CAMBRIDGE, MA: The proprietor of a Professional Busybody business in West Cambridge today announced its imminent closure. The sign has been removed from the end of the garden walk at Jane Darrowfield’s residence and she is accepting no new cases.
“I’m gratified to say the people who used my services were pleased, but sadly, there weren’t enough of them,” said Ms. Darrowfield, owner and sole employee.
While she was operating, Ms. Darrowfield provided a service fixing things that required discreet handling for select clients. She dealt with problems that while vexing, costly, or even dangerous, were not appropriate for the police. “Never underestimate the value of common sense and a direct approach to difficult conversations,” Ms. Darrowfield has said.
“She helped me change hairdressers with no feelings hurt and without getting kicked out of the salon,” Mil Foster said. “Frankly, I’ve never looked better. I am eternally grateful.”
“She didn’t get our cat back,” Ralph Pilchner said. “But she did repair our relationship with our next door neighbors and dear friends. We presented her with one problem, but Jane understood, without our ever saying it, what the real issue was and went about fixing it.”
Despite the deliberately low stakes nature of Ms. Darrowfield’s cases, she has worked with the Cambridge PD on major criminal investigations. “Jane’s instincts are unerring,” said Detective Tony Alvarez. “I was pleased to work with her on two big cases involving multiple murders and a kidnapping. I will greatly miss her contributions. She is a citizen-hero.”
Asked what she planned to do with her time, Ms. Darrowfield said, “I have a few cases to finish up. Then I’m going to San Francisco to live in a rental apartment near my son and his family. We have a lot of work to do. I expect to be there for several months. Happily, my fiancé, Harry Welch, will be visiting frequently, which will give me the support I’m sure I’ll need. In addition, we hope to fit in a bit of sightseeing while we’re on the west coast.”
Ms. Darrowfield’s friends are generally supportive of the closure. “The business has made for some very entertaining conversations at our weekly bridge games,” Irma Brittleson said. “but Jane has ended up in harm’s way more than once. I, for one, am happy to see her give it up.”
“Of course with this San Francisco trip, we’ll have to find a temporary fourth for bridge and the pickings are slim,” said Phyllis Goldstein, quickly adding, “Not that I begrudge her.”
“Pish,” said best friend Helen Graham. “Jane has retired unsuccessfully once before. I don’t think this one will stick, either.”
Despite Ms. Graham’s skepticism, Ms. Darrowfield is committed to closing the business. “It’s been fun,” she said, “but it’s time to move on.”