then went over to the window and stared out at the street below. Forget it, he told himself. He was seeing shadows where there was none. Why be a fool and antagonize Salas by propounding a theory which was, as yet, quite incapable of verification . . . Yet only a little imagination was needed to bond together some of the proven facts . . . He made up his mind. He would ask Salas to get in touch with England. He sat at his desk, leaned over, and pulled open the bottom right-hand drawer to bring out the bottle of brandy and a glass. Dutch courage was preferable to no courage at all.
CHAPTER 9 England telexed Palma on Monday morning and Salas immediately telephoned Alvarez. ‘The report reads: “Neither Roger Clarke nor Simon Allen has criminal record. Nothing known about either.” That is the end of the message.’ ‘Oh!’ said Alvarez, deeply disappointed. ‘That is hardly the reply you led me to expect.’ ‘No, I suppose it isn’t.’ ‘It is extraordinary the ability you have to complicate even the most straightforward and simple events.’ ‘But it did seem as if the only feasible explanation was that the two men had been involved in some form of criminal activity . . . And if they weren’t, where did all the money come from?’ ‘Is it not a trifle naive to overlook the fact that no man with any sense declares all he possesses either to his wife or his tax inspector?’ ‘So far as I can understand, Señor, they do things differently in England. And in any case, neither of them had the kind of job where they’d make large sums of money that needed hiding.’ ‘Nevertheless, wherever the money did come from, it clearly was not from a criminal source. Therefore it does not concern us.’ ‘Not directly, no. But if I’m right as to the rest of what I said . . .’ ‘Frankly, that is a presumption I am not prepared to make.’ ‘Señor, more than ever I have a feeling . . .’ ‘I am tempted to suggest that the most helpful thing for you to do will be to take two stomach tablets,’ snapped Salas, before replacing the receiver.
Alvarez walked up the road, turned into the square, and crossed to the Club Llueso where he entered the bar. ‘A coffee cortado and a coñac.’ ‘You look as if you’d forgotten to hand in the winning football pool coupon,’ said the barman. ‘No. It’s just work.’ ‘It’s not like you to worry over that.’ ‘I’m getting old.’ ‘It happens.’ The barman moved away to the espresso machine. Alvarez sat and stared out through the window at those people at cafe tables who were visible to him. Foreigners with too much time and money: foreigners who died and in dying made a simple inspector’s life hell. If there were a connection between Clarke and Allen, beyond the known one that they were acquaintances, then the odds increased against their deaths being accidents. And the more one studied the facts, the more difficult it became not to believe that there had been a connection between them. How could wealth come so suddenly? There were three possibilities. Through an inheritance, winning it on some form of gambling, or through a criminal activity. Surely, if they had been left money or had won it, they would have invested at least part of it so that now there would be some record of it? That left some criminal activity which would explain why the money had had to be kept hidden—so well hidden that there was no trace of it. Yet England had negated the possibility that either of them had been engaged in a criminal activity while in the UK. ‘Here you are,’ the barman called out. He left the table and went over to the bar. ‘A hundred pesetas.’ ‘Don’t you mean ninety?’ ‘Prices have just gone up on account of the new tax.’ Gloomily Alvarez returned to the table. He sipped the brandy, added sugar to the coffee and drank some of it, then poured the rest of the brandy into the cup. There had to be a connection between