Being The Beginning Sunday January 23, 2011
1 The Exchange Sunday January 30, 2011
2 bildende Kraft Saturday February 5, 2011
3 Gossamer Wings Friday February 11, 2011
4 Nemesis Saturday February 19, 2011
5 Odd Shoes Friday February 25, 2011
6 al-Rûh Friday March 4, 2011
7 A Love Supreme Thursday March 10, 2011
8 The Three-Cornered Light Thursday March 24, 2011
9 Serendipity Tuesday April 5, 2011
10 The Watchman Friday April 15, 2011
11 The Upright Way Sunday April 25, 2011
13 The Cave of Montesinos
16 The Perfect Square
18 The Uncontainable
19 The Ear of Malchus
20 Mauvais Pas
21 Sinan Qua Non
27 The Vanishing Point
28 The Cat Walks
29 The Approximate Likeness of Being
Becalming Unscientific Postscript
The Upright Way
“Detach thyself, be hanifi
And from all faiths’ fetters free”
Garden of Mystery
‘Damn,’ Flanagan says aloud, as his vision blurs. He feels a sharp pain warp around his temples, rise to a throbbing crescendo before releasing to irritate the back of his neck. His vision remains blurred and this worries him. Rubbing doesn’t help so he stands up and heads for the kitchen where he finds the Spanish paracetamol tablets – the ones that always work – and gulps them down. There is noise elsewhere in the building, the click of high-heeled shoes getting louder. Flanagan looks at his watch, focusing hard: it is 3.25 am. ‘Felicity’s coming back,’ he whispers to his reflection in a hanging saucepan. He drops the saucepan to the floor with a clang, to let her know he’s still here, still awake. He waits for her to knock. The footsteps stop, there is a grunt, then a creaking groan and then . . . giggles. More than one voice, Flanagan realises, as silence returns to the corridor when the laughing door closes.
Serves him right, he thinks, thinking he was doing Felicity Fellows a favour, even just by asking. She on the other hand, had not lied to him, and did have better things to do. Not Jack’s fault after all, he realises. ‘Shit,’ he says aloud, thinking of Jack.
‘Shit, shit, shit,’ he repeats, thinking of Mac and Rio. Returning to the table, Flanagan decides on a single malt and the Coltrane trio again; Islay and Antibes; peat and performance: double helpings of both. In the diary Mac’s puppy-dog pursuit of Rio had played out before his eyes. And I’m the bastard, she thought! Mac had never told him. ‘Didn’t fool Flatley though!’, he growls, downing the malt. The pain eases and his vision clears. Flanagan lights a cigarette and draws deeply on it. He decides to remain standing, a hanifi. Leaning forward he exhales smoke at the computer mouse, testing how slight a movement might reawaken the screen from sleep mode. Rûh, the breath, the wind, he thinks and like a spinnaker, the screen fills and pulls him away:
Woke late Walt, midday or thereabouts. Drank to keep my misery and my annoyance company. Joyce Holden called over around 3.00 in the afternoon. She was visibly upset at the state I was in…
‘I’m so sorry about what has happened, Rio. Aengus is being very unfair.’
‘Doing his job, I suppose. I did break the rules,’ she replied. ‘He shouldn’t have suspended Mac, though.’
Joyce Holden looked at her for a few seconds, and then shook her head. ‘That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.’
‘What do you mean,’ Rio asked.
‘About Mac. Marie rang me, very upset.’
‘His wife . . . ex-wife. We have remained friends.’
‘Of course,’ Rio said, nodding her head slightly.
‘It seems he called round to the house when she was at work. One of the kids was home from school and they got in an argument over nothing. Mac lashed out, hit the child . . . hard it seems. The –’
‘Jesus! He loves those kids,’ Rio interrupted. ‘He wouldn’t do anything to hurt them.’
‘No. I know but the child was devastated, and very distressed. Locked herself in the bathroom. When Marie got home Mac was still there, curled-up at the foot of the stairs, crying like a baby. Marie said she was frightened. It was like the old times.’
‘When Mac was drinking, he used to get violent. One the major reasons for their separation.’
‘Oh my God!’
‘Once he was served with a barring order and denied access to the kids. It got to him so much he threatened suicide . . . attempted suicide –’
‘Suicide!’ Rio gasped.
‘Yes. He took a combination of Valium, paracetamol and whiskey. Only for Jerome, Mac would have died.’
‘Yes. He found Mac and brought him to casualty. Stayed with him as his stomach was pumped. Afterwards got him signed into John O’Gods, the addiction unit. Set him on the road to recovery. Attended AA with him as well. The whole deal.’
‘I never knew.’
‘How could you?’ Joyce shrugged.
‘Does FitzHenry know?’ Rio asked.
‘Don’t think so. Happened when Prof Symmonds was Director.’
‘I don’t know what to say Joyce. Where’s Mac now?’
‘Marie said he left the house, went off into the night.’
‘Shit!’ Rio groaned, looking at her watch.
‘I just wanted you to know. If Jerome gets in touch tell him.’
‘Also . . .’ Joyce Holden hesitated.
‘Spit it out, Joyce.’
‘I know you and Mac are close, maybe closer than close. He worships the ground you walk on.’
‘Nothing has happened between us Joyce…I swear.’ Rio was surprised that somebody else had noticed, yet realised she should not have been.
‘Be that as it may . . . be careful, Rio.’
‘Why? What do you mean?’
Joyce and I talked for another hour or so and then she left. The phone started ringing at 6.00pm. I didn’t answer it… I couldn’t answer it Walt. I turned off the lights in the house and pretended I wasn’t there. It eventually stopped ringing after midnight. I looked at the call log. Eight messages – all from Mac. Nothing from Flanagan…
Flanagan shrugged and scrolled down to the next entry.
Jack arrived late yesterday Walt, worse the wear for all the first-class pampering he’d had and I immediately put him to bed. Withdrawing quietly from his room I found myself hesitating, suddenly feeling a strange desire to linger. With one hand on the handle of the half-closed door, I looked back into the room and found my thoughts being transported to something that happened in December. It’s hard to believe it is only a month ago now. While browsing with Séamus in the pre-Christmas bedlam of the second-hand market, I picked up a book by a French writer called Daniel Pennac. Opening a page at random I began to read the page aloud only to have to put it down again, to be swept away by the tide of Séamus’ interest in a woolly hat for his ski trip. Later I returned to the same spot but the book was gone and no one in the bedlam quite knew where.
At that moment, for some strange reason – if there are ever strange reasons Walt – in the closing of the door, those briefly glimpsed lines of Pennac resurfaced in my brain as I watched Jack flop, exhausted, onto the clean sheets and plumped up pillows of the second bedroom…
‘The Coot was a Pole who’d been spat back up to the surface by a flatulent mine-shaft,’ Rio said quietly as she closed the bedroom door. ‘What did you say Babs? Who’s the Coot?’ asked a shadow from the darkened room. Jack Dawson, she thought, looked – after his late evening, and much delayed, flight arrival from Miami – as if he had been spat out from an even darker hole. ‘Nothing, Jack. Go off to sleep. I’ll see you later,’ she called back through the narrowing gap before closing the door as silently as possible.
It was much later, some five sleep-hours later, when she heard him shuffling around upstairs and after a hot shower and endless gargling, he had finally made it down to the lounge, dressed in faded blue denims and a pale blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Looking at him, Rio liked that he was still a handsome man; a man whose dancing green-grey eyes never failed to shine for her whenever they met. It was an exclusive response that had annoyed Nan Greta when she was small, she remembered.
Jack Dawson clapped his hands together after kissing her on the cheek. ‘Right! Down to business, Rosalind. What in God’s hell sort-of-mess have you got yourself into?’
‘Sit down, Jack and have something to eat first. After that I’ll tell you all about it, or at least as much as I understand.’ Rio pointed to a chair before moving into the kitchen to fetch the Costa-Rican coffee and type of blue-cheese sandwiches that he liked; that she liked. ‘Would you like some wine . . . or beer,’ she shouted from the kitchen.
‘No thanks . . . just coffee. I’m swearing off the booze for good.’
‘And matrimony?’ She couldn’t help asking as she brought in the tray.
‘That too,’ he said with a smile looking directly into her eyes. ‘All the good women run away!’
Rio did not reply and just watched as he ate in silence, hurrying to finish his food. After starting his third cup of coffee, he indicated that he wanted her to start telling him what had happened and then listened intently as she spoke. When she had finished he sat there saying nothing. Pulling out a penknife he began to pare at a small piece of wood he recovered from deep in a pocket. Rio smiled at this, remembering whenever he needed to concentrate, Jack whittled. It was an enduring image from her childhood and it felt good, and warm.
‘Lets go over the facts again, Rosalind. What time did –’
The shrill of the telephone suddenly interrupted.
‘Shit. Sorry, Jack. I should have left it off the hook. It’s probably Mac.’ Rio stood up, crossed the room and looked at the caller display. She did not recognise the number and hesitated for a moment before answering. ‘Hello,’ she said in an irritated voice before realising who was on the line. ‘Oh. Hello Inspector Flatley. What can I do for you? Any word on Phyllis?’ she asked, softening her voice. She shook her head in Jack’s direction and he looked bemused as she suddenly broke into a beaming smile. ‘That’s great news, Inspector,’ she grinned flapping her free hand. ‘Sure. Come on over. Jack, my uncle is here.’ Hanging-up she danced back to where Jack was sitting.
‘What’s up, Rosalind?’ he frowned, puzzled.
‘They have found it Jack! They’ve found the Durer engraving. Flatley is bringing it here for me to identify.’
‘He said he’d tell me when he got here. Isn’t that great news?’
‘Yeah. What about the parchment? Any news on that?’
‘No!’ Her waltz abruptly ended and she slumped into a chair. ‘He did say he had some other news.’
‘I wonder . . . nah, it doesn’t matter,’ he grunted.
‘What, Jack?’ she quizzed him.
‘I wonder why the Inspector is bringing the recovered etching here instead of asking you to come down to a police station to identify it. Procedurally it’s a little bit unusual…very unusual where evidence is concerned. I was just wondering why.’
It was almost 20 minutes later when the doorbell sounded. Jack stopped whittling, got up and headed for the kitchen.
‘I hope I’m not intruding,’ Detective Inspector Flatley said as he shut the door behind Rio and followed her back into the lounge. He carried a small briefcase, tucked tightly under his arm.
‘No. Of course not, Inspector. After all that’s happened this is a welcome visit,’ she said, turning to face him.
‘I hope so,’ the detective frowned as he opened the briefcase and pulled out a cellophane envelope. ‘Is this it?’
Rio’s hand trembled as she peeled back the envelope join and extracted the etching. Despite the very unique nature of the etching subject she held it up to the light to check the watermark before inspecting the front and back surfaces of the small rectangle of paper. ‘Yes it is. Yes it is! See there Inspector.’ She pointed to the area of oxidised writing on the back. ‘That confirms it. Thank God. Where did you find it?’ Jack Dawson had come back into the room behind her and in her excitement Rio did not notice. The two men eyed each other territorially for quite a considerable time before it became uncomfortable for both of them and a loud cough from Jack distracted her from the etching. She looked up. ‘Oh! Sorry you two. Inspector Flatley this is Jack Dawson, my uncle. I’m sorry I don’t know your first name, Inspector.’ She noticed that he had very dark irises and a small mole just below his left eye.
‘Gerrit,’ the policeman said quietly as the two men smiled, and moved towards each other to shake hands. ‘My mother’s choosing.’
‘It’s a nice name, Inspector,’ she said sincerely.
‘Thanks. Most of the lads call me Gerry.’
‘I prefer Gerrit,’ she said, too quickly and a little too possessively.
‘You, at least, pronounce it right, Dr. Dawson,’ he said releasing himself from Jack Dawson’s vicelike grip.
‘Rio,’ she said. ‘Please call me Rio, Gerrit, but don’t get confused when Jack calls me Rosalind. It’s my given name but Jack is the only one that still uses it.’ She held out her hand to take Jack’s and squeezed it tenderly. ‘Why don’t you take off your coat and sit down Inspector . . . Gerrit. Surely you have time for a drink.’
‘Sure! Coffee if you have it. Black please.’ Inspector Flatley slipped out of his coat and laid it neatly across the armrest. The mohair suit he wore underneath was of an indigo hue. She liked its sheen of communication.
‘On duty eh! Commendable,’ Jack ventured.
‘No. I don’t drink much, Mr. Dawson,’ Detective Inspector Gerrit Flatley said flatly, as he looked at the older man. ‘Coffee is fine just now.’
‘Call me Jack please, since we’re all cosying up so much,’ Jack said, grinning at Rio. She glared at him, letting his hand go.
‘Talking of duty, Jack,’ Gerrit Flatley said with slight annoyance. ‘I’ve been asked by my superiors to extend you every courtesy. You still have friends in very high places in the FBI!’
‘I am only here as an uncle, supporting Rosalind through a difficult time,’ Jack said as he put his hand around her shoulder and pulled her in. ‘I will not get in your way.’
‘Gee, Uncle Jack! I didn’t know you cared,’ she teased sarcastically while secretly wondering how the detective would handle the situation. Jack had performed this blocking, 'over-my-dead-body' routine to boyfriends of hers for as long as she could remember and suddenly she blushed, before squirming from his grip.
Gerrit Flatley smiled. ‘If it was as simple as that, Jack I could well understand your concerns, but, my contacts in the FBI assure me that you are not a man to ever remain uninvolved and that you have a wealth of experience and expertise that might help in the case.’
‘Would that bother you?’ Jack challenged.
The late-afternoon light was fading fast and afraid to miss any of the expressions of the sparring men Rio turned on two of the large pottery lamps that dominated each end of the room. She was enjoying the antler bashing too much to miss anything.
‘No.’ The Irish policeman’s answer was adamant and unstrained. ‘But if you get any leads or information I’m to hear of it at the same moment in time. Is that understood, Jack?’
‘Yeah. Sure, Gerry.’ Jack knew then that he would be able to work with this young detective. ‘Rosalind mentioned that you had other news.’
‘Yes…and I hope it is of some comfort to you Rio,’ Flatley said catching her eye at the far end of the room over Jack’s right shoulder. ‘The pathologist Dr. Hanratty has completed the post-mortem examination and has suggested – it’s preliminary, you understand, that the night security-man, Joe Reilly died following a sudden and massive myocardial occlusion . . . a heart attack. There was no evidence of assault. He must have been surprised by the intruder–’
‘Or perhaps surprised them and rushed into the situation,’ she interrupted.
‘Perhaps, but in any event the most likely scenario is that he had the heart attack and collapsed into the water bath. I am . . . our unit is to remain on the case however until the whereabouts of Phyllis Andrew is established.’
‘That’s good,’ Rio said a little too quickly.
‘Speaking of the spirit of co-operation, Gerry there is something I want to show you in the kitchen,’ Jack said suddenly. ‘Come on thru’. If nothing else it’ll get you closer to the coffee you were promised in any case.’
‘Watch it,’ Rio said, reddening.
Jack smiled at her before turning to the policeman. ‘Has Rosalind filled you in on the whole story, Gerry?’
‘As far as I know . . . yes. Yes, she has,’ the policeman said looking at her.
‘What’s the big mystery Jack?’ she asked diverting her eyes.
They followed Jack into the kitchen and watched him walk to the microwave unit, lift it from its position and place it down, further along the granite worktop. He pointed to the cleared space. ‘Rosalind told me that Flanagan said he had found the piece of paper with the copied word from the bottom of the parchment underneath the microwave. Look at the dust, Gerry. Its undisturbed!’
Flatley nodded in agreement.
‘But why would he lie?’ Rio mouthed the words, already knowing the answer.
Jack gesticulated angrily, upset for her. ‘He found the paper with Rosalind’s copy of the catchword on it allright but not when he said or where he said. He needed to be sure but once he had the information he needed he then was able to relax into a knight-errant role later on. Girls keep falling for knight-errants. Don’t they Gerry?’
Rio ignored the jibe, she was too busy looking at the dust and resisting the urge to wipe it away. ‘He would have only had about a few minutes at most though,’ she said sadly, in truth angry at her own feelings of stupidity where Jerome was concerned. I really did misjudge that bastard, she thought.
‘Time enough,’ Flatley observed, before continuing, ‘I also suspect that the catchword . . . What did you say Flanagan called it? Nesr, was a deliberate false trail and that the word Phyllis Andrew worked out for you, Hakim, is the right one.’
‘Any word on Phyllis?’ she asked.
‘No. Unfortunately,’ the policeman replied.
‘Are you worried?’ she asked, already knowing from his face that he was.
‘Yes,’ he said.
‘Do you think Jerome Flanagan really has anything to do with the robbery, Gerrit?’ she asked before turning away to fill the kettle hoping that neither of the men would notice the hurt evident in her eyes. ‘He already had most of the information he was looking for. He did not need to rob the place.’
‘Of course he did, the prick,’ Jack Dawson growled.
‘I don’t know, Rio,’ Inspector Flatley said and that’s why we need to question him. Even if he is in Istanbul, we should have heard from him by now. The robbery and possible murder was well publicised and it would be in his own interests to make contact as soon as possible.’
‘You two go on back in. I’ll . . . I’ll bring the coffee,’ she stuttered. Her voice was breaking and both men hesitated for a moment before acceding. Policemen both they were examining the etching with policemen’s zeal when she rejoined them. ‘Where did you recover it from, Gerrit?’ she asked.
‘There was a problem with staffing in the State Pathologist’s office and Joe Reilly’s post-mortem was only carried out yesterday. The etching was found lying against his stomach deep under three layers of clothes.’
‘That means –’ Jack Dawson pushed back his chair in an excited jump. The tray in Rio’s hand rattled as she avoided the chair to leave it down.
‘Watch it Jack!’ she interrupted.
‘I’m sorry, Rosalind.’
‘Its ok, Jack. Go on Gerrit.’
‘Phyllis Andrew and Joe Reilly were good friends,’ Flatley continued. ‘She signed out of the museum at 2.00 am. She’s wheelchair bound, right! Imagine for a moment that when she came to the museum and found your note she might have asked Joe Reilly – did he have the combination of the safe?’ he suddenly asked looking at Rio.
‘No. I don’t think so. Phyllis did though,’ she replied.
‘Yeah. That’s it!’ Jack said enthusiastically. ‘She might have asked Reilly to get the etching and parchment for her from the safe. Suppose a little later, when she was finished with one or both of them, he was bringing them back when he realised there was someone in the lab and managed to hide the etching before – he would have seen that as his priority. And then the intruder probably went looking elsewhere and came across Phyllis Andrew . . .’ he hesitated, looking at the Irish policeman.
‘It’s a possibility, Jack. That’s why we need to find Phyllis Andrew,’ Flatley summarised, with a finality that only policemen can.
‘Unless of course there were two or more intruders,’ Jack said, nodding his head.
‘There is also that possibility but we have found only one type of alien clothes fibres on Reilly.’ Flatley then turned to Rio. ‘By the way, traces of chloroform were identified in Phyllis Andrew’s office. Would she use it for her work?’
‘I see. Then . . .’
‘That one intruder may have overpowered her and taken her away,’ Jack finished what Flatley was thinking.
The policeman nodded.
‘But why wouldn’t the murderer have searched for the etching.’ Rio tried not to think of Joe’s miserable death or of Phyllis missing somewhere.
‘The parchment was the real objective all along and he got that.’
‘And Ahmed al-Akrash, the Syrian?’ Jack asked.
Jack, Rio saw, was beginning to take notes.
‘Our prime suspect.’ Flatley smiled at the ex-FBI man. ‘Disappeared from the face of the planet but we’ll track him down.’
‘I feel so responsible. I must do something.’ Rio looked at each man in turn.
‘We will, Rosalind. We’ll go to Istanbul sweetheart. Follow the trail of Flanagan.’ Jack reached out to console her.
‘Then you’ll need this.’ The policeman pulled out Rio’s blue American passport, which she had been asked to surrender.
‘Thanks, Gerrit. I’m no longer a suspect so?’ she said flippantly, taking it back.
‘No. You’re not as it happens. There was some blood swabbed from beneath Joe Reilly’s fingernails, which tested as group A. Neither he, Phyllis Andrew as far as we can ascertain, nor you have that type so he must have grappled with the intruder at some stage. We have sent everything for DNA analysis.’ Flatley was courtroom-serious in his cold summation.
‘What about all the others working in the museum? Have they been blood grouped?’ Jack asked.
‘Yes. About 42% of the Irish population are group AA or AO and the breakdown amongst the museum staff is similar. We can only really use it for exclusion not inclusion.’
‘I know that Gerry. Tell me who else was group A,’ Jack persisted.
‘That’s confidential to our enquiries and to the people involved, Jack. I’m sure you’ll understand.’ Flatley blushed a little as if uncomfortable with his answer.
‘So much for co-operation. Listen Gerry…’ Suddenly there was a hard edge to Jack’s voice. ‘…this was certainly an inside job, on that we’re agreed right?’ Flatley nodded. ‘In that case Rosalind is in danger and I want to know who can be excluded from my concerns. If you don’t see the reason in this then you’ll get jackshit help from me. Comprendez!’
‘Very well,’ Flatley conceded. ‘We don’t know about Ahmed al-Akrash, given the lack of documentation concerning him, but five of the part-time and full-time museum staff are group A blood-types. Mrs. Mags Golden, the manageress of the café; Brigadier Crawford one of the Trustees; Professor Aengus FitzHenry the director; Cormac McMurragh the photographer and Brian Foley one of the other guards.’
‘And Flanagan?’ Rio asked.
‘We also have a problem there in obtaining any sort of record. Jerome Flanagan is either incredibly healthy or incredibly careful about leaving a spoor. In fact, this is something I need to talk to you about Rio. Did -’ Gerrit Flatley looked towards Jack Dawson, hesitant about continuing.
Jack Dawson nodded knowingly and stood up. ‘I’m just going to grab some fresh air. I want to look around the back laneway before it gets too dark.’ He winked as he left.
‘What was all that about, Gerrit?’ Rio asked, puzzled.
‘I felt a little awkward about asking this in front of your uncle. Did you and Flanagan use a condom?’
She immediately realised that he was looking for a sample of Jerome’s semen for blood group and DNA analysis but still resented the intrusion. ‘You mean did we have sex?’ she asked defiantly.
‘Yes. Did you and he have . . . penetrative sex?’
‘No. There was . . . is neither penetration nor substance in my relationship with Jerome Flanagan,’ she said with a bitter conviction.
His eyebrow lifted slightly. ‘Good . . . I mean fine.’ Rio thought his discomfort endearing, old-fashioned. ‘A great pity though.’
‘I’ll remember to demand a sample next time I’m a suspect,’ she said beginning to laugh. ‘Would you like some more coffee, Gerrit?’
He also started to laugh and its deep timbre carried the mood of the room before it. Jack returned and was relieved at the atmosphere between them. Flatley then noticed the fly-fishing rod hanging over the fireplace and asked about it. Jack obliged. ‘Rosalind caught her first bonefish with that rod. Be carefully Gerry what she hangs up there next.’ They both smiled about this and at her embarrassment.
‘I must get along, Rio. Thanks for the identification and the coffee.’ Flatley pulled on his coat.
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘For letting me know about Joe’s post-mortem. It’s a relief in a way. I hope you get news on Phyllis soon. Call me.’
‘I’ll keep in touch,’ he said, looking at Jack. ‘With you both,’ he added looking at her.
I walked him to the door and watched until he had disappeared around the corner. Nice man Walt. Uncomplicated. Good-looking with it! He held onto the etching as it was still in the chain of evidence. I did not mind, as long as it had been recovered and definitely thought that things were looking up then Aengus FitzHenry arrived shortly afterwards. I was upstairs and from the bedroom could hear Jack giving him a very frosty reception once he had introduced himself. I delayed as long as possible before coming down. FitzHenry was still standing at the door and looked furious…
‘What do you want here FitzHenry?’ Jack demanded loudly when he saw her coming down.
‘I’m used to my title being used Mr. Dawson,’ FitzHenry blustered.
‘What do you want Dickhead,’ Jack obliged.
‘Easy, Jack. I’m sure Professor FitzHenry has a good reason for being here,’ Rio said standing close to Jack. There was a bitter cold wind ruffling FitzHenry's sheepskin collar as he stood in the doorway.
‘I was told Inspector Flatley would be here. I received a message that they had recovered the etching.’
‘They have and they are holding onto it as evidence. He asked me to identify it and also about the conditions it should be stored in. I obliged on the museum’s behalf, free of charge of course.’
‘I see. Thank you?’
‘A lot more loyal than you fucking were,’ Jack growled.
‘My hands were tied Mr. Dawson. The trustees demanded it. Somebody had to be held responsible.’
‘And you decided it should be Rosalind . . . Rio. Why not you? Ahmed al-Akrash was, I understand, employed directly by you. Did you not check him out? Where did you hire him from?’ Jack Dawson was back being the policeman.
FitzHenry was caught off guard. ‘That . . . that is none of your business. I don’t discuss the museum’s hiring practice with strangers.’
‘You were happy to discuss my firing with all and sundry,’ Rio said.
‘I’ll do what I please, Dr. Dawson.’
‘Goodbye then, Aengus. I’d like to say it was a pleasure working with you but you will understand if I don’t,’ she said with icy control while moving towards the door.
FitzHenry suddenly looked uncomfortable with his dismissal. ‘Listen Dr. Dawson . . . Rio. I am ready to apologize for my hastiness, to you and to Mr. McMurragh. I would like you both to return to work.’
‘I’m not sure that I would want to work there again. My uncle and I are planning to go to Istanbul and I will take some time there to think about it.’
‘Istanbul? Are you meeting up with Jerome Flanagan?’
‘If we are it’s none of your business?’ Jack growled.
‘Why? What do you know? What does he know?’
‘About what Aengus?’Rio probed.
‘Oh . . . the Book,’ he answered shivering in the wind.
‘I thought you said the Book was bullshit. You certainly didn’t give it much credence when you were firing me,’ she said angrily.
‘Suspending, to be accurate. Which is now lifted. I hope we can forget this little contretemps between us Rio. We have the opening of the Anglo-Danish exhibition in two weeks and I hope to use the occasion to announce the finding of the Durer.’
‘Little! For God’s sake Aengus, Joe Reilly is dead and Phyllis is still missing. That is not little. How can you be so unthinking? The opening should be cancelled.’
‘That is most unfortunate, I know, but the Library must carry on. Dr. Andrew would have wanted . . . would want that. I’m sure the police will soon sort it out soon. Now I really must go. Goodnight Mr. Dawson.’
Jack simply grunted.
Rio stood in the doorway watching him turn and leave. He was in a great hurry. ‘Oh Professor,’ she called after him remembering something. ‘Talking about the museum. Do you have a key for the solvent cupboard?’
‘What? Yes . . . why do you ask?’
‘I have December’s diffusion samples in a sealed bag inside my fridge. You need to bring them to the museum.’
‘Isn’t the safety officer coming first thing tomorrow to dispose of the solvents and collect the diffusion samples?’
‘Oh right! I’d forgotten. I'll probably cancel as the place is still cordoned off as a crime scene. Thank you. I’ll look after them.’
‘Fine. Hold on there,’ she said, turning back, to retrieve the samples from the kitchen.
Accepting the bags, FitzHenry mumbled, ‘I hope you’ll come back Rio. You are very conscientious. It’s a rare commodity.’
‘I’ll think about it and let you know,’ she said closing the door.