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Authors: Medora Sale

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“Randy may not have killed anyone, but the poker was his idea,” said Grainne and shuddered.

“Randy West has a basically nasty disposition, I believe,” said Lucas, as he reached over to fill everyone's glass. “He was so annoyed at not finding Grainne in my apartment that he made a brave attempt to reduce everything in it to rubble. But he did say he was sorry,” added Lucas dryly.

“Are you sure you want to sit here and listen to this?” interrupted Harriet, her voice icy with disapproval.

“No, I'm fine,” said Grainne. “That all happened a lifetime ago. Anyway, Randy's probably telling the truth. He wouldn't have touched me if he'd been alone. I think. But why bother killing Carl? Aside from general humanitarian motives—for the good of mankind.”

“Partly spite. Mostly to cover their tracks. Patterson seems to have been the mystery half owner of La Celestina,” said Sanders. “And before that he was on Neilson's payroll as a troubleshooter. That's why he was helping Neilson with his little marital problem. Which was his big mistake,” added Sanders, waving a hand in grave acknowledgment across the table, “since Harriet was able to recognize him from the costume party and give us a crucial link between him and Neilson. Pure luck for us, because Neilson almost never let his respectable or family life mix with his professional life. And that brought us to the question of how Patterson could afford to buy a half interest in the restaurant on his salary.”

“Especially since he was paying twelve hundred dollars a month in child support. He used to grouse about that all the time,” said Lucas.

“That, too. We've been ploughing through his financial records for days,” Sanders added, “and it'll take weeks more.”

“So how did he?” said Harriet. “Let me guess. He was an old school chum of Neilson's, who gave the restaurant to him in memory of happier days.”

“You're close,” said Sanders. “According to Randy, Neilson did give Patterson half the place.”

“He did?” asked Grainne, surprised. “That doesn't seem in character—not at all. Not for Carl.”

“According to Randy, it was to keep Patterson quiet.”

“Blackmail?” said Grainne. “Patterson was blackmailing Carl? I love it. The biter bit. What had he done?”

“It all had to do with some poor prostitute who was beaten to death and dumped in the alley behind the restaurant,” said Sanders. “Her pimp was tried for murder but got off—he claimed he was elsewhere at the time, and the jury believed him. The investigation never went any further because the team decided they'd found the murderer but hadn't managed to get a conviction. Now Randy claims that Neilson got overenthusiastic and killed this little hooker at the club one night and then called Patterson for help. Patterson took one look—there was Neilson in an upstairs room with the body of a skinny sixteen-year-old—and saw a gold mine. Randy said the death was probably an accident.”

“Accident!” said Harriet in dangerous tones. “How can you accidentally beat a sixteen-year-old girl to death?”

“Randy's words, not mine,” said Sanders hastily. “Patterson asked for and got half the operation in return for his help; he cleaned up the room, moved the body, and then steered the investigation away from the restaurant. It worked, too.”

“So why kill the goose that lays the golden eggs?” asked Harriet. “Or did he have ambitions to run the restaurant on his own?”

“Not at all,” said Sanders. “Patterson was perfectly happy. It was Neilson who was in trouble. Everything else was closing in on him. He had a lot of reasons for wanting to get out of the country. People were getting annoyed at him, and that fire and the inquiry were the last straw. He had been squirreling away money for about a year, as far as we can tell, and moving it into his operations in Florida. And for the last couple of months, he skimmed every penny out of the restaurant that he could. The place was about to fall on its face.”

“Leaving Patterson with nothing?” asked Harriet.

Sanders nodded.

“That's neat. How did Patterson find out?”

“Randy told him. Randy also told him about the money in the attaché case. So they reckoned they could get rid of Neilson and split the cash.”

“How much?” Grainne asked curiously.

“A million and a half or thereabouts. Neilson had already transferred several million to Miami during the last year.”

“Who gets the money?” asked Harriet. “Lydia?”

“She should. It was earned more or less legitimately,” said Sanders. “She'll get whatever there is. And it will be a considerable amount, I expect, once she moves all that cash out of its hiding places. She told me the other day that she's going to do what she can to reorganize Carl's businesses on a sounder and more legitimate footing, and once they're going concerns again, she'll sell everything and move farther out into the country. She said that she wanted to get away from all this corruption and evil as soon as possible. By that, I assumed that she meant her husband's corruption and evil.”

“By the time she finishes cleaning up all the rot in NorthSea/Baltic,” said Harriet, “she'll have recovered from the entire episode. I wonder if her nameless friend is anywhere around still?” Discreet black-clad arms swooped down and removed the remains of the tournedos Henri IV, interrupting her train of thought for a moment. “But speaking of money, the thing that really startles me,” she added, “is the sweet and
side to Randy West's nature, letting Patterson get his hands on all that cash.” Harriet looked with sad eyes at the basket of rolls that were, at that moment, being whisked away.

“He figured that as Neilson's money man, he would be watched too closely. He couldn't hide it safely. But Patterson—who would suspect Patterson? And no one would have if you hadn't been there,” he added, turning to Grainne.

“Cowering in the damned bathroom.” She shook her head. “But what about that other guy?” she said, turning to Lucas. “What was his name? Bechstein? Steinway? No—Baldwin. I knew it was a piano. I thought you said he was the one who—”

Lucas reddened. “That's what I thought. It never occurred to me it could be Eric. I mean, every piece of information I had I gave to Baldwin and—”

“And Eric helped himself to it. Nothing easier,” said Sanders. “Baldwin wouldn't have noticed if Eric had walked in with a shopping cart and started filling it with confidential documents. And that's one tremendous advantage to all this,” he added cheerfully. “Once the inquiry is over, I'll never have to have nightmares about working under Matt Baldwin again. You won't even be able to find the closet he's stashed away in.”

A tiny dish of ice cream, chestnuts, and whipped cream was set in front of each person; glasses were snatched away again and replaced. The wine steward arrived with an ice bucket and champagne, which he set up with a flourish beside Rob Lucas. As the steward started to remove the foil from the cork, Lucas addressed a quiet word in his direction. The champagne was deposited rapidly into the ice bucket, and the man melted away.

“Robin, this is obscene,” said Grainne, starting to laugh. “Champagne! You're behaving like a—like a—”

“Tycoon? Playboy? Ostentatious rat?”

“Something like that. What is it in aid of? If anything.”

“Oh, this is in aid of something,” he said, taking a deep breath and looking her hard in the eye. “It certainly is. It's to celebrate our engagement. We are engaged, aren't we?” He stumbled slightly over the words and waved his hand in exasperation.

The muted conversation from the tables in the rest of the room served only to intensify the silence. Grainne turned scarlet. “This isn't fair,” she said at last. “It really isn't. I'm so embarrassed.” She buried her face in her napkin to cover her confusion. After a moment she raised her head, her eyes strangely bright, and looked over at the calmly waiting Lucas. “Oh, for heaven's sake, all right. We're engaged,” she said, in a muffled voice and dropped her napkin back in her lap. But just as her natural pallor and composure were beginning to return, she looked at him again and erupted in laughter. “Is this where you drag out the diamond the size of an apartment building and make me put it on?”

“Oh, no,” he said. “Nothing so vulgar.” He took the rose from the tiny vase in the center of the table and handed it solemnly to her, and then turned his attention to opening the bottle of champagne.

“I feel as if I've just lived through a Victorian melodrama,” said Harriet as they wandered along Bloor Street, vaguely in the direction of her neighbourhood. “Did you have any idea he was going to do something that outrageous? And if you did, you might have warned me.”

“Well, I asked him yesterday what he was going to do if the disciplinary hearing didn't turn out well. And he said that hearing or no hearing, he was going to quit the force, go to law school, marry Grainne, and be happy. The only problem he could see with his plan was that Grainne persisted in not believing him when he said he wanted to marry her. He said he wasn't sure if this was a ploy to get rid of him or if she really thought he proposed to everyone he met. But he didn't say he was going to stage a public declaration.”

“There's a man who's used to having his own way,” said Harriet. “Gorgeous or not, he'll be a handful. I would have crawled under the table if someone had done that to me.”

“You're not used to standing center stage,” said John. “She is. Look how quickly she recovered. Anyway, I suspect she's used to having her own way, too. They're a pair of prima donnas madly in love with each other; they'll get along very well. Don't you envy them all that happiness?”

“Why should I envy them? I'm very happy,” said Harriet, leaning her head on his shoulder as they walked along. “Aren't you? Anyway, doesn't the thought of marriage terrify you? It does me. Perhaps I'm too old and too bruised for it.”

“No,” he said gently. “It doesn't terrify me. Not anymore. After all, it depends on who you're thinking of marrying.”

About the Author

Medora Sale
is the author of the acclaimed John Sanders/Harriet Jeffries mystery series, set in contemporary Toronto, and under the name Caroline Roe, of
The Isaac Chronicles
, a series of historical mysteries. Born in Windsor, Ontario, Sale's interest in criminal justice was roused by her father, a lawyer and engineer involved in weaponry and criminal justice, who served as an official in the court system. Sale is a graduate of the Centre for Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto, is a past president of Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada, and won the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel for
Murder on the Run
, the first title in the John Sanders/Harriet Jeffries mystery series.


Sleep of the Innocent
© 1991 Medora Sale

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EPub Edition March 2015 ISBN: 9781443443777

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Originally published by Macmillan Publishing Company in 1991. First published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd in this ePub edition in 2015.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are use fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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BOOK: Sleep of the Innocent
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