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By Bill Pronzini

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Yet on stipulations. ” “Yes? ” “One, that the police permit it. And , that you’re thoroughly sincere with me. ” She bristled a bit at that. “Do you believe I haven’t been sincere with you? ” “I didn’t say that. I merely intended that I can’t do something in any respect on your brother until i do know every little thing you recognize. Is there whatever you didn’t inform me the opposite day? approximately him, or concerning the coincidence, or approximately Victor Carding? ” “Of direction no longer. I stored not anything again. ” “You’d by no means heard of Carding prior to the coincidence? ” “I had now not. ” “What approximately his son Jerry? ” “I didn’t comprehend he had a son till the police informed me on the sanatorium final evening. ” “Christine Webster? ” “No. ” “Lainey Madden? ” “No. who's she? ” “The useless girl’s roommate. ” “I’m no longer conversant in the identify. ” “Was anyone else inquisitive about the twist of fate? ” “No. in simple terms Martin and the Cardings. “Did Carding make the other threats opposed to your brother? name him at domestic later, write him a letter? ” “I’m definite he didn’t. Martin might have informed me. ” I were observing her lovely heavily; if any of her solutions were lies or evasions, i couldn't inform it from her expression or from her voice. “Just another question,” I acknowledged. “How did you ensue to choose me in case you made up our minds to rent a detective? ” “You have been advised to me. ” “By whom? ” “My lawyer, Arthur Brown. I requested him for the identify of a reliable investigator and he gave me yours. He stated you had as soon as performed a few paintings for one more of his consumers. ” The identify used to be generic; I remembered assembly Brown as soon as a number of years in the past, throughout the shopper she’d mentioned—a civil case related to a considerable harm swimsuit. He was once a accomplice in an outdated, verified Sutter road legislation enterprise and had, so far as I knew, an impeccable acceptance. quite a bit for that. I bought up on my toes; i used to be greater than able to be on my way—not simply because i used to be fearful to visit paintings, but in addition simply because i needed out of that darkish cheerless residence and out of Laura Nichols’ corporation. operating for her was once something. however the much less I needed to do together with her in a different way, the higher i'd believe. We stated a number of extra issues to one another, approximately my calling her right now if I had any hassle with the police, approximately cash, approximately verbal and written stories. Then she confirmed me to the door. Neither folks to claim see you later. I drove throughout the fog to Geary street, stopped at a provider station there, and known as the corridor of Justice from their pay telephone. Eberhardt used to be in his office—and in a nasty mbod, too. whilst he got here at the cord he acknowledged irascibly, “You going to envision in ten instances an afternoon, probably? There’s not anything new; I simply bought off the telephone with Donleavy. ” “I didn’t name to examine in,” I acknowledged. I advised him in regards to the interview with Mrs. Nichols and her inspiration that I behavior a personal research. “I may have figured,” Eberhardt acknowledged. “You don’t be aware of whilst to hand over, do you? ” “I wager now not. Is it ok if i am going forward? ” “Hell, I don’t care. you recognize the principles. ” “You brain if I check with Lainey Madden? ” “Be my visitor. ” “Could you permit me have the deal with?

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