After speaking with Katharine, Harry looked about his empty kitchen. From the hollow sounds of the house, he knew Laura had not yet been home. Her absence disoriented him.
Later that evening, with sleep eluding him, he lay still in the darkness of his empty bed. He saw the placid face of Mudhali regarding him as a deadbeat. Jesus! As if refusing to shoulder his deceased partner’s personal debts were a serious crime. Turning onto his back, he stared at the ceiling. He saw his hand scrawl the check in anger. Never mind; he could fix it in the morning. He just needed to give the client the accounting, and all would be well. Dorothy Crawford would just have to pay Richard’s debt to the bank.
Then Laura’s face floated up. Beset with different worries, he tortured himself with visions of the charming Dr. Stover. Harry had never met the man, but now Stover leered at him and stroked a pretentious beard. In his thrall, he thought.
No longer could he drive out recollections of his Sunday afternoon walk in the ravine with Laura. Together, they had strolled down the dirt road past the formal gardens of Alexander Muir Park. Holding hands was the public pretence of intimacy. Up ahead lay the sun-filled tennis courts and the neat white-and-green clubhouse.
“What do you want to do this summer?” asked Harry, testing the waters.
“I’m not sure I can get away.”
“You always have.”
She shrugged and poked a stick at a muddy patch of dead leaves. “Work schedules.”
In the distance, a small boy was reeling after flocks of birds.
Harry’s shoulders slumped.
“You’re thinking we should have had children.”
“You’d make a lousy poker player, Harry.”
Saddened at being so intimately known by someone drifting out of reach, he admitted, “Yes, actually, I was.”
“You know it wouldn’t have worked.”
“I would have helped.” Harry heard his own wistfulness.
“Sure, Harry. But that would have made it my responsibility.”
They walked on underneath the ancient, gnarled trees. “Let’s talk about it next month,” she said.
Nothing resolved. Everything postponed.
At last, exhaustion swept over him, and he slept straight through the night.
To his surprise, he woke almost an hour early. Laura lay beside him. He drew her close and gazed at the line of her shoulder, smooth and still in the early rays of sun.
“What is it?” she mumbled into the pillow.
He dismissed her grumpy tone, and contemplated the pleasures of their early morning lovemaking—years ago. He slid his hand under the covers, reaching down until it rested on her thigh.
“What are you doing, Harry?” She clutched the blankets around her. “It’s not seven, is it? I’ve got a meeting at the museum at eight-thirty.” Pulling her robe on, she headed for her bathroom.
Harry sighed. Reality clashed with fantasy. But good Lord…what about the Chin offers and the Deighton funeral arrangements? In the bathroom, he began shaving. With determination, he looked beyond his puffy eyelids to concentrate on the intense blue eyes. He rinsed and patted his face dry.
He took stock. Time to cultivate a new image: shed a few pounds and cut down on the smoking. With the new business, he could afford a squash-club membership.
In the bedroom, Laura was almost dressed. He sat on the bed. Her gaze in the mirror told him she was already miles away.
“Harry, I’ll be late tonight. The meetings will go straight through dinner.”
“You were late last night too,” he said mildly. Her glance was wary. “I do worry about you, what with this murderer about.”
“Don’t worry. I’m with a group, never alone.”
“Maybe we could go out for dinner Friday night. Have some time together.”
She nodded. “I think that could work. I’ll check my agenda and leave you a message.”
“Friday night? Surely you can’t be booked with work then!”
She shrugged and gathered up her purse.
When she was gone, he chose his suit and squinted in the sunlight to coordinate his shirt and tie. Maybe, if he got into the real money, they could retire somewhere really nice. Fishing boats and brilliant blue waters flashed into his mind. But then, would she ever retire? He had to admit that it seemed doubtful. She was wedded to her career more than to him. But how could she leave him after twenty years? Had passion for Stover entirely blotted out her reason? It wasn’t unlike Richard Crawford and his thraldom. He chose the cufflinks she had given him last Christmas.
When he entered his office, Miss Giveny was hunched over her typewriter, fuming as she tried to replace the ribbon. “The Chin offers are on your desk,” she said flatly.
Harry examined all the offers. Not a single error—that was why he put up with her crankiness. He sighed, as the image of her poor sister, Merle, in her nightie, floated into his mind.
She had already opened a new file for the Deighton estate. Marjorie had executed the will last year, appointing Gideon Trust and Crawford as her executors. With the old man gone, Harry stepped into his place. The house was to be sold and the whole estate divided equally among Katharine, Gerry, and Suzannah. But Suzannah’s share was subject to a secret trust, which he had not yet found.
Staring out the window, he remembered. At tea, Marjorie had said the trust was safe with her. He made a note to hunt through her papers at the house. Usually, a secret trust was in the form of a letter addressed to the executors. Unlike a will, a secret trust did not have to be submitted to the Probate Court, and consequently it did not become part of the public record, available for all to see.
Harry liked to think such documents contained clues to the dark side of the testator’s personality. After all, only the dullest person would have no secrets best kept from prying eyes.
After instructing Miss Giveny to photocopy the will and return the original to the vault, he tried to reach Gerry and Suzannah, without success.
“By the way, Miss Giveny,” he called from his office. “Have we heard from anyone named Rosie this morning?”
His secretary appeared in his doorway and shook her head. “What’s her last name?
Harry shrugged and reached for the phone. Minutes later, he had Sergeant Welkom on the line. “I’ve heard nothing from Miss Deighton’s housekeeper, Rosie. She was supposed to be coming back last night.”
Welkom grunted. “We’re on it, counselor.”
“What about an autopsy?”
“We’ll let you know when we hear from the coroner.”
Damn lazy cop, Harry thought as he made a note.
Expecting Chin at one o’clock, Harry went out for an early lunch. He needed time to think. Miss Giveny had given him a message from Frank earlier that morning, inquiring about Marjorie’s death and her will. Pulling open the door of Moffat’s restaurant, he stopped. He hadn’t even reached Suzannah. How in hell did Frank already know? Maybe Katharine had spoken to him.
He entered the restaurant. The wide expanse of windows gave an excellent view of Richmond Street, which ran through the old business district. Sunlight flooded in. The long butcher-block countertops gave the restaurant an appearance of fastidious cleanliness and an airy lightness. Sam was at the back, polishing the salt and pepper shakers. Everything gleamed in the sunlight.
“Harry, how are you?” he called out. “You’re early today.” Only a few customers sat at the counter. “What can I get you?”
Harry scanned the menu. Realizing he’d only had coffee this morning, he decided on an omelet and a salad. Sam nodded and headed for the kitchen.
Thinking of Marjorie, Harry stared out the window. Someone had been in her house before him. No Rosie, and no word on an autopsy. And then there were those damned telephone calls at Marjorie’s house when he had found her.
He opened the newspaper to the Osgoode Law Reports, which listed decisions made the previous day by the learned Supreme Court Justices.
A name caught his eye as he scanned the law reports: 995607 Ontario Ltd. [Zaimir Heights Ltd.]
Where had he seen that name before?
The lawyer for Zaimir was Tony McKeown. Jesus, Harry thought. Tony McKeown has a finger in every development project in the city.
The report stated that the city fathers from years ago had declared that no construction permit would be issued for a building taller than forty-five feet. While the planning board granted exceptions, such decisions were rare. Another edict from City Hall required low-density structures to create open space to prevent overcrowding. Unfortunately, these policies caused the weedy proliferation of squat, ugly structures sprawling across the cityscape.
McKeown, a smooth and polished Bay Street lawyer, was a creative genius at circumventing arcane building by-laws. Harry still could not figure out Zaimir. Folding his paper, he paid the bill and headed back for his office.
Opening his office door, he found Dean Faulkner pacing the foyer.
“Harry! I need you. They’re screwing me around with my package.”
Harry sat him down on the sofa. “What are they doing?” Dean’s bloodshot eyes looked even worse than they had last week.
“No vacation pay! No sick pay!” He almost sobbed. “If I don’t take their offer, they’re going to cook up some case for termination for cause.”
“But they have to have documented grounds for that, Dean.”
“Fuck! I can’t sleep or eat! I’m just walking all over the place, not knowing what I’m doing.”
“Look, Dean.” Harry grasped his shoulder. “I’ve got a client in a few minutes. Can you come in first thing tomorrow morning?”
Reluctantly, Dean stood up. “It’s that bitch, Katharine Rowe.”
Harry patted him on the shoulder. “Listen, Dean, come in at nine. Okay?”
Dean backed out the door. “Thanks, Harry.”
When he was gone, Harry shook his head sadly. Dean was on the bottle pretty heavily.
At one o’clock on the dot, Mr. Chin glided through the front door.
Seated in his office, Harry said, “You mentioned a conglomerate the other day. Who are the members?”
“Four Hong Kong businessmen, including me. They are from the finest families, Mr. Jenkins.” Chin smiled broadly, revealing his gold incisor.
“Really? What sorts of businesses?”
Waving expansively, his client said, “Mainly computer software; some investment bankers.”
As much as Harry tried to get further background information about his new client and the conglomerate, Chin would give up nothing.
The man read carefully through the paperwork and then, without comment, signed each document.
“Mr. Chin?” Harry coughed gently. “I have prepared an invoice, sir.”
Chin’s eyelids flickered and he nodded slightly.
“I have transferred a relatively small portion of the retainer into my own account, for services rendered in preparing the offers, and services to be performed.” He handed Chin the envelope.
Chin slit it open and glanced briefly at the statement.
“Very good, Mr. Jenkins,” Chin murmured. Then, looking up, he smiled at Harry. “Please let me know when you require more funds. The conglomerate has much work to do in the city.”
Harry breathed more easily.
Chin withdrew an envelope from his breast pocket. “I have a small gift for you, Mr. Jenkins.”
Harry frowned, only for a moment. “Really? What is it?”
“Please open it and see.” Chin lowered his eyes as he slid the envelope across the desk.
Harry withdrew two first-class tickets for flights and a voucher for a three-night stay in a luxury suite in Nassau. “The Atlantis Resort,” he whispered. Shimmering blue waters danced before his mind’s eye.
After a moment, he said, “This is more than kind of you, sir, but—”
Mr. Chin held up his hand. “Please. The conglomerate wishes to express its gratitude for your most timely service. We know you have made room for us in your busy schedule.”
“But surely not. The retainer is very substantial, and…” He fingered the brochure, which featured a photograph of sunny beaches and gently lapping water.
“As I have said, the conglomerate has very substantial resources and plenty of work for you. We can only hope that you will be able to provide such timely service on future matters.”
Harry picked up the tickets and gazed at them.
Chin rose to go. “Husbands and wives in such a busy world can drift apart, Mr. Jenkins. I am sure you and your wife, Laura, could use a vacation.”
Then Chin gave instructions to deliver the offers to Jonathan Conroy at Cheney, Arpin and left.
Good grief! Never had Harry received such a gift. He sank into his chair and stared at the offers. But how did they know he had a wife and her name?
It had to be all right. Peter Niels at Cheney, Arpin—a Bencher of the Law Society—had referred Chin to him. Conroy must know something about the conglomerate. Not only was he the Treasurer of the Law Society and Head of the Ethics Committee, he was also Chair of the Real Estate Section of the Bar Association. He tucked the envelope into his desk drawer.
“Mr. Jenkins?” Miss Giveny called from the outer office. “There’s a Mr. Mudhali on line one.”
Bracing himself, Harry snatched up the phone. “Yes?”
“Mr. Jenkins? Head office would like to meet with you in the morning to discuss payment arrangements.”
“You tell head office that I am busy the next few days and will call to arrange a mutually convenient time next week. In the meantime, I expect full access to any and all accounts.” Harry hung up.
He placed a call to Jonathan Conroy to arrange for the delivery of the Chin offers. He was surprised when Conroy answered on the first ring.
“I must thank you for the referral of Mr. Albert Chin.” Harry had opened the desk drawer and was fingering Chin’s envelope. “He’s instructed me to deliver some offers to you.”
“Wonderful, Harry. Send them over, and I’ll get them to the clients right away,” Jonathan said heartily.
Harry agreed. “Albert Chin seems very interesting. Do you know him well?”
“Fine fellow!” Conroy boomed. “He’s been a client of Peter Niels for a number of years. We had to refer him on these transactions. Can’t be too careful these days about conflicts.”
“No, of course not. Well, thanks again. I’ll await your client’s response.”
Jonathan stretched back in his chair. He was surprised that Chin had been referred to Crane, Crawford and Jenkins. He chuckled at the thought of Richard Crawford: an old dog, if ever there was one. He knew little about Harry, except that he belonged to the Alton Club, where only the most reputable lawyers and businessmen were permitted membership. If Crawford’s firm were worth something, perhaps he should invite Harry for drinks at the club.
He gazed at the spectacular view of Lake Ontario. In the late afternoon sun, the ferryboats looked like silver darts on the glistening water. Seagulls swooped about the little boats. From time to time, such a view inspired him to write poetry.
Cheney, Arpin, founded by his maternal grandfather, was the most prestigious law firm in the city. Throughout its corridors, its illustrious history was displayed in photographs, paintings, and print. The Grand Corridor (as it was called) was graced with original portraits of the many senior partners who had been elevated to the bench. Any bright young lawyer graduating from Upper Canada College and Osgoode Hall coveted a position with Jonathan’s firm, where every member was, first and foremost, a gentleman.