Stuart Woods: Family Jewels

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Stuart Woods Family Jewels
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    Family Jewels
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    Триллер / на английском языке
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    New York
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Family Jewels: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Stone Barrington’s newest client seems to be a magnet for trouble. A poised lady of considerable wealth, she’s looking for help discouraging the attentions of a tenacious gentleman. But no sooner does Stone fend off the party in question than his client becomes involved in two lethal crimes. With suspects aplenty, Stone must probe deep into his client’s life to find the truth, and he discovers that the heart of the mystery may be a famous missing piece of history, a stunningly beautiful vestige of a bygone era. It’s a piece with a long and storied past and untold value... the kind of relic someone might kill to obtain. Among the upper crust nearly everyone has buried a skeleton or two, and it will take all of Stone’s investigative powers to determine whose secrets are harmless, and whose are deadly.

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Stuart Woods

Family Jewels

This book is for Earl and Deborah Potter.


Stone Barrington fell into his chair at his desk. He had flown his airplane across the Atlantic from England the day before, and however much sleep he had had that night had not been enough. Joan Robertson, his secretary, came into his office bearing a mug of steaming coffee.

“Welcome back,” she said. “You look terrible.”

“Thanks for confirming that for me. It’s jet lag.”

“I thought you didn’t get that, if you flew your own airplane.”

“A myth, apparently.” He tasted the coffee and burned his tongue. He made a face. “Do you have to make it this hot?”

“That is the temperature that the coffeepot operates at, and you’ve never complained about it before. Let it sit there for a minute or two and it’ll cool down. Your first patient of the day is waiting to see you.”

“Patient? What am I, a dentist?”

“More of a psychiatrist, I guess. Somehow, I think of them all as patients.”

“I don’t have any appointments this morning.”

“This one is a walk-in.”

“Do we take walk-ins here? I don’t remember doing that.”

“Sure we do. Some of your most interesting patients have been walk-ins. And anyway, you look as though you could use something to take your mind off the hangover.”

“It’s not a hangover, it’s jet lag. I don’t drink when I fly.”

“Take your mind off the jet lag, then.”

“Oh, all right, send him in.”

“Sexist! You assume it’s a man.”

“All right, send her in.”

“Now you’re assuming it’s a woman.”

“I’m running out of choices — humor me.”

“Right.” Joan walked out of the office, and he heard her say, “The doctor will see you now.” This was followed by a laugh, a female laugh. Joan led in a woman. “This is Mr. Barrington. Mr. Barrington, this is Ms. Fiske.”

Stone tried to focus on her and failed. The blur of her was tall and slim, though, and that was a start.

“How do you do?” she asked in a low-pitched voice.

Stone felt as if he were Humphrey Bogart, meeting Lauren Bacall for the first time. “Very well, thank you,” he said, struggling to his feet and extending a hand. “Won’t you sit down?”

She shook his hand, then sat down across the desk from him and crossed her legs. “Thank you.”

“Would you like some coffee?”

“You look as though you need it more than I,” she said.

“There’s enough for both of us.”

“I’ve already had my morning coffee, and a second cup would just get me wired.”

It was easier to focus on her sitting down, and, once he was able to focus, it was very pleasant, too. She had blond hair, parted on the right and held back by a tortoiseshell clip. “It’s not working that way for me — not yet, anyway.” He took another sip and didn’t burn his tongue.

“You look jet-lagged.”

“I am — thank you for not suggesting I have a hangover.”

“You’re welcome. Where have you flown in from?”

“The south of England.”


“Farther south — Hampshire.”

“But you flew from London.”

“No, from Hampshire.”

“I didn’t know you could do that — fly from Hampshire to New York.”

“You can, but you have to fly the airplane yourself.”

“And it would have to be a big enough airplane to have that kind of range.”

“No, just big enough to make it to the Azores, then Newfoundland, then Teterboro.”

“And how big is that?”

“You know Citations?”

“Yes, my former husband owned one, until the bank took it away from him.”

“A Citation M2.”

“Oh. I used to fly a Bonanza.”

The conversation was cutting the fog, so he continued. “So did I — a B-36TC.”

“Mine was an A36.”

“Sweet airplane, isn’t it?”

“It was. My husband made me sell it when we got married. He was afraid to fly with me.”

“The swine.”

“Now that you mention it, yes. He’s why I’m here.”

“Are you divorced?”

“Yes, almost a year ago.”

“Did you get a satisfactory settlement?”

“No, but he did.”



“Does he want more?”

“Yes, but he knows he has no chance of that.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“He won’t leave me alone — he follows me, turns up at places I’m going.”

“Does he bother you on those occasions?”

“Yes. Oh, he doesn’t push me around or anything, he just stares at me unrelentingly.”

“There’s a word for that — stalking. And there’s a very useful New York State law against it.”

“Sure there is, but it won’t do me any good when I’m dead.”

“Has he threatened you?”

“He doesn’t speak, he just stares.”

“But you think he wants to kill you?”

“I know he does. He told me right after we were married that if I ever left him, he’d kill me. I have no reason to doubt him.”

“How long were you married?”

“About five months, before I filed for divorce.”

“And you’ve been divorced for nearly a year?”

“That’s correct.”

Stone took a big swig of the coffee; it was clearing his head. “Then why hasn’t he killed you?”

“He just isn’t ready yet. Harvey was always a planner. I don’t think that has changed.”

Stone took a yellow pad from a desk drawer and picked up a pen. “All right, let’s start at the beginning. What is your name?”

“Carrie Jarman Fiske.”


“My grandfather was in shoes — Jarman shoes.”

“I see. Address?”

She gave him a very, very good Park Avenue address.


“That’s rude.”

“I’m guessing, forty...”


“That was my first guess. Are you employed, Ms. Fiske?”

“Self-employed. I’m an investor.”

“Any children?”

“None. I took precautions.”

“What is your ex-husband’s name?”

“Harvey Biggers.”

“Is he employed?”


“What is his business?”

“Managing my money.”

“Before that?”

“Managing other people’s money.”

“Was he successful at managing your money?”

“He would have been an abject failure if I had listened to him.”

“Beg pardon? He didn’t have control of your funds?”

“Certainly not. I may have been stupid to marry him, but I’m not crazy. He thought he managed my money, but he had no control of it. He would say, ‘Sell Apple,’ and I’d pretend to call my broker and tell him to sell Apple.”

“So you never sold Apple?”

“Of course not. My grandfather left those shares to me, twenty-five thousand of them, also ten thousand shares of a very nice company called Berkshire Hathaway.”

“Your grandfather was a good stock picker. How long ago did he leave you these shares?”

“He died when I was seven.”

“You said he was in shoes?”

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