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The flight from Rome had been pleasant enough, even if the business he was on wasn’t exactly. His Italian fianc?e’s father had been kidnapped and presumably murdered, and Fletch is on the trail of a stolen art collection that is her only patrimony. But when he arrives in his apartment to find a dead body, things start to get complicated.
Inspector Flynn found him a little glib for someone who seemed to be the only likely suspect in a pretty clear case of homicide. He wasn’t exactly uncooperative, but it wasn’t like he was entirely forthcoming either. And Flynn wasn’t entirely convinced that the nineteenth-century Western artist Edgar Arthur Tharp really occupied most of Fletch’s thoughts.
With the police on his tail and a few other things to do beside prove his own innocence, Fletch makes himself at home in Boston, renting a van, painting it black, and breaking into a private art gallery. That is when he’s not “entertaining” his future mother-in-law
and visiting with the good Inspector Flynn and his family.
nose. And what would you say these nineteen objects are worth, taken all in all?” “Hard to say. Possibly ten million, twelve million.” “Dollars?” “Yes.” “By God, I knew I shouldn’t have taken up the viola. Is it a rich family, the de Grassis?” “No,” “Of course, you’d say that, being rich yourself.” “Andy was up in the villa with me, at Cagna.” “Enjoying premarital bliss.” “You love a story, don’t you, Flynn?” “Show me an Irishman who doesn’t!” “Your years in the Hitler Youth did you no
dragged a chair over to the long table against the wall. “You do want me to take notes, Inspector?” “For what they’re worth. I think Mister Fletcher has something important to say, and I want a witness.” Fletch asked, “How’s the other murder going? The chubby City Councilperson’s murder?” “Slowly,” said Reluctant Flynn. “Very time-consuming, to be sure.” “Was the axe murder solved?” “Oh, of course. Such things are usually family matters. I don’t know why we bother with them at all.” “Look,
enough stone. On the back porch, being careful to lay his bare fingers nowhere but on the stone, he re-examined the alarm system carefully. There were six small panes of glass in the back door. Each pane had two wires of the alarm system zigzagging through it, from left to right, top and bottom. Very carefully, with the stone, he smashed the pane of glass nearest the door handle, knocking out both wires. The alarm went off—a high, excited, shrill, piercing, truly frightening ringing. His
Fletcher, that is, as the de Grassi family spokesman the day you had the ladies reveal their most intimate finances to convince the kidnappers they couldn’t come up with the exorbitant ransom. The Times printed it.” “Why would they have? From Italy?” “You’re the journalist. There’s no end of interest in crime, my lad.” “Ow.” “You were undone by the press, my lad. You’re not the first.” “Horan would have noticed even a small item concerning the de Grassis.” “Precisely.” Fletch said, “He
corner. He put the piece of newspaper and the map in his coat pocket. In the next block was the Horan Gallery. Of course, there was no sign. A building, an old town house, a thick, varnished wood garage door to the left, a recessed door with a doorbell button, two iron grilled windows to the right. The windows on the second, third and fourth floors were similarly grilled. The place was a fortress. The brass plate under the bell button gave the address only—no name. The door opened as Fletch