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21

Fleeced

When Regan met Detective Ronald Brier, she immediately liked him. He was in his late thirties, with brown hair, a stocky build, and a twinkle in his eye.

Regan sat across from him at his desk in the 13th Precinct. Shed walked over, glad for the chance to get some fresh air and clear her head.

So youre a friend of Jack Reillys?

Regan smiled. Yes.

I remember the reports after your father was kidnapped. He shook his head. How is he doing?

Never better, Regan assured him. We were very lucky.

Ronald had the police reports in front of him. Youre staying at the Settlers Club now?

For the weekend. My friend Thomas Pilsner is the president.

Ronald rolled his eyes. That guys very excitable.

He cares a lot, Regan said.

Yeah, yeah.

Regan leaned forward. Tell me your impressions from last night.

We got the call that the old guy was found in the tub. There was no forced entry. No bruising. No sign of foul play. Your friend Pilsner says that he saw the diamonds yesterday. Now, they could have been with the other guy, Ben Carney, who had the heart attack. As you know, his wallet was stolen.

Yes. Regan paused, then continued slowly, The red box that the diamonds were in was found in Thomass office wastebasket this morning.

No diamonds?

No diamonds.

You dont think your friend was involved?

Absolutely not.

Who knows? They were going to sell them, maybe Ben Carney took them out of the box after their lunch and stuck them in his wallet. Threw the box in the wastebasket in Pilsners office on the way out. His office isnt far from the front door of the club.

So whoever stole Bens wallet could have made off with four-million-dollars worth of gems.

Not bad for a simple pickpocket. I have to tell you, though, well be keeping an eye on Pilsner. See if he disappears to the Islands in a few months.

I dont think thats going to happen. Im going to talk to people in the club this weekend. See what I can find out. I have a feeling that Nats death is tied to the diamonds.

Brier just looked at her and waited.

Regan shrugged. Its too much of a coincidence for me that the diamonds disappear and Nat dies the same night. To say nothing of the fact that the co-owner of the diamonds drops dead in the street.

Ben Carney died of a heart attack. No question about it, Brier said flatly.

By the way, where is Bens body?

At the morgue. Apparently he has a niece in Chicago. Theyre trying to reach her.

Could you let me know when you do? Id like to talk to her.

No problem.

Tonight Im going to a party across the hall from Nats apartment. The woman who lives there is trying to get most of the people back who were there at her singles party last night. I might ask you to do some checks on them. She pulled the red box out of her purse. It was wrapped in a plastic bag. Can you run this for prints?

Id be happy to. Well do anything to be of assistance. He paused. Regan, theres no record of these diamonds. Pilsner is the only one who saw them. Theres no appraisal slip. This could be much ado about nothing. If they do exist, they might be worth a heck of a lot less than four million dollars.

I understand, Regan said. But for these next few days Ill be the in-house detective at the Settlers Club. Ill see what I can dig up. She stood and extended her hand to him.

Jack Reillys a great guy.

I know, she said, smiling.


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