of the Gardner heist. Until then, he was peculiar and isolated. About that time, he started having what I guess were psychotic episodes. Jocelyn won’t say much more than that. She doesn’t want to talk about it. It occurs to me that she thinks a lot about the reward.”
“Five million dollars? There’s a good deal of room for thought there.”
“Yes,” I said ruefully. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of room for thought and no proof at all. What does seem clear is that leaving Peter’s body at the Gardner vault was strictly Gerhard’s idea. On Mr. Motherway’s orders, Christopher was supposed to hire someone to kill Peter. Instead, Christopher got Gerhard to do it. He was supposed to make it look as if Peter had been attacked at the airport or on the way home by some random assailant. But Gerhard wanted to offer a sacrifice to his heroine. So he did.”
“Holly, tell me, do you honestly believe that he was, in fact, involved in the Gardner robbery?”
“There is no proof, Althea. There is no proof.”
And there isn’t. What I know is that since being taken into custody, Gerhard has rambled wildly about many crimes and many people, me among them. Indeed, when he realized that the police didn’t believe he’d robbed the Gardner, he cited me, of all people, as a corroborative witness. He explained that while sitting at a table next to mine at the Gardner Café, he’d heard me reveal knowledge of the robbery that I could not have read in the papers. Not surprisingly, I’d been talking about the Gardners, Gerhard claimed. I’d mentioned, for example, that Jack Gardner had died of apoplexy, as he had. I remember talking about apoplexy. Steve and I had been discussing Mrs. Dodge, of course. I’d said something about her husband’s death. We’d joked about his having died of apoplexy when his wife got yet another dog. What convinced Gerhard of my inside knowledge, of course, was my remark that it was a miracle that all those priceless artworks hadn’t been chewed or otherwise damaged by dogs. Furthermore, Gerhard insisted, I even knew the breed that had had brief access to the Rembrandts, the Vermeer, and the other works lifted from Fenway court. If I hadn’t been privy to the hidden truth about the heist, how could I have known that the potential chewers were German shepherd dogs? Gerhard also makes much of my having stared at the tattoo on his arm. I did stare at it; he’s right about that. As you know, I had no idea what it was supposed to represent. According to Gerhard, it portrays a special item he selected during the Gardner heist: the finial from a Napoleonic flag.
B. Robert, of course, had dismissed Gerhard’s suspicion of me as delusional paranoia centered yet again on Isabella Stewart Gardner. Gerhard followed me from Mr. Motherway’s all on his own. It was, I am convinced, Gerhard who broke into my house and trashed my study. There did, after all, turn out to be one object missing, something I hadn’t noticed while straightening out the mess. The object was a book. It was the guidebook Steve had bought for me at the Gardner, the guide to Fenway Court. Gerhard had clearly found nothing else in my house to connect me to knowledge of the famous heist.
A few last words. The book is done. Elizabeth and I have submitted it to our publisher. It has been accepted. It’s nonetheless a disappointment to me. It says nothing about Nazi spies. Were there any at the old Morris and Essex shows? There may have been many. I do not know. I know of only one. The proof was in Christina Motherway’s treasure chest. It consisted of a document in German, a letter to her husband that she had secretly kept because she was proud of him for serving the Fatherland. So there was a Nazi spy at Morris and Essex. His name was B. Robert Motherway.
My financial situation is improving. I had the Bronco fixed. It starts most of the time. I’m showing Rowdy and Kimi again. I scrape together the fees. But my hopes are great. I have applied for a grant, you see. I don’t know whether I’ll get it, but I’m optimistic. The funding agency is bound to love me. I have applied, you see, to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. I am applying for a grant to write dog books. It is the perfect topic. I am the perfect candidate.
If you enjoyed Susan Conant’s twelfth Dog Lover’s Mystery EVIL BREEDING, you won’t want to miss any of the books in this series that the Washington Post called “a real tail-wagger!
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