Chapter Sixty-Five

Montana

10 a.m.

The twentieth day

The sleek Porsche 959 raced along the mountain road, wide tyres gripping the asphalt as it came speeding around the bend.

It screeched to a halt as the driver caught sight of the broken-down Ford that blocked the road ahead, sitting at an angle with the bonnet up.

Bud Richmond climbed out of the car, smiling at the attractive auburn-haired woman he could see bent down under the bonnet, fiddling with the oil dipstick, looking distressed. ‘Can I help, ma’am?’

‘Yes you can, Senator.’ Ben stepped out from behind the car. He aimed a gun at Richmond’s face. Alex grimly slammed the bonnet shut.

‘What’s this about?’ Richmond demanded.

‘It’s about Irving Slater,’ Ben said. ‘Let’s go for a drive.’

Forty minutes later, the senator was sitting ashen-faced in the back of the Ford after listening to Ben’s account of Slater’s plan. Alex had played him back Zo?’s phone recording from the cellar.

‘I can’t believe what I just heard,’ Richmond said in a defeated voice.

‘You were the biggest part of Slater’s plan,’ Ben told him. ‘He’s been using you all along.’

‘Sometimes he acted strangely,’ Richmond said. ‘All those furtive little meetings, out in that cable car. I always wondered.’

‘Now you know.’

Richmond’s fists clenched. ‘I knew he had his ways. I knew he didn’t have a great opinion of me, called me a jackass behind my back. But I never once thought he would stoop to this… this abomination.’ His voice was trembling with anger. ‘Dear Lord, to think I have been allowing murderers into my midst. Agents of Satan.’ He looked up at Ben. ‘I’m just shocked. What can I say? Slater has to be brought to justice.’ Then he turned to Alex. ‘Have you informed your superiors of this yet?’

‘Nobody knows anything about this except us,’ she said.

Richmond bit his lip. ‘Callaghan and Slater must be arrested. Let me make a call.’

Ben shook his head. ‘That isn’t the plan.’

Richmond frowned in confusion. ‘Then what is?’

‘Tell me about the cable car,’ Ben said.

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