فصل 10

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فصل 10

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CHAPTER TEN

Dangerous Waters

Two weeks before Christmas, Mitch and Eddie Lomax met on a bridge in a park in the freezing rain. They had both made sure that they were not followed. Lomax’s news was very interesting. All three of the dead lawyers had died in mysterious circumstances. The lorry which killed Alice Knauss had been stolen in St Louis three days earlier. The driver drove straight into her car and then ran away. He was never found. The hunter, Robert Lamm, was almost certainly murdered. It didn’t look like a hunting accident, because his body was found in a part of the forest where there were few animals and the hunters didn’t usually go. There were two strange things about Mickel’s death: first, the letter to his wife was typed, not handwritten; second, he had never bought a gun in his life, and yet the gun that killed him was an old gun, which the police thought criminals had used in the past. Where did a respectable lawyer get such a gun?

‘Your firm has lost five lawyers in fifteen years,’ Lomax ended. ‘And you’re acting as if you’re going to be the next. I’d say you’ve got problems.’

‘What about Tarrance?’

‘I don’t have very much. He’s one of their best men; he came down here from New York about two years ago.’

‘Thanks.’

‘I’ll do anything I can to help Ray McDeere’s little brother. It seems to me that you’re swimming in dangerous waters.’

Mitch nodded slightly, but said nothing.


Mitch sat in the corner of Paulette’s, a French restaurant in the middle of Memphis. At seven o’clock Abby rushed in from the cold and joined him at his table.

‘What’s the special event?’ she asked. Mitch had said hardly anything on the phone when he invited her to meet him here. He was very careful about what he said on the phone these days.

‘Do I need a reason to have dinner with my wife?’

‘Yes. It’s seven o’clock on a Monday night and you’re not at the office. That’s very unusual.’

A waiter came to their table and they ordered two white wines. As the waiter went away Mitch noticed the face of a man at another table that looked familiar. Before Mitch could think about it the man hid his face behind a menu.

‘What’s the matter, Mitch?’

He put his hand on hers and said, ‘Abby, we’ve got to talk.’

‘What about?’ she asked, worried.

‘About something very serious,’ he said quietly. ‘But we can’t talk here. There’s a back door near the washrooms. I want you to go to the washroom and then leave by the back door. I’ll meet you there. I’ll bring your coat. Trust me, please.’

Abby left. Mitch waited until the man with the menu was busy talking to a waiter and then he followed her. Outside they walked to a bar and sat down in a dark corner inside.

‘What’s this all about?’ demanded Abby, when they had their drinks.

‘I met an FBI agent today, a man called Tarrance. It’s the second time he’s spoken to me.’

‘FBI?’

‘Yes. With badges and everything.’ He told her about the first meeting with Tarrance and what the partners had said about it.

‘What do the FBI want?’

‘I don’t know, Abby. I’m just eating lunch when someone comes up and tells me that my phones are bugged, my home is bugged, and someone at Bendini, Lambert & Locke knows everything I do. I don’t know what they want, Abby, but they’ve chosen me for some reason.’

‘Did you tell anyone at the office?’

‘No, I haven’t told anyone except you. And I don’t intend to tell anyone either.’

Abby drank from her glass of wine. ‘Our phones are bugged?’

‘According to the FBI. But how do they know?’

‘They’re not stupid, Mitch. If the FBI told me my phones were bugged I’d believe them.’

‘I don’t know who to believe. Locke and Lambert were very believable when they explained how the firm fights with the tax people and the FBI. But if the firm did have a rich client whom the FBI was investigating, why would they choose me, the new man in the firm, to talk to? What do I know? I’ve seen no signs of any criminal acts. All the files I work on are clean.’

‘But someone is bugging you.’

‘Even the car, Tarrance said.’

‘Mitch, this is amazing. Why would a law firm do that?’

‘I’ve no idea. I feel much better now that I’ve told you. From now on I’ll tell you everything. I didn’t tell you sooner because I kept hoping it would all go away. And there’s more to tell you.’ He told her about Eddie Lomax and the five dead lawyers, and how he suspected that none of their deaths was quite what it seemed to be.

‘I feel weak.’

‘Abby, we have to be careful. We must continue to live as if we suspect nothing.’

‘This is unreal, Mitch. I can’t believe I’m sitting here listening to you saying all this. Do you expect me to live in a house where everything’s bugged?’

‘Do you have a better idea?’

‘Yeah. Let’s hire this Eddie Lomax to inspect our house.’

‘I’ve thought of that. But what if he finds something? Think about it. What if we know for sure that the house is bugged? What then? What if he breaks one of the bugs? Then whoever put them there will know that we know, and that could be dangerous.’

‘You’re right. Anyway, you’re hardly home for me to talk to. They’ll only hear me talking to myself a lot these days.’

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