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5

Anthony let himself into the darkened town house. There was no one around to open the door. His small staff knew that they were not expected to wait up for him.

He went into the library and tossed the heavy overcoat across the back of a chair. He peeled off his evening coat, unknotted his black tie, and loosened the stiff collar of his shirt.

He set the items that he had removed from the safe on a table next to a reading chair and splashed some brandy into a glass. After taking a long swallow of the brandy, he lowered himself into the chair. Picking up some of the business papers, he began to read.

Twenty minutes later he had no doubt about what he was looking at. The papers were confirmation of the rumors he had been hearing in his clubs. Elwin Hastings was masterminding another investment consortium. There was nothing surprising in that. Hastings had been involved in a number of financial ventures over the past few years. What was strikingly unusual about this particular scheme was the identity of one of the participants.

He finished the brandy, rose, and poured himself another. It was late, but he was in no hurry to go to bed. He knew that when he finally did sleep he would likely dream of Fiona Risby. He would not see the young, beautiful, vibrant woman she had been in life; rather he would see her as she appeared after they pulled her out of the river, dead eyes filled with accusation.

He took the necklace out of the velvet pouch and studied it. One of the two questions that had been driving him for the past year and two months had been answered with ringing finality as far as he was concerned. Fiona had not committed suicide. Hastings had murdered her.

But the second question still remained. He needed to know why Fiona had been killed. Above all he had to discover if he was responsible for forcing her into the dangerous situation that had resulted in her death.

He drank some more brandy. A plan began to take shape in his mind.

Some time later he went upstairs to bed. To his amazement it was not the image of Fiona’s body that disturbed his sleep; it was Louisa Bryce’s face he saw. She looked at him through the invisible veil of her spectacles, watchful and mysterious. In his dreams he chased her through an endless maze of corridors knowing that he could not stop until he had unlocked her secrets.


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