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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 16

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But what if I get the Culovort documents to the media anonymously? I'd be safe then, wouldn't I? Dr. Kender would get to nail the bozos and we'd both walk away.

It could be done, but it was scary. Thank God there was time to think about it. She wondered what Dr. Kender would have to say.

Erin put the few dishes in the dishwasher, swiped down the kitchen, and got to work.


Savich was clipping his SIG to his belt when Elton John sang out "Candle in the Wind" on his cell.


"Bowie here. A guy called the field office in New Haven. I've got a lead on the woman who did the break-in at Schiffer Hartwin," and Bowie gave them an address not three blocks from the Norman Bates Inn.

"Sherlock and I are on our way."

Eric Tallman was a runner with insomnia who was also a sports writer and stay-at-home dad. He waved them into a small toy-strewn living room. He leaned down to scoop up a stuffed golden retriever as he waved them to the red-and-green plaid sofa. "Sorry for the mess. I haven't cleaned up after Luke yet this morning." He checked his watch. "He's taking his morning nap, but it's going to be close. Believe me, if he wakes up, conversation will cease. Sit down, sit down." He checked the baby monitor on a side table. "Since Luke came, I can't run now during the day, only at night after he's in bed. As I told Agent Richards on the phone, I was running in the woods near the Schiffer Hartwin building on Sunday night, a little after midnight. I nearly fell over a hedge because my eyes were on this woman I saw shimmying out of a small window on the side of the building, some fifteen feet up. She landed on a mess of bushes then rolled off and ran for Van Wie Park behind me."

Bowie looked wired. "What did she look like, Mr. Tallman?"

"She was slender, had on a dark jacket, zipped up, jeans, sneakers. I think she was wearing a black baseball cap, but she had a ponytail bouncing out the back, you know?"

"Yes," Bowie said. "What else?"

"I don't think she saw me, she was focused on getting out of there. She wasn't a runner, didn't have that natural runner's gait, but she was really graceful, I remember thinking that. She moved fluidly, I don't know how else to put it."

Sherlock sat forward. "Interesting way to put it-fluidly. Could you try to describe that more to us?"

"I don't know, really, like I said, she wasn't a practiced runner, didn't have those natural moves, but the thing is-" Tallman paused, shook his head. "Damned if I know, it's just that I know an athlete when I see one and that's what she was. She was in really good shape, you could tell. I could see she was scared but not panicked. Smooth, she looked smooth, controlled."

Sherlock pulled a stuffed bear from behind the sofa and stroked its soft fur. Sean still had his own white rabbit, but it only had one ear now. "Did you see the color of her ponytail, Mr. Tallman?"

Tallman thought about that. "It was thick-the tail was flopping around when she ran, I can see that clearly. The color-hmm, not black like mine, not red like yours, Agent, brown, I'd have to say. Her skin was very white in the moonlight."

Bowie sat forward, clasping his hands between his legs. "You said her jacket was zipped up?"

"Yeah, it looked kind of weird since it was pretty warm Sunday night." He frowned a moment. "Do you know, now that I think about it, maybe she looked a little thick through the torso, a bit on the bulky side."

"Like she'd maybe zipped up something beneath that jacket she was wearing?" Sherlock asked.

"Yes, perhaps."

Bowie said, "Do you remember her size? Tall? Short?"

"That's tough since I didn't have any perspective. I guess I'd have to say pretty tall. I didn't have my cell phone with me or I might have called the cops. When I got home, Luke was sick and it fell right out of my mind. Then Monday morning I heard about the break-in at the pharmaceutical company on the news, and that someone was murdered in the park Sunday night. That shook me, I'll tell you, I mean, I saw the woman who was the thief. My wife Linda said I had to call you guys right away."

Savich spoke for the first time. "You're sure she was alone, Mr. Tallman? No one was there in Van Wie Park, waiting for her?"

"No one I saw. I'm always glad I don't see anyone when I run because it's dark and it's late and someone else might not want to just wish me a good evening, you know?"

They repeated the same questions, giving them a slightly different slant, but Eric Tallman didn't know any more.

Bowie rose about the same time as a baby's loud cry came over the monitor. He smiled. "You've given this lots of thought, we really appreciate your calling. Have fun with Luke."

Tallman rose to shake their hands. "This woman who broke in, do you think she also murdered that man?"

"We'll see," Bowie said.

Luke yelled again from the bowels of the house.

Tallman said, "The little champ's better than an alarm clock. It's ten on the button, and Luke is ready to suck down formula, burp, and gnaw on his stuffed dog's ears."

"What's his dog's name?" Savich asked him.

"Maynard the Brave. He's getting so tatty I'm afraid he's going to fall apart every time I wash him."

Savich smiled. "My little boy has a one-eared rabbit named Goober. We never found the other ear. As for the tail, we've reattached it a good dozen times."

As they were walking to their cars, Bowie said, "Georgie's all-time favorite stuffed animal is a crocodile named Rufus, not that she pays him all that much attention anymore since she's discovered the glorious world of dolls. Do you guys know there have got to be a thousand different Barbies and all of them have cars and planes and a thousand pairs of shoes?"

Ten minutes later, at Luther's Big Bite, they were drinking coffee, Savich tea. After Bowie took a grateful sip he said, "I'll check the photo IDs of all the female Schiffer Hartwin employees. If any of them look promising-tall, slender, brown hair-I'll show Mr. Tallman some photos. I don't think a police artist could get anything useful out of him."

Sherlock said as she sipped her coffee, not bad for a diner, but not nearly as good as Dillon's, the prince of the coffee bean, "What struck me was a guy, who's a runner himself, saying the woman ran gracefully, fluidly, even though he said she looked scared. Interesting description."

They thought about this.

Bowie sipped his coffee. "Maybe she's used to moving gracefully-maybe at one time our girl was a model? Or a dancer?"

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