advancement in the hope he’d quit. The result was to make Hector more stubborn, more determined to succeed. He’d worked hard, and in the end, it had made him an even better cop.

While the Director and the Chief Inspector were having their conversation in Brasilia, the Delegado was already on his way to the crime scene. Sao Paulo’s morning rush hour was still in progress, but traffic was flowing toward the city’s center while Hector was moving away from it. Less than forty minutes after leaving his office, he’d already entered Juraci Santos’s closed condominium in the suburb of Granja Viana.

He parked next to an ambulance, complimented the agent minding the crime-scene tape and entered Juraci Santos’s home through the front door. Someone had propped it open with a block of wood.

There were nearly as many crime scene technicians inside the house as there’d been reporters outside. Some were taking photographs, some mixing luminol, some dusting for prints. And, in charge of it all, was Lefkowitz, the chief crime scene technichian.

“Brought a few friends, I see,” Hector said, looking around him.

“I brought everybody I’ve got,” Lefkowitz said. “Nobody wants to nail those bastards more than me. I’ve got a bet with a cousin of mine in the States. He actually thinks the Americans are going to get into the quarter- finals.”

“They just might. They almost did last time.”

“The Americans? In the quarter-finals? You’ve got to be kidding. They don’t care about football. Not our kind, anyway.”

Hector wasn’t there to talk about football. He got down to business.

“They took down my car’s number plate when I came through the gate. You’ve probably already thought of this, but…”

“Did we get a copy of the gate records? Yes, we did. And there’s one car we’ve yet to identify. It arrived at 2:00 AM, left at 5:00.”

Hector rubbed his hands. “A lead,” he said. “Thank you, Lefkowitz.”

“The Lefkowitz giveth, and the Lefkowitz taketh away,” Lefkowitz said. “We ran the plate through DETRAN. It doesn’t exist.”

DETRAN was the regulatory body that controlled car registrations in the State of Sao Paulo.

Hector chose to be optimistic.

“It might be from out of state,” he said.

“The other states are being checked as we speak. Another possibility is that the guard got the number wrong, so we’re also trying partials.”

“Other than the gate I came through-”

“Additional gates? None.”

“Damn! Somebody talk to the neighbors?”

“Franco did.” Letitia Franco, Lettie to her family, was Lefkowitz’s assistant. The crime scene techs in Sao Paulo seemed to have a thing about calling each other by their last names. “The neighbor over there”-Lefkowitz hooked a thumb over his shoulder-“and the one across the street, didn’t hear, or see, a thing. That one”-he pointed in the direction of the nearest house-“heard some commotion. You’d best have a chat with him.”


“Sa. Rodolfo Sa.”

“What kind of commotion? Screams? Shouts?”

“No screams. No shouts. Just a loud noise. Something else: I think they sedated the victim. We found an empty syringe in her bedroom.”


“A few drops of a pale yellow fluid. We’re analyzing it.”

“How big is this condominium?”

“You’re thinking house-to-house search?”

“Uh huh.”

“Forget it. It’s huge. It stretches over two municipalities. You’d need a hundred men, and it would take a month.”

“Have you gone through her papers?”

“We have.”


“Juraci had a private investigator following the Artist’s girlfriend around.”

“Interesting. Got a name?”

“Prado. Caio Prado. I got an address, too. Rua Augusta, 296, second floor.”

“You find any of his reports?”

“Receipts, mostly. Only one report.”


“Boring. But the investigation was ongoing.”

“Who’s the girlfriend?”

“Cintia Tadesco.”

“The model?”

“Actress, she calls herself these days.”

“I saw her in one of the nighttime soaps. She can’t act worth a damn.”

“Who cares? Watch her with the sound off. That’s what I do.”

“She is, I agree, a knockout. A splendid example of womanhood. Drawn to the Artist, no doubt, by his great physical beauty and awesome intellectual capacity.”

“Sarcasm, Hector, does not become you.”

“So I’ve been told. Any indication as to what prompted Juraci to hire Prado?”


“Anything else of interest in her papers?”

“A receipt for house keys. Four sets. Made last week by a locksmith named Samuel Arns. He’s got a shop in the strip mall you had to pass in order to get here. We went through this house with a fine-tooth comb and found only three sets. One set was in a drawer in her office. One was in her purse, which the kidnappers left behind. And one was in the purse of one of the maids.”

“And that’s significant because?”

“A theory I have, which I’ll get to in a minute. Let me see. What else did we find? Oh, yeah, the footprint.”


“Juraci must have heard them coming. She locked herself in her bedroom. But the door was flimsy. He smashed it with his foot. In doing so, he was kind enough to leave us an impression of his sole and heel.”


“No woman has feet that big, not even my wife. Once he was inside, Juraci panicked and lost control of her bladder. We found urine on the rug and on the sheets. We figure he tossed her onto the bed, threw himself on top of her to hold her down, and injected her with whatever was in the syringe.”

“ Tossed her? Is the victim a lightweight?”

“Juraci? Hardly. There are pictures of her all over the house. She weighs ninety kilos if she weighs a gram.”

“Big guy, then.”

“Big feet at least. And strong. We recovered a few fibers from the sheets. Looks like he was wearing a wool sweater.”

“Any sign of blood?”

“Not in the bedroom. The kitchen is full of it. That’s where they killed the maids.”

“The bodies are still here?”

“Still here. I’ve got an ambulance on call to bring them to the IML, but I figured you’d want to see them first.”

“You figured right.”

The IML, Instituto Medico Legal, was where Sao Paulo’s criminal autopsies took place.

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