Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 27

"Now, not so much. I'll tell you what I can, though it's very little. My husband never talks about work to me."

Sherlock said pleasantly, "We'd like to know what you think about your husband sleeping with Carla Alvarez."


Jane Ann Royal didn't blink. She took another deep drink of her tea, threw back her head, and laughed, a healthy laugh, loud and full. When she got herself together again, she saluted both Sherlock and Erin with her glass. "What do I think? Nothing much, one way or the other. Carla isn't the first. And yes, I've always known about all the women. Caskie's a cheater, always has been. The first time, I was pregnant with Chad."

"Why do you put up with it?" Erin asked.

"Ah, do I hear a bit of judgment in your voice, Agent? A bit of contempt for the pitiful weak female? Don't concern yourself about me. I like my life, thank you very much, my children like their lives, I believe Alana likes her life, and my husband certainly likes to flaunt his Don Juan image. You saw my tennis instructor. Mick Haggarty, a lovely Irish lad. He's young, has a nice flat stomach, and very well defined muscles. What's not to like?"

Sherlock regarded Jane Ann Royal over the rim of her glass. "Is Mick Haggarty your first tennis instructor?"

An eyebrow flew up. "You can't be serious, Agent Sherlock. He's maybe the fourth, fifth. One forgets. I always hire them young, not over twenty-five. Unlike my husband. Caskie tends to like women closer to his age, which seems against stereotype, but there you have it. After seeing him naked nearly every night for fifteen years, after putting up with him in bed when he's hit a dry spell, it's my never-ending pleasure to have a twenty-two-year-old tennis pro strut around. Surely you can understand that, Agent."

"Well, actually, I can't," Sherlock said. "You said your husband never talks to you about work?"

"That's right. Look, I'm sorry, but I don't see how I can help you. Wait a minute, there's something, isn't there, something you've heard? Did you hope I'd fall apart when you told me about my dear spouse screwing another woman and pour out my guts to you?"

Erin said. "Mrs. Royal, you live with a man who's up to his eyeballs in bad stuff. Come now, surely he's let something drop, something that might help us protect you."

Jane Ann Royal smiled at them, studied her lovely French manicure, then slowly shook her head.

Sherlock said, voice a bit harder, "Caskie is in very deep trouble, Jane Ann. Like Erin said, we're talking bad stuff here, real danger. He's playing hardball with people who won't hesitate to do whatever necessary to win. One man's dead already. Help us. Help yourself and your family. Tell us what you know about what's been happening at Schiffer Hartwin."

"Danger? Me? My kids? Come on, what could possibly be the danger? Good Lord, he works for a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Germany. As I said, he gets great bonuses. He's treated well. Danger, from Schiffer Hartwin? I can tell you what he's been doing for them-he's been selling drugs, coming up with new marketing strategies, for heaven's sake."

Sherlock said, "We think someone at your husband's company has broken the law, Jane Ann, and on a global scale. I guess Caskie didn't tell you about the woman who broke into his office Sunday night and copied documents off his computer, documents that may prove he and Schiffer Hartwin are knowingly engaging in unethical, perhaps even criminal, practices?"

"If you want to make me believe you, you've got to be more specific."

"All right, then." They weren't one hundred percent certain, but close enough. Sherlock continued. "It involves a drug called Culovort, which is used with the common 5-FU chemotherapy formula, a very critical drug for cancer. Culovort is now in very short supply and we believe it's because of Schiffer Hartwin's manipulations."

Jane Ann Royal had straightened in her chair now, shoulders square, focused on Sherlock. Her voice lowered. "Listen to me, I know nothing at all about this Culovort shortage. I wasn't lying to you, I know very little about Caskie's work. He doesn't bring it home, never has, so how would I know what Schiffer Hartwin is doing?"

Sherlock waited a bit, then said with deadly calm, "Caskie's involved big-time in this, Jane Ann. He's in deep trouble. The stolen documents will come to light very soon now, and everything will blow wide open, with Caskie in the center of it. After all, he's the one here at the U.S. Schiffer Hartwin headquarters. Germany's far away.

"It's just a matter of time before he gets hauled off to jail or Schiffer Hartwin sends over someone to keep him quiet. Don't you know the murdered man, Helmut Blauvelt, was the main Schiffer Hartwin enforcer?"

She saw the flash of knowledge in Jane Ann Royal's eyes, and for the first time, fear, but again, she shook her head. "No, I didn't know. This Blauvelt, you're saying he was here to shut Caskie up? But how on earth does that make any sense?"

"No, you're right, it doesn't," Sherlock said, "for the simple reason that Caskie's papers hadn't yet been stolen. So, why, exactly, was Blauvelt here? Who was he here to see? To shut up? We don't know yet."

Erin said, "What we do know is Schiffer Hartwin has to respond. As we speak, their lawyers are with your husband, trying to convince him to keep his mouth shut."

Sherlock said, her voice hard as flint, "Do you think Caskie will keep quiet?"

Jane Ann slowly shook her head. "I really don't know. Caskie's always been something of a maverick, plots his own course, sometimes contrary to what others in his company have laid out. He's always coming up with ideas no one else ever thought of. He's proud of that." She rubbed her fist over her eyes. Sherlock hoped she wouldn't dislodge the topaz contacts. "I had no idea about any of this."

Sherlock said, "I really hope you're telling us the truth, Jane Ann, but I gotta tell you, I doubt it. Yesterday, all your husband did was lie, and it was really tiring. No, don't deny more, it just pisses me off. Now, you need to think hard about this. Tell me, where were you this past Sunday night, between ten p.m. and three a.m.?"

Jane Ann Royal jumped to her feet, splayed her lovely tanned hands on the tabletop. She was visibly shaking. "You think I had something to do with that German's death? No, no way, not a chance."

"Please tell us where you were," Sherlock said matter-of-factly, "or I will take you to the local police department, to that grungy conference room, and grill you in your tennis whites until your lovely tan fades."

"This is ridiculous nonsense," but she sat down again. At last she looked scared. About time, Erin thought, and looked through her lashes at Sherlock. She was good, excellent in fact.

Erin leaned toward Jane Ann. "Talk to us, Mrs. Royal. Believe me, these are powerful people."

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