Stuart Woods: Insatiable Appetites

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Stuart Woods Insatiable Appetites
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    Insatiable Appetites
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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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“How the hell did you do that?” Herbie asked.

“Eduardo sent me a note with the combination included. He just neglected to say in which direction to start.” He closed the door and relocked it, then closed the bookcase.

“Don’t you want to see what’s inside?”

“Not yet,” Stone replied, returning to the desk. “I’d rather do it when Mary Ann isn’t around.” He sat down and looked through the items she had been removing from the drawers when he had arrived. There was a checkbook showing a balance of more than $150,000, a desk diary and an address book, a gold pocket watch, a gold cigarette case, and a gold Dunhill lighter.

“I didn’t realize Eduardo smoked,” Herbie said.

“I think he must have quit a long time ago,” Stone replied, “but he didn’t throw away these elegant accoutrements. I want you to call the office and ask Bill Eggers’s assistant to recommend someone to come in and catalog everything in the house. Have them start first thing tomorrow morning.”

Herbie got out his phone and made the call.

The door opened and Mary Ann entered. “I’ve spoken to the cardinal. There will be a high mass said at St. Patrick’s Cathedral a week from today at two PM,” she said. “I have other arrangements to make, so I will return to my office in the city and make them there. Please begin your work here.”

“Mary Ann,” Stone said, “I’m getting everyone together for dinner at my house tonight at seven. We’d be delighted if you would join us.”

“I’m not sure Dino and his wife would enjoy that, but I’ll come if I can. May we leave it that way?”

“Of course. It will be very casual.”

She nodded and left, closing the door behind her.

Herbie closed his phone. “Eggers’s guy is on it. He’ll have a team here tomorrow. Shall we take a look in the safe?”

“Give Mary Ann a few minutes to clear the house,” Stone said, “then we’ll open it.”


They heard a car door slam and the sound of the vehicle driving away. Stone went to the bookcase, released the catch, and opened it. He entered the combination, spun the wheel, and opened both doors of the safe.

“Very neat,” he said. There were shelves and drawers filled with files and a case containing a watch winder behind a glass door. The watches were slowly rotating. On a shelf at waist height was a row of red envelopes, perhaps a dozen of them. “Get a legal pad and let’s start making a list of the contents,” he said to Herbie, who complied.

Stone started at the left end and removed an envelope. “Last Will and Testament of Eduardo Bianchi,” he read aloud, then he returned the envelope to the shelf. He went through the rest of the envelopes: half a dozen of them contained codicils to the will; the others contained up-to-date financial documents: brokerage account statements, a deed to the house, and a financial statement among them.

“The man had an orderly mind,” Herbie said, noting each on his pad.

“It looks to me as though Eduardo was preparing to die,” Stone said. He took the last envelope from the shelf. “This is addressed to me,” he said. He sat down at Eduardo’s desk, broke the red wax seal, and removed some sheets of paper. “There’s a letter,” Stone said. He read it aloud.

My Dear Stone,

My life is drawing to an end. I can feel it coming, and this letter is to appoint you as the attorney for my estate, at your firm’s usual fees, and to appoint you as co-executor with my daughter, Anna Maria. Also attached is a letter to Anna Maria, informing her of my decision. You may call upon other members of your firm or outside companies to assist you in the work. Attached to this letter is a list of the other documents in red envelopes in the safe. The attached financial statement is an accurate list of all my holdings, of every kind. I know you will deal with my estate and my heirs impartially, according to the instructions in my will.

I wish to express to you my gratitude for your friendship over the years. Following your life and career helped make my later life more interesting and entertaining, and I always found your company to be most enjoyable.

With affection,

Eduardo Bianchi

Stone couldn’t speak for a moment.

“Shall I ask Pietro to collect the garbage bags?” Herbie asked.

Stone nodded, and Herbie left the room, giving him time to compose himself. Stone took some deep breaths and reflected on the many lunches he had enjoyed with Eduardo, how the man had offered the chapel in his house for Stone’s marriage to Arrington, and arranged for the mayor of New York to perform the ceremony, not to mention the reception that followed.

Herbie returned. “There were only three bags of trash. I emptied them all and found nothing of any import.”

“Let’s continue cataloging the contents of the safe,” Stone said.

They worked through the day, stopping only for the sandwiches Pietro thoughtfully brought to the study.

“That’s everything in the safe,” Stone said, returning the last item to its place.

“Shall we read the will?” Herbie asked.

“I think I will reserve that for dinner tonight,” Stone said. “His family will all be there, except for Dolce.” He made a mental note to discuss her condition with Mary Ann when he saw her. He took the will and the codicils, put them into his briefcase, and snapped it shut. Pietro appeared as if summoned.

“We’re done for the day, Pietro,” Stone said, handing him his keys to the house. “I’ve removed the key to the study, and I’ll lock up. Tomorrow morning several people will arrive to catalog everything in the house. Please do whatever you can to make their work easier, and, perhaps give them some lunch. It may take them a week or two. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Of course, Mr. Barrington,” Pietro said, then left.

Stone closed the safe and spun the wheel, then picked up his briefcase and locked the side door to the study. He stepped into the hall and locked that door, too. As he turned to leave he stopped; six men in black suits were carrying a coffin down the stairs. He and Herbie followed them outside and waited until they had put the coffin into a hearse and driven away.

Fred had returned for them and drove them back to the city.

Early that evening everyone gathered: Peter and Hattie, Ben and Tessa, Dino and Viv. Fred made drinks for everyone.

“How did it go today?” Dino asked.

“Very well. Eduardo saw it coming — he had put his affairs into perfect order. By the way, I invited Mary Ann to dinner, but I’m not sure she’s coming.”

“Yeah, well, okay,” Dino said. “I’ll prepare Viv, just in case.”

Then Fred showed in Mary Ann, and it was Stone’s job to introduce her to Vivian Bacchetti. That went more smoothly than he could have hoped. They were called to dinner.

After they had dined, Stone put his briefcase on the dining table and opened it. He handed Mary Ann the envelope addressed to her and waited for her to read it. She nodded.

“I thought this might be a good time to read the will,” Stone said, “since everyone concerned is here.” He broke the seal on the envelope and read the will, which was mercifully brief.

Eduardo had left his house and most of its contents to a foundation already set up, with the proviso that any of his descendants and their families could live there, paying a modest rent. He bequeathed each of his descendants twelve pieces of art from his collection: they would draw lots for the order of choosing. The rest he left to several museums.

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