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.Matsukado could not hide his horror.“I’m afraid so.” Peter looked apologetic.“After all, the items were purchased to sell.”Grace, who knew they had not yet sold any of Mallow’s contents, wondered if Peter was up to something.“Worse luck, I’m afraid a number of articles weren’t fit for resale.”The Shogun made a strangled sound—as though he had swallowed a bit of grilled eel the wrong way.“Mostly rubbish from the thirties and forties,” Peter went on mercilessly.“By the way, who was the character with the mania for Egyptology?”“John Mallow,” the Shogun said faintly.“John Mallow,” Peter repeated cheerfully.“That’s the bloke.” As his gaze met Grace’s, his lips quirked ever so slightly.JohnMallow? Was the John who had written the Shiloh letter the owner of Mallow Farm?The meal was followed by brandy and dessert.The dessert, according their glum host, was calledanmitsu.It seemed to consist of beans and a variety of fruit mixed with a sweet pale jelly.After the eel, Grace figured she had nothing to lose and bravely dug in.It was…interesting, she decided, and found herself craving a slice of old-fashioned cheesecake like her mother used to make.She had been thinking that it was strange for Mr.Matsukado to reject his own culture in favor of the Anglo-Saxon, but it occurred to her that she, too, was in a sense dissing her heritage in her adulation of all things British.Lately she had begun to long for things she had taken for granted—things like screens on windows, central heating, and passing lanes.When the uncomfortable meal was at last finished, Miss Musashi drove them home in the long sedan.Behind rock walls and natural high hedges, the shining lakes swept by in the blue moonlight.Peter spoke to Kameko in Japanese.She answered softly.Grace noted the glimmer of her smile in the rearview mirror.Whatever Peter had, it apparently translated into every language.“I didn’t know you spoke Japanese,” she remarked, as they let themselves into Rogue’s Gallery.The purr of the car’s engine died into the warm night and was replaced by nocturnal sounds: crickets, whispering leaves, and the eerie screech of the barn owl that had recently taken up residence in Peter’s little-used gardening shed.It was only after dark that Grace had a sense of how far from the village Craddock House was.Peter cocked his head, and she added, “Oh, right.What I don’t know about you would fill a book.”“I rather hope not.One book is quite enough.”For the first time, she wondered whether publishing an account of her exploits might draw more snakes from under the rocks in Peter’s past.It wasn’t a happy thought.To distract herself, and possibly him, she chattered.“Kameko’s an interesting character, isn’t she? I could picture her as a Bond Girl.”“Interesting, yes,” Peter said.“She’s carrying.”“Carrying what?”He smiled.“A gun.She’s probably Matsukado’s bodyguard as well as chauffeur.”“Why would he need a bodyguard?”“He’s a very wealthy young man,” Peter said dryly.“And as naive as he is pampered.”“He knows about the Shiloh letter.”Peter sighed.“Did you have to agree to sell him back all this stuff?” Her plaint was more routine than heartfelt.“I don’t wish my entire inventory tied up in legal tape for the next twelve months.Besides, I’m making close to a quarter of a million on the deal.” He sounded uncharacteristically irritable.“Look, I didn’t tell him about the letter.Keep it if you like.”Because the idea was all too tempting, Grace reacted hotly.“That would betotally dishonest! He specifically requested all the papers and books and—”“If he already knows about the Shelley, John Mallow’s mention of it isn’t going to help or hinder.Make a copy of the bloody thing.I don’t care.”“But what’s the point? If the Shelley exists, it will be somewhere in this pile of…of junk.And it’s all got to go back to Mallow Farm within twenty-four hours.”“Then you’ve got twenty-four hours to search for it, haven’t you?” He started up the stairs.“Are you serious?”Grace gazed into the shadows of the shop.The glass eyes of a slightly moth-eaten teddy bear gleamed at her from the gloom.“Are you just going to bed?” she called after him.He paused.“I’m going to have a nightcap, and then I am indeed going to bed.” His smile was exaggeratedly lustful.“You’re welcome to join me, old chap.”Laughing, she followed him into the upstairs flat, curling comfortably on the long red-leather sofa while Peter poured brandy into snifters.It was a spacious room with Georgian windows and polished wood floors.A formal white fireplace stood at one end.There was a huge moon-faced grandfather clock, and several bronze lamps with translucent milk-glass shades cast a warm glow over the room’s jewel-colored Oriental rugs and red-leather chairs.A mounted telescope offered a view of the starry night sky.Grace sipped her brandy thoughtfully.“Suppose I did look for the Shelley, and suppose I did find it,” she said at last.“Then you would have to decide whether you were going to admit where you found it, or whether you were going to pretend it turned up someplace else.” He raked a hand through his thick, straight, fair hair that immediately fell back across his forehead.“Lie in other words.Cheat.Steal.”“ ‘Who Dares Wins,’ ” he replied, quoting the Special Air Services motto.Not always, Grace reflected.Sometimes those who dared lost big.Peter looked tired.She realized that she had actually forgotten all about Horrible Harry.Though Peter didn’t appear unduly alarmed, the threat of extradition must be weighing on him.At the least, the gendarme’s appearance had to stir up dreadful memories.His winged brows drew together.“What’s that for?”“What?”“The look of melting sympathy?”Grace felt her cheeks grow warm.He leaned over and kissed her.It was a light and expert kiss.More compliment than seduction, but this was the pattern they had fallen into since the events of the autumn.Peter flirted, made the expected move, and Grace laughingly evaded what she was sure was a kind of reflex with him.She felt certain that when his heart was in it, so to speak, she would know [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]