memories of midnight-Page 19

Spyros Lambrou was in a frenzy of impatience, waiting for the news of Constantin Demiris's arrest. He kept the radio on constantly in his office, and scanned every edition of the daily newspapers. I should have heard something by now, Lambrou thought. The police should have arrested Demiris by this time.

The moment Tony Rizzoli had informed Spyros that Demiris was on board the Thele and was about to sail, Lambrou had notified U.S. Customs - anonymously, of course - that the Thele would be carrying a large amount of heroin.

They must have caught him by now. Why haven't the newspapers picked up the story?

His intercom buzzed. "Mr. Demiris is on line two for you."

"Someone is calling for Mr. Demiris?"

"No, Mr. Lambrou. Mr. Demiris himself is on the line." The words sent a chill through him.

It was impossible!

Nervously, Lambrou picked up the phone. "Costa?"

"Spyros." Demiris's voice was jovial. "How is everything going?"

"Fine, fine. Where are you?"

"In Athens."

"Oh." Lambrou swallowed nervously. "We haven't talked lately," he said.

"I've been busy. What about lunch today? Are you free?"

Lambrou had an important luncheon engagement. "Yes. That will be fine."

"Good. We'll meet at the club. Two o'clock."

Lambrou replaced the receiver, his hands trembling. What in God's name could have gone wrong? Well, he would find out what had happened soon enough.

Constantin Demiris kept Spyros waiting for thirty minutes, and when he finally arrived he said brusquely, "Sorry I'm late."

"That's all right."

Spyros studied Demiris carefully, looking for any signs of the recent experience he must have gone through. Nothing.

"I'm hungry," Demiris said cheerfully. "How about you? Let's see what they have on the menu today." He scanned the menu. "Ah. Stridia. Would you like to start with some oysters, Spyros?"

"No. I don't think so." He had lost his appetite. Demiris was acting much too cheerful, and Lambrou had a terrible premonition.

When they had ordered, Demiris said, "I want to thank you, Spyros."

Spyros eyed him warily. "What for?"

"What for? For sending me a good customer - Mr. Rizzoli."

Lambrou wet his lips. "You - you met with him?"

"Oh, yes. He assured me that we were going to do a lot of business together in the future." Demiris sighed. "Although I'm afraid Mr. Rizzoli doesn't have much of a future anymore."

Spyros tensed. "What do you mean?"

Constantin Demiris's voice hardened. "What I mean, is that Tony Rizzoli is dead."

"How did...? What happened?"

"He had an accident, Spyros." He was looking into his brother-in-law's eyes. "The way anyone who tries to double-cross me has an accident."

"I don't...I don't understand. You..."

"Don't you? You tried to destroy me. You failed. I promise you, it would have been better for you if you had succeeded."

"I - I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't you, Spyros?" Constantin Demiris smiled. "You will very soon. But first, I'm going to destroy your sister."

The oysters arrived.

"Ah," Demiris said, "they look delicious. Enjoy your lunch."

Afterward, Constantin Demiris thought about the meeting with a feeling of deep satisfaction. Spyros Lambrou was a man completely demoralized. Demiris knew how much Lambrou adored his sister and Demiris intended to punish them both.

But there was something he had to take care of first. Catherine Alexander. She had called him after Kirk's death, near hysteria.

"It's - it's so awful."

"I'm so sorry, Catherine. I know how fond of Kirk you must have been. It's a terrible loss for both of us."

I'm going to have to change my plans, Demiris thought. There's no time for Rafina now. Catherine was the only remaining link to connect him with what had happened to Noelle Page and Larry Douglas. It was a mistake to let her live this long. As long as she was alive, someone would be able to prove what Demiris had done. But with her dead, he would be perfectly safe.

He picked up a telephone on his desk and dialed a number. When a voice answered, Demiris said, "I'll be in Kowloon Monday. Be there." He hung up without waiting for a response.

The two men met in a deserted building that Demiris owned in the walled city.

"It must look like an accident. Can you arrange that?" Constantin Demiris asked.

It was an insult. He could feel the anger rising in him. That was a question you asked some amateur you picked up from the streets. He was tempted to reply with sarcasm: Oh, I think I can manage that. Would you prefer an accident indoors? I can arrange for her to break her neck falling down a flight of stairs. The dancer in Marseilles. Or she could get drunk and drown in her bath. The heiress in Gstaad. She could take an overdose of heroin. He had disposed of three that way. Or she could fall asleep in bed with a lighted cigarette. The Swedish detective at L'Hôtel on the Left Bank in Paris. Or perhaps you would prefer something outdoors? I can arrange a traffic accident, a plane crash, or a disappearance at sea.

But he said none of those things, for in truth he was afraid of the man seated across from him. He had heard too many chilling stories about him, and he had reason to believe them.

So all he said was, "Yes, sir, I can arrange an accident. No one will ever know." Even as he said the words, the thought struck him: He knows that I'll know. He waited. He could hear the street noises outside the window, and the shrill and raucous polyglot of languages that belonged to the residents of the walled city.

Demiris was studying him with cold, obsidian eyes.

When he finally spoke he said, "Very well. I will leave the method to you."

"Yes, sir. Is the target here in Kowloon?"

"London. Her name is Catherine. Catherine Alexander. She works in my London offices."

"It would help if I could get an introduction to her. An inside track."

Demiris thought for a moment. "I'm sending a delegation of executives to London next week. I'll arrange for you to be in the party." He leaned forward and said quietly, "One thing more."

"Yes, sir?"

"I don't want anyone to be able to identify her body."