فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

Talking to Martinez

Sylvia Koning left a short time later, after she had agreed to meet Latto for dinner that evening. Latto went back into his motel room and woke up his computer. He looked at the emails that had come in: two from old friends, one from his bank, one from a neighbour in Britain, and then one from Deborah Spencer.

Deborah Spencer Re: New ways of… 3/7/06 7:35 am

It had been sent the day he left Britain. He opened it quickly.

Subject: New ways of helping people with Parkinson’s Disease Date: 7 March, 2006 7:35 am

From: SPENCER, Deborah deborah.spencer@intercruz.com

To: Mark Latto <mark@melrosehealth.co.uk >

Attachments: visit.doc

Hi Mark

I’m sending an attachment with more information about your visit. It tells you what I’ve planned for each day and who you’ll be working with - me, Ray or Sylvia. I’ve also put Ray and Sylvia’s office addresses. We’re only a few minutes drive from each other and Santa Cruz is an easy place to drive around.

Don’t worry - I’ve also left you some free time to have a look at our beautiful California coast. You’ve got a free weekend when you could either visit San Francisco or go south to Monterey and Big Sur. Looking forward to seeing you.

Ciao

Deborah

Latto opened the attachment and looked through it. The programme looked interesting. He felt sad though when he realised it was something he might never now be a part of. But maybe Sylvia and Ray would still share their ideas with him before he left. After all, that was why he had come here.

Sylvia and Ray’s work addresses were there too, as promised. Latto found the map he had of Santa Cruz and made a note on it of their addresses. He closed the attachment, got off the internet and shut down his computer.

He looked at his watch. Twelve o’clock. His head was feeling a bit better. He was hungry, but he had to wait in for the police. He made a sandwich and took it outside to eat in the sunshine. After a few minutes Martinez appeared round the corner. He was carrying a laptop in one hand.

‘It’s a beautiful day and I wanted some fresh air so I came myself,’ he explained, smiling. Then he waved a hand out towards the beach and the ocean. ‘Nice place you found here.’

‘Good, isn’t it,’ said Latto, pushing a chair out and inviting Martinez to sit down. ‘I’ve got some cold beer in the fridge. Would you like one?’ he asked.

‘That’s kind of you,’ said Martinez, ‘but I’m working. A glass of water would be good.’

Latto brought some water and then sat down next to Martinez. Martinez opened up the computer and handed it to Latto.

‘A twenty-first-century book of photos,’ he explained. ‘Have a look through these. Press the “down” key to go to the next photo. Let me know if you see the man who hit you.’

‘OK.’ Latto started to look through the photos.

While Latto was doing this, Martinez spoke again. ‘You were telling me about Parkinson’s Disease,’ he said. ‘You were saying that western medicine can’t do much for people who have it.’

‘That’s right,’ replied Latto, continuing to look at the photos. ‘We have a number of different drugs we can give people. The drugs can help the patient, but only for a few years. After that, the drugs stop working and the patient’s condition will be the same as before. Maybe worse.’

Martinez thought about this for a few moments.

‘Sounds bad,’ he said.

‘It is bad,’ agreed Latto.

‘So how were Ms Spencer’s ideas different?’

‘Well, I don’t know too much about it yet - that’s why I’m here,’ said Latto, smiling at Martinez. ‘However, it seems to work by holding the patient’s arms and legs so that they have a chance to get better by themselves.’

Martinez looked thoughtfully at Latto.

‘And this works?’ he asked, looking surprised.

‘For some people, yes, I believe so,’ said Latto. ‘For some people it’s made a great difference.’ He moved down to the last photo and then put the computer on the small table. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘The man who hit me isn’t one of these.’

‘OK.’ Martinez drank some water and looked out towards the beach and the wharf. Latto did too. There was a group of men and women making music on the beach - some of them playing guitars. There was a man with a snake round his shoulders walking past Casey’s. This place is strange, thought Latto - surfers, people with snakes, sea lions living under the wharf.

‘Those two other doctors - I told them where you were staying. Did they come round and see you earlier?’ asked Martinez.

‘Yes,’ replied Latto. ‘And I found out something interesting from them about Deborah Spencer’s computer, the one that was stolen.’

‘Oh yes?’ said Martinez.

‘Deborah was writing a book, putting down all her ideas about how to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. And everything she had written was on that computer.’

‘But she kept another copy somewhere?’ said Martinez.

‘The other doctors - Ray and Sylvia - they say she didn’t. She… well, people don’t always keep copies of things they should.’

‘True,’ said Martinez, looking carefully at Latto. ‘So are you saying that this man with the ear-ring took the computer because Ms Spencer’s book was on it?’

‘It’s possible,’ Latto replied, ‘but I don’t know. I mean, maybe someone wanted to steal her ideas.’

‘One of the other doctors?’ asked Martinez.

Latto smiled. ‘You’re the detective,’ he said.

Martinez laughed. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I am. I think I’ll find out a bit more about Ray and Sylvia. The scientists say it wasn’t murder, but I always like to get the complete picture before I close a case.’

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