Getting back to this!

“I’m afraid so, Mr. Vargas. She died two weeks ago. I received word that she fell overboard, off the ferry to Peñasco, only they didn’t find the body for a week. We buried her last Saturday.” Father Miguel looked unhappy. “There were more people attending the reading of the will than at her funeral.”

“Yeah. That happens. I take it the relic was one of the bequests?”

“Yes. It turns out that she left it to the Church — but when the executor opened the safe where she had stored her valuables, it was empty of that, and the other items listed in the will. That’s when I was brought into the situation.”

I gave him the old Shamus grin. We have several different versions of that, so I went with ‘good-natured.’ Father Miguel seemed like a good guy, even on short notice; besides, he could probably bench-press me. “So you took a look at the mess, decided that you weren’t the right guy for the job, and went looking for one who was?”

“Exactly. I will confess, I went first to the police.”

“Sure,” I agreed amiably. People are always making that mistake. It ain’t like Cin City cops are lazy; they just know what they’re good at. Somebody snatching pouches? They can sort that out. Week-old thefts where nobody’s talking? Not so much, at least as long as the corpses aren’t piling up. I didn’t have the good Father here pegged as somebody who’d want things to get that bad. “Did your parishioner stick around?” He looked confused, so I elaborated. “You know, as a ghost?”

“Oh! Sorry, Mr. Vargas. I have no idea.” Now I was confused. “My time in seminary didn’t include any lessons in necromancy. Just warding and exorcisms. I wouldn’t know where to start in talking to a spirit.”