The Long Way Home

Page 137

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He brought out his device and hit it rapidly with his finger until that painting appeared again. The distorted, demented face glared at him. Dared him.

Peter looked at it. “I remember that. From the yearbook. Professor Norman painted it. We’d assumed it was a self-portrait.”

Peter was caught between revulsion and awe. He looked over at the body on the bed.

“But it’s not him.”

“No,” said Gamache. “It’s Massey. Professor Norman had seen it even then. That there was some other Massey, beneath the veneer.”

Gamache looked closely. His eyes sharp. Studying the contours of the face, the eyes, the strong chin and cheekbones. Looking beyond the expression, to the man.

“Oh,” he said, the word coming out as a sigh. “Oh no.”

Gamache knew that face. Not the same expression, but the man.

He’d seen it on the dock, when they got off the ship. The elderly, grizzled fisherman in the wide-brimmed hat and thick, battered coat.

Not watching for the boat. But waiting for it.

The man who’d warned him to leave.

Had Clara and Myrna turned around, had they come closer, they might have recognized him. But they didn’t.

Vachon wasn’t setting it up to look like a murder-suicide. Massey was. If there was another body to be found, it would be Luc Vachon’s.

And Massey would be long gone. Presumed drowned. Another victim of Vachon. But actually safely on the ship.

“Damn.” Gamache shoved the device back into his pocket. He looked at his watch. He hadn’t heard the cry of the Loup de Mer’s horn. It was possible it hadn’t left port.

“Peter—”

Gamache turned to Peter, about to ask him to stay there while he ran back to Tabaquen to stop the boat. To find the fisherman. To tell Beauvoir to stop looking for Vachon, and start looking for Professor Massey.

But the words died when he saw Peter’s face, and followed his eyes.

To the door.

Clara Morrow was standing there. A knife to her throat.

Behind her was Massey, out of breath.

He held Clara to his chest. In his hand was a huge knife. A hunting knife. Used, Gamache knew, for gutting deer. Sharp enough to cut through sinew and bone. To cut a throat. As it had last night.

Armand Gamache put his hands up where Massey could see them, and Peter immediately did the same. Peter had gone pale, and Gamache thought he might pass out.

“Clara,” said Peter, but Clara couldn’t talk. The knife was against her skin, up under her jaw. Ready to slit.

Peter’s eyes went to Massey. “Professor. Please. You can’t.”

But Massey only had eyes for Gamache.

“I’m sorry you’re here,” Massey said, catching his breath. “I saw your assistant in Tabaquen. Asking about Luc. Trying to find him. I presumed you’d also be out looking. He even asked if I’d seen him. I had, of course.”

“Vachon didn’t know what you were doing, did he?” said Gamache.

He moved slightly to his right, so that he cleared the bed and had a direct path to Massey.

But Gamache knew he could never cover that short distance before Clara was dead, or dying. He hoped Peter knew the same thing. Massey was an elderly man, but still vigorous. And it didn’t take much for a sharp knife to go through flesh.

“Of course not. Why would I tell him that the canvases he was taking back and forth were riddled with asbestos? Do you think he’d have done it?” Massey glanced quickly over to the bed. “He served his purpose. But he had one last thing to do for me.”

“Take the blame,” said Gamache.

In his peripheral vision he could see Peter. Petrified.

Turned to stone. And wishful thinking.

Clara stared ahead. At Peter.

And Peter stared at her.

Massey, on the other hand, was staring at Gamache.

“Yes. And it almost worked. I came here to confess to something that was now obvious. I’d put asbestos on the canvases. In my dotage, and as I prepared to meet my own maker, I was consumed with guilt and regret. So I came here to beg Sébastien for forgiveness. And then turn myself in. But my accomplice, Vachon, couldn’t allow it. He’d be implicated. So he killed Sébastien, then me. And it worked. Your man was looking for Vachon, to arrest him. For murder.”

“Oui. That’s what I thought,” Gamache admitted.

“What changed your mind?” asked Massey.

“The picture.”

“What picture?” Massey was getting agitated.

“The portrait from the yearbook. Everyone assumed it was a self-portrait, by Norman. But it wasn’t, was it? It was you. He recognized the rage, the fear in you. And you hated him all the more for it.”

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