فصل 08

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Martinez gets some answers

Just then the phone in Latto’s room rang. It was Sylvia Koning.

‘I called you a couple of times earlier,’ she said to Latto. ‘Where have you been?’

Latto looked at Martinez. ‘Oh, just enjoying Santa Cruz,’ said Latto. ‘How about meeting for dinner later?’

They agreed a time and Latto put down the phone. ‘What about Molinaro?’ he asked Martinez. ‘You were starting to tell me about him.’

‘Molinaro likes a game of cards,’ he said. ‘In fact he likes playing cards so much he goes to Las Vegas two weekends a month and plays in one of the casinos over there.’

Latto said nothing. He just let Martinez continue.

‘The problem is that he really isn’t very good at it. A friend of mine here in Santa Cruz told me Molinaro played cards. A friend of mine in Vegas told me the casinos are after him. He borrowed $150,000. Now he has to pay it back. And soon.’

‘So Molinaro’s short of money and he’s in trouble,’ Latto said slowly.

‘What are you thinking?’ asked Martinez.

There was quiet as Latto thought for a few moments more, then he spoke. ‘Well, how about this? Drug companies are spending millions of dollars trying to find a way to help people with Parkinson’s Disease, aren’t they?’ he explained.

Martinez had an interested look on his face.

‘Now if a drug company found out that someone had developed a way of helping people with Parkinson’s Disease, or even, in fact, making them better, completely better, without using drugs, how are the drug company bosses going to feel?’

‘They might well want to stop people finding out that information,’ said Martinez.

‘Right,’ said Latto. ‘They want people to buy their drugs. They don’t want people to find out how to make themselves better without drugs.’

‘So you’re saying Keiffenheim Laboratories paid Molinaro to destroy Deborah’s book?’

‘Well, he does need money badly,’ replied Latto.

‘Seems possible to me,’ said Martinez. ‘I mean, Molinaro was in the right place to know when the book would be ready. He also had a good idea how many copies there were. Just the one - even though he’d told Ms Spencer it was a good idea to make more. If, of course, he did tell her that.’

‘So what’s next?’ asked Latto.

‘Well, we can’t talk to Keiffenheim Laboratories - not yet anyway,’ said Martinez. ‘I’m sure a lot of doctors help them with their work, possibly even a few doctors of Asian medicine. And we don’t know for sure that Molinaro has been doing anything wrong.’

‘I’m sure,’ said Latto quietly.

They sat for a moment or two, thinking about what they could do.

Then Latto said, ‘One thing we need to know is who Molinaro talks to at Keiffenheim and how high up the company this person is. But we can’t just ring Molinaro and ask him.’

Martinez smiled.

‘Oh! I think we can,’ he said. He took his phone out of one pocket and some papers out of the other. He looked through the papers. ‘I’ve got Molinaro’s number somewhere here,’ he said.

He found the number. Latto listened to his end of the conversation.

‘Hi. This is Charles Denning from California Telecom,’ said Martinez, when the phone was answered. ‘I’m calling from Keiffenheim Laboratories in Salinas. They’ve been having a lot of trouble with their phones and we’re trying to put them right. People keep getting put through to the wrong extension. From the information I have here I see you’ve called them a few times in the last couple of weeks. Could you tell me what extension you’ve been calling?… Yes, California Telecom… That’s right… And did you have any problems getting through to the right extension? Sorry, what number was that again?… Extension 342… OK… No, that’s fine… Thank you very much, sir… You have a good day now.’

Martinez finished the call. He reached for the phone book and opened it. He turned the pages, found what he wanted and got another number. ‘Extension 342… Sorry, did you say Matthew Crocker’s secretary. OK, good. Listen, my name’s Carl Westlake. I met Matt last month and I’m just sending him a letter about some ideas we talked about. Could you tell me what he does in the company so I get it right when I write to him? He is OK, that’s great. Thanks very much… Bye.’

Martinez turned to Latto with a smile on his face.

‘Matthew Crocker, Head of Development,’ he said.

Martinez put his phone in his pocket. ‘Right,’ he said, ‘we know who Molinaro talks to at Keiffenheim, but we don’t know what they talk about. And we don’t even know if Keiffenheim pays Molinaro money. We think we know - but we can’t be sure. So where are we now? We need a plan.’

‘I’ve got a plan,’ said Latto.

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