The professor smiled reassuringly and leaned back in his chair, to seem less threatening. They were always nervous. They interviewed him every few years, and they always began the same way.

"Professor," she began, "Was archaeology something you always wanted to study? Or did you ever want to do something else, maybe be a writer you're your mother?"

He raised pale eyebrows, surprised. This one was different, after all; if they had done their research at all, they usually began by asking about his father. "Are you familiar with my mother's work, then?"

"Oh, yes," the student replied. "I think Vane's mysteries are even better than Sayers' or Christie's."

He beamed. "I think so, myself. Well, really, I suppose my mother did have something to do it with it. When I was small I wanted to be a swashbuckling hero, like her detectives. But what fun is it to be a hero if you can't tell anyone about it? You've probably heard about my father … but I guarantee you haven't heard all of his exploits. There were so many he couldn't talk about even to us. It wasn't until we were older that we began putting the bits together and realized that he wasn't – quite – like other peoples' fathers. I wanted to be able to tell the world what I had done. As I grew older I got excited about archaeology for its own sake. Went out one summer to visit some friends of my mother's on their dig – extraordinary couple – and I was hooked for life."

Paul Wimsey shrugged. "Naturally, I still liked adventure too. Heard the other day from a writer fellow making a book from some stories I told him. Highly fictionalized, of course, with Nazi villains and beautiful women added. He's making the hero an American to please the studios, giving him some outlandish nickname – Illinois, or something like that. But the real thing is exciting enough, if you ask me."