Raven’s Run 96

“Don’t mind me,” I said. “I find all this fascinating; even the seventy-five percent I don’t understand. But I do have one question. Where does Raven’s safety figure in all this double dealing?”

Daniel Cabral had a temper, no matter how much he had trained his face not to reveal it, and that made him mad. I didn’t care. I didn’t give a damn about the Senator’s political agenda. I just wanted Raven to be safe.

“My daughter’s safety comes before anything else,” Cabral said evenly. “However, at the moment there is nothing I can do for her. She will call home and find out everything that has happened, or one of your street musicians will find her and notify Hayden. Until that happens, there is nothing I can do for my daughter. All I can do is try to keep my career from going down the toilet because of her stupidity.”

“And if it came to choosing between your daughter’s safety and your career?”

“The safety of my family comes before anything else!”

No qualifications. No equivocation. I liked that. I also realized that Raven’s lifestyle had made him consider the possibility long ago.

I spread my hands in friendly surrender.

“Let’s get back to your story.” Wilkes said.

“Not yet,” I said. “There are some loose ends dangling. Senator, were you ever notified that Raven was missing? And what became of Raven’s luggage on the cruise ship?”

“I was not notified. When she didn’t show up at the airport as scheduled, I checked back and there was nothing the cruise line could tell me. I assumed that she had gone off somewhere without telling me. She does that. It is her way of declaring her independence.”

There was a great deal of impatience in Cabral’s voice, the legacy of years of dealing with his wayward daughter.

“And the luggage?”

“It was being held for her. She had not claimed it. I assumed she would, and gave it no more thought.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Why? How could it make any difference?”

“Why depends on a basic assumption – was Davis smart or stupid?”

“I vote for stupid,” Wilkes interjected.

“Maybe. But I was impressed by the way he handled the situation in Venice.”

“He died.”

“Luck. There was some skill on my part, but mostly it was luck. Let the same situation develop twenty times, and nineteen out of twenty I would be the one to die.” It was something I had been thinking about a lot.

“Look at what happened on the ship. If I hadn’t been there, how would it all have ended?”

Wilkes admitted, “He would have succeeded completely.”

“And would have escaped without a trace.”

“Yes.”

“So why leave the luggage aboard? Raven and I talked about this on the way to Europe, and we concluded that he would drop it overboard. That way, no one would suspect that Raven never made it back to New York. No one ever checks to see who gets off of a ship or plane. They just take names when you get on. They would look for clues to her disappearance everywhere else but on the cruise ship.”

“An oversight?”

“Possibly. Or perhaps he had a reason for the luggage to make it back to the states. But I have no idea what reason that could be.”

Cabral turned pale. He and Wilkes exchanged glances. Wilkes said, “Of course!” more tomorrow

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