'No. Franciscan.'

'All right. Let's talk. Did Father Angelo ask you to come to Cascatas just to give me this?'

Silva brandished the priest's last letter.

'No, Chief Inspector, he asked me to come so that he could make another kind of confession. He did. I gave him absolution.'

'So you knew he intended to take responsibility for the killing of four people?'

'I did. I would have expected no less of him. He was a murderer, but he was a good man. I know that sounds incongruous, but it's the truth.'

'So you're sure he did it? Killed them, I mean?'

Father Francisco looked mildly surprised. 'Of course he did. You just read his confession.'

'I read it, yes, but don't you think it strange that the man lived a long life of peace and then, suddenly, went off on a murderous rampage? Was it because of what happened to his friend, Brouwer?'

'Father Angelo, Chief Inspector, was a very sick man. Lung cancer. He didn't have long to live. He authorized me to tell you that, and also to tell you that he wanted to make what he called `a difference' in the short time left to him. He feared you weren't going to be able to bring certain people to justice, so he decided to help you.'

'Help me?'

Silva remembered the times he, too, had taken justice into his own hands. Father Francisco studied the expression on his face and misinterpreted it.

'Yes, yes, I understand your feelings. At first glance, it really seems repulsive. I can't condone his actions-'

'I can,' Arnaldo muttered. 'Good for him.'

Silva gave him a sharp look. Arnaldo, unrepentant, grinned at him. He almost grinned back. To hide it, he turned again to Father Francisco. 'Is there any more you can tell me about the death of Orlando Muniz Junior?'


'Why not? Sanctity of the confessional?'

Father Francisco looked Silva in the eye and didn't answer but he might as well have.

'So Angelo had something to do with it after all,' Silva insisted.

'I didn't say that.'

'No, you didn't, did you?'

'Look, Chief Inspector, you're holding a letter in your hand in which Father Angelo confesses to four murders but quite specifically denies any responsibility for the death of Muniz's son. Wouldn't it be logical to assume, then, that he had nothing to do with it?'

'That's the way it appears, doesn't it?'

'It certainly does. So what reason might he have had to tell Muniz that he did?

'Are you also a Jesuit, Father?'

'As a matter of fact, I am.'

'Then, just as an intellectual exercise, imagine this. Imagine that Father Angelo set Muniz up.'

'Set him up?'

'Set him up. Provoked Muniz into committing murder with himself as the victim.'

'All right. I'll try to imagine it. But first, tell me what motive Father Angelo could possibly have had for doing something like that. If he meant to hurt Muniz, why wouldn't he just shoot him like he did the others?'

'That's what's bothering me, too. Help me to think it through. As I said, purely as an intellectual exercise.'

Father Francisco was silent for a moment. 'Well… ' he said.


'Purely hypothetically, you understand?'

'Yes, Father. Purely hypothetically.'

'Perhaps it could have had something to do with making the punishment fit the crime. After all, Muniz didn't actually kill anyone. He's not a good man, but he wasn't a murderer.'

'Not as far as Angelo knew at the time. But now he is, Father.'

'Yes, Chief Inspector, now he is. Or maybe…'

'Maybe what?'

'Maybe Father Angelo believed that prison would be the worst punishment for a man like Muniz, worse than dying even. Remember what he wrote about wanting to believe in Brazilian justice?'


'Perhaps he thought he'd found a way to make it work.'

'Make it clearer for me, Father. What do you mean by that?'

'How many rich men in this country actually wind up being convicted of a crime?'

'Unfortunately, very few. Our legal system leaves a great deal to be desired. There are those that say all of our judges have their price.'

'Yes. But what would happen to a man, however rich, who shot down an unarmed priest in the presence of half a dozen witnesses, one of whom happened to be a chief inspector of the Federal Police? And what would happen to such a man if a reporter from Rede Mundo immediately arrived on the scene and had a chance to interview some of those witnesses? He'd be looking at a long prison term, wouldn't he? Whoever he was.'

Silva took in a deep breath and slowly let it out through his nose. Arnaldo broke out in a broad grin. Hector turned away and looked out of the window. Silva was sure he was smiling, too.

He cleared his throat and glanced at his watch. It was almost noon, almost time for another one of those calls from the director.

For once in his life, Mario Silva was actually looking forward to speaking to him.

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