Hector was unconvinced.

“Not necessarily,” he said. “They could have gone after her and brought her back here. Any other signs of forced entry?”

“None.” Lefkowitz was emphatic. “All the other doors were locked. So were the windows. The glass in all of them was intact.”

“Maybe they picked the lock.”

“Not that lock. It’s virtually pickproof.”

Hector put a finger to his lips and thought about it.

Lefkowitz regarded him in silence.

Finally, Hector said, “Let’s suppose it went down the way you suggest. Wouldn’t Clara have heard a click? Or heard them creeping up behind her?”

“Not if they were quick. Not if Clara was running water in the sink. The sink is stainless steel. Listen.”

Lefkowitz went to the sink and turned on the tap. Under the stream of water, the steel reverberated like a drum. He let it run for a few seconds to make his point.

“I figure it was when she turned off the tap,” he said, “that she heard something. Or maybe she looked up and saw something.”

“With her back to the door?”

“There was a full moon last night. If Doctor Whathisname-”


“Setubal is right about the time they were shot, the moon would have been”-Lefkowitz pointed-“right about there. If anyone opened the door, it would have flooded the kitchen with moonlight. Clara would have noticed, even if she’d been facing the sink.”

That clinched it for Hector. He smiled in admiration.

“Lefkowitz,” he said, “you are so good at this stuff.”

“Tell my wife,” Lefkowitz said. “She thinks she’s got all the brains in the family.”

Chapter Four

Haraldo “babyface ” Goncalves was looking around for a sign that would identify the building-and not finding one.

“You sure this is it?”

“I’m sure,” Arnaldo Nunes said. “I used to come here on Saturdays for lunch.”

“The Argentinean Club for lunch? Why?”

“They serve good meat.”

“They serve good meat in lots of places. But you came here. What’s the real reason?”

Arnaldo mumbled something.

“Can’t hear you,” Goncalves said. “Speak up.”

Arnaldo turned to face him.

“I said my oldest sister married an Argentinean.”



“You poor bastard.”

“I think it was a sex thing. He must have been hung like a bull.”

“She’s still married?”

“She finally came to her senses. But, in the meantime, I went through hell. The wedding was in June of ’78.”

1978 wasn’t the only year Argentina won the World Cup, but it was the first. And it was a year in which Brazil, already a three-time champion, had finished an ignominious third. The defeat still rankled, even for people like Goncalves who were too young to have experienced it personally.

“Four years it lasted,” Arnaldo said. “Four long years. Every time I saw him he’d rub it in my face.”

“And then she divorced him?”

“No. She stuck with the bastard until 1990. The nineteenth of July. I’ll never forget the date. Soon as I heard about the breakup, I went out to celebrate. It was one of the worst hangovers I ever had, but it was worth it.”

“So what’s with the four years? We didn’t win in ’82. Italy won in ’82.”

Arnaldo looked at him. “You don’t remember what else happened in 1982?”

“Do you know how old I was back then?”

“You knew about ’78. And you knew who won the Cup in ’82.”

“That’s different. That’s futebol.”

“The Malvinas happened.”

“Oh, yeah, right. The Malvinas.”

In early April of 1982, General Leopoldo Galtieri, the head of Argentina’s military junta, gave the order to annex the Malvinas, that small group of South Atlantic islands the inhabitants insisted in calling the Falklands. Argentina had long coveted the archipelago, and long claimed sovereignty over it.

Galtieri launched the invasion in an attempt to draw attention from a declining economy at home and to unite the nation in a common cause. In both of those things, he was initially successful.

Margaret Thatcher, the English Prime Minister, first tried diplomacy to oust the invaders. When that failed, she ordered the assembly of a naval task force, and it set out on a stately 8,000-mile voyage of liberation.

“I read about that,” Goncalves said. “The English kicked the shit out of the Argentineans, right?”

“The English did,” Arnaldo said.

“So that shut your brother-in-law up, I suppose. Come on. Let’s go in there and talk to those people.”

He unfastened his seat belt and opened the door of the car.

“Shut it,” Arnaldo said.


“Shut the door. I’m not finished. I’m not telling this story because I enjoy the sound of my voice. I’m telling it for your edification.”

“I didn’t know you knew words like edification.”

“You don’t know a lot of things. Listen and learn.”

“Learn what?”

“About Argentineans.”

“What’s to learn?”

“What’s to learn is why it’s a waste of time being here.”

“I thought the Chief Inspector-”

“Mario doesn’t have any more faith in this little excursion than I do. We’re here because Sampaio wanted us here. Can I go on with the story?”

“Now I’m intrigued. Please do.”

“A couple of weeks after the Argentineans invaded, I’m sitting in that building over there, with my wife, and my sister, and my Argentinean brother-in-law. He’s all puffed up about the great victory to come. I try to point out this is the English he’s talking about, and that there’s a whole damned fleet on the way. ‘Doesn’t matter,’ he says. ‘We’re gonna kick their asses,’ he says.”

“He really thought that?”

“He really did. Oh, he had all sorts of reasons, like long lines of supply, and how the Argentinean Air Force was topnotch, and how they had all these Exocet missiles they bought from the French, and how they were going to use them to sink the entire English fleet, but the point is he believed it.”

“And the point of this whole diatribe of yours?”

“This: most Argentineans, not all, but most, have a superiority complex. They always think they’re better than other people, they always think they’re going to win, and they keep on thinking that way right up to the

Вы читаете A vine in the blood
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату