Выбрать главу

“Where were you?”

“Um. Boston, Cleveland, East Washington, Lexington, Dallas, Denver, New L.A., Portland, Seattle. I think I forgot one. Or two.” She smiled weakly. “I was on a book tour. I wrote a book. They published it-e, audio and paper forms. I’m really lucky.”

Her lips trembled, and she sucked in a sob. “It’s doing very well, and they sent-the publisher-they sent me on a tour to promote it. I’ve been bouncing around for a couple weeks. I just got home. I just got here.”

Eve could see by the way Samantha’s gaze flickered around the room that she was moving toward another breakdown. “Do you live here alone? Ms. Gannon?”

“What? Alone? Yes, I live by myself. Andrea doesn’t-didn’t-Oh God… ”

Her breath began to hitch, and from the way her knuckles whitened as she gripped her hands together, Eve knew this time the struggle was a full-out war. “I want to help Andrea. I need you to help me understand so I can start helping her. So I need you to try to hold on until I do.”

“I’m not a weak woman.” She rubbed the heels of her hands over her face, violently. “I’m not. I’m good in a crisis. I don’t fall apart like this. I just don’t.”

Bet you don’t, Eve thought. “Everybody has a threshold. You came home. Tell me what happened. Was the door locked?”

“Yes. I uncoded the locks, the alarm. I stepped in, dumped my stuff. I was so happy to be in my own space again. I was tired, so happy. I wanted a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Then I saw the living room. I couldn’t believe it. I was so angry. Just furious and outraged. I grabbed my ’link from my pocket and called Andrea.”


“Oh. Oh. Andrea, she was house-sitting. I didn’t want to leave the house empty for two weeks, and she wanted to have her apartment painted, so it worked out. She could stay here, water my plants, feed the fish… Oh Jesus, my fish!” She started to slide out, but Eve grabbed her arm.

“Hold on.”

“My fish. I have two goldfish. Live fish, in my office. I didn’t even look in there.”

“Sit.” Eve held up a finger to hold Samantha in place, then got up, stepped to the door and signaled to one of the sweepers. “Check out the home office, get me the status on a couple of goldfish.”


“Just do it.” She went back to the table. A tear was tracking down Samantha’s cheek, and the delicate redhead’s skin was blotchy. But she hadn’t broken yet. “Andrea was staying here while you were gone. Just Andrea?”

“Yes. She probably had someone over now and again. She’s sociable. She likes to party. That’s what I thought when I saw the living area. That she’d had some insane party and trashed my place. I was yelling at her machine through the ’link when I started upstairs. I said terrible things.” She dropped her head into her hands.

“Terrible things,” she murmured. “Then there was that horrible smell. I was even more furious. I slammed into the bedroom, and… she was there. She was there, lying on the floor by the bed. All the blood, that didn’t even look like blood anymore, but, you know, somehow, you know. I think I screamed. Maybe I blacked out. I don’t know.”

She looked up again, and her eyes were shattered. “I don’t remember. I just remember seeing her, then running down the stairs again. I called nine-one-one. And I was sick. I ran outside and got sick. And then I was stupid.”

“How were you stupid?”

“I went back in the house. I know better. I should’ve stayed outside, waited for the police outside or gone to a neighbor’s. But I wasn’t thinking straight, and I came back in and just stood in the foyer, shaking.”

“You weren’t stupid, you were in shock. There’s a difference. When’s the last time you talked to Andrea?”

“I’m not sure. Early in the tour. From East Washington, I think. Just a quick check.” She dashed a second tear away as if irritated to find it there. “I was awfully busy, and I didn’t have a lot of free time. I called once or twice, left messages. Just to remind her when I was heading home.”

“Did she ever say anything to you about being concerned? About anyone giving her trouble, making threats?”

“No. Nothing like that.”

“What about you? Anyone making threats?”

“Me? No. No.” She shook her head.

“Who knew you were out of town?”

“Ah… well, everyone. My family, my friends, my agent, publisher, publicist, editor, neighbors. It wasn’t a secret, that’s for sure. I was so juiced about the book, about the opportunity, I pretty much told anyone who’d listen. So… It was a burglary, don’t you think? God, I’m sorry, I can’t keep your name in my head.”


“Don’t you think it was some sort of burglary, Lieutenant Dallas? Somebody who heard I was gone and figured the house was empty, and… ”

“Possibly. We’ll need you to check your belongings, see if anything’s missing.” But she’d noted the electronics, the artwork any self-respecting burglar would have taken. And Andrea Jacobs had been wearing a very nice wrist unit, and considerable jewelry. Real or knockoff, it hardly mattered. A B-and-E man wouldn’t have left them behind.

“Have you had any calls, mail, any contact of an unusual nature recently?”

“Well, since the book was published, I’ve gotten some communications. Mostly through my publisher. People who want to meet me, or who want me to help them get their book published, or want me to write their story. Some of them are pretty strange, I guess. Not threatening, though. And there’s some who want to tell me their theory about the diamonds.”

“What diamonds?”

“From the book. My book’s about a major diamond heist in the early part of the century. Here in New York. My grandparents were involved. They didn’t steal anything,” she said quickly. “My grandfather was the insurance investigator who took the case, and my grandmother-it’s complicated. But a quarter of the diamonds were never recovered.”

“Is that so.”

“Pretty frosty, really. Some of the people who’ve contacted me are just playing detective. It’s one of the reasons for the book’s success. Millions of dollars in diamonds-where are they? It’s been more than half a century, and as far as anyone knows, they’ve never surfaced.”

“You publish under your own name?”

“Yes. See, the diamonds are how my grandparents met. It’s part of Gannon family history. That’s the heart of the book, really. The diamonds are the punch, but the love story is the heart.”

Heart or no heart, Eve thought cynically, a few million in diamonds was a hell of a punch. And a hell of a motive.

“Okay. Have you or Andrea broken off any relationships recently?”

“Andrea didn’t have relationships-per se. She just liked men.” Her white skin turned flaming red. “That didn’t sound right. I mean she dated a lot. She liked to go out, she enjoyed going out with men. She didn’t have a serious monogamous relationship.”

“Any of the men she liked to go out with want something more serious?”

“She never mentioned it. And she would have. She’d have told me if some guy got pushy. She generally went out with men who wanted what she wanted. A good time, no strings.”

“How about you?”

“I’m not seeing anyone right now. Between the writing and the tour, juggling in the day-to-day, I haven’t had the time or inclination. I broke a relationship off about a month ago, but there weren’t any hard feelings.”

“His name?”

“But he’d never-Chad would never hurt anyone. He’s a little bit of an asshole-well, potentially a major asshole-but he’s not… ”

“It’s just routine. It helps to eliminate. Chad?”

“Oh Jesus. Chad Dix. He lives on East Seventy-first.”