Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 26

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 26

Chapter Three

 CASTLES

 …Yet another detailed Dombroski anecdote finds them right to the front entrance of the main Tolentine building, looking every bit the castle…

The inimitable Eddie Dombroski has once again been summoned to the greater University of Chicago area. The path between his home and the prestigious bastion of higher education is a well-worn path. In the intervening three days after Constance and her compatriots did their sweep of Willard Libby’s campus office, he has ferried any and all of them, here and there and back again.

The girls share a guestroom at Kamen’s Kimbark address for convenience sake, just down the hall from the elusive piano teacher William, who seems to be more of an urban legend than real person. In the notable time they have spent in Hyde Park, they have yet to see him in person.

Here and there, there and here; today’s here is the Tolentine Seminary (in Olympia Fields Illinois) where they are to meet with a M. Joseph Franks, who has been talking to Libby quite regularly, Illinois Bell records have shown.

“I haven’t been this far south since my folks took us kids on a camping trip down by the Kankakee River. I saved my youngest brother’s crazy buttski after he fell into the water trying to catch a big fish, not with a pole but with his bare hands, dumb Pollack! It was a monster thing, about the size of our canoe. Jimmy couldn’t swim, but that didn’t stop him from jumping in after it.

Yet another detailed Dombroski anecdote finds them right to the front entrance of the main Tolentine building, looking every bit the castle, minus the mote and towering walls. Named for Saint Nicholas of Torentino, an Augustinian Friar, it is a sprawling property with that eerie look of inactivity, though well kept and stately. There is woman waiting for them as they enter the narthex.

“We are looking for a Joseph Franks,” Constance states with assurance. The staff is aware she is fishing for information about Willard Libby.

“That is I, Mary Joseph Franks, of the Holy Mothers of Augustinians… Willard Libby is my sister’s boy.”

“Knock me over with a feather.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 25

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 22

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 22

…“Where do we start Miss Caraway?…

Martin Kamen finds out that Willard was in regular communication with Vatican City, among others. What is the connection between the theory of evolution and radiocarbon dating? He chimes in with his nuggets:

  • Pope Pius XII wanted Willard to come out against the growing scientific leanings in favor of the theory of evolution.
  • Willard lives in Olympia Fields. Tolentine is a monastery of Friars on the edge of that sleepy Illinois village.
  • Billy Graham is an evangelist and crusader who has a degree in anthropology of all things.
  • McGraw-Hill is the unrivalled publisher of textbooks in the US and has a vested interest in all things taught.
  • The United Nations sent Willard a cable concerning some mystery group that had gotten their attention; must have been serious enough for them to exhibit care about an organization that has spread its wings around the globe.

“When this is all over and we have untangled this briar patch, well in this case ‘friar-patch’, you should come back to Florida with us. I like the way you think.” Constance picks up on the growing connection between those seemingly stray Libby contacts and Martin’s investigative talents. He would be a welcomed addition to CCI.

“Not only that, Libby had called the FBI before they called him! What would a scientist have to do with government types, especially the spy kind? He must have sensed trouble,” adds Fanny.

“It looks like the entire planet was taking notice of his work.” In most instances that is the point of scientific research. Martin’s sense of security is waning.

“And yet you are as clean as a whistle and without a scratch on that pretty-boy face.”

“… At least for now. And so is Sam Ruben, a vital colleague of hours, part of the precious few, so-to-speak. I spoke with him the day before last and he too is getting spooked.” He speaks of their carbon-collaborator from University of California-Berkeley.

“And we know that we’re not dealing with a jealous husband or wacko lady friend,” Fanny notes, removing the love triangle aspect from the fray. Human emotion is generally the spark that ignites the fuel for the private investigatory engine.

Where do we start Miss Caraway? There are a dozen angles to consider here.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 21