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فصل 06

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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Chapter six

Questions and answers

Wednesday, October 6th. Captain Oldenberg and Mrs. O’Neill were in my office at nine o’clock. Mrs. O’Neill was wearing a very fashionable black jacket and skirt with a white blouse. Maybe she did her shopping on Fifth Avenue. Oldenberg was dressed in an ugly brown suit with an orange tie - clothes that had been in fashion sometime during the last century.

Before Oldenberg started questioning Mrs. O’Neill, I told him what I knew about Patrick O’Neill. I was trying to show the captain that O’Neill was just a good ordinary guy, not a murderer.

“As I see it, Patrick O’Neill could be in the middle of something very dangerous,” I began. “So far, we have no clear idea of what that might be. We can’t be sure if the key to this case is Ocean Star or something that happened between O’Neill and Steinmann - or both.

“Let’s move on to O’Neill, the person. We have a happily- married family man who’s worked for the same employer for over ten years. In that time he’s risen to be second in his department. He’s given years of his life to the firm. Also, he has no criminal history.”

Oldenberg started to question Mrs. O’Neill. As I thought, his main interest was the argument between O’Neill and Steinmann.

“Mrs. O’Neill,” said Oldenberg, “I was told at Ocean Star that your husband and Steinmann argued on Friday before they both disappeared. We don’t know what it was about, but people heard Mr. O’Neill shouting. Would you say they worked well together?”

“It was never easy for Patrick,” she replied. “Steinmann pushed people hard. Second best was never good enough for him. I can’t say Patrick liked him, but he did his work as well as he could.”

“Two years ago, your husband had the chance to become the department head. But Lorraine Houston brought in Steinmann. How did your husband feel about this?” asked Oldenberg.

“At the time he was angry, but he learned to accept what had happened. Life has to go on,” Mrs. O’Neill replied.

“Could you think of anybody who would want to kill Steinmann?” Oldenberg asked her.

“No,” she replied. “OK, so he’s not the nicest of guys, but that’s no reason for murder.”

“Your husband was paying money to Steinmann. Do you have any idea why?” Oldenberg went on.

“None at all,” Mrs. O’Neill replied.

Oldenberg continued with questions about the angry email, which Mrs. O’Neill answered patiently. At last, he said, “One more thing, Mrs. O’Neill. Would you agree to a search of your house?”

“I guess I have to,” she replied, and handed him her keys. “Go ahead and do it.”

“Thanks,” he said. “If I’m going to get any further with this case, I must find him. Will you call him?”

Mrs. O’Neill looked him straight in the eyes and said, “That’s impossible. Patrick only calls me from pay phones.”

“Patrick O’Neill is wanted for murder,” Oldenberg said. “And if you, Marley, or you, Mrs. O’Neill, know where he is, and refuse to tell me, that’s a crime. You could both find yourselves in jail.”

Mrs. O’Neill looked angrily at Oldenberg. If looks could kill, he would be a dead man.

After Oldenberg had left the building, Mrs. O’Neill started to cry.

“I’m sure Patrick has nothing to do with Steinmann’s murder,” she said. “But what if the police don’t believe me? And what if the people who killed Steinmann go after Patrick next?”

“I will find him, I promise you,” I said. “But you must be careful. When you get back to Julia’s apartment, stay inside, OK? Stella, could you call a cab for Mrs. O’Neill?”

When Mrs. O’Neill had left, I organized some help from an old friend who used to be a policeman like myself. A guy who was as useful as ten NYPD officers - Joe Blaney. He’d taught me more about staying alive on the streets of Manhattan than you could ever learn at Police Academy. He’s the sort of person you needed if there was going to be trouble and he knew how to use a gun. I last carried a gun when I was a New York cop. I haven’t carried one since and haven’t wanted to - but there are times when one is necessary.

I picked up the phone. “Joe, I have work for you. It could be dangerous, so bring a gun. A missing person’s in danger, and we’re going to find him. Come to East 43rd Street with your car, as soon as you can.”

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