Synopsis of The Mother Hunt
Lucy Valdon has recently been widowed by the accidental death of her husband, the novelist Richard Valdon. Lucy has a surprise waiting for her in her vestibule one evening: an abandoned baby, dressed, with a note pinned to a blanket. The note claims that the baby is Richard’s son. Lucy wants to learn who the mother is. That information would help determine whether her husband and the mother had been intimate, and therefore the likelihood that the child is in fact Richard’s.
Wolfe is reluctant as always, but agrees to investigate. Archie examines the clothes that the baby was wearing and spots an unusual item: the baby’s overalls have horsehair buttons, apparently handmade. After Archie draws a blank trying to track the buttons down via businesses in the garment trade, Wolfe tries a tactic that he uses to good effect in other cases. He advertises for information.
The advertisement succeeds in prompting a call from someone who has seen a similar button, and when Archie follows up he eventually locates Ellen Tenzer in Mahopac, about fifty miles north of New York City. Miss Tenzer is a retired nurse who from time to time cares for babies temporarily. She is unwilling to help Archie, though, and orders him off her property. Archie complies, Miss Tenzer disappears, and the next day she is found, strangled, in her car on a Manhattan street.
Synopsis taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_Hunt