He was a big man, not in the sense of armchair-big or youthful muscle gone to fat. He was simply big.

Not exceptionally tall, but well muscled and trim, with a surprisingly lean, aesthetically attractive face, dark hair, and very deep, dark eyes.

“I understand that you have some information to give me about the murder at the crypt, Miss Adair,” he said, folding his hands on his desk and staring at her.

“Information?” she repeated. “No, I’m sorry. I’m afraid that I’ve come here because I’m worried about what happened at the crypt.”

If he was disappointed that his direct question gave him no aid, he kept the emotion from registering in his eyes.

“Mademoiselle, everyone is worried about what happened in the crypt I’m afraid that if you’ve come here for assurance, you are wasting time for us both.” As she stared back at him, he sighed softly. “I am working on this case full time. We have brought in a man from Paris. Every possible piece of forensic evidence is being collected and analyzed. We are living in modern times where science is most helpful.

Have you been to the ruins?”

“Ah, yes.” The question took her by surprise, and she found herself remembering, vividly and annoyingly, that Brent Malone had repeatedly warned her to keep her name out of the situation. Her grandfather had warned her as well.

“How long have you been in the country?”

“Just a few days. I have family here.”

He shuffled through papers on his desk, then stared at her again. “You are staying at the Chateau DeVant”

“Jacques DeVant is my grandfather.”

That brought another long stare.

“Old Jacques,” Javet murmured. “Tell me, did he send you to the crypt?”

“No!” she lied quickly, and hoped that her protest was not so strong it betrayed her immediately. “No, I have always been interested in the history of the area. I’m American, as you’re well aware. We like to go back and find our roots, that kind of thing, you know. We seldom just say we’re Americans, you see.

Because we all have a background somewhere else. Except, of course, our Native Americans. But most of us say that we are something. You know, Hispanic-American, AfroAmerican, Irish American, French American ... you know.”

She was babbling. Great And her cheeks were growing red.

“Yes, of course,” Javet said. She wondered if he had grown suspicious. She wondered what he would say if she were to break down and tell him that her grandfather was convinced that evil had been dug up, that vampires were streaking around the village, probably intent upon the great feast offered not just here, but just a shade farther west, in the great populous city of Paris. And that, in her short time here, she had met the strangest people, also convinced of evil, one of whom had been in the crypt at the time of the murder.

Where she had been as well.

“Look,” she said impatiently, “I’m sorry for wasting your time. But I’m here for an extended stay. My cousin is a young woman who travels in and out of the city daily. Naturally, I am very worried. The papers have done little except describe the murder. Yes, I was hoping to come in here and find out that the police were hard on the case, and that you did have suspects, and perhaps, that an arrest was imminent.”

Javet smiled at last “Passionate, impetuous, and determined that justice must be done! Yes, you are very American—and somewhat French. I wish I could tell you that an arrest was imminent. I can tell you that we do have suspects. And that we do not intend to rest until the perpetrator of this horrible crime is brought to justice. Now, are you happy?”

“I’d be happier to hear that you have the murderer in custody.”

“Of course,” Javet said, “and I’d be happier, of course, if I didn’t feel that there is more that you’re not telling me.”

She shrugged. “I wish that there was more that I could tell you. My cousin and I went out last night and when we were leaving, I thought that—that we were being followed. That we were, perhaps, intended victims of... some kind of an attack.”

“Leaving where?”

“La Guerre.”

“And what made you feel that you were under attack?”

She realized just how ridiculous she was going to sound before she spoke. “Shadows,” she said despite herself.

“Ah, shadows. A dark street, fear in your hearts,” he pointed out, not unkindly. “Was there any more than just... shadows?”

She hesitated again.“We thought we hit something— or someone.”

“Oh? There have been no reports of bodies found in the street this morning.”

“No ... we drove back. There was nothing in the street.”

Javet kept staring at her. She felt her cheeks reddening again. She wondered if she should tell him that they had not left the bar alone, and that their companion had held back, telling them to run. But then he’d want to know who the companion had been, and she would tangle herself further and further into the events in the crypt. It had been foolish for her to come.

“Look,” she said. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t have taken your time. I suppose that I did want some kind of assurance. I needed to know that the police were ... doing something.” Javet shrugged. “You thought we were a poor provincial police, and that we hadn’t the knowledge or capabilities of dealing with such a horrible crime, because we are accustomed to ticketing people who do not come to a full stop at the signs in the street.”

“No, no, really—”

“As I have said, we have an excellent man in from Paris, a man who is accustomed to this kind of work.

And we are not so poorly equipped as you might think. We are small, on the outskirts of a great city, but even here, there are things that happen. There is a great deal of countryside. We have dealt with the pathetic remains of murders before.”

Time to compliment the man, she thought “From the moment I met you, sir, I could see that you were a serious law-enforcement officer.”

He nodded. Flattered or not, she couldn’t tell.

She decided to move in. “I understand that one of the diggers at the site is the man who reported the crime.”


“I assume he is a suspect.”

For the first time, Javet looked a little uncomfortable. He quickly masked his unease. “He has been questioned, and is being ... watched.”

“But he is not under arrest”

“Not yet”

“But he may be? Soon?”

“We don’t believe that he could have committed the crime, Miss Adair, and as to exactly why, I am not at liberty to say. He has been told, of course, not to leave the area. And I know that he has not done so because we keep tabs on his whereabouts.”

She wondered just how good the inspector’s information could be on Brent Malone’s whereabouts, since he was at that moment, she assumed, still at her own family home.

But then, again, she was the one person who knew for certain that Malone was not guilty.

“What about Professor Dubois?”

“Dubois,” Javet said, shaking his head. “Trust me, mademoiselle, we have spoken with Dubois. He calls daily. His concern is not for the man who died; he is anxious to get back into his dig. He has no intention of leaving the area. He hounds me on a daily basis.”

“That doesn’t mean—”

“There were witnesses who saw the professor leave the crypt. And witnesses who saw him reach his home. We are following every lead, and cannot let out every scrap of information that we have—if we ever expect to find the killer, we can’t have him aware of what clues we have found. And naturally, Miss Adair, and this, of course, is no more than you can read in the papers, we believe that someone entered the tomb for the purpose of robbery, and that they did not expect to find a worker still on the site.

Therefore, he had to the. So I assure you, we are investigating the professor’s acquaintances, though it is true as well that a scholar who has committed his own funds to research may not be aware of the greed of others who allow him to lead them to a treasure trove, and then steal the treasure from beneath his nose. Rest assured, we are investigating.”

She nodded, feeling that she had been dismissed. She started to rise. “Again, I’m sorry for having taken your time.”

He rose as well, and smiled at last. “It was a pleasant break. Perhaps you will join me again for coffee, and I can keep you up to date on the events when I am not on duty.” His words startled her. His manner had been not just professional, but almost impatient. She found herself nodding in agreement “Yes, coffee. That would be nice.”

“I will see you out.”

He escorted her through the office, opening the door for her. His eyes were very dark and unfathomable as he asked her, “If your tremendous concern for Mr. Malone comes from the feet that you two have met, I would suggest that you be careful.”


“I told you, Miss Adair, that he is a man we are watching. Did you meet in the tomb when he was working, or was your first encounter with the American man at the cafe down the street?”

“I saw him when he was working, of course. We didn’t really meet until I saw him at the cafe the following morning.” That was very close to the truth, and her voice was even, considering the fact that the inspector had taken her so completely off guard. She smiled. “And yes, of course, since I have met the man, and read in the paper about his discovery of the body, I am concerned.” Javet nodded. “Miss Adair, you should have mentioned that fact from the beginning.”

“Since you’re aware that we’ve met, you should understand my concern.” Again, he gave a slight inclination of his head.

“Perhaps I should inform you as well that your grandfather’s interest in the tomb is also suspect”

“My grandfather!”

“Our records indicate—along with the testimony of Professor Dubois—that Jacques DeVant had a tremendous interest in the tomb before it was opened.”