Hunting Down – Part 1








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…







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