The Long Way Home

Page 26


Clara laughed. “I just want to find him, to know he’s all right. And then I can get on with my life.”

“With or without him?”

“I think I’ll know when I see him.”

Myrna tapped Clara’s hand lightly. “We’ll find him.”

Once in Toronto they checked into the Royal York hotel. Myrna had a shower and when she came out she found Clara on her laptop.

“I’ve marked the major art galleries on the map,” said Clara over her shoulder, nodding to the map open on the bed. “We can do them tomorrow.”

Myrna rubbed her wet hair and sat on the bed, studying the map with its Xs and circles.

“I thought we should start with Peter’s brother and sister,” said Clara. “Thomas’s office is just up Yonge Street. We have an appointment at four. Marianna is meeting us for a drink in the hotel bar at five thirty.”

“You’ve been busy,” said Myrna. She got up to look at the page Clara was reading on her laptop. “What’s so interesting?”

And then she stopped.

At the top of the page were the words “W. Somerset Maugham.”

“A servant goes into the marketplace in Baghdad,” Clara read off the screen, her back to her friend. “There he bumps into an old woman. When she turns around, he recognizes her as Death.”

“Clara,” said Myrna. “I didn’t—”

“Death glares at him and the servant, frightened, runs away. He goes straight to his master and explains that he met Death in the market and that he needs to get away, to save himself. The master gives him a horse and the servant takes off, riding as fast as he can for Samarra, where he knows Death won’t find him.”

“I don’t know why I mentioned—”

Clara made a subtle movement with her hand, and Myrna fell silent.

“Later that day the master is in the marketplace and he too meets Death,” Clara continued reading. “He asks her why she frightened his servant and Death explains that she hadn’t meant to scare him. She was just surprised.”

Clara turned around and stared at Myrna. “You finish the story. You know it.”

“I should never have said—”

“Please,” said Clara.

Finally Myrna, in a soft voice, spoke.

“Death said, I was simply surprised to see him in the market. Because I have an appointment with him tonight. In Samarra.”

*   *   *

“Did you get Peter’s photograph?” Gamache asked Lacoste.

“Oui. And I’ve sent it to Quebec City,” she said. “They’re looking into it. I’ve also sent it out across the Sûreté du Québec network and to police in Paris, Florence, and Venice. I’ve asked them to track his movements. It’s been almost a year, so I’m not expecting much, but I have to try.”

Gamache smiled. Many had thought him mad, or hopped up on painkillers, when he’d appointed an inspector in her early thirties as his successor to lead the famed homicide division. But he’d prevailed. And had never, ever doubted his choice of Isabelle Lacoste.


He was about to ring off when he remembered, “Oh, and Dumfries. Could you check that out too, please?”

“Right. I forgot.”

He hung up and tapped the phone a few times with his finger. Then he went over to his computer and dialed into the Internet.

Once connected, he went to Google and typed in “Dumfries.”

*   *   *

“Well, that wasn’t very helpful,” said Myrna. “Is he always like that?”

They’d descended the TD Bank Tower and were standing in the lobby. Myrna was taking a moment to admire the Mies van der Rohe design. The light and height. A contrast to the closed-off, closed-in, squalid little scene they’d left on the 52nd floor.

Thomas Morrow was elegant, tall, gracious. He appeared, in many ways, an animated version of the building itself. Except there was nothing open and bright about him.

The office tower was more than it initially appeared. Thomas Morrow was less.

“Worse,” said Clara. “I think you being there made him nicer than he normally is.”

“You’re joking,” said Myrna. Their shoes rapped on the marble floor. The clock above the long marble security desk said four thirty-five. Thomas Morrow had made his sister-in-law wait twenty minutes and then had given them ten minutes of his time before moving on to more pressing issues than a missing brother.

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