The Mother Hunt
The Mother Hunt is the 18th novel by the Grandmaster of Mystery to be reissued in the Rex Stout Library. It's a matter of maternity that brings Lucy Valdon to the brownstone on West 35th, after a baby is left on her doorstep.
was on gravel, curving and sloping up with woods on both sides, and in half a mile there was her mailbox on the left. I turned in, to a narrow driveway with ruts, took it easy not to bump trees, and was at the source of the white horsehair buttons. When I got out I left the paper bag with the overalls in the glove compartment. I might want them and I might not. I glanced around. Woods on all sides. For my taste, too many trees and too close to the house. The clearing was only sixty paces long
not too far from the mailbox where I could ease it in among the trees, but if she went for a ride I would have to get it out to the road in a hurry, and she might go the other way; I didn’t know where the gravel road went over the hill. I decided that getting it into the woods far enough to hide it was out, and therefore it might as well be handy. Anyway she had seen it, and if and when it tailed her in broad daylight she would know it. I could only hope she would stay put until Saul came with a
small house, no one lived there but her, except the baby. It was there about three months.” “Then she’s the mother!” “No. For various good reasons, no. I won’t—” “But she knows who the mother is!” “Probably she did. At least she knew where she got it and who from. But she won’t tell because she’s dead. She was—” “Dead?” “I’m telling you. After a short talk with her Friday morning I left to get to a phone and send for help, and when I got back to the house her car was gone and so was she. I
photographers work fast, and he was through in the nursery, with Lucy and Sally, by half past three. I tagged along to Washington Square, to see how Sally handled a baby carriage. I hadn’t made a study of that, but I thought she did all right, dragging her feet a little and letting her shoulders sag. When I got back to the house the lady journalist was still there with Lucy, but she soon went, and I made martinis. THURSDAY, FRIDAY, and SATURDAY. To the Gazette first thing Thursday morning to
and about your wanting lists of names of women who knew Dick Valdon, and that you probably got them from Krug and Haft and Bingham. If you think you can crawl—” There was a knock at the door, and I went and opened it enough to see out. Lucy was there. She whispered, “Saul Panzer,” and I nodded, shut the door, and told Wolfe, “Phone for you,” and he got up and came. I opened the door for him and shut it after him, returned to my chair, and sat. “You were interrupted,” I said politely. “You were