Haddon took it without enthusiasm. His face was gray. “Wrap something up by tomorrow? The Luxor police? Don’t make me laugh. We’ll be lucky if they get here by tomorrow.”

He was quickly proved right. The receptionist at the police department regretted that no English-speaking official of sufficient rank to attend to this most serious matter was currently available. The morning shift would report at 8 a.m. , however, and at that time a responsible investigator would be dispatched to Horizon House at once. Personnel at Horizon House were instructed to secure the grounds.

Haddon hung up with a slurred laugh. He seemed about to fall asleep. “At once. That means… that could mean anywhere from eight a.m. to eight p.m. Well, I don’t see how it can be helped. I’m going to b-… to bed, and I suggest the rest of you do the same.” He took a deep breath and headed for the door to the patio, off which the living quarters opened. Partway there he listed, managing to right himself with the help of the wall.

At the door he turned, steadied himself against the jamb, and fixed them with a quizzical and suspicious gaze. “I don’t suppose… don’t suppose any of you know anything ab-… about this?”

Tiffany shook her head.

Arlo shook his head.

“Who, me?” Jerry said.

Haddon nodded gravely. “Good night to all,” he proclaimed, drawing himself up, “and to all a good night.” A moment later they heard a clatter as he stumbled against one of the wicker chairs on the patio.

“The man’s swacked again,” TJ said.

“Swozzled,” agreed Jerry. “One of these nights he’s going to fall in the fountain and kill himself on his two a.m. rounds.”

“He makes rounds?” Arlo asked. “At night? I knew he was an insomniac, but—”

“You don’t see him,” Jerry said. “Your window faces the other way. He prowls around till two or three in the morning, talking to himself and falling over stuff.”

TJ was shaking her head. “You know, it’s really not that he drinks that much. It’s the interaction with the medications he’s on that does it; that stuff for anxiety, or depression, or whatever he takes. I’m surprised he can see straight.”

“Now what in the world does he have to be depressed about?” Arlo asked. “We’re the ones who have to work for him.”

Jerry laughed. “If you had to be Clifford Haddon, you wouldn’t be depressed?”

“You certainly have a point there,” Arlo said, pressing his eyes with his fingertips. “Well, I guess I’d better get to bed too.”

“Not me,” Jerry said, stretching. “I left Forrest and his crew over in the annex with some six-packs and pizza, and I bet they’re still there. I know I could use a couple of beers.”

“God knows, so could I,” TJ said fervently.

“You can say that again,” said Arlo after a moment’s reflection.

Chapter Five

Whatever aura of mystery had hung over the storage enclosure the night before, it was not in evidence in the dusty, flat 9 a.m. sunlight of the next morning. The enclosure looked like what it was, a squalid, fifteen-square-foot pen crammed with the household and workplace castoffs of years. Most of it—the shabby, anonymous clothing, the moldy automobile cushions, the time-grayed newspapers—was peacefully disintegrating. Some—the broken toilet bowl, the warped plastic coat hangers—would be around for future generations of archaeologists to potter blissfully among.

Major Yussef Saleh and Sergeant Monir Gabra of the Qena Governate Police, Criminal Investigation Division, had been pottering for half an hour. They were not blissful. They had located, in addition to the bones found the night before, the other half of the pelvis, a few long bones and ribs they took to be human, and several irregular smaller pieces that they thought might be human hand or foot bones. They had found no signs of foul play and hoped they would not; sorting through the broken tools, discarded utensils, and rusty, unidentifiable pieces of metal in search of a probable blunt or pointed instrument of death was a task neither of them cared to think about.

Following proper police procedure, the bones had not been disturbed until they had been photographed and their positions sketched and described. Then, kneeling on a cracked rubber that that they had found among the junk, they delicately turned over the skull.

After a moment, the two men looked at each other with puzzled expressions.

“Yes?” Clifford Haddon glanced up, not pleased to be interrupted. When he saw that it was Major Saleh, his tone became more cordial. “Ah, yes, Major, may I help you?”

“Will you come with us, please?”

Haddon stiffened. Spots of deeper color popped out on his pink throat. “Come with you—where?”

“To the storage enclosure,” Saleh said. “I would like to ask you about something if you can spare a few minutes.”

“The—” The spots disappeared. “Oh, yes, certainly. Of course, Major.” He stood up and looked at TJ. “Will you come too, please, Dr. Baroff?”

“Certainly, Dr. Haddon,” TJ said, formality for formality. The object, she supposed, was to impress the Egyptian police with the businesslike decorum of Horizon House. Well, what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

She closed the budget file on which she had been briefing him so that he could continue to delude the visiting Gustafsons into thinking that he had his finger on the pulse of Horizon House’s operations, and rose to join them. She knew perfectly well why Haddon had asked her to come along. He was afraid the officers might ask him something he didn’t know the answer to—which covered one hell of a lot of ground—and he wanted TJ, who took her administrative role as assistant director seriously, at his side to bail him out.

Well, fine. Anything was better than sitting alone in a room with him, trying to explain item after item, none of

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