“The jeweler in Riberao Preto tipped us off. How come the same didn’t happen in Sao Paulo?”

“Samuel’s a handy fellow. He bought gold, made rings, mounted the diamonds before she sold them. He says she planned to offer only one ring to each jeweler, and to claim it was a present from her ex-husband.”

“Why don’t we just canvas all the shops?”

“We’re working on it, but we haven’t got our hopes up. Samuel says they realized very little from the sales. That’s probably an indication the jewelers thought the rings were stolen. I don’t expect them to come clean.”

“So how much is the Artist out of pocket? How much did it cost him?”

“In Reais, about two hundred and fifty thousand.”

“That’s small change for him. He probably thinks he got off cheap.”

“In fact, he does. His girlfriend, Cintia, is more concerned about the money than he is.”

“Because she’s already looking at what’s his as hers?”


“Tell me about the day it happened. How did it go down?”

“Pretty much as Lefkowitz hypothesized it did. They got to Juraci’s at four-thirty in the morning, cut the telephone wires and went to the kitchen door. Samuel had the flashlight. Vitoria had to put her reading glasses on to get the key into the lock, so she took off her hood. She planned to put it on again as soon as they were inside, but-”

“-but there was one of the maids, standing at the sink, getting a glass of water.”

“Correct. It was Clara, the younger sister. She dropped the glass and started screaming. Vitoria pulled out a pistol. Samuel says it came as a surprise. He didn’t know she’d brought it.”

“You think he’s lying?”

“No, I don’t. He doesn’t seem like the bloodthirsty type.”

“But she is?”

“Oh, yes, Director, she’s definitely the bloodthirsty type.”

“What happened next?”

“Juraci’s dog came running in and sunk her teeth into Samuel’s ankle. Vitoria stamped on it and killed it. Then she sent Samuel to find Clara’s sister.”

“Which he did?”

Silva nodded. “Hiding in a wardrobe cupboard. He pulled her out, and forced her into the kitchen. Vitoria made her kneel on the floor and sent Samuel upstairs to subdue Juraci.”

“She must have been awake by then, what with all the racket they were making downstairs.”

“She was. She locked the bedroom door, but it was flimsy. Samuel had no problem breaking in. He was going for her with the syringe when he heard the shots. Up until that moment, he said, the thought that the sisters might be in danger never entered his head.”

“You believe that?”

“Actually, I do.”

“I don’t. I don’t think a jury will either. And then?”

“He threw Juraci on the bed and injected the Ketamine. She fought back. He tossed the syringe aside so he could use both hands to immobilize her. Vitoria told him she’d be unconscious in thirty seconds, but it took longer. So long, he began to believe the drug wasn’t working. It made him nervous. So nervous, he forgot to pick up the syringe when she finally passed out.”

“So now the maids are dead and Juraci’s unconscious. And then?”

“They bundled Juraci into their car. Vitoria waited behind the wheel while Samuel locked the door and smashed it with a sledgehammer.”

“To make it appear as if that was the way they got in.”

“Exactly. The noise woke the neighbor, Rodolfo Sa. Samuel had just remembered that he’d left the syringe in Juraci’s bedroom when he saw Sa’s light go on. He assumed Sa was going to call the security people.”

“Did he?”

“No. But Samuel didn’t know that, so instead of going back for the syringe, he made a dash for the car. Less than ten minutes later they had Juraci under lock and key.”

“Where she stayed until we broke in and rescued her?”

We. Sampaio believed in his own press releases.

“And that’s it,” Silva said. “That’s the whole story. It was, as we suspected in the very beginning, all about money. No other motive.”

“When did they decide to murder her?”

“I think Vitoria had it in mind since the beginning.”

“Arns tell you that?”

“No. And I don’t think she told him, either. She would have known it would make him squeamish. But she kept working on him. Ultimately, he agreed. But I don’t think his heart was ever in it.”

“Juraci never realized that one of her captors was a woman?”

“She had her suspicions, but she was never really sure. Not until the very end.”

“How were they able to get their hands on the Ketamine?”

“Nothing easier. Vitoria simply failed to enter the arrival of a shipment into the ledger. She paid for it with a personal check and fudged the bookkeeping.”

“Okay, let’s leave it at that. I figure I’ve got enough to talk my way through the whole damned dinner, if I have to. And all’s well that ends well.”


“Vitoria and Samuel are going to get what’s coming to them. A bicheiro is dead. The filho da puta who sold the Artist to Real Madrid is dead. The Artist’s mother came out of it without a scratch. Her son is itching to kick Argentinean ass, which I have little doubt he will. The President of the Republic is happy. And I get to have dinner with the Minister of Justice. Don’t you think that, all in all, it worked out well for everyone concerned?”

Except, Silva thought, for two young women, shot to death as they kneeled in terror on a kitchen floor.

The Director was looking at him, waiting for a response to his question. Silva groped for something to say.

And then didn’t need one, because Sampaio’s telephone rang.

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