This is another in the series of Ace Spade detective stories by Mo Conlan
Olive is sitting at her desk at her agency, Olive Inc. She is 80 – tall, silver-haired, eagle eyes the color of shiny pennies. She feels she is at the top of her game in her high-end niche of detective agencies. She has hired her grandnieces and nephews – computer whizzes – and offers the latest in techno-detecting for a select clientele who do not wish to go to the Big Boys of techno-security.
She looks at her Apple Watch. The time does not really matter. The sense of urgency has been growing. She wants to call Ace Spade. She hasn’t seen him since Ace Senior and Catherine died in that horrible accident.
When Olive worked at the Spade Agency, Ace called her Aunt Olly. He would come to her for advice, sometimes. But he never knew. That was part of the pact she’d made with the only man she had ever loved, Ace’s father.
She holds her cell phone and stares at it. She could make up some pretense to call, needing to look at one of the old Spade Agency files or somesuch.
Olive usually knows just what she is doing and just what to do next. But she just doesn’t know. Should she call Ace? Her boy Ace?
She takes out an old-style fountain pen and a piece of stationery from her desk drawer...
Letter from Olive ---
Dear Ace – I have been wanting to tell you something for a long time, since your parents died. I have not been able to, face to face, so this letter.
Your dad and Catherine loved you deeply. You were the child they had longed for. Your mom suffered many miscarriages, and it seemed there would not be a baby in that nursery that stood ready for so many years. So, I had their baby – I had you – for them.
Things were not so sophisticated back then. You were conceived the old-fashioned way. Your dad considered it a necessary sin. Your mother considered it God’s way of sending a child to be loved into the family cradle. For me, it was love.
I loved your dad.
We made love only once. You were conceived. So, maybe God’s hand was in it after all.
They decided and I agreed that this would remain a secret. Catherine feigned a pregnancy, and when I delivered you – a beautiful, perfect eight-pounder – she and your dad brought you home from the hospital.
My dearest Ace, perhaps it was wrong of us to keep this from you; but now that they are gone and you are alone – we each are alone – I think they would agree that my vow of secrecy may be broken.