Raven’s Run 95

Chapter Twenty-seven

When I got back to the suite, Cabral had gone out. Wilkes had been waiting for my return, in case Joe Dias called early. After he left, I paced the room for a while, dispirited and irritable, then tried to catch up on some sleep. Uselessly. I alternated tracing cracks in the ceiling and staring at the phone.

I did have a life. Or at least, I used to have one. I had places to go and things to do. But I knew that I would make no move to leave. It wasn’t just Raven, either; there were too many unexplored possibilities in this new situation.

Wilkes and the Senator came in just as the phone rang. It was Joe. After I hung up, the Senator asked, “Well?”

“A week ago, someone torched Harvey Jacks’ office. Joe’s investigator talked to his wife. She didn’t know much, but she said Jacks had bragged about working for a big-wig in Sacramento. And Jacks had said she, not he, when referring to the big-wig. But he never named her. Seems he was very closed mouthed.”

“What was left of the office?”

“Not much. Joe’s willing to investigate further, but he did this much as a favor to me. I won’t ask him to do more without paying him. He has a living to make.”

“Call back and hire him in my name.”

I did, then covered the receiver and asked, “Anything else?”

Cabral looked at Wilkes, who shook his head. After I had hung up, Wilkes observed, “If Jacks was into blackmail, he would have had more than one copy of his evidence, and it wouldn’t have been in a file cabinet in his office.”

“Likely.”

“Let’s go back to the beginning,” the Senator said. “We’ll hear your story again, Ian, and look for anything we might have missed so far. I am not clear on timing and motivation, and I don’t understand how Davis and Alan found you so quickly in Marseille.”

I told the story again, sexually censored. I was talking to Raven’s father, after all. Wilkes sat at the table with a pad, taking notes. Cabral said nothing until I reached the fight on the Wahini in Marseille. Then he interrupted, “How much time was there between when Ramona called California and when the thugs jumped you?”

“Mid-morning of one day until the following evening. Maybe thirty hours.”

“Ed, make a note to check every airline with departing flights for Europe, particularly Paris, starting at the time of Ramona’s call and carrying forward twenty hours. Look for James Davis and anyone with a last name of Allen or a first name of Alan, under any variation of spelling. I’m particularly interested in how they paid for their trips.”

“Senator, you are asking a lot. The Bureau isn’t going to do that just as a favor. If you want to keep using them, you are going to have to make an official report on what happened to your daughter.”

Cabral said, “Shit.” It was the first coarse thing that had cracked his urbanity. Either he was beginning to accept my presence, or this was cutting close. Maybe both.

It helped bring some things into focus. Raven’s loose living would be an embarrassment to the Senator. What had happened to her since Bermuda would be a tabloid reporter’s dream come true. I could see the headlines in the Enquirer.

“Dammit, Ed, we need that information.”

Wilkes did not answer.

“You’re right, of course. It is asking too much. But we need to know. How else can we find out?”

“I could go ask,” Wilkes said.

“And flash your badge. That would be the end of you with the Bureau.”

Wilkes shrugged.

“No, Ed, I won’t let you. Besides, I need for you to stay inside.”

“I can find out without showing a badge or admitting my name. There are ways to finesse these things, but I would need to be on the spot.” Then he glanced sideways at me and raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Don’t mind me,” I said. “I find all this fascinating.” more tomorrow

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