Susyn sipped, put her cup neatly back into its saucer and continued. “Up to that point, Raven was in no danger. But then the P.I. tried to extort another payment from Brock, and Brock stepped on him. To save his life, the P.I. claimed to have arranged to have copies of his report sent to Raven if anything happened to him.”
Susyn made a gesture of distaste. “Things had gone too far for that. Brock had him killed anyway. Then he went after Raven.”
“But she didn’t have any knowledge of any of this,” I said. “If she had known, she would have told me.”
“It doesn’t matter, Ian. Brock can’t take any chances. That is why I’m here. Senator Cabral sent me to bring Raven back. He has arranged a place of safety until his FBI friends can build an airtight case against Brock and arrest him.”
So that was it. Everything that had happened made sense now. If only I had called Will one day earlier, Raven would be sitting here with us, and by tomorrow she would be safely home.
Briefly, without the details of our love life, I told Susyn what had happened since we left Marseille, including the fact that Raven had apparently taken up with Eric.
She shook her head and said, “No, Ian, this just won’t do.”
“I’m afraid it will have to do. Anyway, Raven will call home again sooner or later, and get the same message you came here to give her. Meanwhile, she is lost somewhere in Europe. If I can’t find her, neither can those two who have been after us.”
“No, Ian, no. It isn’t just two thugs anymore. It isn’t like the cocaine trade. Brock doesn’t import, he exports; and he has called on all his European distributors. There must be a hundred people looking for Raven now, all over Europe. Sooner or later, one of them will see her.”
I put my finger gently on Susyn’s lips and said, “Don’t talk for a couple of minutes, OK?” Then I stared out into the street, seeing nothing, and thought furiously. It could work exactly that way. Europe is huge, but there would be no need to cover it all. Forget Eastern Europe. Forget any area given extensively to industry. Likewise, forget the purely farming country. Forget the small cities; there are too many of them. Forget Paris and London, where the whole city is a museum of history and culture. Pick the cities like Munich where the old town survives or has been rebuilt. Concentrate on the places every tourist sees. Send agents around with a picture of her and some plausible story – a young man looking for his missing lover; an old man looking for his missing daughter. Get a standard guidebook to Europe and go to the tourist information centers in the major tourist cities. Go to the youth hostels and the campgrounds.
Europe is huge, but tourist Europe is small.
The Europe of student wanderers is smaller still. The typical medium sized city has hundreds of hotels, but only one youth hostel, and one or two campgrounds. It could be done. It was the way I would chose, if I were to search for her.
Susyn said, “Well?”
“They could find her, so I have to find her first.”
“Good! I knew you would.”
“I’ll need money. I can’t worry about pinching pennies now.”
“Done.” She opened her purse and gave me a fistful of francs. I counted them out and she made a note of the transaction. “If you need more, just ask.”
“How will I contact you? Will you be staying in Paris?”
“I am going with you.”
That was a new thought. I considered it briefly, then said, “Okay, with reservations.”
“There are certain skills involved in living close to the ground, and a great deal of discomfort. Raven was just beginning to learn them. If I am to be effective in tracking Raven, I can’t take time to worry about you.
“I know where she went and who she went with, so we might have her back by tomorrow. Or she may stay one step ahead of us, and it might take weeks. If you want to come along, that’s fine, but don’t get in my way. Better still, we’ll split up the work and stay out of each other’s way. You go to the consulates, and the police, and American Express, and I’ll go to the hostels, campgrounds, and hangouts.”
“That will be great. I really appreciate this, and so will the Senator.”
I nodded politely, but I was thinking about Raven, not about the gratitude of strangers. I said, “Let’s get on with it.” more tomorrow