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  • Max watched as Miss Diehl floated past him and onto one of his hardbacked chairs by his desk. These chairs had been his bright idea to ditch people quickly. Now he wished he had satin pillows on them. Max planted himself on his desk near her, alternating his gaze from her freckles to her cherry red lipstick.

    "Now, why don't you tell me what this is about? Your card says you are a doll collector. That isn't exactly my line of business. You look too young to be collecting dusty antiques. And how did you find me?" He noticed how her nose crinkled up causing several freckles to turn into a cute dot. He thought she was flirting with him.

    Adrienne found that when she got annoyed, her nose crinkled up.... and she found Max annoying. She wondered if she had made a mistake coming here.

    "I believe you have an assistant sometimes, a Chinese girl named Jaden."

    "Yah, that's right," said Max, adjusting his position from the desk to his chair.

    "Well, I am friends with her sister who lives in Oregon and she does housekeeping for my mother. She recommended you as I need this matter handled privately. As for being a doll collector, I inherited my grandmother's doll collection and have turned it into a small business to help with expenses. Of course now, with the war, things are different. Anyway, last week something very strange happened. I received a returned letter from Buenos Aires. My name and address was listed as the return address, however, I had never sent the letter. And I don't know anyone in Buenos Aires."

    "So who was the letter addressed to?"

    "A woman named Isabella Morena."

    "And you've never heard of her?"

    "No, and the contents of the letter are strange. It has some personal details about myself that are true. But...the rest of it is odd. I thought a Private Eye might make sense of it. That's why I have come to you."

    "Do you have the letter with you?

    "Yes." Adrienne dug around in her purse. "I have it right here."
    She handed the crumpled letter to Max. He opened the letter and read it.
  • Max thought the letter was curious but other than that, not very intriguing. "So ... it talks about a Siamese doll. Sounds pretty matter-of-fact."

    Now Adrienne was really annoyed with Max. "You don't understand. I didn't collect a Siamese doll and didn't send a letter to this woman in Buenos Aires, so why am I getting this letter I never wrote, returned back to me?"

    At this point Max thought this dame was a little dingy. This case would likely be a waste of time but she was cute and she seemed to like him as she kept crinkling up her nose when she looked at him. So Max winked at her and said, "I think we can work together. I'll just need a little more information."
  • This series of Noir is documentary fiction - a little bit of history mixed with fiction.
    Photo: Siamese Doll-Ebay. Letter-Wikipedia Commons (can't say more now without spoiling story)
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