Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?
A Friends of the Library Mystery
Part III


Several days passed before the researcher could return to the mystery of the photo and book. During that time some part of her brain that was not required for her day job was pondering the next step. The idea of tracking down every person in the annual was onerous, and probably fruitless. The annual was from the Class of 1933. Figuring an average age of 22 for graduates, any survivors were around 99 years old -- not likely to be a productive use of her time and energy. Maybe the note held more clues than were obvious...

That evening, after a wonderfully satisfying dinner of Thai food from the new restaurant she'd read about in the paper, the researcher was motivated to tackle the mystery once more. Before she did though, she went to the basement to retrieve a light table. This was when she was glad of her pack rat tendencies. You never knew when something would come in handy.

She set out all of the materials, plugged in the light table, and slipped on her gloves. Using tweezers to lay the typed note on the table, she mentally crossed her fingers as she flipped on the light. It was a white light, shining through the old parchment. There! She could see faint indentations of letters from the original typewriter. Flipping the off switch for the light table, she turned to the scanner. Its light was far brighter and might reveal more.

She placed the scrap on the scanner and waited for it to go through its warmup. When it signaled ready, she pressed the button. She only wanted to give the item one pass, as the intense light was very hard on old ink.

When the image flashed up on the computer monitor, she felt her stomach tickling with an adrenalin boost. She could just make out the name.






Mahoney! The researcher had to quell her excitement as she turned to the index of the old volume. Under "M" there were TWO Mahoneys listed: Eugene and Emajean.

She sat back and thought for a minute. It has to be Emajean. No one would send an invitation to a man with the address "Maw".  And, this was a nursing program, so perhaps the blessed duties referred to later in the note means her nursing duties.

Emajean was listed as appearing on page 123. The researcher turned to that page and sat back in disbelief. The page was missing! But firmly tucked into the place where the page would have attached was another photo. Far from providing answers or clues, this one was full of its own questions.








The researcher put everything away and went to bed.

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