The innocent, p.46
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       The Innocent, p.46
 

           Harlan Coben
Chapter 45

  LOREN MUSE'S CELL PHONE RANG. It was Max Darrow's widow calling back.

  "I found something," she said.

  "What?"

  "It looks like an autopsy file on Candace Potter," Gertie Darrow said. "I mean, it is an autopsy. It's signed by the old medical examiner. I remember him. He was a very nice man. "

  "What does it say?"

  "It says a lot of things. Height, weight. You want me to read it all to you?"

  "How about a cause of death?"

  "It says something here about strangulation. It also says something about a severe beating and trauma to the head. "

  That fit in with what they already had. So what had Max Darrow noticed after all these years? What had sent him to Newark, to Emma Lemay as Sister Mary Rose? "Mrs. Darrow, do you have a fax machine?"

  "There's one in Max's office. "

  "Could you fax me the file?"

  "Of course. "

  Loren gave her the fax number.

  "Investigator Muse?"

  "Yes. "

  "Are you married?"

  Loren held back a sigh. First Yates, now Mrs. Darrow. "No, I'm not. "

  "Ever been?"

  "No. Why do you ask?"

  "I believed the other investigator. Mr. Wine, is it?"

  "That's right. "

  "What he said about Max being in the car with, well, a woman of questionable morals, as we used to say. "

  "Right. "

  "I just wanted to let you know. "

  "Know what, Mrs. Darrow?"

  "See, Max, well, he wasn't always a good husband, you know what I mean?"

  "I think so," Loren said.

  "What I'm trying to say is Max had done that in the past. In a car like that. More than once. That's why I was so quick to believe. I thought you should know. Just in case this doesn't pan out. "

  "Thank you, Mrs. Darrow. "

  "I'll fax it over now. "

  She hung up without saying anything more. Loren stood and waited by the fax machine.

  Adam Yates came back with two Cokes. He offered her one, but she shook him off. "Uh, what I said before, about not having kids-"

  "Forget it," Loren said. "I know what you were trying to get at. "

  "Still stupid of me to put it that way. "

  "Yeah. Yeah, it was. "

  "What's going on here?"

  "Max Darrow was looking into Candace Potter's autopsy. "

  Yates frowned. "What does that have to do with this?"

  "Not a clue, but I doubt it's a coincidence. "

  The phone rang and the fax machines began their mating screech. The first sheet churned out slowly. There was no cover letter. That was good. Loren hated the waste of paper. She grabbed the sheet and started searching for the conclusion. In truth she read very little else in autopsy reports. Weights of livers and hearts might interest some people, but she was only interested in what they meant to her case.

  Adam Yates read over her shoulder. It all seemed pretty normal.

  "You see anything?" she asked.

  "No. "

  "Me neither. "

  "This could be a dead end. "

  "Probably is. "

  Another sheet came in. They both started reading it.

  Yates pointed midway down the right-hand column. "What's this over here?"

  There was check mark in the middle of the body description.

  Loren read it out loud: "No ovaries, testes hidden, probable AIS. "

  "AIS?"

  "It stands for Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome," Loren said. "I had a friend in college who had it. "

  "What's the relevance of that?" Yates asked.

  "I'm not sure. AIS women look and feel like typical females and for all practical purposes, they're considered female. They can legally marry and adopt. " She stopped, tried to think it through.

  "But?"

  "But in short it means that Candace Potter was genetically male. She had testes and XY chromosomes. "

  He made a face. "You mean she was, what, a transsexual?"

  "No. "

  "Then, what, she was a guy?"

  "Genetically, yes. But probably not in any other way. Oftentimes an AIS woman doesn't know she's any different until she reaches puberty and doesn't menstruate. It's not that uncommon. There was a Miss Teen USA a few years back who was AIS. Many believe Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc and a slew of supermodels and actresses have it, but that's really nothing more than speculation. Either way you can lead a perfectly normal life. In fact, if Candace Potter was a prostitute, perverse as this sounds, it may even have benefited her. "

  "Benefited her how?"

  Loren looked up at him. "Women with AIS can't get pregnant. "

 
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