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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 3

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Monday morning

As Erin chewed on her English muffin, she reread the nineteen pages she'd photocopied from the Project A file. There was plenty there, even explanations the PR people were to give for the breakdown in Culovort production they knew would impact cancer patients. Caskie Royal had been wonderfully thorough in his To Do list, including one bulleted sentence that summed it all up: Given current worldwide Culovort supplies and current production levels at our facility in Spain, we estimate it will require four months for Culovort shortages to develop in the U.S. Shortages will force many oncologists to switch to Eloxium.

And then they shut down production in Spain!

Erin frowned. She realized all of this would make much more sense if Schiffer Hartwin also owned the patent for the enormously expensive oral drug Eloxium.

But they didn't. A French pharmaceutical company, Laboratoires Ancondor, produced Eloxium. Dr. Kender had told her one hundred and fifty thousand people in the U.S. were diagnosed with colon cancer each year. The income from Eloxium would end in more zeros than she could count.

But why would a German pharmaceutical cut way back on its Culovort production in its U.S. and Spanish facilities so a French pharmaceutical company could reap the profits?

Clearly, antitrust laws wouldn't allow them to profit directly. Was there some other way they were scratching each other's backs? Were there payoffs involved? Swiss bank accounts? Or were they so arrogant as to believe there would be no legal action if they violated the antitrust laws?

Erin smeared more crunchy peanut butter on her English muffin as she read about Serono, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, that had tried to bring an AIDS drug to market "by concocting a dubious medical test," U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales had alleged. The company "put its desire to sell the drug above the interests of patients." Serono had even offered doctors an all-expenses-paid trip to France to prescribe the drug.

Did she have to add doctors to the growing list of endlessly greedy professions?

She laid aside the stack of printouts that documented incredibly creative bad deeds by the pharmaceutical companies. What she needed now was to act. She began to refine her list of media people to contact with the papers she'd copied off Royal's files. It was going to be tricky since she didn't want to go to jail for breaking into Caskie Royal's computer. She finally selected Paul Bradley at The Wall Street Journal and Luther Gleason of The New York Times, as both had reported on the Culovort shortage. None of the major TV stations had reported on the Culovort shortage and its consequences to colon cancer patients. When this story broke in the newspapers, though, Katie Couric, in particular, would be all over it.

Her head snapped up when she heard a TV reporter say, "The body of a man was discovered two hours ago in Van Wie Park-"

Van Wie Park was right behind Schiffer Hartwin's American headquarters. She grabbed her cup of tea and sat down in front of the TV. A reporter shoved his microphone into a man's face. "This is Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven field office, Bowie Richards. Special Agent, what do you know about this death? Was it murder? Why is this in the hands of the FBI and not the Stone Bridge police department? Have you identified the victim? Do you believe it connects to the break-in at the U.S. subsidiary headquarters of Schiffer Hartwin last night?"

Agent Bowie Richards looked both pained and grateful at the reporter's shotgun approach, Erin thought, since it allowed him to pick and choose. "The FBI was called in because the victim was found in Van Wie Park, which is federal land. The FBI and the local police department will be working together to solve this brutal crime. That's all I have to say at the moment." He turned and nodded to a portly middle-aged man the reporter introduced as Police Chief Clifford Amos, who didn't seem at all happy that the victim had the bad judgment to get whacked on federal land.

"Chief, have you identified the victim?"

Police Chief Amos said, "The FBI wishes to withhold his identity until the family is contacted. As Special Agent Richards said, my department will be closely involved in this case."

Yeah, sure you will, Erin thought. If she were Bowie Richards, she'd keep the local cops as far out of the loop as possible. A dead guy murdered in Caskie Royal's backyard and I was there, or maybe close by, when it happened. I could have stumbled over the body, maybe run headlong into the murderer. They'll find out I was in Caskie Royal's office, lifting documents from his computer, and they'll think I murdered him. I'll go to jail and Dr. Kender's father will have to sell his house to pay for the Eloxium and- Slow down, slow down. Was the murdered man an employee of Schiffer Hartwin? The way the world worked, she'd bet the last bite of her English muffin on it, with an extra spoonful of peanut butter smeared on top.

Could it be possible the dead guy had nothing to do with Schiffer Hartwin? Maybe he was just an unlucky out-of-towner, here to visit his mother, who managed to get mugged and killed? That was too good to believe. And if he was connected to Schiffer Hartwin, did his death have anything to do with her being there?

Fact was, she hadn't seen a thing, hadn't heard a thing, hadn't stumbled over a dead body, not, of course, that a single soul would believe her.

Then it hit her hard. How could she give all the documents from Caskie Royal's computer to the media now? She'd have her butt arrested within an hour.

Whatever she did, from this moment on, she was going to have to be very careful she wouldn't be connected to the murder.

When the doorbell rang an hour later, Erin was just beginning to organize her notes, Royal's Project A file, and her printouts and clippings.

As was her habit, she looked through the peephole instead of flinging open her door to avoid welcoming in a vampire or other miscreant. Good grief, hadn't she just seen that face on TV? She felt her heart fall to her toes. They'd found out about her so soon? No, impossible. She had to get a grip. "Who is it?"

"My name's Bowie Richards. May I speak to you, Ms. Pulaski?"

"Why?" But she knew why. They'd found a witness who'd gotten the license plate number off her Hummer, or the guard had somehow seen her on a camera she hadn't known was there and she'd been identified by Carla Alvarez, who'd recognized her from the gym or-

"It's personal, Ms. Pulaski. It's about my daughter, Georgie."

What? Georgia Richards-Georgie-was the daughter of an FBI agent? No, more than that-Bowie Richards was the big-cheese FBI agent in New Haven. Why hadn't anyone said anything? She felt a huge black cloud moving swiftly toward her and she wondered in that moment if her family's legendary good luck was fast heading south.

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