The piano tuner ran through ascending chords, enjoying the
resistance of the heavy ivory keys. His balding head was bent
forward, his eyes closed as he listened. The notes rose to the
darkened ceiling of the recital hall near Warsaw’s Old Market
Square, then dissipated like smoke.
Satisfied with his work, the tuner replaced the temperament
strips and his well-worn extension-tuning lever in their velvet
case and indulged himself by playing a few minutes of Mozart, A
Little Night Music, an ebullient piece that was one of his
Just as he concluded, the crisp sound of clapping palms echoed
behind him and he spun around. Twenty feet away stood a man nodding
and smiling. Stocky, with a flop of brown hair, broad of face.
Southern Slavic, the tuner thought. He’d traveled in
Yugoslavia many years ago.
“Lovely. Ah, my. So beautiful. Do you speak
English?” the man asked with a thick accent.
“Are you a performer here? You must be. You are so
“Me? No, I simply tune pianos. But a tuner must know his
way about the keyboard too . . . Can I help you, sir? The recital
hall is closed.”
“Still, such a passion for music. I could hear it. Have
you never desired to perform?”
The piano tuner didn’t particularly care to talk about
himself, but he could discuss music all night long. He was, in
addition to being perhaps the best piano tuner in Warsaw if not all
of central Poland, an avid collector of recordings and original
music manuscripts. If he’d had the means, he would collect
instruments too. He had once played a Chopin polonaise at the very
keyboard the composer had used; he considered it one of the
highpoints of his life.
“I used to. But only in my youth.” He told the man
of his sweep through Eastern Europe with the Warsaw Youth
Orchestra, with which he’d been second-chair cello.
He stared at the man, who in turn was examining the piano.
“As I say, the hall is closed. But perhaps you’re
looking for someone?”
“I am, yes.” The Slav walked closer and looked down.
“Ah, a Bosendorfer. One of Germany’s great
contributions to culture.”
“Oh, yes,” the slight man said, caressing the black
lacquer and gothic type of the company’s name.
“It’s perfection. It truly is. Would you like to try
it? Do you play?”
“Not like you. I wouldn’t presume to even touch a
single key after hearing your performance.”
“You’re too kind. You say you’re looking for
someone. You mean Anna? The French horn student? She was here
earlier but I believe she’s left. There’s no one else,
except the cleaning woman. But I can get a message to anyone in the
orchestra or the administration, if you like.”
The visitor stepped closer yet and gently brushed a key --- true
ivory, the piano having been made before the ban. “You,
sir,” he said, “are the one I came to see.”
“Me? Do I know you?”
“I saw you earlier today.”
“You did? Where? I don’t recall.”
“You were having lunch at a café overlooking that
huge building. The fancy one, the biggest one in Warsaw. What is
The piano tuner gave a laugh. “The biggest one in the
country. The Palace of Culture and Science. A gift from the
Soviets, which, the joke goes, they gave us in place of our
freedom. Yes, I did have lunch there. But . . . Do I know
The stranger stopped smiling. He looked from the piano into the
narrow man’s eyes.
Like the assault of the sudden vehement chord in Haydn’s
Surprise Symphony, fear struck the piano tuner. He picked up his
tool kit and rose quickly. Then stopped. “Oh,” he
gasped. Behind the stranger he could see two bodies lying on the
tile near the front door: Anna, the horn player; and beyond her,
the cleaning woman. Two shadows on the floor surrounded their limp
figures, one from the entranceway light, one from their blood.
The Slav, not much taller than the piano tuner but far stronger,
took him by the shoulders. “Sit,” he whispered gently,
pushing the man down on the bench then turning him to face the
“What do you want?” A quaking voice, tears in his
Shaking with fear, the piano tuner thought madly, What a fool I
am! I should have fled the moment the man commented on the
Bosendorfer’s German ancestry. Anyone with a true
understanding of the keyboard knew the instruments are made in
When he was stopped at Krakow’s John Paul II airport, he
was certain his offense had to do with what he carried in his
The hour was early and he’d wakened much earlier at the
Pod Roza, “Under the Rose,” which was his favorite
hotel in Poland, owing both to its quirky mix of scrolly ancient
and starkly modern, and to the fact that Franz Liszt had stayed
there. Still half asleep, without his morning coffee or tea, he was
startled from his stupor by the two uniformed men who appeared over
“Mr. Harold Middleton?”
He looked up. “Yes, that’s me.” And suddenly
realized what had happened. When airport security had looked
through his attaché case, they’d seen it and grown
concerned. But out of prudence the young guards there had chosen
not to say anything. They let him pass, then called for
reinforcements: these two large, unsmiling men.
Of the twenty or so passengers in the lounge awaiting the bus to
take them to the Lufthansa flight to Paris, some people looked his
way --- the younger ones. The older, tempered by the Soviet regime,
dared not. The man closest to Middleton, two chairs away, glanced
up involuntarily with a flash of ambiguous concern on his face, as
if he might be mistaken as his companion. Then, realizing he
wasn’t going to be questioned, he turned back to his
newspaper, obviously relieved.
“You will please to come with us. This way. Yes.
Please.” Infinitely polite, the massive guard nodded back
toward the security line.
“Look, I know what this is about. It’s simply a
misunderstanding.” He larded his voice with patience, respect
and good nature. It was the tone you had to take with local police,
the tone you used talking your way through border crossings.
Middleton nodded at the briefcase. “I can show you some
documentation that --- ”
The second, silent guard picked up the case.
The other: “Please. You will come.” Polite but
inflexible. This young, square-jawed man who seemed incapable of
smiling held his eye firmly and there was no debate. The Poles,
Middleton knew, had been the most willful resisters of the
Together they walked back through the tiny, largely deserted
airport, the taller guards flanking the shorter, nondescript
American. At 56, Harold Middleton carried a few more pounds than he
had last year, which itself had seen a weight gain of few pounds
over the prior. But curiously his weight --- conspiring with his
thick black hair --- made him appear younger than he was. Only five
years ago, at his daughter’s college graduation, the girl had
introduced him to several of her classmates as her brother.
Everyone in the group had bought the deception. Father and daughter
had laughed about that many times since.
He thought of her now and hoped fervently he wouldn’t miss
his flight and the connection to Washington, D.C. He was going to
have dinner with Charlotte and her husband that night at
Tyson’s Corner. It was the first time he’d see her
since she announced her pregnancy.
But as he looked past security at the awaiting cluster of men
--- also unsmiling --- he had a despairing feeling that dinner
might be postponed. He wondered for how long.
They walked through the exit line and joined the group: two more
uniformed officers and a middle-aged man in a rumpled brown suit
under a rumpled brown raincoat.
“Mr. Middleton, I am Deputy Inspector Stanieski, with the
Polish National Police, Krakow region.” No ID was
The guards hemmed him in, as if the 5-foot, 10-inch American was
going to karate kick his way to freedom.
“I will see your passport please.”
He handed over the battered, swollen blue booklet. Stanieski
looked it over and glanced at the picture, then at the man in front
of him twice. People often had trouble seeing Harold Middleton,
couldn’t remember what he looked like. A friend of his
daughter said he would make a good spy; the best ones, the young
man explained, are invisible. Middleton knew this was true; he
wondered how Charlotte’s friend did.
“I don’t have much time until that
“You will not make the flight, Mr. Middleton. No. We will
be returning to Warsaw.”
Warsaw? Two hours away.
“That’s crazy. Why?”
He tried once more. “This is about the manuscript,
isn’t it?” He nodded to the attaché case. “I
can explain. The name Chopin is on it, yes, but I’m convinced
it’s a forgery. It’s not valuable. It’s not a
national treasure. I’ve been asked to take it to the United
States to finish my analysis. You can call Doctor --- ”
The inspector shook his head. “Manuscript? No, Mr.
Middleton. This is not about a manuscript. It’s about a
The man hesitated. “I use the word to impress on you the
gravity of the situation. Now it is best that I say nothing more,
and I would strongly suggest you do the same, isn’t
“My luggage --- ”
“Your luggage is already in the car. Now.” A nod of
his head toward the front door. “We will go.”
“Please, come in, Mr. Middleton. Sit. Yes there is good .
. . I am Jozef Padlo, first deputy inspector with the Polish
National Police.” This time an ID was exhibited, but
Middleton got the impression the gaunt man, about his own age and
much taller, was flashing the card only because Middleton expected
it and that the formality was alien in Polish law enforcement.
“What’s this all about, Inspector? Your man says
murder and tells me nothing more.”
“Oh, he mentioned that?” Padlo grimaced.
“Krakow. They don’t listen to us there. Slightly better
than Posnan, but not much.”
They were in an off-white office, beside a window that looked
out on the gray spring sky. There were many books, computer
printouts, a few maps and no decorations other than official
citations, an incongruous ceramic cactus wearing a cowboy hat and
pictures of the man’s wife and children and grandchildren.
Many pictures. They seemed like a happy family. Middleton thought
again of his daughter.
“Am I being charged with anything?”
“Not at this point.” His English was excellent and
Middleton wasn’t surprised to notice that there was a
certificate on the wall testifying to Padlo’s completion of a
course in Quantico and one at the Law Enforcement Management
Institute of Texas.
Oh, and the cactus.
“Then I can leave.”
“You know, we have anti-smoking laws here. I think
that’s your doing, your country’s. You give us Burger
King and take away our cigarettes.” The inspector shrugged
and lit a Sobieski. “No, you can’t leave. Now, please,
you had lunch yesterday with a Henryk Jedynak, a piano
“Yes. Henry . . . Oh no. Was he the one
Padlo watched Middleton carefully. “I’m afraid he
was, yes. Last night. In the recital hall near Old Market
“No, no . . . ” Middleton didn’t know the man
well—they’d met only on this trip—but
they’d hit it off immediately and had enjoyed each
other’s company. He was shocked by the news of
“And two other people were killed, as well. A musician and
a cleaning woman. Stabbed to death. For no reason, apparently,
other than they had the misfortune to be there at the same time as
“This is terrible. But why?”
“Have you known Mr. Jedynak long?”
“No. We met in person for the first time yesterday.
We’d emailed several times. He was a collector of
“No. Musical manuscripts—the handwritten scores. And
he was involved with the Chopin Museum.”
“At Ostrogski Castle.” The inspector said this as if
he’d heard of the place but never been there.
“Yes. I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with the
director of the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, and I asked Henry to
brief me about him and their collection. It was about a
questionable Chopin score.”
Padlo showed no interest in this. “Tell me, please, about
your meeting. In Warsaw.”
“Well, I met Henry for coffee in the late morning at the
museum, he showed me the new acquisitions in the collection. Then
we returned downtown and had lunch at a café. I can’t
“The Frederick Restaurant.”
That’s how Padlo found him, he supposed—an entry in
Jedynak’s PDA or diary. “Yes, that was it. And then we
went our separate ways. I took the train to Krakow.”
“Did you see anyone following you or watching you at
“Why would someone follow us?”
Padlo inhaled long on his cigarette. When he wasn’t
puffing he lowered his hand below his desk. “Did you see
anyone?” he repeated.
He nodded. “Mr. Middleton, I must tell you . . . I regret
I have to but it is important. Your friend was tortured before he
died. I won’t go into the details, but the killer used some
piano string in very unpleasant ways. He was gagged so the screams
could not be heard but his right hand was uninjured, presumably so
that he could write whatever this killer demanded of him. He wanted
“My God . . . ” Middleton closed his eyes briefly,
recalling Henry’s showing pictures of his wife and two
“I wonder what that might be,” Padlo said.
“This piano tuner was well known and well liked. He was also
a very transparent man. Musician, tradesman, husband and father.
There seemed to be nothing dark about his life . . . ” A
careful examination of Middleton’s face. “But perhaps
the killer thought that was not the case. Perhaps the killer
thought he had a second life involving more than music . . .
” With a nod, he added, “Somewhat like you.”
“What’re you getting at?”
“Tell me about your other career, please.”
“I don’t have another career. I teach music and
authenticate music manuscripts.”
“But you had another career recently.”
“Yes, I did. But what’s that got to do with
Padlo considered this for a moment, and said, “Because
certain facts have come into alignment.”
A cold laugh. “And what exactly does that mean?”
This was the most emotional Harold Middleton usually got. He
believed that you gave up your advantage when you lost control.
That’s what he told himself, though he doubted that he was
even capable of losing control.
“Tell me about that career, Colonel. Do some people still
call you that, ‘Colonel’?”
“Not anymore. But why are you asking me questions you
already seem to know the answers to?”
“I know a few things. I’m curious to know more. For
instance, I only know that you were connected with the ICTY and the
ICCt, but not many details.”
The UN-sanctioned International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia investigated and tried individuals for war crimes
committed during the complicated and tragic fighting among the
Serbs, Bosnians, Croatians and Albanian ethnic groups in the 1990s.
The ICCt was the International Criminal Court, established in 2002
to try war criminals for crimes in any area of the world. Both were
located in The Hague in Holland, and had been created because
nations tended to quickly forget about the atrocities committed
within their borders and were reluctant to find and try those
who’d committed them.
“How did you end up working for them? It seems a curious
leap from your country’s army to an international
“I was planning to retire anyway. I’d been in the
service for more than two decades.”
“But still. Please.”
Middleton decided that cooperation was the only way that would
let him leave anytime soon. With the time difference he still had a
chance to get into D.C. in time for a late supper at the Ritz
Carlton with his daughter and son-in-law.
He explained to the inspector briefly that he had been a
military intelligence officer with the 7,000 U.S. troops sent to
Kosovo in the summer of 1999 as part of the peacekeeping force when
the country was engaged in the last of the Yugoslavian wars.
Middleton was based at Camp Broadsteel in the southeast of the
country, the sector America oversaw. The largely rural area,
dominated by Mount Duke which rose like Fuji over the rugged hills,
was an ethnically Albanian area, as was most of Kosovo, and had
been the site of many incursions by Serbs—both from other
parts of Kosovo and from Milosevic’s Serbia, which Kosovo had
been part of. The fighting was largely over—the tens of
thousands of ironically dubbed “humanitarian” bombing
strikes had had their desired effect—but the peacekeepers on
the ground were still on high alert to stop clashes between the
infamous Serb guerillas and the equally ruthless Albanian Kosovo
Liberation Army forces.
Padlo took this information in, nodding as he lit another
“Not long after I was deployed there, the base commander
got a call from a general in the British sector, near Pristina, the
capital. He’d found something interesting and had been
calling all the international peacekeepers to see if anyone had a
background in art collecting.”
“And why was that?” Padlo stared at the Sobieski
hidden below eyelevel.
The smell was not as terrible as Middleton had expected, but the
office was filling with smoke. His eyes stung. “Let me give
you some background. It goes back to World War Two.”
“Please, tell me.”
“Well, many Albanians from Kosovo fought with an SS
unit—the Twenty-First Waffen Mountain Division. Their main
goal was eliminating partisan guerillas, but it also gave them the
chance to ethnically cleanse the Serbs, who had been their enemies
A grimace appeared on the inspector’s heavily lined face.
“Ah, it’s always the same story wherever you look.
Poles versus the Russians. Arabs versus the Jews. Americans
Middleton ignored him. “The Twenty-First supposedly had
another job too. With the fall of Italy and an Allied invasion a
sure thing, Himmler and Goering and other Nazis who’d been
looting art from Eastern Europe wanted secure places to hide
it—so that even if Germany fell, the Allies couldn’t
find it. The Twenty-First reportedly brought truckloads to Kosovo.
Made sense. A small, little populated, out-of-the-mainstream
country. Who’d think to look there for a missing Cezanne or
“What the British general had found was an old Eastern
Orthodox church. It was abandoned years ago and being used as a
dormitory for displaced Serbs by a U.N. relief organization. In the
basement his soldiers unearthed 50 or 60 boxes of rare books,
paintings and music folios.”
“My, that many?”
“Oh, yes. A lot was damaged, some beyond repair, but other
items were virtually untouched. I didn’t know much about the
paintings or the books, but I’d studied music history in
college and I’ve collected recordings and manuscripts for
years. I got the okay to fly up and take a look.”
“And what did you find?”
“Oh, it was astonishing. Original pieces by Bach and his
sons, Mozart, Handel, sketches by Wagner—some of them had
never been seen before. I was speechless.”
“Well, you can’t really put a dollar value on a find
like that. It’s the cultural benefit, not the
“But still, worth millions?”
“What happened then?”
“I reported what I’d found to the British and to my
general, and he cleared it with Washington for me to stay there for
a few days and catalog what I could. Good press, you
“True in police work too.” The cigarette got crushed
out forcefully under a yellow thumb, as if Padlo were quitting
Middleton explained that that night he took all the manuscripts
and folios that he could carry back to British quarters in Pristina
and worked for hours cataloging and examining what he’d
“The next morning I was very excited, wondering what else
I’d find. I got up early to return . . . ”
The American stared at a limp yellow file folder on the
inspector’s desktop, the one with three faded checkmarks on
it. He looked up and heard Padlo say, “The church was St.
“You know about it?” Middleton was surprised. The
incident had made the news but by then—with the world
focusing on the millennium and the Y2K crisis, the Balkans had
become simply a footnote to fading history.
“Yes, I do. I didn’t realize you were
Middleton remembered walking to the church and thinking, I
must’ve gotten up pretty damn early if none of the refugees
were awake yet, especially with all the youngsters living there.
Then he paused, wondering where the British guards were. Two had
been stationed outside the church the day before. Just at that
moment he saw a window open on the second floor and a teenage girl
look out, her long hair obscuring half her face. She was calling,
“Green shirt, green shirt . . . Please . . . Green
He hadn’t understood. But then it came to him. She was
referring to his fatigues and was calling for his help.
“What was it like?” Padlo asked softly.
Middleton merely shook his head.
The inspector didn’t press him for details. He asked,
“And Rugova was the man responsible?”
He was even more surprised that the inspector knew about the
former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Agim Rugova. That fact was
not learned until later, long after Rugova and his men had fled
from Pristina, and the story of St. Sophia had grown stone
“Your change in career is making sense now, Mr. Middleton.
After the war you became an investigator to track him
“That’s it in a nutshell.” He smiled as if
that could flick away the cached memories, clear as computer jpegs,
of that morning.
Middleton had returned to Camp Broadsteel and served out his
rotation, spending most of his free time running intelligence
reports on Rugova and the many other war criminals the torn region
had spawned. Back at the Pentagon, he’d done the same. But it
wasn’t the U.S. military’s job to catch them and bring
them to trial, and he made no headway.
So when he retired, he set up an operation in a small Northern
Virginia office park. He called it “War Criminal Watch”
and spent his days on the phone and computer, tracking Rugova and
others. He made contacts at the ICTY and worked with them regularly
but they and the UN’s tactical operation were busy with
bigger fish --- like Ratko Mladic, Naser Oric and others involved
in the Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since
World War II, and Milosevic himself. Middleton would come up with a
lead and it would founder. Still he couldn’t get St. Sophia
out of his mind. Green shirt, green shirt . . . Please . . .
He decided that he couldn’t be effective working from
America nor working alone. So after some months of searching he
found people who’d help: two American soldiers who’d
been in Kosovo and helped him in the investigation at St. Sophia
and a woman humanitarian worker from Belgrade he’d met in
The overworked ICTY was glad to accept them as independent
contractors, working with the Prosecutor’s Office. They
became known in the ICTY as “The Volunteers.”
Lespasse and Brocco, the soldiers, younger, driven by their
passion for the hunt;
Leonora Tesla, by her passion to rid the world of sorrow, a
passion that made the otherwise-common woman beautiful;
And the elder, Harold Middleton, a stranger to passion and
driven by . . . well, even he couldn’t say what. The
intelligence officer who never seemed to be able to process the
HUMINT on himself.
Unarmed --- at least as far as the ICTY and local law
enforcement knew --- they managed to track down several of
Rugova’s henchmen and, through them, finally the man himself,
who was living in a shockingly opulent townhouse in Nice, France,
under a false identity. The arrangement was that, for ethical
reasons, the Volunteers’ job was solely to provide the
tribunal with intelligence and contacts; the SFOR, the UN’s
Stabilization Force --- the military operation in charge of
apprehending former Yugoslav war criminals --- and local police, to
the extent they were cooperative, would be the arresting
In 2002, working on pristine data provided by Middleton and his
crew, UN and French troops raided the townhouse and arrested
Rugova. Tribunal trials are interminable, but three years later he
was convicted for crimes that occurred at St. Sophia. He was
appealing his conviction while living in what was, in
Middleton’s opinion, a far-too-pleasant detention center in
Middleton could still picture the swarthy man at trial, ruggedly
handsome, confident and indignant, swearing that he’d never
committed genocide or ethnic cleansing. He admitted he was a
soldier but said that what happened at St. Sophia was merely an
“isolated incident” in an unfortunate war. Middleton
told this to the inspector.
“Isolated incident,” Padlo whispered.
“It makes the horror far worse, don’t you think?
Phrasing it so antiseptically.”
“I do, yes.” Another draw on the cigarette.
Middleton wished that he had a candy bar, his secret passion.
Padlo then asked, “I’m curious about one thing --- was
Rugova acting on anyone else’s orders, do you think? Was
there someone he reported to?”
Middleton’s attention coalesced instantly at this
question. “Why do you ask that?” he asked sharply.
The American debated and decided to continue to cooperate. For
the moment. “When we were hunting for him we heard rumors
that he was backed by someone. It made sense. His KLA outfit had
the best weapons of any unit in the country, even better than some
of the regular Serbian troops. They were the best trained, and they
could hire pilots for helicopter extractions. That was unheard of
in Kosovo. There were rumors of large amounts of cash. And he
didn’t seem to take orders from any of the known KLA senior
commanders. But we had only one clue that there was somebody behind
him. A message had been left for him about a bank deposit. It was
hidden in a copy of Goethe’s Faust we found in an apartment
“We thought possibly British or American. Maybe Canadian.
Some of the phrasing in the note suggested it.”
“No idea of his name?”
“No. We gave him a nickname, after the book ---
“A deal with the devil. Are you still searching for this
“Me? No. My group disbanded. The Tribunal’s still in
force and the prosecutors and EUFOR might be looking for him but I
doubt it. Rugova’s in jail, some of his associates too. There
are bigger fish to fry. You know that expression?”
“No, but I understand.” Padlo crushed out another
cigarette. “You’re young. Why did you quit this job?
The work seems important.”
“Young?” Middleton smiled. Then it faded. He said
only, “Events intervened.”
“Another dispassionate phrase, that one. ‘Events
Middleton looked down.
“An unnecessary comment on my part. Forgive me. I owe you
answers and you’ll now understand why I asked what I
did.” He hit a button on his phone and spoke in Polish.
Middleton knew enough to understand he was asking for some
Padlo disconnected and said, “In investigating the murder
of the piano tuner I learned that you were probably the last person
--- well, second last --- to see him alive. Your name and hotel
phone number were in his address book for that day. I ran your name
through Interpol and our other databases and found about your
involvement with the tribunals. There was a brief reference to Agim
Rugova, but a cross-reference in Interpol as well, which had been
added only late yesterday.”
“Yes. Rugova died yesterday. The apparent cause of death
Middleton felt his heart pound. Why hadn’t anyone called?
Then he realized that he was no longer connected with the ICTY and
that it had been years since St. Sophia was on anyone’s radar
An isolated incident . . .
“This morning I called the prison and learned that Rugova
had approached a guard several weeks ago about bribing his way out
of prison. He offered a huge amount of money. ‘Where would
he, an impoverished war criminal, get such funds?’ the guard
asked. He said his wife could get the amount he named --- one
hundred thousand euros. The guard reported the matter and there it
rested. But then, four days ago, Rugova had a visitor --- a man
with a fake name and fake ID, as it turned out. After he leaves
Rugova falls ill and yesterday dies of poison. The police go to the
wife’s house to inform her and find she’s been dead for
several days. She was stabbed.”
Dead . . . Middleton felt a fierce urge to call Leonora and tell
“When I learned of your connection with the piano
tuner and the death on the same day of the war criminal you’d
had arrested, I had sent to me a prison security camera picture of
the probable murderer. I showed the picture to a witness we located
who saw the likely suspect leaving the Old Market Square recital
hall last night.”
“It’s the same man?”
“She said with certainty that it was.” Padlo
indulged again and lit a Sobieski.
“You seem to be the hub of this strange wheel, Mr.
Middleton. A man kills Rugova and his wife and then tortures and
kills a man you’ve just met with. So, now, you and I are
entwined in this matter.”
It was then that a young uniformed officer arrived carrying an
envelope. He placed it on the inspector’s desk.
“Dzenkuje,” Padlo said.
The aide nodded and, after glancing at the American,
The inspector handed the photos to Middleton, who looked down at
“Oh, my God.” He sucked cigarette-smoke-tainted air
deep into his lungs.
“What?” Padlo asked, seeing his reaction. “Was
he someone you know from your investigation of Rugova?”
The American looked up. “This man . . . He was sitting
next to me at Krakow airport. He was taking my flight to
Paris.” The man in the ugly checked jacket.
“No! Are you certain?”
“Yes. He must’ve killed Henryk to find out where I
And in a shocking instant it was clear. Someone --- this man or
Faust, or perhaps he was Faust --- was after Middleton and the
Why? For revenge? Did he fear something? Was there some other
reason? And why would he kill Rugova?
The American jabbed his finger at the phone. “Did he get
on the flight to Paris? Has it landed? Find out now.”
Padlo’s tongue touched the corner of his mouth. He lifted
the receiver and spoke in such rapid Polish that Middleton
couldn’t follow the conversation.
Finally the inspector hung up. “Yes, it’s landed and
everyone has disembarked. Other than you, everyone with a boarding
pass was on the flight.
But after that? They don’t know. They’ll check the
flight manifest against passport control at De Gaulle --- if he
left the airport. And outgoing flight manifests in case he
continued in transit.”
Middleton shook his head. “He’s changed identity by
now. He saw me detained and he’s using a new
The inspector said, “He could be on his way to anywhere in
But he wasn’t, Middleton knew. The only question was this:
Was he en route to Africa to find Tesla at her relief agency? Or to
the States, where Lespasse ran a very successful computer company
and Brocco edited the Human Rights Observer newsletter?
Or was he on a different flight headed to D.C., where Middleton
Then his legs went weak.
As he recalled that, showing off proud pictures, he’d told
the piano tuner that his daughter lived in the D.C. area.
What a lovely young woman, and her husband, so handsome. . . .
They seem so happy.
Middleton leapt to his feet. “I have to get home. And if
you try to stop me, I’ll call the embassy.” He strode
toward the door.
“Wait,” Padlo said sharply.
Middleton spun around. “I’m warning you. Do not try
to stop me. If you do --- ”
“No, no, I only mean. . . . Here.” He stepped
forward and handed the American his passport. Then he touched
Middleton’s arm. “Please. I want this man too. He
killed three of my citizens. I want him badly. Remember
He believed the inspector said something else but by then
Middleton was jogging hard down the endless hall, as gray as the
offices, as gray as the sky, digging into his pocket for his cell
Excerpted from WATCHLIST: A Serial Thriller © Copyright
2011 by Jeffery Deaver. Reprinted with permission by Vanguard
Press. All rights reserved.