Marguerite Rolfe was digging in her garden because of the secrets
she'd found hidden in her husband's study. It was late to be
working in the garden, well past midnight by now. The spring thaw
had left the earth soft and moist, and her spade split the soil
with little effort, allowing her to progress with minimal noise.
For this she was grateful. Her husband and daughter were asleep in
the villa, and she didn't want to wake them.
Why couldn't it have been something simple, like love letters from
another woman? There would have been a good row, Marguerite would
have confessed her own affair. Lovers would have been relinquished,
and soon their home would return to normal. But she hadn't found
love letters-she'd found something much worse.
For a moment she blamed herself. If she hadn't been searching his
study, she never would have found the photographs. She could have
spent the rest of her life in blissful oblivion, believing her
husband was the man he appeared to be. But now she knew. Her
husband was a monster, his life a lie-a complete and meticulously
maintained lie. Therefore she too was a lie.
Marguerite Rolfe concentrated on her work, making slow and steady
progress. After an hour it was done. A good hole, she decided:
about six feet in length and two feet across. Six inches below the
surface she had encountered a dense layer of clay. As a result it
was a bit shallower than she would have preferred. It didn't
matter. She knew it wasn't permanent.
She picked up the gun. It was her husband's favorite weapon, a
beautiful shotgun, hand-crafted for him by a master gunsmith in
Milan. He would never be able to use it again. This pleased her.
She thought of Anna. Please don't wake up, Anna. Sleep, my
Then she stepped into the ditch, lay down on her back, placed the
end of the barrel in her mouth, pulled the trigger.
it came from his workshop, his fingerprints will be on it. And if
there's anyone who can find them, it's you."
"I'll be happy to take a look at it for you."
"Are you working on anything now?"
"I just finished a Modigliani."
"I have a job for you."
"What kind of job?"
"I received a call from a lawyer a few days ago. Said his client
has a painting that requires cleaning. Said his client wanted you
to handle the job and would pay handsomely."
"What's the client's name?"
"What's the painting?"
"So how is it supposed to work?"
"You go to the villa, you work on the painting. The owner pays for
your hotel and expenses."
Something flashed behind Gabriel's green eyes, a vision, a memory.
Isherwood frantically rifled through the file drawers of his own
less reliable memory. Have I ever sent him to Zurich for Herr
"Is Zurich a problem?"
"No, Zurich is fine. How much would I be paid?"
"Twice what I've just given you-if you start right away."
"Give me the address."
Excerpted from THE ENGLISH ASSASSIN © Copyright 2002 by
Daniel Silva. Reprinted with permission by The Putnam Publishing
Group, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. All rights reserved.