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.''That's just ridiculous.We had a perfectly cordial, professional relationship.''Is it not true that you were furious when this photograph appeared in the press?''I was upset, yes.''You're a wealthy man, Dr Yeschenkov, perhaps a powerful man.If you were completely certain that this photograph was doctored, why did you not find out how it came to be doctored? Why did you not bring down the full weight of your legal representative upon whoever was responsible?' I looked at his legal representative.'I don't mean your full weight.your weight is quite.normal.The only reasonable explanation I can come up with, Dr Yeschenkov, is that you were aware it was doctored, and you wanted it published so that you could point to it and say, look, Arabella was alive and in Dublin, so how can she have died as a result of one of my operations? I put it to you, sir, that you knew that she was dead and you were doing nothing short of staging an elaborate sleight of hand! In short, a cover- up!'His legal representative was on her fat feet.She said, 'Sir, we are going to sue you for every penny you have.'* * *Chapter 38By the look of her, every penny I had would not even begin to pay for Dr Yeschenkov's solicitor's usual breakfast.If she'd been worth her salt, she should probably have removed her client from No Alibis as soon as she issued her threat.That she did not was entirely down to my brilliance in immediately changing the subject through a simple nod in Jeff's direction.Another photograph appeared on the ceiling.Everyone looked up.This time it was of a very tall, very thin man, carrying a hatbox, and entering the Yeschenkov Clinic.'Do you recognise him?' I asked.Dr Yes's solicitor put a hand on his arm and shook her head.But he ignored her.'No.' he said.'What has he got to do with anything?''His name is Buddy Wailer.He's entering your clinic, but you don't recognise him?''No.I.it's a busy clinic, I can't account for all the comings and.should I.?’He was intrigued.Or he was stalling.Or he was lying.I glanced at Pearl.She was studying me intently.I said, 'What he most certainly is is a murderer.'There was a ripple, a murmur, a communal bleat from the audience.DI Robinson moved up and down on the balls of his feet, a sure sign of his interest.'So let me tell you, let me tell you all about Buddy Wailer, and how we came by him.'The only way to do that was to describe how we had become involved in the case in the first place.How the revered Augustine Wogan had come to my shop begging me to help him, having narrowly escaped being shot just outside.How he suspected Dr Yeschenkov of covering up his wife Arabella's death.I detailed my meeting with Pearl and how she came to be the only person outside of Alison and Jeff who knew where he was staying, and how there was something suspicious about his suicide.I repeated my theory about the V-cut on the cigar found in Augustine's mouth, which drew an eye-rolling he's lost it now reaction from Dr Yes and nothing at all from Pearl.(Later Alison would say, 'How could you tell? She's had so much Botox, she's half fucking Friesian.') They paid a little bit more attention when I related the discovery of the V-cutter in Arabella's room at the Forum Hotel, and this developed into at least a modicum of respect as I described how we had traced the V-cutter to the Las Vegas cigar stall operated by Manuel Gerardo Ramiro Alfonzo Aurelio Enrique Zapata Quetzalcoatl and the fear that had come into his voice when he realised that it was Buddy Wailer who had purchased the device.When I had recounted how Manuel Gerardo Ramiro Alfonzo Aurelio Enrique Zapata Quetzalcoatl's friend had secretly entered Buddy's room and looked inside the hatbox, and what he had found, my audience looked suitably horrified.'In the immortal words of Manuel Gerardo Ramiro Alfonzo Aurelio Enrique Zapata Quetzalcoatl: Buddy Wailer, he whacks people, that's what he does.'Abruptly Pearl laughed.Everyone looked at her.She bowed her head and shook it.She wiped a tear away.I said, 'Some people find this funny.' I gave it a Mexican twang.'Buddy Wailer he whacks people.You've seen enough movies, maybe you've read enough books to know what that means.Well, folks, we're private detectives; as you can imagine, the idea that we might be up against a killer for hire got us pretty excited, particularly when we spotted him entering the Yeschenkov Clinic, particularly when we followed him back to the house he had rented, particularly when we broke into that house and found Arabella's head in a hatbox!'Dr Yes's solicitor was on her feet.'That is outrageous! You are making these claims and you are not backing any of them up with evidence!' She swivelled in a way that only a fat girl in a too tight suit can, that is, with difficulty, and pointed a thick finger atDI Robinson.'If anyone ought to be arrested it's this man!' she shouted, pointing back at me.'I hear you,' Robinson said.His eyes fixed on me.An eyebrow rose.'If you just let me finish,' I said, 'then you will understand.I mean, you may be a solicitor, but don't you want to know?'She glared at me.She started to say something.Dr Yes tugged at her jacket.She sighed and sat down.'Very well,' she snapped, 'but I'm warning you'Okay.Where were we? Oh yes.Arabella's head was in a box - and the rest of her was in a different room, lying on a bed, that's what we found.It was horrific.But before we could report it to the proper authorities, Buddy spirited them away.''How convenient!''No, not really.Madam, Mrs, whoever you are, what we always strive to be is detached.We have to stand back and analyse the facts as we know them.And in this case we just couldn't figure out why Buddy Wailer would want to keep Arabella's head.If he was someone who liked to keep trophies from his victims, then why did he only keep some and not others? Our theory had it that this was a man hired in by Dr Yes to rid him of Augustine Wogan and anyone else who knew about the cover-up.Yet if he killed Augustine and Liam Benson and Rolo, why didn't he take their heads? Why take Arabella's at all, when our theory supposed that she wasn't murdered but died because of a medical problem? And why would a professional hit man likeBuddy Wailer fail to bury his last victim properly, out in the woods? Rolo might never have been found if the hole had been a few feet deep, rather than just a couple of inches.And if he brought Arabella's body out to Tollymore to burn it, why was there no evidence of her left in the ashes of the fire at all?''Because you're making this entire thing up and you are, in fact, a nut?' Dr Yeschenkov asked.'Legally,' said his solicitor, 'you cannot refer to him as a nut, even if he shows all the characteristics of one.''If either of you call my son a nut again, I'll fucking brain you,' said Mother.I glowed.Everyone else just looked at her, because with her fairly recent stroke her diction came and went.It was particularly bad when she was angry.So what everyone else heard was: 'If etheryoucallthmyson anuth again, I'll futhingbranoo.' It meant nothing to them, but everything to me.I drew them back to me.I said, 'I don't blame you [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]