Stuart Woods: Insatiable Appetites

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Stuart Woods Insatiable Appetites
  • Название:
    Insatiable Appetites
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2015
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-399-16915-1
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    3 / 5
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Insatiable Appetites: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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It’s a time of unexpected change for Stone Barrington. A recent venture has achieved a great victory, but is immediately faced with a new challenge: an underhanded foe who’s determined to wreak havoc at any cost. Meanwhile, when Stone finds himself responsible for distributing the estate of a respected friend and mentor, the process unearths secrets that range from merely surprising to outright alarming. And when a lethal beauty from Stone’s past resurfaces, there’s no telling what chaos will follow in her wake... Ever a master of keeping cool under pressure, even Stone might have his work cut out for him this time... because when grand ambitions collide with criminal inclinations, the results may be more deadly than he could have anticipated.

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“Thanks, I’ll ask him. You want dinner tonight? Viv’s away on business.”

“Sure. Patroon?”

“Eight o’clock.” Dino hung up.

6

Stone got to Patroon first, and Ken Aretsky, the owner, joined him for a moment. “How is Eduardo Bianchi, Stone?” Ken asked. “I know you two are close.”

“I had lunch with him today,” Stone replied, “and he looked wonderful, in very good form.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Ken said. “He comes in once in a great while, and I’m always happy to see him.”

Stone wondered why Ken happened to bring that up, but he didn’t want to ask.

Dino came in and sat down, and a waiter appeared with Knob Creek for Stone and Johnnie Walker Black for Dino. They chatted briefly, then Ken excused himself to greet another customer.

“Have you heard anything new?” Dino asked.

“Not a word, but Ken just asked after Eduardo’s health. I thought for a moment he might have heard something, but he didn’t say so. Have you heard from Mary Ann?”

Dino shook his head. “Anna Maria and I don’t do business.” That was her given name, but she had begun using Mary Ann as a teenager.

“She said something odd on the phone. She said that when Eduardo died, all hell would break loose.”

“I’ve no idea what she meant by that,” Dino said. “He’s an old man, and nobody’s going to be surprised when he dies, are they?”

“That’s what I thought, but Mary Ann seems to know something I don’t.”

“She’s probably referring to the disposition of his estate.”

“She’s certainly thinking about that. She asked me and the firm to represent her in settling his affairs.”

“My guess is you’re not going to find a huge amount in his estate,” Dino said.

“You think Eduardo’s been concealing assets?”

“Eduardo is a Sicilian. It’s in his nature to conceal everything, especially money. I’ll bet when you see his will, you’ll find there isn’t much in there besides the house and some investments.”

“I’ve always had the impression that Eduardo was immensely wealthy,” Stone said.

“Back when we were married, Mary Ann thought so, too. Even before she started her investment firm she was helping him with investments, so she knew things that I didn’t.”

“What sort of investments?”

“I had the impression he was pretty big in real estate, but I don’t know what else. Except for his house, which is lavish, he seemed to live fairly simply. There were some practically invisible servants around the place — in addition to the evil Pietro — and Eduardo’s dead wife’s younger sister lived there and cooked for him until she died a couple of years ago.”

“He owns a lot of art,” Stone said. “His study, the living room, and the dining room are filled with his acquisitions.”

“So are the upstairs rooms,” Dino said. “Did you ever go up there?”

“No.”

“Have a look around, if you have the chance.”

“I may have the chance tomorrow,” Stone said. “I’m meeting Mary Ann out there at ten.”

“She’s right on it, isn’t she? She always had a mind like a steel trap, and hands, too.”

“Well, I’d rather have a client who is ready to deal with things than one who doesn’t want to know.”

“I’ll bet you two things,” Dino said. “One, she already knows a lot. Two, there are things that she doesn’t know, that Eduardo kept to himself.”

“It will be interesting finding out.”

“Oh, Jesus,” Dino said, slapping his forehead. “I just thought of something.”

“What?”

“Dolce.”

Stone gulped. Dolce was Eduardo’s younger daughter. Stone had once had a torrid affair with her, ending in their marriage, in Venice. It had been a civil ceremony, and before the religious one could take place, the following day, Stone had been called back to the States. Dolce had followed him, apparently believing that he had jilted her at the altar, and had begun a series of attempts on his life. She was clearly mad, under a placid surface, and Eduardo had locked her away in his house. She kept escaping, continuing her plots against Stone, and finally her father had packed her off to Sicily, where she had been kept in a convent. Stone had received an envelope from Eduardo containing a page from the book they had signed at the Venice town hall upon their marriage. It was the only legal evidence of their union, and Stone had burned it.

“Oh, shit,” he said.

“If Eduardo dies,” Dino pointed out — unnecessarily, Stone thought — “what’s to keep her in Sicily?”

“I wonder if Eduardo had her legally committed?” Stone mused.

“More likely, he just stuck her in that convent and made a generous donation,” Dino replied. “That would be more Sicilian. I’d look into that, if I were you.”

“Believe me,” Stone said, “I will. Listen, I’m having everybody to dinner at my house tomorrow night.”

“What time.”

“Six-thirty for drinks.”

“Viv will be back. We’ll be there.”

“I’ll have to ask Mary Ann, but I doubt she’ll come.”

“From your lips to God’s ear.”

7

Stone called Herbie Fisher at home after dinner, told him about Eduardo, and asked him to work on the new case. The kids arrived after eleven; Stone greeted them all, sent Ben to Mary Ann’s apartment, then went to bed.

The following morning, Stone had Joan print out a representation agreement, which was mostly boilerplate, then Fred drove Stone and Herbie to nether Brooklyn. As they turned into the driveway, they were flagged down by a uniformed policeman. They identified themselves and, after a call to the house, were admitted.

Pietro met them at the door, somehow looking older since yesterday, then he led them to Eduardo’s study. Mary Ann sat at her father’s desk, rifling drawers and peering under the large piece of furniture.

“Good morning, Mary Ann,” Stone said. “How is your father this morning?”

“In a deep coma, thank you.” She stared at Herbie. “Who’s this?”

“Mary Ann, let me introduce Herbert Fisher, a partner at Woodman & Weld, who will be assisting me in this matter.”

“Bring us coffee,” she said to Pietro, who vanished.

“What were you doing under the desk?” Stone asked.

“Looking for secret drawers,” she replied.

“Before we begin, Mary Ann, let me explain a few things about how we will work.”

“All right, go ahead.”

Pietro appeared with a silver tray bearing a coffeepot, creamer, cups, and a plate of small pastries.

“Leave us,” she said to him. “Go ahead, Stone,” she said, when the man had gone.

“First of all,” Stone said, “we can represent the estate or we can represent you, personally, but not both. Since you are, presumably, an heir, that would be a conflict of interest. Which will it be?”

Mary Ann thought about that for a moment. “You will represent the estate,” she said. “I’ll find my own attorney.”

“Fine. You must understand that we will, in a sense, be representing the court, and that means we must keep you at arm’s length while we do our work.”

“All right,” she said.

“I want to go off the record here for a moment,” Stone said. “What I’m now about to say to you is to be confidential among the three of us.”

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