The Body in the Bouillon

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    Faith realized she should have come to Sylvia Vale in the first place. If she could keep her talking, she’d tell Faith about every nook and cranny and every occupant at HH.
    â€œI have a small nest in Byford center,” Sylvia prattled on, and Faith was struck by an image of Sylvia in her colorful plumage perched in a nest like Big Bird in the middle of Byford Common.
    Sylvia knocked at the door, and a voice Faith instantly recognized from both her conversation and Tom’s earlier description as belonging to Roland Hubbard answered, “Come in.” They did.
    â€œDr. Hubbard, this is Mrs. Fairchild, who has been so kind about helping us out.”
    Roland Hubbard rose from behind his mahogany Duncan Phyfe desk and walked around it toward Faith, his hand already extended. He was a tall, powerful-looking man with a thick shock of white hair and deep blue eyes. A patrician. He took her hand and covered it with his other in a lingering grasp. She had never decided whether she liked this kind of handshake or not. It was difficult to terminate, but then wasn’t it also more personal than the other—an American equivalent to being kissed on both cheeks? Dr. Hubbard dropped her hand.
    â€œI’m happy I can help you, and I hope I can do so occasionally in the future. I’ll be starting my business after the new year—I’m a caterer—but I’m sure there will be time to come here also.” She was not sure when, yet it seemed like the right thing to say. After all, you couldn’t very well tell the head of Hubbard House that you were here only to investigate, and when you had discovered whatever the matter was, you’d be history.
    â€œAnything you can do, my dear. We old folks appreciate
seeing a young thing around the place. Of course, I say that facetiously. Even though the average age here is seventy-nine, I don’t think many of us would describe ourselves as ‘old’, rather ‘seasoned.’ And we are the fastest-growing segment of the population, which suggests a certain liveliness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m afraid much of my job is paperwork and I’m trying to clear my desk of this Everest before Wednesday’s frolic.”
    â€œOf course, Dr. Hubbard.” Sylvia looked up at him, her eyes slightly dilated with pure devotion. “It was good of you to take the time.”
    So it was like that, Faith thought. Sylvia bustled her out the door and back into the annex. “A truly selfless man,” she told Faith. “He lives completely for others.”
    â€œHow nice,” Faith commented. There didn’t seem to be any other appropriate comment to make. She could understand the fascination, if not the devotion. Roland Hubbard was extremely well preserved, and while his voice did not have tones of liquid gold, its sharp Yankee clip was softened by the warmth he injected into it. The way he had of looking straight into one’s eyes, the “I’m talking to only you” manner, was indeed seductive.
    â€œIncidentally, have you seen the dining room?” Sylvia laughed preparatory to making a joke. “It would be a bare cupboard without you!”
    â€œNo, I haven’t seen it,” Faith replied, and hoped Sylvia had time to give her a tour.
    Sylvia did seem to have time, and showed Faith the elegant dining room with curved windows overlooking a garden and large deck. “During the summer months, we eat out on the deck that Doctor Hubbard added. It’s almost like a resort!” Sylvia told her. There was also a small dining room off to the side for the residents to use for private parties and a good-sized library on the other side. They walked back through the living room.
    â€œThis was one of the few changes the Hubbards made. Originally part of it was the entrance hall.” She gestured to
the left and pointed back at the grand spiral staircase toward the rear of the

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