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Chapter 41

The Manzeras home occupied the corner lot on a street named Love Lane. Cathy recognized it as having been built in the 1950s-a sprawling, L-shaped ranch, with a two-car garage connected to the house via a narrow breezeway. At the rear of the house-behind a high, perforated stone wall-Cathy could also make out an Olympic-size pool, as well as a tennis court. Yes, from the looks of things, there was no doubt in Cathys mind that the Manzeras, whoever they were, could afford a Gambardelli Piet`a.

Sam Markham whipped the Trailblazer around the grassy median that separated the north and south sides of the street and pulled up under the shade of a large oak tree.

Remember, Cathy, he said, sit tight and keep the doors locked. This woman was extremely uncooperative on the telephone-very defensive. I dont want to risk her clamming up if she recognizes you. Only reason she agreed to talk to me is because she thinks the theft of her familys statue is part of some stolen art ring-thinks there might be a reward in it for her.

I understand.

Ill be back in a flash, Markham said, and kissed her on the cheek.

Cathys eyes followed the FBI agent as he made his way up the flagstone walkway and rang the doorbell. She could not see the woman behind the screen door, could not see to whom Markham spoke as he raised his ID-just as he had done for her in another lifetime. And when Special Agent Sam Markham disappeared into the house, Cathy closed her eyes behind her dark sunglasses and waited.

Even if her mind had not begun to wander, even if she had not drifted off into a light afternoon sleep, Cathy most likely would not have noticed the 99 Porsche 911 cruise past on the cross street straight ahead of her-would not have given it a second look even if she had. Not in this neighborhood anyway.

The Sculptor, on the other hand, spotted the Trailblazer immediately; he recognized it as not only out of place in front of the Manzeras house-the house which he drove by every single day on route to his own-but also instantly pegged it as FBI from his countless viewings of the news clips from Watch Hill and Exeter. And although he did not dare drive by it a second time, and although he did not dare take a closer look to see if perhaps Dr. Hildy herself was inside, The Sculptor knew nonetheless why the Trailblazer was there.

Yes, not only did The Sculptor finally understand how Dr. Hildy and the FBI had figured out where he was going to exhibit his Piet`a, but he also understood that he had made a crucial mistake early on in his plan. However, the simple fact that the FBI had gone to the Manzeras first told The Sculptor that they had not yet made the connection to him.

Not yet.

But they were close.

And even though he was unsettled by his discovery, even though he thought himself foolish for his silly, silly mistake, as The Sculptor drove back to his home less than a mile away, he took comfort in the knowledge that fate had given him the opportunity to correct it.

Chapter 40 | The Sculptor | Chapter 42