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Strangers In Blood

by Adam Beau McFarlane

About the Author: Adam McFarlane graduated from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School. He is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Private Eye Writers of America. His work appears in Pulp Adventures, Thuglit, and other publications.


It was the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition—whatever you call it, I consider it the best years of my life. My companion was Dr. James Watson, son of my father’s best friend. He worked for the New York City Medical Examiner’s office; together, we solved countless cases for the police.

Our apartment overlooked the Seventh Regiment Memorial. Central Park was in neglectful decline, even before Herbert Hoover. But on a spring day, the greenery and sunshine brightened everything.

When James mentioned company, I put on a skirt and sweater set with a pearl necklace and black earrings.

“A new client?” I asked.

Nodding, he said, “Bessie Cox seeks advice on a legal matter.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You’re a lawyer, not a criminalistics doctor?”

With a dismissive wave, he said, “She has a claim of strangers in blood.”

“Strangers in blood?”

“The legal term for a child born out of wedlock and unrecognized by the father, or a filius nullius.”

“A ‘child of no one?’ ” I guessed with my Swiss boarding school education in French and Italian.

He nodded. “Except in this case, the child was born while the mother was married to another man.”

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