Seeing Héctor nod, Savall exhaled and smiled. Salgado got up, ready to leave, but the superintendent didn't seem disposed to let him go yet.
"How was Buenos Aires?"
"Well, you know . . . it's like the Perito Moreno glacier: from time to time it looks like it's going to fall to pieces but the block stays firm."
"It's a fantastic city. And you've put on weight!"
"Too many barbecues. Each Sunday I had one in a different friend's house. It's difficult to resist." The phone on Savall's desk rang again and Héctor wanted to take advantage of the moment to get out of that office once and for all.
"Wait, don't go. Yes? Fuck! Tell her I'll call her back. Then tell her again!"
"Problems?" asked Héctor when his boss had hung up. "What would life be without them?" Savall fell silent for a few seconds. This usually happened when an idea suddenly seized him and he needed time to translate it into words. "Listen," he said very slowly. "I think there's something you can do for me. Unofficially."
"Do you want me to beat someone up? Fine with me." "What?" Savall was still absorbed in his deliberations, which exploded like bubbles in an instant. "Sit down." He inhaled, nodding and smiling with satisfaction, as if he were convincing himself of his brilliant idea. "The person who called was Joana Vidal."
"I'm sorry, but I don't know who you're talking about." "Yeah, you were away when it all happened. It was the night of San Juan." Savall opened one or two files on the desk until he found what he was looking for. "Marc Castells Vidal, nineteen. He was celebrating the festival in his house, just him and two friends. At some point during the night, the boy fell through the window in his room. He died instantly."
"A Superman complex after a couple of lines?"
"There were no drugs in his blood. Alcohol yes, but not in great quantities. It seems he had the habit of smoking a cigarette sitting on the windowsill. Maybe he lost his balance and fell, maybe he jumped . . . He was a strange boy."
"Everyone's strange at nineteen."
"But they don't fall from windows," replied Savall. "The thing is that Marc Castells was the son of Enric Castells. That name ring a bell?"
Héctor meditated for a few seconds before answering. "Vaguely . . . Business? Politics?"
"Both. He used to run his own company with over a hundred employees. Then he invested in the property market, and he was one of the few who knew to get out before the bubble burst. And recently his name has cropped up repeatedly as the possible number two of a party. There's quite a lot of movement in the lists for the next local elections and they say new faces are needed. At the moment nothing's confirmed, but it's clear that a couple of right-wing parties would like to have him in their ranks."
"Successful businessmen always sell."
"Even more at times of crisis. Well, the case is that the boy fell, or jumped from the window. Full stop. We have nothing else."
"His mother won't accept it. It was she who called just now." Savall looked at Héctor with the friendly attitude he did so well from time to time. "She's Castells' ex-wife . . . Bit of a murky story. Joana abandoned her husband and son when the boy was one or two years old. She only saw him again at the funeral."
"Yes. I knew her. Joana, I mean. Before she left. We were friends."
"Oh yeah. The Barcelona old guard. Polo companions? I always forget how much you stand by each other."
Savall made a disparaging gesture with his hand.
"Same everywhere. Look, like I said, officially we have nothing. I can't put anyone on it to investigate, and I'm not so flush with inspectors that I can keep them busy with something that definitely won't go anywhere. But . . ."
Excerpted from The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill. Copyright © 2013 by Antonio Hill. Excerpted by permission of Crown. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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