Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41


A WEEK PASSED. SEVEN DAYS OF RECOVERY, CELEBRATION, PARTING, revelation, confession, and denial.

I slept for twelve hours following the incident at Malo’s house, awoke rejuvenated and harboring no grudge against my sister. Harry had survived her escapade in the park. One Jimmy Choo leopard thong sandal had not. Gull guano.

Harry explained that she’d driven to see Flan O’Connor in Toronto. She wanted to surprise me with a scoop on Obeline and the poetry. Her big discovery was that O’Connor House had only operated from 1998 until 2003. Ironically, the information turned out to be merely cumulative to what we already knew about time frames.

Harry flew home to file for divorce and sell her house in River Oaks. Having enjoyed downtown living, she’d decided to search for a condo that would allow her to live car-free. I suspected her plan was unworkable in a town like Houston. I kept it to myself.

The feast of Saint John the Baptist, la fete nationale du Quebec, came and went. City crews swept up, the fleur-de-lis flags came down, and Montreal’s citizenry turned its attention to the annual rites of jazz.

Through conversations with Ryan and Hippo, I learned many things.

The man slumped by the tree was a Malo thug named Serge Sardou. When Sardou challenged Bastarache’s charge up the driveway, Bastarache shot him. The wound caused a lot of bleeding but only minor muscle damage. Sardou started bartering as soon as the anesthesia wore off.

Turned out Mulally and Babin had been smitten with the Escalade, not with Harry and me. It was Sardou who’d threatened me by e-mail and phone. And, my personal favorite, thrown me down the stairs. Malo had asked him to recover the contact sheet of Evangeline, and to back me off. Sardou decided to double-task at Cormier’s studio.

Bastarache and Malo both went directly from Rustique to jail. Bastarache claimed self-defense, saying Sardou had threatened him with the Winchester. A lawyer had him out on bail the next day.

Based on statements from Sardou and Kelly Sicard, Malo was charged with three counts of homicide and a zillion counts of offenses involving kids. Unlike Bastarache, Plucky Pierre was going nowhere soon.

Wednesday, June 27, I was in my lab at Wilfrid-Derome. Five boxes lined the side counter, remains packaged for release to next of kin.

Reading my handwritten labels, I felt a bittersweet sense of accomplishment. Genevieve Doucet. Anne Girardin. Claire Brideau. Maude Waters. LSJML-57748.

Cause of death would never be determined for Genevieve Doucet. No matter. Poor Theodore was beyond understanding. Or blaming. Maitre Asselin would be collecting her great-niece’s bones.

There would be no justice for little Anne Girardin, Ryan’s MP number three. Daddy had died of a self-inflicted bullet to the brain. But Adelaide had been located and could now bury her daughter.

From age seventeen to nineteen, Claire Brideau had starred in dozens of Peter Bad Productions. Pierre Malo. Peter Bad. Pure poetry.

We’d guessed right about Cormier. The photographer had funneled girls to Malo in exchange for a few bucks and a steady supply of pedophile smut. Kelly Sicard had been one. Claire Brideau had been another. There would be no more. Fearing Cormier might roll to save himself, Malo had killed him.

According to Sardou, in 1999, Malo strangled Brideau in a rage for lifting money from a nightstand in the house on Rustique. Ordered to dispose of the body, he’d offloaded Brideau from a buddy’s boat into the Riviere des Mille Iles. She became Ryan’s DOA number one.

Ryan’s DOA number three, the Lac des Deux Montagnes floater, was identified as sixteen-year-old Maude Waters. The previous year, Maude had left her home on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve hoping to make her way to Hollywood and a star on the Walk of Fame. Instead, she ended up with Malo doing porn.

Malo was claiming Maude OD’d while living in his house. Sardou’s version had Malo strangling Maude because she’d threatened to leave. As with Brideau eight years earlier, Sardou was ordered to dump the corpse. Feeling invincible, the loyal employee simply drove a few blocks and tossed Maude from the Bois-de-L’Ile-Bizard boat ramp.

LSJML-57748. Hippo’s girl. For now, the Sheldrake Island skeleton would lie under an anonymous iron cross in the lepers’ cemetery in Tracadie. But I was working with an Acadian historian. With luck, and hard work, we hoped to learn who she was. The lab in Virginia had sequenced DNA from her bones. Perhaps someday we might even find a relative.

The lab door opened, breaking my reverie. Hippo entered, carrying coffee and a bag of St. Viateur Bagels. As we spread cream cheese with little plastic knives, I considered what I’d learned of the saga of Evangeline.

I’d been right. Laurette Landry had worked at the lazaretto, and had lost her job upon its closing in ’65. Years later, she developed leprosy. So great was the family’s distrust of government, Laurette was hidden away with Grand-pere Landry. At fourteen, Evangeline became the family’s primary breadwinner and nurse.

While Laurette was alive, Evangeline lived at home and worked days for David’s father, Hilaire Bastarache. Upon her mother’s death, she assumed the position of resident housekeeper.

At that time Pierre Malo, Hilaire’s illegitimate son, was also living in the Bastarache house. Malo pressed

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