فصل 11

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فصل 11

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

A surprise appearance

Martinez has heard all this, thought Latto. But had Crocker said enough? At the moment Crocker clearly thought all his problems were over: he had the CD and, as far as he knew, he had the only person who knew about it. Perhaps now he would say more about what happened to Deborah Spencer.

‘Would I be right in thinking that you ordered Deborah Spencer’s death?’ asked Latto.

‘You Brits!’ Crocker laughed. ‘Such correct English. “Would I be right in thinking…”’ His voice became hard. ‘Yes, you would be right. I ordered her death. We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars looking for new medicines for Parkinson’s Disease and I wasn’t going to see that money thrown away. I wanted her out of the way and I wanted her notes, her book, destroyed. I thought everything had gone really well, but unfortunately she sent you a copy. Unlucky for you really.’

Crocker smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. Max was now standing beside Crocker. He was smiling too.

‘Did you use one of Keiffenheim’s drugs to kill her then?’ asked Latto. Crocker seemed happy to talk.

‘Actually we did,’ he said. ‘Cloperoxomine. It’s usually given to people with weak hearts. But if you give too much to anyone, it stops their heart. It doesn’t matter if they have a weak heart or a strong heart. Cloperoxomine stops it. Also it disappears very quickly in the blood. If the scientists don’t know what they’re looking for, it’s difficult to find.’

‘Clever,’ said Latto. ‘So that’s what Max put in my orange juice, was it?’

Crocker’s mouth dropped open.

‘How do you know about that?’ he asked.

Just then another noise came out of the darkness. At last, thought Latto, Martinez has decided to come out.

But then Crocker spoke: Ah! Ray, I see you found someone hiding among the trees.’

Latto turned to see Martinez coming down towards him. He was looking angry. His hands were behind his head. Molinaro was holding a gun to his back. In Molinaro’s other hand was the recorder.

‘He was over there behind the trees,’ said Molinaro, ‘listening to everything and recording it on this.’ He waved the recorder in the air and then threw it on the ground near Crocker. ‘This was in his pocket too.’ Walking round to stand next to Crocker, he took Martinez’ gun from his own pocket and passed it to Crocker.

‘Well, well, well,’ said Crocker. ‘You must be Detective Martinez. I was talking to Lieutenant Becker about you only this afternoon.’

Crocker turned back to Latto. ‘Once again you’ve tried to be too clever, Dr Latto.’ He looked quickly at Molinaro. ‘Search him,’ he said, nodding at Latto. ‘He may have a gun on him. Find the microphone too.’

Molinaro came over to Latto. Careful to keep Latto between himself and Crocker, Molinaro searched him. He found both the microphones, and threw them to Crocker.

‘Not just one microphone - but two.’ Crocker smiled and shook his head. He dropped them both on the ground and broke them by standing on them.

Latto looked round. Crocker had given Martinez’ gun to Max so all three of them had guns. It looked hopeless.

‘Wait a minute,’ said Latto, quickly trying to think of something to stop Crocker. ‘I think you should know that CD wasn’t really the only copy I made of the book.’

Crocker laughed. ‘Too late, Dr Latto. Too late. I believed you the first time. You already know how dangerous I can be. I don’t believe you kept another copy.’ He laughed again, then looked round at the three of them. ‘I just want to sort out this problem and forget about you. Ray, Max, you know what to do. I don’t mind where the police find their bodies. It’s probably best to throw them in the sea when you’ve killed them. It’ll make life a bit more difficult for the police scientists. Throw that recorder in the sea too.’

Latto looked at Martinez, hoping that he would say something. But Martinez was just looking straight at Crocker, his face dark and angry.

Latto tried again. ‘Look, Crocker, I’m sure you don’t have to -‘

‘Shut up!’ Crocker’s voice was angry. ‘Kill them,’ he said to Max and Molinaro.

He picked up the bag with the money in. Putting his gun in his pocket, he started to walk away from the group up the hill, and out of the open-air theatre.

He had only taken a few steps when a voice shouted, ‘Drop your guns and don’t move!’

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