The Long Way Home

Page 23

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“And from there?”

“His credit card shows a TGV ticket, one way, to Florence. Then, after a couple of weeks, on to Venice,” said Beauvoir. “He was covering a lot of territory.”

Yes, thought Gamache. The hounds were nipping at Peter Morrow’s heels. Gamache caught a whiff of desperation in this flight across Europe. There didn’t seem to be a plan.

And yet it couldn’t be a complete coincidence that the cities Peter chose were famous for inspiring artists.

“All I have so far are the credit card and bank records,” said Beauvoir. “We know that he flew from Venice to Scotland—”

“Scotland?”

Beauvoir shrugged. “Scotland. From there he came back to Canada. Toronto.”

“Is that where he is now?”

“No. Guess where he went from Toronto.”

Gamache gave Beauvoir a stern look. After his visit with Peter’s mother and stepfather, he wasn’t in the mood for guessing games.

“Quebec City.”

“When was that?” Gamache asked.

“April.”

Gamache did a quick calculation. Four months ago. Gamache put down his cup of green tea and stared at Beauvoir.

“In Quebec City he took three thousand dollars from his bank account.”

Beauvoir looked up from his notebook and slowly closed it.

“And then, no more. He disappeared.”

*   *   *

Clara and Myrna sat in the Gamaches’ living room. The fireplace was lit and Gamache was pouring drinks. A cold front had rolled in and brought with it chilly temperatures and a soft drizzle.

The fire wasn’t really necessary. It was more for cheer than heat.

Annie had arranged to have dinner with her friend Dominique at the bistro, leaving her parents and her husband to talk with Clara.

“Here you go,” said Gamache, handing Myrna and Clara glasses of Scotch.

“I think you should leave the bottle,” said Clara.

She had the look of a frightened flier staring at the flight attendants during takeoff. Trying to read their expressions.

Are we safe? Are we going down? What’s that smell?

Gamache sat next to Reine-Marie while Beauvoir dragged the wing chair over from the corner. Closing their small circle.

“This is what we found out,” said Gamache. “It isn’t much yet, and it’s far from conclusive.”

Clara didn’t like the sound of that. The attempt to pacify, to reassure. It meant that reassurance was necessary. It meant something was wrong.

It meant that smell was smoke and the sound was an engine failing.

Armand and Jean-Guy told them about their day. On hearing about the visit to Peter’s mother, Clara took a deep, deep breath.

Across from her, Myrna listened, absorbing the information, in case Clara missed some vital pieces.

“When Peter left here he went to Montréal for a few days, then flew to Paris,” said Jean-Guy. “Then he moved on to Florence, then Venice.”

Clara nodded to show she was following him. So far, so good.

“From Venice, Peter flew to Scotland,” said Beauvoir.

Clara stopped nodding. “Scotland?”

“Why would Peter go to Scotland?” Myrna asked.

“We hoped you could tell us,” Gamache said to Clara.

“Scotland,” Clara repeated softly to herself and stared into the fire. Then she shook her head. “Where in Scotland?”

“It’s easier to see on a map. Let me show you.” Gamache rocked out of the deep sofa and returned a minute later with an atlas. He splayed it open on the coffee table and found the page.

“He flew into Glasgow.”

Armand pointed.

They leaned in.

“From there Peter took a bus.” He traced a line from Glasgow south. South. Along a winding road. Past towns named Bellshill, Lesmahagow, Moffat.

And then he stopped.

Clara leaned closer to the map.

“Dumfries?” she asked.

Her brows were drawn together, trying to either read the word or make sense of it, or both. Finally she sat back and looked at Gamache, who was watching her.

“Are you sure?” asked Clara.

“Pretty sure,” said Beauvoir.

There was a pause.

“Is it possible it wasn’t Peter? That someone stole his credit card?” Clara asked. “And his passport?”

She met Armand’s eyes. Not looking away from what that question implied. No living man would lose his documents, or have them stolen, without reporting it. If they were taken, it was from a dead man.

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