Dead Write: A Forensic Handwriting Mystery

Dead Write: A Forensic Handwriting Mystery by Sheila Lowe

Book: Dead Write: A Forensic Handwriting Mystery by Sheila Lowe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sheila Lowe
“Please, sit anywhere.”
    “That looks pretty painful,” Claudia said, opting for the middle of the sofa. “Are you all right?”
    The psychologist’s lips twisted into a crooked smile. “Well, it’s certainly no fun, but it’ll heal. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding about your appointment.”
    “You’ve had a very upsetting experience. Under the circumstances, I wouldn’t have pressed to see you, but there’s an urgent—”
    “Dorothy is just being protective,” Pollard interrupted. “It’s her job.”
    “I understand. Sometimes we need to have someone protecting us, but—”
    “Do you have someone who protects you?”
    “Uh, yes, I do. Dr. Pollard—”
    “Something bad has happened to you, hasn’t it, Claudia?” Dr. Pollard removed the ice pack and laid it on her lap, her head tilted attentively, nodding slightly in encouragement.
    Claudia felt her heart lurch. “What makes you say that?”
    “I’m trained to recognize such things. There’s a deep sadness in you. I feel it.”
    “Somebody I knew was murdered a couple of months ago.”
    Why am I telling this to a total stranger?
    Pollard made a sound of distress. “What a terrible thing!” She lowered her voice and leaned forward. “But as terrible as that is, I think there’s more, isn’t there? You’ve been sad for a long time. Far longer than a couple of months.”
    The walls closed in. For a fleeting moment, Claudia actually considered getting up and running from the room, running from the intrusive questions. But then she wouldn’t get her own questions answered.
    “Dr. Pollard, I really don’t think—”
    “Why don’t you tell me about it.” Pollard’s voice was soft, almost hypnotic.
    “Thank you for the offer. I appreciate the thought. But why don’t we stick with Elite Introductions business.”
    “I can see that you’re hurting, dear. Talking about it would help so much. You’ll see.”
    The insistent way Pollard was coming at her was unlike any therapist she had ever met, especially since she wasn’t a client. And why was the doctor behaving as if nothing had happened to her that morning? Claudia shook her head, bent on getting the meeting back on track. “Talking about me is not what I’m here for, Doctor.”
    “But it could be . . . well, all right then, if you’re sure. But if you change your mind . . .”
    “I’ll remember that.”
    Pollard nodded, giving in with a knowing smile. “Well, okay. Welcome to the Elite team.”
    “Thank you. I’ve just come from having a chat with Dr. McAllister,” she said, relieved to have turned Pollard’s attention away from her.
    At the mention of McAllister’s name, something changed in Pollard’s eyes. What did that mean? Claudia plunged on, interested to see where it went. “He mentioned the party on Saturday night. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the clients whose handwritings I’ll be analyzing.”
    “I’m sure they’ll be very interested in meeting you, too.”
    “Do you think you’ll be up to going to the party?”
    “Oh yes, dear, a little knock on the head isn’t going to stop me.” Donna Pollard gave a bright smile to underscore just how fine she was.
    “A little knock on the head? You were attacked by an intruder. That’s nothing to shrug off. Have you been checked for concussion?”
    Dr. Pollard reached over and patted Claudia’s hand. “The baroness expects me to attend these things. She needs me to help facilitate, since I’ve already met everybody who will be attending.”
    “Why do I have the feeling that you don’t want to talk about the break-in?”
    “You’re right. I can’t say I do.”
    “Well then, there’s something I’d like to ask you about a couple of the dating club clients.”
    Pollard’s face closed down. “I’m sorry, Claudia, but I can’t discuss clients. It goes against professional ethics. You should know that.”
    “Even though we’re consulting about the same people for the same

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