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Evil Breeding

Evil Breeding

Titel: Evil Breeding
Autoren: Susan Conant
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concentrates on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but reads Dickens on the side. “Oliver Twist, “ she informed me.
    “Yes,” I said. “And the stepfather also seems to have pumped his stepson full of grandiose ideas about the glory of Germany and about rising to the aristocracy and so forth. And then when B. Robert got to Princeton—Princeton University—he happened to find himself in the same class as Hartley Dodge, Jr., who was in the same Princeton class, 1930, but in a whole other league from the townie son of a junk dealer. Christina told Jocelyn that B. Robert was totally obsessed with Hartley Dodge. He used to keep clippings about Hartley Dodge from the school newspaper, and sometimes he actually followed him around. When he saw Hartley Dodge, he saw a manifestation of the person he desperately wanted to be. Only he couldn’t, of course. For a start, he didn’t have any money. But the image was there: the glamorous, risk-taking heir to Remington Arms and to part of the Rockefeller fortune, the mansions, the show dogs, the incredible art collection! It was who he tried to become.”
    “You know quite a bit about your Mr. Motherway now,” Althea commented. Her eyes narrowed.
    “He isn’t my Mr. Motherway. And he isn’t the only villain in the piece. Far from it. The stepfather seems to be the origin of a lot of what went wrong. For one thing, Christina sort of hinted to Jocelyn that the stepfather was the reason she was sent back to Germany. She was a pretty girl, a beautiful girl, young, and not his biological daughter. In fact, he’d never adopted her the way he had her brother. And the idea is that he was paying her inappropriate attentions, so her mother got her out of the country and away from him. There’s no way to know for sure. Anyway, the stepfather died rather sadly. He hanged himself in 1929. He hadn’t had a lot to invest, but he’d put it in the market, and after the Crash, he killed himself.”
    “As did others,” Althea commented.
    “Yes. But strangely enough, his wife, B. Robert’s mother, died right after that, too. B. Robert was in his senior year at Princeton. He was living at home, naturally. He had a scholarship, but nothing beyond that. Until his mother supposedly hanged herself.”
    “She’d managed to keep up the payments on a small insurance policy.”
    “But it was assumed that she was overcome with grief and shame about her husband’s suicide, and followed suit. Anyway, by then, Eva was in Germany, and before long, our Mr. Motherway, B. Robert, had a degree in art history from Princeton. When he graduated, he took over his stepfather’s business, mostly the shady part of it, and his stepfather’s dogs, but he apparently decided he needed a better cover than a junk shop. That’s when he moved here, to Massachusetts. He got a job teaching art history at exactly the kind of prep school he wished he’d gone to, and he had the perfect excuse to keep going back and forth to Europe: escorting student tours. And he liked what he saw in Germany in the thirties: the art, the music, the tidiness, the nationalism. What impressed him most of all was Eva. He hadn’t seen her since 1926. She was beautiful. She liked housework. She was a simple person. She was the ideal Aryan woman. And she looked like him! After that, things get foggy for a while. What’s clear is that he discovered an elite employment agency in New York that Mrs. Dodge used, and Eva Kappe came to this country, and she was a big hit there. She really did have good recommendations, and her training in European household service was practically designed to appeal to wealthy American employers. And then there was an opening with Mrs. Dodge. One of her dogs had bitten a maid, so she’d fired the maid. And Eva got the job. She left other letters besides the one Jocelyn sent to me. She kept them in what she called her ‘treasure chest.’ I’ve read them. So far as casing the place went, she really was useless, except that she did give a picture of tight security. Anyway, he finally pulled her out of there.”
    “The war began,” Althea said.
    “Yes, but he didn’t go. He had a heart murmur. And flat feet. But he sure did go to Germany after the war. It was paradise for shady dealings in art, and he spoke fluent German. That’s when he really made a bundle. By then he’d married Eva, who was now Christina. He brought her to Massachusetts. Peter was born in 1946. From what
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