A Vineyard Killing

A Vineyard Killing by Philip R. Craig

Book: A Vineyard Killing by Philip R. Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Philip R. Craig
mentioned. She listened and said, “Certainly, sir,” and put the phone down. She stood and gestured toward a door. “Please go right in, Mr. Jackson.”
    I went in.

    Fox was standing behind his desk when I came in. Brad Hillborough was leaning on his cane beside a chair off to one side. In front of Fox, seated in chairs, were two other men. Everybody was wearing a suit and tie and looking at me.
    At the far side of the room was a conference table. On the wall beyond it was a gigantic map of Martha’s Vineyard. The small, colored flags stuck in the map reminded me of those used in maps in military operation centers: Here is the enemy, here is us, here is where we want to be; we’re gathered together to discuss how to get there. When the discussion is over, I will decide what to do and you will go do it.
    â€œWell, well, Mr. Jackson,” said Fox, “have you changed your mind about working with us?”
    â€œNo. I just have a question.” I glanced at the two men in the chairs.
    â€œThese are trusted colleagues, Mr. Jackson,” said Fox. “You can speak freely. Allow me to introduce them. Gentlemen, this is Mr. J. W. Jackson, of whom I have spoken. Mr. Jackson, this is Jonathan Burns and this is Samuel Jacobs.”
    The men rose and put temporary smiles on their otherwise emotionless faces. As we shook hands and exchanged assurances that our meeting was a pleasure, they studied me with their entrepreneurial eyes.
    â€œNow, Mr. Jackson, what is it you wish to know?” Fox glanced at his watch. Time is money.
    â€œYesterday,” I said, “two men in a green Range Rover with Georgia plates followed me until they realized that I’d spotted them and broke off their surveillance. Today, when they thought I wasn’t looking, they put a tracking device on my car to make their job easier. I got a good look at the men before I got rid of the tracking device.”
    Fox’s eyes seemed to brighten. They moved to Jacobs and Burns and came back to me.
    â€œMy question is: Why are they doing it? I thought it might save us all a lot of time if you just told me what you want to know.”
    Fox stared at me. “Are you sure of your facts?”
    I nodded. “I switched the tracking device to a Tisbury police cruiser, so your two boys will be following the cops instead of me for a while, at least. I thought I’d use the time to have this chat with you. So, what is it that you think you’ll learn by following me around?”
    Fox looked silently at me. Then he said, “You’re absolutely sure of what you’re saying? You’re not mistaken about anything you’ve told me?”
    â€œI’m sure. Dom Agganis checked the car’s ownership. It’s one of yours. I’m curious about your interest in my travels.”
    â€œI have no interest in your travels, Mr. Jackson.” He turned and looked again at Jacobs and Burns. “Do either of you know what this is about?” His voice was cold.
    They seemed almost to squirm before his gaze. They flicked glances at each other beneath raised brows and shook their heads, then looked back at Fox and shook them some more. “I don’t know anything about it, Donald,” said Burns.
    â€œIt’s news to me,” agreed Jacobs with a nervous shrug.
    â€œNothing that our people do should be news to you two,” snapped Fox. “First someone tries to kill my brother, then Kirkland is murdered, and now this! And you two know nothing about any of it!”
    Jacobs appeared to shrink in size. Burns was cooler. He looked at me. “Please describe the two men, Mr. Jackson, and provide me with the license number of the vehicle, if you have it.”
    I did that. Burns frowned. “Sounds like Wall and Reston,” he said. “If you’ll excuse me, Donald, I’ll get right on this.”
    â€œYou do that,” said Fox in a voice like ice. “And you go

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