Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 17

"Possible," Savich said.

Bowie said, "My agents in New Haven found out Blauvelt's air ticket was paid for on his personal account, not a company card. The Schiffer Hartwin travel staff told the BND, who told us they didn't even know he was coming to America. He rented a car at JFK, a dark blue Ford Taurus, license RWI 4749. Still no sign of it. As for where he was staying, no luck yet with that either, but he probably used an alias, paid cash."

"It would have to be a motel off the highway," Savich said, "a lodging that wouldn't care who or what he was. On the other hand, maybe he was staying with his murderer."

Bowie said, "Agents have checked the residences of all upper management Schiffer Hartwin employees, looking for the blue Taurus, speaking to neighbors. Nothing yet. Oh, yes, I meant to tell you the most important news this morning: our local police chief, Clifford Amos, has agreed to let us use his conference room for interviews, though he'd just as soon kick all our federal butts to Alaska. I asked Caskie Royal to come down at eleven."

Sherlock saluted him with her cup. "That's good, Bowie, take him out of his comfort zone."

Savich said, "Being close to a jail cell just might make him reevaluate his talking points." He smiled. He couldn't wait to have Royal on cop turf.

Sherlock said, "He knows exactly what the woman copied, he's afraid of it getting out, and so he's not cooperating, murder or no murder. The file or files she copied, that's got to be the key. And there were enough pages zipped into her jacket that she looked a bit bulky, Mr. Tallman said.

"Whatever she took, I'll bet my sneakers it shows something Schiffer Hartwin very much wants to keep quiet. I'll bet whatever it is, it's pretty big. I wonder what she's planning on doing with the file?"

Bowie said, "I was wondering that myself. It could be anything from extortion to espionage to someone trying to be a Good Samaritan."

Savich said, "Question is, what does she do with the files now that Blauvelt got himself murdered right out back at about the same time? Even if she didn't have anything to do with Blauvelt's murder herself, she's got to be scared. She's got to be praying we'll find the murderer soon so she'll be free to act."

Bowie said, "Or maybe she murdered Blauvelt, before or after she copied some files."

Savich said slowly, "She knew what she wanted, that's for sure. She wouldn't risk breaking in on a fishing expedition. I'll bet the German bosses are very well aware of what she copied by now, but without a direct link to the murder, we don't have a chance of talking anyone into a warrant." He swished the tea leaves at the bottom of his cup, and looked thoughtful.

Sherlock knew that look and smiled. "We've got to find her, see what's she's got before we arrest her for breaking and entering. I'm thinking once we know that, we'll know why Blauvelt was here."

Bowie looked out the window to see an ancient pink Cadillac cruise down High Street. "I'm not so sure about that. There doesn't necessarily have to be a tie-in."

"Maybe not," Sherlock said, "but somehow, it just feels right, like it's all part of the whole." She looked down at her watch. "Bowie, what about that German policeman? Andreas Kesselring of the German intelligence agency? Isn't he due in at JFK about now?"

Bowie grinned. "Yep, he surely is. I sent Special Agent Dolores Cliff to pick him up. She's got quite a talent for prying information out of people. Give her an oyster and she'll come away with the pearl. By the time she gets him back here, he'll have told her the color of his underwear and what he bought his wife for her birthday."

When they pulled into the parking lot of the Stone Bridge Police Department five minutes later, Bowie was rubbing his hands together with anticipation. "Caskie Royal's got to be scared spitless at this official invitation to cop central."

"Particularly since that woman has material that could fry his butt as well as the collective butts of the higher-ups in Schiffer Hartwin," Sherlock said. "But you know, it's Blauvelt who's the key. It all comes back to him and why he was here."



Tuesday morning

Savich watched Caskie Royal come into the conference room, two Schiffer Hartwin lawyers following close on his heels. If the older man had worn a robe and sported a beard, he'd have looked like some medieval alchemist. His eyes were intense, his look resolute, ready to take on the devil himself. It had to be Bender the Elder, Savich thought. As for the younger lawyer, he was an interesting mix of apprentice and hip professional in his electric yellow tie and conservative suit. Royal looked like the successful CEO he was, in a lightweight gray suit, pristine white shirt, and sharp Italian loafers, the look both understated and expensive, sure to impress those lower on the food chain. He looked both angry and harried.

The alchemist took a pair of aviator glasses from his breast pocket and put them on his long narrow nose, adding at least fifty IQ points to the package. Savich watched him lightly touch a white hand to Royal's shoulder, lean close to whisper something in his ear. Royal jerked, gave the lawyer a searching look, then nodded slowly.

There was no hand-shaking, only curt nods to accompany the introductions, the barest sheen of civility. Both Harold Bender and Andrew Toms settled in, each withdrawing a yellow pad from their leather briefcases, expensive pens at the ready.

Bowie took papers out of his own briefcase, ignoring them for a good minute. He smiled when he finally looked up at Caskie Royal and his lawyers. "We appreciate you gentlemen coming in on this fine day." He leaned forward, and the smile fell off his face. "We are, as you all know, investigating the murder Sunday night of Helmut Blauvelt, an employee of your company. We are making the reasonable assumption, for the moment, that his murder may be tied to a break-in at your office that same night. We have reason to believe that if we can find the woman who broke into your office, Mr. Royal, we might find out who killed Mr. Blauvelt, and why.

"It seems, sir, that she intended to copy one or more of your sensitive passworded files. That means either someone in your office managed to find out your password, or you used a password that could be easily guessed. What is your password, Mr. Royal?"

"My dog, Adler, but no one knows what my password was, not even my executive assistant."

Bowie said patiently, "Anyone who knows what they're doing has a list of most common words or dates people use for passwords. Any dog in the household usually makes the list."

Royal said, "Look, I'll admit that was sloppy on my part, but I've since changed the password. As I've already told you people, Ms. Alvarez and I interrupted the thief before anything on my computer was even accessed. Maybe the thief tried, but didn't have time to work through the list of passwords."

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