Damn it, why is my entire police force telling me shes been seen around
town but you wont say where or by who? How would you feel if it was your
wife? Youd want to know the truth, right?
Yes, I would.
Then I suggest you explain to me exactly what is going on, Detective.
Otherwise, Ill just have to deal directly with Chief Kendall, and you can
be sure I wont have anything good to say about you or that lunkhead
Which was how Cardinal came to be sitting in his car with the mayor of
Algonquin Bay in the courtyard of the Birches Motel. Despite its name, the
Birches was nowhere near a birch tree. It was not near a tree of any kind,
being located in the heart of downtown on MacIntosh Street. In fact, it was
no longer even the Birches Motel, having been taken over by Sunset Inns at
least two years previously, but everybody still called it the Birches.
Cardinal was parked a dozen paces from Room 12. Szelagy was parked across
the lot, but they didnt acknowledge each other. Cardinal rolled the window
down a little to keep the glass from fogging up. Even here in the middle of
downtown, you could smell fallen leaves and, from someones fireplace, the
comforting smell of wood smoke.
Youre telling me shes in there? the mayor said. My wifes in that
Surely he must know, Cardinal thought. How could it get to this stagehis
wife staying out for days at a time and renting motel roomswithout his
I dont believe it, Feckworth said. Its too tawdry. But there was
less conviction in his voice, as if seeing the actual motel room door was
beginning to shatter his faith. Cynthias a loyal person, he added. She
prides herself on it.
Cynthia Feckworth had in fact been sleeping her way around Algonquin Bay
for at least the past four years; the mayor was the only one who didnt know
it. And who am I to tear off his blinders? Cardinal asked himself. Who am I
to refuse anyone the sweet anesthetic of denial?
Oh, she couldnt be screwing someone else. That would beif shes
letting another manthats it. Ill dump her. You watch me. Oh, God, if
shes doing those things. . . . Feckworth groaned and hid his face in his
As if summoned by his anguish, the door to Room 12 opened and a man
stepped out. He had the perfectly groomed look of a catalog model: Take
advantage of our mid-autumn sale on mens windbreakers.
Its Reg Wilcox, the mayor said. Sanitation. What would Reg be doing
Wilcox ambled to his Ford Explorer with the slouchy, smug air of the well
laid. Then he backed out of his space and drove off.
Well, at least Cynthia wasnt in there. Thats something, Feckworth
said. Maybe I should just head home now and hope for the best.
The door to Room 12 opened again, and an attractive woman peered out for
a moment before closing the door behind her. She buttoned up her coat
against the chill night air and headed toward the exit.
The mayor jumped out of the car and ran to block her path. Cardinal
rolled up his window, not wanting to hear. His cell phone buzzed.
Cardinal, why the hell dont you answer your bloody radio?
Im in my own car, Sergeant Flower. Its too boring to explain.
All right, listen. We got a caller says theres a dead one behind
Gateway condos. You know the new building?
The Gateway? Just off the bypass? I didnt even realize it was finished
yet. Are we sure it isnt a drunk sleeping it off?
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...