one side for tonight, and let me help you forget things for a while?”


I nodded as our lips touched, and we stroked each other


“Aunt Jane!”


I had to smile as I read the rest of her entry for that evening perhaps this bit at least, I would show Sandy at some point. But the mention of Nessa made me smile as well. She did turn out to be a rebel as well just a few decades later on.


So there it was plain and simple. I turned over a few pages and then my smile started to slowly disappear.


We were having morning coffee when I heard the doorbell ring, and went to answer it.


“Mike you look as if you have been busy. Care for some coffee?”


“I will not say no,” Mike said as he removed his hat and sat down. “How have your investigations gone?”

“Not very fast,” Annabel said. “We were discussing going to talk to Oakenshield, see if he knew anything about this.”


“Might not work I called the prison; he had a stroke two weeks ago. The word is he is not long for this world.”


“Have you had any luck in tracing this Astrid Hildetochter.”


“That’s an unusual name, you know - Hildetochter. Daughter of Hilde.”


“No stranger than O’Malley,” Mike said with a smile.


“Yes, but they are Son of and you are changing the subject.”


Shaking his head, Mike said “I found evidence she did enter the country through Logan. She gave an address at a boarding house but she never made it there.”


“I thought US Immigration were very insistent on this sort of thing,” Annabel said quietly.


“Yes strange isn’t it?”




Outside the Graves house, the cab driver looked round and said “you want out here?”


“Allow me a moment to gather my thoughts,” Heidi said as she closed her eyes and sent out a call.


“Can you hear me, my daughter?”


She waited for a moment, and then heard in her head “who is it that calls me daughter?”


“So you are there I felt your presence when I called yesterday, but did not see you. Tell me, my daughter, are you being treated well?”


“No but I deserve this, for I am an animal, a “


“No you are not, my daughter I grieve they have mistreated you, and I assure you they will pay for that.”


“Will you free me?”


“I will see you have your release, but I cannot interfere directly. I am not permitted to. Tell me, do you hear them talking?”


“Yes the grey haired one and his simpering assistant. They have allowed me to feed my urges for that at least, I am grateful, but they only see me as their tool.”


“A grievous error on their part what else do they say?”


“They are concerned about a woman a doctor. While I am not to be used, I fear for her.”


“I understand endure a little longer, my daughter. I will see you and free you very soon.”


Opening her eyes, Heidi said “how well do you know this city?”


“I’m a cabbie lady?”


“If I said I needed to go and see a Doctor Jane Huntingdown?”


“Her I know why?”


“Take me to her home - as fast as you can.”





“I see, Inspector Mulligan thanks, we’ll be right over.”


“What did my favourite detective want,” I asked as Annabel put the receiver down.


“He’s traced the other juror in the Oakenshield case that was rejected on the same grounds as the other four he emigrated to Australia, and the police there have him under guard. What I still don’t understand is why someone is going after them now?”


“I’m going to the prison see if Oakenshield can be persuaded to talk,” Mike said as he picked up his hat. !I’ll meet you at the station later.”


Well, we should go and see what Mulligan have to say,” Annabel said as she put on the grey fitted jacket. She had a matching pencil skirt and high heels with a white camisole, while I was wearing a grey dress which I covered with my own jacket. We made our way down to the entrance to my apartment building, as a cab pulled up outside while Annabel tried to hail another one.


“Doctor Huntingdown?”


I saw the woman get out of the cab, and said “Fraulein Schmidt? Mike Kelly has gone to follow up a lead if you are looking for him “


“No,” she said as a black cab came round the corner, “it is “ She then turned and looked at the cab, and shouted “GET DOWN!”


I turned and saw the gun coming out of the window, and leapt to the side, pushing Annabel to the ground as the bullets started to fly. The car drove off, as Is aid “Are you all right Annabel?




My friend looked at me as I saw the red stain on her side, and I said “Call an ambulance.






“I heard,” Mulligan said as he came into the lobby of Boston City Hospital. “How is she?”


“She’s in surgery,” I said as I sat with Heidi. “It’s a through and through, but they’re making sure she She “


Mulligan then did something I never knew he was capable o he sat and allowed me to cry on his shoulder as my fears came out. All those years ago in Europe, Annabel and I faced death so many times, but this time it felt so different


“Jane how is she?”


“Frau Rockwell is in surgery,” Heidi said quietly, “what did you learn of my case Mister Kelly?”


“I didn’t learn anything from Oakenshield he died this morning.”


“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Mulligan mumbled to himself.


“I did learn he has been visited a lot recently by some people including one Charles Babbage, the personal assistant to one Augustus Graves.”


“Graves and him in the same sentence again? That does not sound good,” Mike said as I stood up.


“Doctor Huntingdown?”


I turned sharply to see the doctor in his surgery gowns.


“Mrs Rockwell will make a complete recovery but she has to rest now. I will keep you updated.”


“She is not in danger?”


“No go home, rest.”


I offered up a silent prayer, and then said “I could do with a lift Mike, will you?”


“Of course. Fraulein Schmidt?”


“I will return to my hotel “


“No will you come with us, Heidi? You came to see me, and we have not had a chance to talk yet.”


I watched as she nodded, the three of us heading back to the apartment.




As she sat in an armchair, I poured the coffee Mike had left us there to pursue his target and handed her a cup.


“I regret that your friend has been hurt,” she said as she accepted the cup.


“Annabel and I have been in worse scrapes,” I said as I sat back.


“Indeed although we only met in passing during the war, I was fully aware of the work you and others did at that time.”


“What, acting as secretaires?”


“Acting, yes secretaries, no. I aw fully aware of the work of YY I had dealings with the Princess Alexandra before her disappearance.”


I looked at this woman sitting there, and nodded as Is aid “in which case, why exactly are you here, and what did you have to say to me?”


“I told you I was here to find a relative and she is but I fear she has been used for a far more offensive purpose.”


Looking at Heidi, I said “these recent murders? Your relative may eb responsible?”


“I fear so. Doctor Huntingdown “


“Call me Jane,” I said quietly, “after all, we were on the same side, in a way, during that conflict.”


“Jane you are aware of the link between Augustus Graves and the late and probably not much lamented Crowenshaw?”


“He was his trial lawyer and the people who tied were rejected by him because of their faith what I don’t understand is why? Was he afraid they would convict?”


“I suspect they would have,” Heidi said with a wry smile, “but no he did so to ensure the jury was fully in favour of acquittal.”


“Good old fashioned Boston justice,” I said as I shook my head. “But why were they targeted now?”


“I suspect that has to do with his own personal views,” Heidi said, “fuelled by others who have escaped your justice. For example, one you knew as Greta?”


“HER!” I put my cup down and said “where is she?”


“Somewhere in South America is my understanding but she and others have targeted those who were responsible for those who could not escape justice, and sent an agent and agent who works for Graves, an agent who intercepted my relative when she arrived in this country.”


“The assistant, Charles?”


“Yes very high in the leadership of the Hitler Youth was Karl Muller. But I need to retrieve my relative and return her to her safety.”


“Heidi if she has killed, then she must face justice.”


“And she shall but she, as strange as it sounds, is not the main evil behind this. You are a learned and rational woman, what would you do?”


I sat for a moment, thinking and then said “I see I have some unfinished business tell me, Heidi, if I was to say I think I may a late night call on graves, what would you say?”


“Would you care for some company?”




The sun had already set when Heidi and I walked along the road leading to the Graves mansion. We had donned more suitable attire. Heidi had returned to her hotel and me, now wearing a black jacket and stirrup pants with flat shoes. I was wearing a black jumper and pants with sandshoes and both of us had black wool hats on our heads.


I stopped for a moment, and then motioned we should move to the side, both of us watching from behind a tree as an armed guard walked past.


“Herr Graves appreciates his security.”


“Indeed come, we can probably get in from a rear entrance.” We slipped back onto the road and made our way round to the rear of the house, and then stopped outside a large rear door.


“Keep watch for a minute, will you,” I said, Heidi nodding a is retrieved my set of tools from a pocket, and soon had the rear door open. We slipped in as I closed the door behind myself, and made our way along a corridor, coming out in the main hallway.


“We must split up,” I said quietly, Heidi nodding as she headed up the staircase, and I made my way along to where I suspected Graves had his office. Opening the door, I slipped in and walked over to the desk, turning on a desk lamp as I used my tools to open the desk drawers.


There were a number of files inside, which I flipped through and then one caught my eye. As I read more closely, I whispered “oh my god “


“Doctor Huntingdown, I presume.”


I slowly looked up to see a young man looking at me, dressed and pointing a gun towards me.


“Herr Muller, I presume?”


Charles clicked his heels and bowed as he said “and what is of interest to you in Mister Graves’ desk.”


“Well, I do like a good profile,” I said with a smile, “although this one is not complete. After all, my activities in the war are classified at the highest level. Even beyond him, with whatever influence you may have.”


“I may have?”


“Tell me where were you based? Furstenheim?”


“You have heard of the place? It is a beautiful city, and my uncle held a place of high authority there. That is immaterial for the moment stand, and come with me. There is someone I wish you to meet.”


“I already know Augustus Graves.”


“Not him move “




I learned later that while I was being invited to a meeting, Heidi Schmidt had made her way to the master bedroom. She waited a moment until the sleeping Graves sniffed the air, and then woke up, turning on the light as he saw her standing there.


“Fraulein Schmidt? Do what do I owe the honour of this unannounced visit?”


“I have reason to believe the person I came to find is in your house, Herr Graves all I ask is for you to confirm that fact, and I will leave you at peace.”


Graves apparently smiled at her polite request, before he said “I have no idea of what you are “


“You are lying, Herr Graves why is not actually my concern, others can deal with that, all I ask is “


Heidi only told me she stopped for a moment, before she said something else. Graves then opened his eyes wide and fell back onto his bed. Later, I ascertained he had died of a sudden heart attack but my concern was elsewhere, and


My apologies I needed a moment to compose myself for the final scene of what happened that night. To continue by now I was in a cellar of the house, Charles or Karl having made sure I was seated.


Not comfortably the heavy leather straps that held my arms down to the wooden armrests, and my ankles to the legs, made sure of that.


“I am intrigued by one thing,” he said as he stood on the other side of the room, “why did you mention Furstenheim?”


“As I said, I have heard of the place,” I said with a smile, “and know of the reputation of the family.


“All of the family.”


“Ah of course you will know of Birgitte,” Karl said with a smile. “I am nor surprised -your reputation as a criminal forensics expert is unparalleled, but Birgitte?”


“Research on my current case but then, I suspect you know all about that. Did you know Crowenshield?”


“No but he was a supporter of our cause, as is Herr Graves and as a demonstration of the skills we could bring to his cause here, eliminating those who he had identified was a good way.”


“You mean they died to be a test? Well, you failed to eliminate them all one is safe and out of your reach.”


“True but acceptable. The demonstration was successful, the reports most illuminating but I think one further demonstration will help and also close at least one sore in our cause?”


“A sore “


“We know you were high in the group known as YY this will provide some closure.”




“Naples, Doctor you match the description of one who was there when one high ranking official disappeared. Allow me to introduce you to someone you have been anxious to meet.”


“And that would be?”


“I admire your bravery you will be mourned,” Charles said as he walked towards me, and pushed a rubber bung into my mouth, the pad it was attached to covering my mouth as he fastened the straps round my head. He then opened a cupboard, and drew out some leather pouches, as well as tubing and a large bell jar. He then walked to a locked door at the other side of the room, removing a key and opening it as I watched.


There was the sound of shuffling, and then my eyes opened wide as a young blonde haired woman came out. She was dressed in a torn top and skirt, and her feet were bare, her skin dirty. I recognised the photo, however it was the woman Heidi had identified as Astrid Hildetochter.


“What What do you want of me,” she rasped as she looked at Charles.


“This woman is an enemy of mine she is yours to play with.”


Astrid looked at him, and then walked over to me. There was a look in her eyes, one of both pity and interest as I stared at her.


“If I do this, I will be freed?”


“Do this, and I take you somewhere better,” Charles said as he folded his arms and watched. Astrid looked at me, and said “I see in your eyes you have committed much violence but also great humanity. I have not seen this in others before.”


“Are you disobeying me, Astrid?”


I stared at her, and mumbled “hoofhthhnn?”


“I have done this when I needed to eb satisfied, before he found me,” she said as she looked at Charles, “arranged for me to come here, to feed my needs.”


I looked at he r- there was humanity in her eyes, but also a look of glee as she opened the package, and drew out a sharp scalpel. “I regret you have to be the one,” she said quietly, “but “




Astrid turned and looked at Charles, before she used the scalpel to cut my jumper away at the front, and then through my brassiere, my breasts feeling the cool air. I then closed my eyes, stifling the urge to scream as she ran the edge of the blade over my breasts.


“You are brave I truly regret this “


I saw the sentiment in her eyes, as she traced the blade over my chest, and then




Charles and Astrid both turned their heads as I saw Heidi come into the room, standing tall, proud. Astrid stared at her, before she whispered “Mother?”


“Hello, my child,” Heidi said quietly, “I told you I would come and release you, and I always keep my word to my daughters.”


“uhhhh uhrdhhtthhr?”


“I am sorry you have to witness this Doctor Huntingdown,” Heid said quietly, “I would understand if you wished to close your eyes.”




“Who am I? A fair question, my dear Doctor a very fair question. My child, come to me.”


Astrid walked slowly forward, Charles and me watching before she collapsed into Heidi’s arms, weeping as she put her arms around her.


“It is all right, my child your torment is over.”


“She is mine to use, mine to employ “




Charles looked at Heidi as she said “no daughter of mien is a vasal, a slave, a tool to be used by mere man. You have abused her you and the man upstairs. That ends.




Charles and I looked at Heidi as her form seemed to change no, not just her form, her clothing as well, as she went from a slightly dowdy woman to one with long blonde hair, wearing a costume from the history books.


One Charles evidently recognised, as he whispered “Mein Gott... Das kann nicht sein... Die Blutprinzessin...




“I am Hildegard, Princess Hildegard von Furstenheim,” she said as she looked at me, “and it is my curse and my penance to walk this world and see to the welfare of my daughters. I was told of your cry, my child, and I am so sorry it took me so long to come and claim you back.”


“I am not alone?”


“No, you are not alone I am here to take you to a safe place, to see you healed, cared for and then, we will meet again one day.”


“No she is going nowhere!”


Heidi no, Hildegard looked at Charles as he pointed a Luger at her, but she just smiled as she said “I cannot hurt you, I cannot interfere but he has caused you great pain, hasn’t he child?”


“Yes, mother.”


“Doctor,” she then said as she looked at me, “I know you have seen great horror, but you may wish to avert your gaze. This lady has caused you no harm, my child she is to be spared.”




“Avert your eyes, Jane and thank you. We will not meet again.”


I saw Astrid turn, a feral look in her eyes as she leapt at Charles and he screamed. That was when I closed my eyes but the sounds, the screams, the soft squelching told their own story.


I then felt a hand on my shoulder, and heard Hildegard say “help will be summoned you saw Astrid leap at him when he released her, and she saw what he had done to you. She left you here - is that clear?”


I nodded, and then heard the footsteps leaving the room. Eventually, I opened my eyes and saw Charles against the wall, his head to one side, his eyes lifeless, his guts spilling put from the open stomach. It was all I could do not to retch, but I had to stay there until I heard a familiar face call out “JANE!”




I looked to the door as Mike and Mulligan ran in, both of them staring at the dead body before they came over and removed the gag.


“What happened?”


“I I saw who killed those people he said it was under his orders, and she turned on him. I must have fainted “


“You faint?”


“Please, just get me out of here .”





I looked over as the door to the hospital room opened., and Annabel came in.


“Hey how are you doing?”


“I have been better,” I said as I felt the bandage round my chest. “Scars heal.”


“Scars, yes but the beast who did this to you “


“Died it was his assistant. I heard Graves was also dead.”


“Heart attack, apparently.”


I nodded as I said “what about you?”


“I heal as well but perhaps we need a holiday. When you are recovered, how about a fortnight as the guests of Annie? She insists.”


“How could I refuse,” she said as I gently squeezed her hand.



“Oh God,” I said as I looked at the letter. Hildegard was alive and walked the earth? Should I tell Carina, and the others


Jane had left the decision in my hands as to what to do, but I was genuinely torn. Eventually, however, I stood up and found a large envelope, and then put it in, sealing it and placing it on the table. I would see my attorney, and make it clear this must remain unopened, and on my death passed on to Carina.


Sighing, I put the book down as well. That was enough story for one night





















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