The morning was half gone by the time I woke up. Father and daughter were still sleeping. Robin had used my room and I had stretched out on the sofa. I pulled on my clothes and walked through to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I was on my second cup when Robin appeared. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot.
"Sorry about your face," she said, leaning against the door frame.
'Forget it. Want some coffee?"
I poured another cup and carried both of them through to the living room. "How are you feeling?"
"Not wonderful. You had no idea?"
'Not the slightest. But then I haven't been around much."
Robin's body tensed.
"I'm sorry, I said quickly. "I didn't mean anything by that."
She took a mouthful of coffee and fidgeted with the spoon. "Daddy didn't get round to finishing the story. There are some other things I still don't understand. How come the vault was empty, and what was the late night phone call to Tallahassee all about?"
She had a right to know, so I took my time and told her about. Andy and how he had been killed; the advert in the Miami Herald; the tv crew being tipped off; the disparate reactions I had provoked from the Koves. I even told her about my trip to Lake Okeechobee to meet Angelo and how I had kept it from Floyd. Robin interrupted every now and then to clarify a part of it. To her credit, she handled it well, though it would have taken something to top the previous night's bombshell.
"So you suspect it was Angelo who set Morrell up?" she said.
"He's the most likely candidate. He has a direct pipeline into Morrell's office and could easily have arranged for Nicole Cantrell to be tipped off at exactly the right time."
'But why would he want to go to all the trouble?"
"He wanted to be certain that Morrell didn't come snooping after him. Arranging to have the Secret Service publicly embarrassed on network tv was his way of ensuring that the status of the investigation was reduced. Cantrell will probably do some snooping of her own, but from what I've seen, she's more likely to side with Angelo."
"But if Angelo killed Andy, why did he wait so long to dispose of the body?"
Remembering Peter Culpepper's story I said, "I'm not so sure he did kill him."
"Who else could it have been? Somehow or other he discovered that Andy had printed bills with the wrong serial numbers. That would have been reason enough."
I shook my head. "All the complicated work had been done. It would have made more sense for Angelo to coerce us into printing a new batch. Killing Andy achieved nothing."
"You're assuming that what Angelo told you is true.'
"I don't follow you."
"That he was Andy's fence for the counterfeit. You've only his word on that. What if Angelo already had a counterfeit operation up and running, and killing Andy was his way of eliminating the competition."
I had to admit that I hadn't considered that. It helped to explain so much. After killing Andy, Angelo's plan to frame me had gone wrong, so he left Andy's body where it was to be discovered accidentally knowing that Morrell would still be try to pin the murder one me. But as time went on and the body still hadn't been discovered Angelo saw another way of using it. He pre-empted any investigation into Andy's disappearance by forcing Culpepper to send the fake faxes. Then on my release he set up the Boca Raton charade. The more I thought about it, the cleverer it seemed. Angelo had managed to eliminate the competition and neutralize Morrell.
YOU ARE READING
Paper GhostsMystery / Thriller
When counterfeiter Steve Stricker leaves prison he discovers that his former partner-in-crime was murdered on the same day he was arrested by the Secret Service. His attempts to bring the killer to justice exposes a family torn apart by incest and p...