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فصل 03

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter three

Brooklyn Heights

After lunch I met Stella at Grand Central Station by the information desk, under the big clock. We were going to see Joyce O’Neill at her home on Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights. As usual, we took the subway.

Henry Street is just one block away from the subway station. On either side of Henry Street are lines of old brownstone houses, built in the nineteenth century. We walked in the sunshine to the house.

The O’Neills opened the door before I could knock. Joyce O’Neill looked terrible - she was crying and her eyes were red. Julia was holding her mother’s hand. “Please come in,” said Mrs. O’Neill.

As she was speaking, the phone rang. She picked it up and said, “Joyce O’Neill speaking.” Then she slowly put it down.

“Nobody there. That’s the third time today,” she told me.

“I’ll check that number if I may?” I asked. I called the service to find out who last phoned. As I expected, it refused to give me a number. I didn’t want to make Mrs. O’Neill any more worried. “No luck. It wouldn’t tell me anything - maybe just a wrong number. But if it happens again, tell me. Now, this morning I called your husband’s office at Ocean Star - I let them think I was a client. I was told he was on sick leave. And another thing. Steinmann has left the firm. I couldn’t find out why.”

“Really?” said Mrs. O’Neill. “What on earth’s going on?”

“I wish I knew,” I said. “While were here, we’d like to find out more about your husband - his interests, what kind of person he is. You never know, any little thing could be important. Does he have a home office?”

“Sure, it’s through here,” said Mrs. O’Neill.

The room looked out onto the street. On either side of the window were pictures of old New York. Under the window was a desk with nine drawers and on the desk sat a computer. On the other walls were bookshelves.

“Ms. Delgado will look through your husband’s computer files, if that’s OK with you,” I told her.

Stella turned on the computer, but of course, we needed the password.

Julia spelled it for Stella: “It’s J-U-L-I-E. That’s what my father always calls me.”

While Stella continued with the computer, I began my search through the books. They were of little interest to us. Then I continued with the drawers of the desk. Again, I discovered nothing that might help us until I tried to open the final drawer - it was locked. But a minute’s work with a small knife was enough to open it. It was full of books about card games, mainly poker. I read the titles: Ninety-nine Ways to Win at Poker, Poker - Use Your Intelligence and Win, The Complete Poker Player and so on.

O’Neill had read every book carefully. On most pages there were notes in pencil - the sort of notes that only a serious student of the game would make. Was he hiding the books from his wife? I showed them to Mrs. O’Neill.

“Could you tell me if this is your husband’s handwriting?” I asked.

“Yes, that’s Patrick’s,” she replied.

“Did you realize that your husband was interested in card games?” I asked her.

“I had no idea. It’s a complete surprise. That’s something he never talked about. And I thought I knew everything about him,” she said sadly.

Stella opened O’Neill’s email and I waited patiently as she checked through all the information. Finally, she was ready.

“Most of what I’ve opened here seems to be quite normal,” said Stella. “Work letters mainly. But there’s something here - the last email to Steinmann, sent on Friday afternoon. It reads, ‘I didn’t think you could be so stupid. I can’t believe what you’ve done.’”

“Do you have any idea what this could be about?” I asked Mrs. O’Neill.

“It could be some kind of disagreement,” she replied.

Stella needed Mrs. O’Neill’s help to get into the family bank accounts. She entered the numbers and soon the information came up on the screen. There was a joint account in the names of Patrick and Joyce O’Neill, and also an account in Joyce O’Neill’s name. The joint account seemed normal, as did Mrs. O’Neill’s account. But we needed another password to open Patrick O’Neill’s account.

Mrs. O’Neill went straight to the kitchen and returned with a little notebook. “Patrick said I should keep this in a safe place. If anything happened to him, I’d be able to find the information on the computer.” She passed the book to Stella, who searched through it to find the necessary numbers. New information came on the screen and Stella now looked more serious.

“Mrs. O’Neill, do you know someone called F. Van Zandt?” she asked.

“I’ve never heard the name,” she answered. “Why?”

“Well, if you look here, there have been several large payments to this Van Zandt over the last six months,” Stella explained.

Mrs. O’Neill looked at the screen and put her hand to her mouth. “I just don’t understand,” she said. “This last payment is $15,000! And look here. Patrick took out $10,000 this morning.”

“There’s more,” said Stella. “Two large payments to Steinmann during the past three months. Over $25,000.”

“I really can’t understand it,” said Mrs. O’Neill.

“There must be a good reason,” I said. “Van Zandt’s an unusual name, so I hope it won’t be too much trouble to find him - or her.”

I had a good idea what was going on. O’Neill could be a secret poker player. Those payments could mean that he’d lost heavily at poker and was paying back the winner month by month. But why had he paid all that money to Steinmann?

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