Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 10

Alvarez asked, "Why is the FBI here and not the local police?"

"The body was discovered in Van Wie Park, and that's federal land, which makes it our case."

It was obvious neither Alvarez nor Turley had known that. Hadn't they watched the news? The murderer hadn't known it would draw in the feds either, Sherlock would wager. Sherlock decided she was going to rock and roll with this woman who was struggling to look so formidable.

Sherlock gave them both impartial smiles. "What were you fighting about?"

Turley Drexel was fifty-two years old, and cursed with a round baby face he'd hated for as long as he could remember. He answered her in the tone of a prim, tightly wound bureaucrat used to juggling numbers. "See here, Agent, we were simply having a business discussion, of no concern to you, I assure you, nothing at all to do with that dead man found out back. We don't even know who he is. No one's bothered to tell us. Was he a transient?"

Sherlock said easily, "No, not a transient, Mr. Drexel. Actually, I'm very sure both of you knew him. He was an employee of Schiffer Hartwin, from their headquarters, a German national. His name was Helmut Blauvelt."

Mr. Drexel paled, then quickly lowered his eyes to his black loafers and muttered something under his breath.

As for Carla Alvarez, her hand went to her throat. She said slowly, "Helmut Blauvelt? No, surely that's not possible, surely-you're certain?"

"Very certain."

"We didn't know, I mean, sure, we've met Mr. Blauvelt, but we didn't realize-we just thought it was some stranger who was mugged and killed in the park. This is unbelievable, Agent. Mr. Blauvelt-it just doesn't seem possible."

"He was identified very quickly." She gave them no details. She turned. "Mr. Drexel, if you would please return to your office, I would like to speak with Ms. Alvarez alone. I'll be in to speak with you soon."

After Turley Drexel nearly ran from the office, Sherlock turned back to Carla Alvarez, studied her a moment, and said, "Men are dogs, aren't they, Ms. Alvarez?"

"Dogs? What is that supposed to mean?"

"I mean, Caskie Royal is married, he's got kids, and here he is sleeping with you. I wonder how many women, how many employees, he's talked onto his sofa? Surely you realize you're not the first."

"That's insulting. If I were a man, you'd never say anything like that."

"Depending on where I happened to be, and what I happened to find, sure I would. Ms. Alvarez, I understand you and Mr. Caskie Royal interrupted a break-in last night, in his office, and I was thinking it really strange that neither of you called the police, that the security guard did it some minutes later, with no prompting from you. Why is that?"

"What does it matter who called the police? They were called, weren't they?"

"Why don't you tell me why that wasn't the first thing you and Caskie did."

Alvarez shrugged. "We were anxious to see if the thief got away with anything valuable, like confidential files or e-mails. So the guard called. I repeat, who cares?"

"I'm thinking you guys didn't call because you were afraid the first question put to you would be why the two of you were there alone on a Sunday night."

"We were working on the budget-we had adjustments to make, production dates to change-"

"That doesn't sound all that urgent. So how long have you been sleeping with Mr. Royal?"

"I am not sleeping with him!"

"What did the thief take, Ms. Alvarez?"

"Nothing, as far as I know. That's what Mr. Royal told me last night. He hasn't said anything different to me today."

"How many times did you meet with Mr. Blauvelt?"

"Only once, when he was here three, four months ago, his first visit to our office, I believe."

"No, he's been here many times. All right, what was your meeting about during this visit several months ago?"

Sherlock saw Alvarez's face go utterly blank, then watched her brain snap to. Alvarez said, her voice ice chips, "Not that you'd understand, but we spoke of the reasons behind some budget overruns on drugs we distribute. It's all very involved. After our discussion, he met briefly with Mr. Royal, then, so far as I know, he returned to Germany, pleased that we had resolved the situation."

"You're lying to me, Ms. Alvarez, and I do hate that. You know as well as I do that Mr. Blauvelt wouldn't know a budget overrun from a Gesundheit."

"I am not!"

"Why did Mr. Blauvelt come here this time?"

"I have no idea. I didn't even know he was coming."

"You must know Mr. Blauvelt was Schiffer Hartwin's enforcer, their messy-problem solver. Whenever he showed up, it meant there was a screw-up that needed his brand of fixing. This always involved people, Ms. Alvarez, not production problems. Who was he here for this time? Who was the problem, Ms. Alvarez? Were you the one he came to see?"



Savich studied Caskie Royal, sitting erect and confident in his executive leather chair behind his equally impressive mahogany desk, and watched him thread a Cross pen through his large blunt fingers. He knew Royal had been first string quarterback in his senior year at Florida, and he still looked fairly buff, though living well was starting to thicken his waistline. His hair was thick, dark brown with flecks of gray at the temples, the politician's You can trust me look. Savich knew about his tomcat reputation and imagined Sherlock could tell him what it was that made women look his way. His dark eyes were intelligent, but Savich saw cunning lurking in them too. At first he looked decisive, a man at the top of his game, sure of his place in the sun. But his hands were the giveaway-nervous hands, fiddling with the pen, his fingers tapping. Savich imagined he'd been instructed to make nice and to get this mess shut down cleanly. He doubted Royal could be intimidated, at least not here on his own turf. A laid-back, more conciliatory approach, then.

Royal asked, "May I ask why the FBI is visiting me, Agent Savich? It was a break-in, probably some competitor looking for some advantage, new and exciting to them, no doubt, but nothing more. I know poor Helmut Blauvelt was found murdered in Van Wie Park, but I will tell you right now I know nothing about that." He looked down pointedly at his Rolex.

Savich smiled to himself. "I realize you're a busy man, Mr. Royal, and we will make this as quick and painless as possible. Did your employers at Schiffer Hartwin call you from Germany?"

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