Chapter no 64

The Silent Patient


Police officers swarmed all over the Grove, asking questions, taking photographs, sealing off Alicia’s studio and her room. The investigation was led by Chief Inspector Steven Allen, heavyset, bald, with large reading glasses that distorted his eyes, magnifying them, making them seem bigger than life, bulging with interest and curiosity.

Allen listened with careful interest to my story; I told him everything I had said to Diomedes, and I showed him my supervision notes.

“Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Faber.” “Call me Theo.”

“I’d like you to make an official statement, please. And I’ll be talking to you more in due course.”

“Yes, certainly.”

Inspector Allen had commandeered Diomedes’s office. He showed me out. After I made my statement to a junior officer, I hung around in the corridor, waiting. Soon enough, Christian was led to the door by a police officer. He looked uneasy, scared—and guilty. I felt satisfied he would soon be charged.

There was nothing else to do now, except wait. On my way out of the Grove, I passed the goldfish bowl. I glanced inside—and what I saw stopped me in my tracks.

Elif was being slipped some drugs by Yuri, and he was pocketing some cash.

Elif charged out and fixed me with her one eye. A look of contempt and hatred.

“Elif,” I said.

“Fuck off.” She marched off, disappearing around the corner.

Yuri emerged from the goldfish bowl. As soon as he saw me, his jaw dropped. He stuttered with surprise. “I—I didn’t see you there.”

“Obviously not.”

“Elif—forgot her medication. I was just giving it to her.” “I see.”

So Yuri was dealing and supplying Elif. I wondered what else he was up to—perhaps I had been a little too hasty to defend him so determinedly to Stephanie. I’d better keep an eye on him.

“I wanted to ask you,” he said, leading me away from the goldfish bowl. “What should we do about Mr. Martin?”

“What do you mean?” I looked at him, surprised. “You mean Jean-Felix Martin? What about him?”

“Well, he’s been here for hours. He came this morning to visit Alicia.

And he’s been waiting since then.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me? You mean he’s been here all this time?”

“Sorry, it slipped my mind with everything that happened. He’s in the waiting room.”

“I see. Well, I’d better go and talk to him.”

I hurried downstairs to reception, thinking about what I’d just heard. What was Jean-Felix doing here? I wondered what he wanted; what it meant.

I went into the waiting room and looked around. But no one was there.

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