"It sounds like a classic case of folie a deux," said Maura. "That's my diagnosis."
Of course Maura would come up with a diagnosis, thought Jane. From the instant Maura meets someone, she's diagnosing him, like a scientist mentally dissecting a lab rat. As Jane tossed aside her torn blouse and buttoned on a new one, she saw Maura eyeing the ruined garment, no doubt analyzing the tensile strength of the threads and the force needed to initiate a rip.
"A pity," said Maura. "That looks like dupioni silk."
"I got it on sale, too."
"Even sadder." Maura turned toward Jane's kitchen. "I brought us take-out Chinese. Shall I put it on the plates?"
"What's wrong with eating out of the cartons?"
"Jane. Really." Maura opened up cupboards and pulled out dishware.
"So tell me about this folie a deux thing."
"It's a delusion shared by two people," said Maura. "In this case, their delusion was that they're vampires. And it sounds like they carried it to extremes. Avoiding daylight. Sleeping in a coffin."
"Which is where he'll probably slink back to, since we didn't have enough evidence to hold him." Jane shook her head. "He swears they were living only on blood and water. Is that possible?"
Maura considered this as she dished out spoonfuls of Kung Pao chicken and stir-fried pea shoots. "Blood has plenty of iron but it lacks essential vitamins. And since it 's seven hundred calories per liter, you'd have to drink three liters of blood a day." She set a plate of food in front of Jane. "Bon appetit."
"You know, I really didn't need to know that."
"It does explain why Kimberly Rayner was so malnourished. I've seen dead anorexics with more body fat. If she's been eating only blood, she could hardly fight off a strangler."
"Heck, she couldn't fight off the common cold virus."
Expertly wielding chopsticks, Maura delicately plucked up a morsel of chicken. "Scientifically speaking, the common cold isn't caused by one particular virus. It's a constellation of symptoms that..." She suddenly stopped, frowning.
"Jane, you just raised a very good point."
"About her lack of resistance to disease processes."
"How is that relevant? She was strangled."
"It looked like strangulation." Maura set down her chopsticks. "But the autopsy just might reveal something else entirely."