Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 11

"No, really, it's just that I-" Royal saw that look, recognized it immediately, gave Savich a shrug, and said finally with a smirk, "What the hell. Carla's hot, you know? She loves sex, unlike my wife, and knows more ways to do it than I do. She had a bad divorce a while back, so there's no chance she'd want more than sex and some laughs."

"A pity you had to deal with the break-in and the cops instead of enjoying yourself."

"Yeah, that's the truth."

"You must have some idea of who broke in last night and why."

"No, I'm sorry, I don't."

"Mr. Blauvelt's body was found behind your building, at the edge of Van Wie Park, an area few people ever go since the undergrowth is so thick. Come now, who could Blauvelt have sent to break into your office? Was he here in the building with her? Did you or someone here come in on him, kill him, then panic and dump him out back?"

"No, that is ridiculous! I am trying to cooperate with you, Agent Savich. You have no right to treat me like a criminal. I should get one of our lawyers in here."

"Would his name be Bender?"

Royal froze. Slowly, he took his hand off the phone. "Yes," he said, "it would. We call him Bender the Elder."

Savich said easily, "We are nearly done here, Mr. Royal. I don't believe Bender the Elder is needed, do you?"

Royal chewed that over a moment, then drew in a deep breath, and nodded.

"Tell me, how long have you been having an affair with Carla Alvarez?"

"If you must know, not all that long. Maybe four months. I was getting tired of her, truth be told. You know how it is, you screw an older woman, and she gets ideas." He shrugged.

Older woman? Savich had seen a photo of Carla Alvarez. Caskie Royal had at least seven or eight years on her. He looked hard at Royal. He looked just a bit shaken, but still well in control. Savich said easily, "No, I can't say I've had that experience, Mr. Royal."



Sherlock asked again, "If Helmut Blauvelt wasn't here to see you, was it Caskie Royal? There was something in Royal's files Blauvelt wanted to see, something Mr. Royal had done, right? I find it strange Mr. Royal didn't mention Blauvelt to you last night when the two of you were together. Royal had to be worried that Blauvelt was here, and terrified of what he'd find out. How about you, Carla? Were you terrified too? Were you part of-what? A cover-up, maybe some profit skimming, some doctored financial reports? Something your German bosses found out about and sent their Mr. Fix-It to take care of ?"

Carla said quickly, "No, no, they've been quite pleased, our profits have been unexpectedly high, and now- No, there was nothing like that, look, I have no idea about any of this, Agent, none at all."

Unexpectedly high profits? What was that slip all about? She pressed on. "So Blauvelt came over here to work with Mr. Royal because of this windfall?"

"No, there is no windfall that I know about. I misspoke."

"So Mr. Fix-It is murdered his very first night on our soil. If you and Mr. Royal didn't kill him, who did, Ms. Alvarez?"

"I'm telling you, I don't know."

"How long have you been sleeping with Mr. Royal?"

"My private life is my own affair! Just because I'm a woman, even you, another woman, immediately suspect me of sleeping my way to the top." Carla Alvarez drew herself up. She stared straight through this obnoxious FBI agent with her cool leather jacket and her curly red hair. "You have been listening to gossip, Agent Sherlock. I'm surprised that an FBI agent would listen to meaningless gossip."

"Ah, we listen to all sorts of things, Ms. Alvarez, and sooner or later we learn just about everything that's important. Do you know, I'd bet your beautiful leather briefcase that his wife already knows about the two of you.

"If I were you, I'd update my résumé, Carla. You're divorced, right? For nearly two years now? Your ex burned you to your heels, and on top of that you have to pay the loser alimony."

"Yes, that miserable-I resent this. My personal life has nothing to do with the death of Helmut Blauvelt, Agent, and nothing to do with the break-in in Mr. Royal's office. I could be sleeping with half the staff here and it would still have nothing to do with any of this."

"Actually, it does, since you and Mr. Royal were here about the same time Mr. Blauvelt was getting himself murdered and dumped in the bushes in your backyard. Tell me, what was copied off Mr. Royal's computer files, Ms. Alvarez?"

"As I already said, Mr. Royal told the two officers he saw that nothing was accessed, nothing erased or disturbed."

"Of course he'd lie to the police, but not to you, Ms. Alvarez. I suppose since you're sleeping with him, you're very likely a part of this. You were with him when he discovered the thief. Mr. Royal must have been really upset because of what was copied. What was it?"

"No, the thief ran off, we ran him off before he could get to Caskie's computer."

"What was the thief after?"

"I don't know!"

Sherlock said, "I agree it wasn't Blauvelt who was in Royal's office, even though he could have walked in and accessed anything he wanted. The thing is, he couldn't have fit himself through that small bathroom window. So he hired someone. It had to be a woman. Do you know who she could be?"

"No, I have no idea!" Alvarez looked battered. The well was dry, Sherlock thought. She said gently, "I sure hope Caskie Royal is an excellent lover, Ms. Alvarez, because meeting him here was a very bad decision on your part."

Alvarez looked down at her nails, frowned at the hangnail on her thumb. She didn't look up as she said, "No, not particularly. Like you said, Agent, men are dogs."

"You're a smart woman. You should clean up your act. Now, tell me how you see this going down, Ms. Alvarez. Don't give me the tired old line about a mugger. Who do you think murdered Helmut Blauvelt?"

Carla Alvarez sagged against her desk. "I wish I knew, Agent. I'd tell you. Then I'd never have to see you again. You're a bitch."

"And proud of it," Sherlock said, gave her a smile, and left her office.

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