فصل 07

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فصل 07

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
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Chapter seven

I knew what I had to do first. Back in my office, I telephoned Chief Inspector Snout at Scotland Yard. Ronald Snout was the head of a department which dealt with contraband goods. I knew him well because he was a great friend of my father’s. Also, Snout and I once collaborated on another case of mine which involved the smuggling of human organs for transplants.

Snout himself answered the telephone. ‘Richard! How nice to hear from you.’

We chatted for a while and then I told him that I had something for him. I asked if we could meet later that day at ‘Dirty Dick’s’ cafe, only a few yards from Scotland Yard. ‘Dirty Dick’s’ is open twenty-four hours a day and is well-known for its enormous English breakfasts - eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, and anything else you ask for - which they will serve you at any moment of the day or night. It is much used by policemen who are going on or off duty around the clock. We agreed to meet there at six.

Then I lay on the sofa in my office to go over things in my mind. Some people are good lateral thinkers. I, personally, am a horizontal thinker. At least, when I’m not drinking my special coffee mixture, I think better when I’m lying down.

I wanted to put things together because I wanted to tell Snout as much as possible. I started to revise everything I knew. From the newspaper reports about the inheritance case a year before, to my conversations with Selena and my visits to her house. The boys’ inheritance: a furniture company in Bangkok. And a lot of the precious stones which are smuggled into Europe come from Asia and Africa. The boys were talking to foreign men in a pub. Possibly Asians, Selena said. The boys probably still had keys to the house. The fact that they didn’t have keys to the front gate worried me a little. Were the security men members of the gang?

I arrived at ‘Dirty Dick’s’ a little early. I sat down at a table and ordered a pot of tea. Ten minutes later, Ronald Snout arrived. He looked just the same as he always did. In his late fifties, but tall and slim, with an athletic build, a luxuriant but well-trimmed moustache, and very well-dressed. He looked more like a company director than a policeman.

We greeted each other and he ordered tea and two scones. Once he was seated, and after chatting for a couple of minutes, I told him the whole story. I started from the moment that Selena came into my office. He listened without comment. A good policeman must be a good listener.

Ronald was very interested, of course, in what I had to say. He knew all about the Willing family, but he had no idea what the boys were doing. We talked about the best way to deal with this case. One possibility was to arrest the brothers immediately and interrogate them. But we agreed that this wasn’t the way to do it. They might not say who their accomplices were. And, anyway, these might leave the country the moment they found out that the boys were in the hands of the police. Finally, we decided to try to catch them, the boys and their accomplices, in flagrante delicto; that is, when they were in the basement cutting open the cushions. We decided that I should stay at Selena’s house again that night, and for more nights if necessary. Ronald asked me if I thought the gang were armed. I said I had no idea. In case they were, Ronald decided to have a group of armed policemen near the house during the night, prepared to force the security man to open the gate. If I heard noises, I had to telephone Ronald immediately on my mobile telephone. His men intended to move quickly up to the house. By that time, I had to be downstairs with the front door open and my hand on the lever in the fireplace.

We said goodbye outside the cafe and I went back to my office. I telephoned Selena to tell her I wanted to stay at least another night in her house. Then I told her that something might happen that night, and that I wanted her to stay in her bedroom until I went to call her. She agreed. As a precaution, I asked her to instruct the gardener not to let the tigers out that night, but to give them each their half a cow and leave them in their cages. She agreed to that as well. She wanted to know what was going on, of course, but I told her I would tell her later.

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