By Anne Sullivan
“Let’s go for a walk,” said Sylvia after dinner last night.
“It’s dark and it’s way too cold,” I said, shivering in my comfortable chair.
“No, it’s not. You’re getting wimpy in your old age.” Sylvia pulled at my pants leg. “Come on, it’s a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht tonicht.”
“The moon may be bright but it’s nonetheless too cold for this ancient person. I don’t have a fur coat like you.” As I petted her the fur coat showered broken pine needles, oak leaves and an ample sample of southwestern New Mexico soil onto the new clean rug. “Have you written any more of your mystery book?” I asked in an attempt to distract her from the frigid outdoors.
“As a matter of fact I have,” Sylvia announced with pride. “Would you like me to read it to you?”
“I’d like that more than anything.” I settled back into my chair, covering my legs with a heated throw.
And this is what she wrote:
‘I, Dog Detective Veronica O’Leary, having discovered prints on the soil of
the San Agustin Plains, raced in the direction the tracks led.
“Have you picked up a scent?” asked Fatso, the Cat detective, as he ran
“Not yet, but I can follow the prints by sight because they‘re easy to see in
“You’re really clever,” said Fatso with admiration.
“I’m glad you noticed that, Fatso. Now, pay attention to what I do and you
may learn something.”
The tracks led us into a pasture we saw cattle huddled near the fence along the
highway. “There’s nothing but cows here,” Fatso said. “I don’t like cows.”
“Why ever not? The way I look at it, there’s not much to dislike or like about
cattle. They are what they are. But every ranch has to have some.”
The cattle rose and, as a body, strolled away from us. When Fatso and I followed,
they broke into a run.
“Now why do you suppose they’re doing that?” I asked myself aloud.
“They seem frightened of your magnifying glass. Try putting it away for a
minute,” suggested Fatso.
I tucked my magnifying glass into my night pack, but the cattle still ran.
“They certainly appear displeased about something and methinks I know what it is.”
“What, Veronica? What is it?””
“Elementary, my dear Fatso. Guilty conscience. These cattle have done something
bad, very bad. Look at them, they’ve stopped by the fence. Hey, you there, Mr. Steer, what are you up to?”
“Moo..oo.o,” said the cow, gazing up at the moon as though he hadn’t a care in
“Really?” I said to the cow. “I know you’ve been up to something. Those tracks
indicate that you and several of your cohorts got over that fence and dragged
something or some one with you.”
“Yes, you. That’s who. I comprehend it all now.”
“I wish I did. I’d love to be as smart as you, Veronica. I have a question for you.”
“Ask away, my dear Fatso.”
“If The Italian was so awful, why do we care who killed him?”
“Because we are detectives. This is what we do. This is who we are.” ‘
“That isn’t all, is it?” I asked Sylvia. “I want to hear more.”
“Be patient,” Sylvia said. “Next week. There’s one more chapter. I think three chapters is enough. Max thinks so too.”
Max, mysterious Max. Who is he and why have I never seen him?