What’s the Opera got to do with it?
I had hoped never to see Rodby again, and yet here I was in that oppressively warm wood polish-smelling office of his, sitting uncomfortably opposite him, a very large and clear desk between us.
In all the time I’d known him, and those visits to his office, there had never been anything on it. Not even a phone.
The last time I was in this position, to inform him of my retirement, I’d been reluctant to put the resignation envelope on the pristine surface.
Significantly, it was a month to the day after I left Larry’s mother’s house in Sorrento.
The day after I went with Cecilia to her audition, and she smashed it, getting the role from a rather astonished casting director, and director. He was calling it a possible break-out performance, in a whole different language that I didn’t understand.
That same night I found Juliet dining alone in the hotel restaurant and told her the good news, but her brother had already called her. We had dinner, and it could have been more, but there was that Cecilia thing in the back of her mind so we parted as friends.
And at a loose end, Venice no longer hold any significance for me, I moved back to London.
I should have gone to Paris. There, it would have been harder for Alfie to find me.
He had been giving me the ‘come back’ look, one that I had taken a long time to learn how to ignore.
Seeing he wasn’t making any impact, he said, “They found Larry.”
An enigmatic statement. Who found Larry?
“The Italian police recovered the body, in a little-used area of Lake Como. No signs of physical damage, not shot or stabbed, but apparently, he died of natural causes. We’re still waiting for a definitive coroner’s report. You never really elaborated on what happened at his mother’s house.”
My report was short and lacked detail, more notable for what I didn’t say rather than what I did.
“Nothing to tell. Brenda just told him his days of running the organization were over, she and Jaime Meyers had collaboratively taken over, and things would be different. I notice several other hard-line criminals have been taken off the streets since, so Inspector Crowley’s arrangement with her is working. A win-win situation. And you don’t have to deal with Larry anymore.”
“That’s the problem. If something is too good to be true, it generally is. I have to wonder what has replaced him.”
“I’m retired sir. No longer interested. Why am I here?”
I could see he had more, possibly to pique my interest, but just shrugged.
“Nothing of any importance. I thought you might want to know what happened to Larry. And Martha wants me to go to the opera tonight and she specifically asked me to ask you, and as you know she does not take no for an answer.”
I shrugged. He was right about his wife, a force of nature to be reckoned with. I had met her several times, and she had been intrigued with Violetta and had been devastated when she learned of her death.
“Then I guess I’d better dust off the monkey suit.”
“Good. I’ll text you where and when and send a driver to pick you up.”
© Charles Heath 2022