Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 52

She called Bowie and Erin, en route to see Dr. Kender in New Haven, and told them she was off to Jane Ann's house.

She pulled into the driveway and parked behind two forensic vans, both FBI. Forensic teams were still working inside the house. She was just about to ask if the techs had found anything useful when her cell played "Some Enchanted Evening." She smiled because Dillon had programmed it in right before he'd returned to Washington.


"It's me."

"Hi, you, what's going on down there?"

"I'm out near Leesburg. They found Emilio Gasparini, the Foggy Bottom sous chef, dead in his car at the bottom of a ditch. The Virginia cop who found him saw the APB and called us. He says it looks like an accident, but you can bet Astro's collar it isn't."

"I'd make that bet. One more piece of the puzzle, Dillon. Our murderer is running scared. I don't want you being a hot dog, all right? I want you to be careful, you promise?"

"My middle name, sweetheart."

"Which word?"

He laughed. "No one's tried to gun me down lately. Now, tell me this, Sherlock, how could anyone have messed with Senator Hoffman's Brabus without Hoffman's driver, Morey Hughes, knowing about it?"

"How much time would it require?"

"I asked the guys who reassembled what's left of the device. They said someone experienced at it could install it in maybe twenty minutes of intense concentration."

"Morey's coffee break?"

"Could be, since Morey also does other things for the senator besides driving him and taking care of his cars, so it's not like he camps out in the garage. But he's still there most of the time. His other tasks-like delivering to FedEx, dropping off papers to another lawmaker's residence or office, getting take-out for a staff meeting-it's always different stuff, so anyone watching for a set routine would be out of luck."

"So our murderer already had the skill to both assemble and install a pretty high-tech device, or he's bright and learned how?"

"Or our murderer hired someone to put it together."

"Yes, that's what I'm thinking, too. We've put out feelers for someone here in D.C. or close by who would fit the bill. Demolition background, maybe. I'm also thinking the person would simply have to watch and wait until Morey Hughes left the Hoffman house, slip into the garage and install it, hope he wasn't spotted."

"That's a lot of risk," Sherlock said slowly. "Whoever did it would have to be really committed, or extraordinarily well paid."

"Yeah, and that keeps bringing me back to Senator Hoffman's sons."

"You really think they have the answer to this mess?"

"Sounds strange, I know. I guess they could be just a distraction."

"No, if that's your gut, I'd take it to the bank. You're trying too hard, Dillon. How many times have you read the interview transcript?"

"Three, four times."

"Don't read it again. In fact, try not to think about it, just let it simmer. I know you, you'll sit bolt upright in the middle of the night tonight and there it'll be, the answer, crystal clear." Sherlock could see his thoughtful expression, and smiled.

She said, "Speaking of distractions, I'm beginning to think there are plenty of them around up here in Connecticut. I'm off to Millstone again to see if I can't find Jane Ann Royal. I'm here at her house and her Audi isn't in the garage, so I'm thinking she's with her tennis pro. I'm going to drive to Millstone, that's where Mick Haggarty lives. I want to see the two of them together. I could be wrong, I mean, Jane Ann could have friends right here in Stone Bridge, but I have this feeling. . . ." She paused, then added, "We'll see. Later I'll be hooking up with Bowie and Erin."

"You be careful, you hear?"

"You can count on it. I've got that enchanted evening coming up, right? And I don't mean pizza with Sean, either. How about Sunday night? Maybe we can get this all ironed out today."

"Sounds good to me." And he laughed.

Sherlock was grinning when she readjusted her mirror a bit, waved to the crime scene techs, and pulled out of the Royal driveway.

She called Agent Dolores Cliff, got Mick Haggarty's address, and drove back to Millstone.



Savich and Dane stood beside the stretcher two paramedics were preparing to shove into the back of the coroner's van. Savich unzipped the green bag.

Emilio Gasparini looked like he was asleep, as if he could open his eyes at any minute, smile at them, and ask if they'd like one of his special omelets. But he wouldn't be opening his eyes. He'd never wake up again. Sous chef Emilio Gasparini was Cordon Bleu–trained, and only thirty-four years old. He had dark hair and an olive complexion. He was born in Florence, both his parents chefs. There'd been no infusions of money into his bank accounts, no signs of sudden affluence, like new clothes in his closet, a new car, nothing. So that meant the money was in a safe deposit box or hidden with a girlfriend. Or maybe he sent the money back to his parents in Italy. Savich still hoped they'd have some of the answers in a very short time. Dane was already on his cell, giving information to Ollie back at the Hoover Building.

Deputy Glen Phelps was looking closely at Gasparini's face, worry lines already etched on his twenty-four-year-old forehead. "If this is an accident, I'd like to know where all the damage is." His thick southern accent was like slow, heavy syrup. "I mean, a guy drives off the road into a deep ditch, something's gonna show, right? But there's not a bruise, a cut, not one measly scratch on his face, nothing at all on him. I'll bet he was already dead when someone put him behind the wheel of the car. Not much of an attempt to make it look like an accident, or maybe the guy who did him isn't all that smart."

"The guy's smart," Dane said, still looking down at the dead face, "I just don't think he cared. There's a deep well of arrogance in this guy, and disdain, so who cares about a chef ? Kill him, dump him, brush your hands off, and go about your business. What he's doing now is taking care of loose ends."

Dane called out to the paramedics, "We're done here, guys. They're expecting him at Quantico." He turned back to Glen Phelps, who had his pants hiked up a little too high, Dane thought, smiling. "That's a good call, Deputy Phelps." Dane wondered how long Phelps had been out of the police academy. Phelps flushed a bit, then said, "Thank you, Agent Carver. Truth is, when I saw that car in the ditch I had this really bad feeling what I was going to find, and I'll tell you, I was glad I hadn't had lunch before I went down there. But look at him, there's nothing at all to see, like he just nodded off."

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