The List of Yuri
Murder, She Wrote Episode #
Original Air Date - December
Guests: Richard Beymer, Theodore Bikel, Len Cariou
Synopsis: While in Washington,
Jessica awakens in her hotel to
discover her room has been ransacked and a KGB agent is lying dead on the
Adapted by SarahB
I wondered if I was getting too old for this transient
lifestyle. I was constantly on the move
and always looking over my shoulder. It
had never easy being attached to MI-6, although at times it had been
thrilling. I had seen just about
everything in my day, good and bad. Over
the years, I had managed to have a few flings and one failed marriage, but it
would be nice to settle down someday. Fortunately,
I had acquired a number of good friends over the years. Admittedly, some of those good friends were
in enemy camps. My friend Yuri
Lermentov was no
exception. He was a KGB operative and
should have been my number one enemy, but we had managed to save each other’s
skin on more than one occasion. I
counted him as a close friend.
It seemed as we were nearing the end of the heady days of
spies and intrigue behind the Iron Curtain, but here was an exception.
I found myself in D.C. once again. This time it was a matter of life or death
for mates of mine. Yuri
was on the verge of retirement and he had decided that it was time to cushion
his pension. He had acquired a list of names of MI-6 colleagues of mine under
deep cover in Libya. He was planning on selling the list to the
highest bidder that would no doubt be used for blackmail and certainly
something far worse sinister. If cover
was blown for these fellows, they faced certain death at the hands of the
Libyans. It wasn’t something I could let
go. I was dispatched by Whitehall to try to talk
sense into Yuri because of my
friendship with him. The truth was that
our friendship was on the line. I
couldn’t let him release the list to the wrong hands, even if it meant that I
had to kill him.
I was actually on a rare vacation to Ireland when I was called up for
this duty. It wasn't often that I saw
my cousins in Dublin
and I was a bit cranky to have to abandon the
holiday. But, this emergency took
precedence, even over my rare leisure time with family. From Dublin,
I few to London for a briefing at Whitehall. I then boarded the British Airways flight to
As soon as I landed at Washington Reagan Airport,
I headed to a meeting with Yuri at an
abandoned apartment building near the district. He was there waiting for me. I was surprised at his appearance. It had been some time since we had last met,
and he didn’t seem well. We shook
hands. Despite the seriousness of the
situation, I was still glad to see my old friend.
jeopardized your life with this list,” I said, my voice full of meaning.
“There have been times when I have been more pleased to
see you too, Michael,” Yuri responded.
“That cuts both ways.
This is a pretty chancy game you’re playing. Surely, someone at the embassy knew that you
had access... that you’re not ready for retirement.”
“I don’t think so.
They are too busy worrying about their own futures. Being a good apparatchik doesn’t carry the
guarantees it used to.”
“For us too,” I agreed.
“It’s as if the...structure has gone out of it.”
“And the fun. It’s
“It...or us?” Yuri
I couldn’t help but laugh too. “Well, it sure as hell
isn’t Livorno anymore,” I said.
“Yes, or Frankfurt. Look, Michael,
you think I want to do this? But the
apartment I’m going back to in Kiev
is even smaller and infinitely more dismal than my pension.”
“Come on, Yuri, nobody’s twisting your bloody arm. You’ve had, what? Seventeen pretty cushy
“Cushy? Posing as a
trade representative. Talking up
tractors and wheat while the field agents were piling up dollars in Swiss
“Okay, okay, so Salonika
was a tough break, but you’re alive.”
“Sometimes I wish you hadn’t been there for me,” he said
I pointed out, “But
I was there for you.”
“Yes. You know, Michael, in Moscow,
they’re finally beginning to get it.
Perhaps in twenty years, it will be the next land of opportunity. But I don’t have that much time. Unlike several of my countrymen who managed
to cut themselves a slice of the American pie, I unfortunately do not have a
gift for, eh, standup comedy or shoving a puck around the hockey rink. So, I prefer to do business with you.”
“Okay. Here’s where
it is. I’m not getting a whole lot of cooperation from those twits at Whitehall. They’re all terrified that the list you’re
trying to peddle is a plot to rob the exchequer. What it totals out to is you
gotta give me another twenty four hours.”
buyer wants to close the deal tonight and my flight for Moscow leaves at 8:00 a.m. If you can meet my price tonight, fine.”
My temper rose and I grabbed the collar of his trench
coat. “Damn you, I’ve got a silenced
walther right here in my pocket which if I had any brains in my head I’d be
using right now. Instead, I’ll make you
a promise. If that merchandise is
damaged in any way at all, I swear if I have to follow you to Siberia,
I’ll kill you.”
“Michael, if I
were in your place, I’d probably pull the trigger. And on the whole, I’m not sure it wouldn’t be
preferable to Kiev,”
Yuri replied, his voice in a dead calm.
He turned and left.
I was desperate. I went to the
British Embassy and called Whitehall
again. I had to make another attempt to
to release the funds. I knew I had at
least one more chance to talk to Yuri
later that evening at congressional trade reception.
The trade reception was being held at the venerable Willard Hotel.
It would be attended by various international trade representatives and
government officials. I was under cover
a diamond lobbyist from South
I had charmed a pretty young woman named Bonnie Hartman,
government employee, into taking me as her date. We planned to meet there since I wanted to
save every last second to convince Whitehall
to release funds.
When I walked up to Bonnie,
who looked gorgeous in a teal green gown, she was talking to a young
bloke. He was obviously smitten with her
and was trying to convince her to go out with him. It was nothing to me, but I had to maintain
my assumed identity. I overheard him
accusing her of “having a serious old guy fixation”. I took my queue here to interject some humor
into the situation, and of course, work my charm on the lovely Miss Hartman.
“And bless her little heart for that, too,” I said as I
was walking up. “Michael Preston,
at your service, geriatrically speaking of course.” Bonnie
gave me a big smile.
Neville. Sir Michael
is a lobbyist for the South African Diamond Cartel.”
“Careful with that drink Harry,
I believe they are checking I.D. My
dear?” I said as I lead Bonnie away
from young Harry.
We passed a waiter carrying two flutes of champagne on a
tray so I helped myself to them for us.
I chuckled, “Hated to leave him standing there, poor boy. I mean, I think Harry
will make some post-pubescent teenager very happy. Don’t you?”
We shared some more laughs, then I saw her across the
room. Jessica Fletcher. My heart just about leapt out of my
chest. I stared at her for a minute and
then looked down at my shoes. Don’t get
me wrong, Bonnie was beautiful, but
she was no Jessica Fletcher. She was wearing a black, floor length evening
gown. The top of it was covered in lace
and the skirt was slit up the side, showing just a hint of her leg. She was wearing a double strand of pearl and
pearl and diamond earrings. I never saw her look so beautiful, or sexy. I briefly thought back to my yearning to
settle down. If anybody could get me to
settle down, this would be the woman to do it.
I stole another glance her direction, hoping that Bonnie
“Michael, what is
“Oh...it’s just a woman I know,” I responded, trying to
hide my smile.
“Let me guess. Someone you jilted. A former mistress? An ex-wife?”
“No, no,” I said.
Then I saw that she was talking to Yuri! Oh, Jessica,
darlin’, how do you always manage to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? I
thought to myself. Then I saw Yuri remove a small piece of paper from his jacket
pocket and slip it into a book that was on the table that Jessica
was standing next too. I knew that that
piece of paper must be the list and I had to get over there fast. I took Bonnie’s arm and led her toward
“Come on,” I said.
“Don’t argue, love,” I replied.
As I approached the table, I kept my eye on that
book. I had to get that list
had managed to step away before I could say anything to him. I had a feeling that he was coming to his
senses about the list. At least, I
hoped that was the case. Just then, Jessica noticed me.
Uh oh. “Oh, good
it? Sir Michael
Preston. Splendid to
see you again!” I said as I pulled her away from the man she was talking
“What are you up to, Michael?”
she asked suspiciously.
I kissed her on the cheek and whispered in her ear,
“Jessica, darlin’, I promise you I’ll explain everything to you in good time.”
She gave me one of her looks. I knew I was in trouble. Well, it wouldn't be the first time.
She whispered back to my ear, “Oh no, if you think this is
going to be another San Francisco or Athens...”
I saw Yuri
pushing his way out of the room. “Excuse me,” I said and hurriedly pursued
him. On my way out, I ran into two men
who seemed to be pursuing him as well.
Unfortunately, we collided and Yuri
escaped before I had a chance to confront him.
I made my way out of the reception. I managed to con the desk agent into giving
me Jessica’s room number. I knew that book belonged to her and that the
list was in it. I had to get it from her
no matter what. I went to her room and
picked the lock. I helped myself to a
whiskey and waited for her to return.
There was a miniature marble replica of the Washington Monument
and I picked it up and examined it to kill the time. I looked at my watch. I wondered why Jessica
was staying out so late. I’d have to ask
her a few questions about the man she seemed to be with. I hoped that she wasn’t dating him. He was definitely too dull for her. She was the kind of woman who needed
excitement. I smiled as I wished that I
could convince her that I was the one who could show her that excitement.
Ah, Jessica. I couldn’t wait for her to come in the door
and find me waiting for her. I always
managed to rile her up, but she always forgave me. That was half the fun with Jessica and I had a feeling she enjoyed it. I wondered if the two of us would ever get
together. I had been pining for her for
years, ever since our first meeting in Jamaica. She had the most beautiful blue eyes that I
had ever seen and when she fixed me with one of her looks, well, it was all I
could do but grab her and kiss her passionately. I sighed out loud. I had actually heard rumors that she was
seeing an inspector from New Scotland Yard.
It just figured she’d fall for a Brit and it wouldn’t be me. Still I hoped and could keep on trying to
convince her. Maybe this would be the time that it would finally happen.
But then I had to remind myself why I was really
there. It was life or death for my
Finally, I heard voices outside the door. Jessica
was saying goodnight to Mr. Dull. He was questioning her about me. Hmmmm, jealous, was he? I had to laugh at how Jessica
handled it all. She was a coy one for
sure. I was also relieved to hear her bid him goodnight outside the door.
She opened the door and locked it behind her. She turned around and let out a gasp when she
What are you...?”
“Ah, you were trying to cure your insomnia right? I mean that’s the only reason anyone would
spend an entire evening with that terminally stuffed shirt.”
“Michael, Arthur Prouty
is not what this conversation is about. Now,”
I interrupted her, “At least you had the good sense not to
invite him in.”
“Well, he happens to be a lovely man,” she said.
“You and him? Aw,
Jess,” I said.
there is nothing romantic about my relationship with Arthur. Which certainly doesn’t mean he isn’t a very
attractive man. He’s literate, charming, and principled.”
“And boring.” At
least this confirmed that she was not dating this dullsville.
She pursed her lips at me and sighed. “I can’t believe we’re having this
I loved teasing her like this. “You know Jess, when we’ve got some time, we
really should talk about us,” I said.
“Oh, I know what you’re thinking Jessica,
but you needn’t give that Miss Hartman
a second thought. She was only my ticket
into the reception. And once I saw you
“Will you please stop?”
She took the replica statuette away from me and held it in her hands. I hoped she wouldn't hit it with me. She looked at me sternly, but with those
magical sparkling eyes, “Listen to me.
I’ve had it up to here with your flimflams, your half-truths, and your
secrets. This time it’s going to be
different. Now, I want some answers and
I want them straight.” She set down the
statuette and took a seat across from me .
“Starting right now.”
I took a sip of my whiskey and looked at her for a
moment. “All right, Jessica, let’s start with the book.”
“The book? What book?”
she asked, completely puzzled.
There was no way I was letting her in on this one. It was too dangerous and I couldn’t risk
bringing her in on it. She managed to
convince me that she didn’t have the book.
She walked me out to the hall.
“Goodnight Michael. I’m tired and I’m going to sleep.”
“Well Jess, I guess you’ll have to trust me.”
you’ve asked me to do that one too many times.”
“Believe me, love, it’s better that you don’t know, at
least for now.”
I took her hand, looked in her beautiful eyes for a minute
and then I kissed her cheek. She gave me
an exasperated look. I took my
must have left it downstairs at the reception.
I hoped beyond hope that Prouty picked it up. I’d have search for it
there. I still had to find Yuri as well.
It was going to be a long night.
The next morning, after a fruitless night of searching for
both the book and Yuri, I returned to
the Willard to see Jessica. There
were a number of police cars in front of the hotel. In the lobby, I saw two medics wheeling out a
stretcher holding a body in a bag.
Bloody hell, I said under my breath.
It was never a good sign when cops were in the vicinity of Jessica. She had the uncanny knack of finding
trouble, even without my help. Not
waiting for the elevator, I raced up the stairs two at a time to Jessica’s room.
There were police milling outside her room in the hallway and the door
was open. My heart was pounding in my
chest, and not just from running up the stairs.
I rushed in the door and saw her. Relief flooded me. She was talking to Prouty and another man who
I assumed to be a police detective. I
interrupted just in time to keep her from saying anything about the list.
“Jessica! I just saw the body bag. Thank Heaven!” I said.
“Who are you?” the officer asked.
“Oh excuse me, officer, I’ll explain everything in a
moment.” I pulled Jessica away, “Jessica, about the book, I’ve searched everywhere for
it. Any chance...”
“Book? What book?”
the officer interrupted.
“Just give me a moment,” I said.
“It’s all right,” Jessica
“No, it’s not all right.
Now look. I want to know who you
are and what’s your connection to all of this is,” the officer demanded.
“Would you just give me a moment?” I turned back to Jessica,
“All right, that’s it pal.
Either you’re prepared to tell me now, who you are, why you’re here and
what the hell this is all about, or I’m going to hold you for questioning.”
“Officer I really can’t afford to be detained just now and
unfortunately, I’m not in the position to be to explain why, not at the moment
at any rate.”
“All right pal, that’s it.”
I hauled off and punched him right in the kisser. I ran out onto the balcony and jumped. Thank goodness there was an awning and I was
able fall onto it to flee safely. Oh
brother. I knew I was in for it. Now I was in trouble with the police and
Jessica. I wasn’t sure which was worse.
I spent the rest of the day looking for the bloody book
and avoiding the police. I put in a
secure call to Whitehall
to let them know about Yuri’s
murder. I was finally able to convince
them that this was no hoax. My biggest
problem now was that the list might get into even worse hands. I finally made my way back to the Willard. I
watched for Jessica to return. I had a feeling that they would change her
room and I didn’t want to risk spending too much time in the lobby. I lingered in the shrubs by the parking
lot. I was surprised to see Bonnie
and going. And then I was happy to see Jessica return, even if it with Mr. Dullsville
Prouty and that young buck Nevill. I didn’t know what Jessica
saw in Prouty. At any rate, I followed Jessica into the lobby.
stopped by a man with a briefcase. He
was unknown to me, but he did look a little familiar. She visited with him for a few minutes, which
I observed from a phone booth. I then
realized that he was one of the men that I had collided with the reception the
previous evening. Jessica
was getting involved whether she wanted to or not and against my wishes.
Once Jessica left
the lobby, I watched her enter an elevator and waited for the light above the
elevator to indicate the floor stop. I
ran up the stairs again to the fourth floor and caught up with her just as her
door was closing. I pushed the door and
then she noticed me.
“Michael. Get in here,” she said, obviously
annoyed. “Now, no more nonsense.”
I noticed that the room was in disarray. “This place has been searched.”
“I know that. Michael,”
“Me? Jessica, I’ve been running around town, dodging the
police all day. Uh, hadn’t you better check...see if anything’s missing?”
“If you mean the list, it’s perfectly safe.”
“Thank God.” So she did have the book and the list.
I felt great relief.
“Which is more than I can say for myself,” she said.
“You got that right.
I saw you drive up. And I’m
telling you that you have got to look out for that oaf of a congressman,” I
“Michael, we are
not going to talk...”
“Anybody can tell from the look in the man’s eye that he’s
positively bonkers about you,” I said.
“That, that, that is absolutely ridiculous. Now look...”
Jessica stammered, holding her
hands out in disbelief and wearing an exasperated look.
I walked over to the bar in her suite. I noticed an ice bucket with a bottle of
champagne chilling in it. I was unable
to resist. I popped the cork off the
bottle and poured her a glass and continued, “What are you blind? I’ve known men like that. They are all tea party etiquette, but dull
enough to put a shark to sleep. But
underneath, they’re oilier than Saddam Hussein’s
hair. You’ll see. He’ll wait until your eyes glaze over with
boredom and suddenly, you’ll find yourself on a cruise ship with him, or on one
of those bloody junkets those jokers are always going on all the time.”
I turned and handed her a flute of champagne. She walked over and took it. She promptly set it back down on the bar.
“Michael, Michael, will you please stop?”
“Okay, okay, fine, but don’t way I didn’t warn you.” I took my own glass and clinked it against
hers and took a satisfying sip. I was
enjoying myself very much.
“So, let’s have the list.”
“No,” she said emphatically.
“No. I’ve let you
do it to me again, Michael. I’m not blaming you. You can’t help yourself. I should have learned by now,” she said.
And don’t for goodness sakes keep calling me ‘Jessica,
darlin’. Look, I promised myself over
and over that I was never again going to let you draw me into another one of
your intrigues, into this, this crazy life that you live,”
“Jess, I wouldn’t dream of...” I said.
“But once again, I’ve gone and fallen for your lies, and
your blarney, and that charm you turn on and off like a faucet. But now, I want an explanation. I want the truth.”
I turned away from her and smiled inwardly, So she's fallen for me. But I knew she wouldn't stand for any more double
talk. “Okay, okay, you’re right. Everything your saying is true. Hell, Jess, I guess it’s me I should have
been warning you against,” I admitted, and stalling I might add.
protested, “Michael, you’re doing it
to me again!” She stepped back in front
of me and leveled another stern look at me.
“Now, this list.
What is it a list of? And how
did it get in Arthur’s book? And why are people willing to kill for it?”
“Look, for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t want to get you
involved in a,” I said, avoiding eye contact with her. She was shaking her head. Defeated, I knew I had to tell her. With a sigh, I started tell her about
it. “The list. It’s a list of five names in code, five of my
closest friends, MI-6 spooks like me.
And they’re under deep cover in Libya. In fact, it’s so deep that we can’t warn them
of the danger they are in. The danger of
their being found out."
"You mean if someone sells the list to the Libyans..."
"They'll be killed.
But not until they'll be tortured far beyond the capacities of most
men," I told her with a heavy heart.
"Oh dear," she said, shaking her head. I walked away from her for a moment. I turned back and joined her at the bar.
"You've got to understand Jess, there's more to it
than us being members of the same bloody club.
lost an eye breaking me out of an East German prison the night before I was to
be shot by a firing squad. Ron Priestly.
I was his best man. I'm godfather
to his children. Rather than tell the
bastards my whereabouts in Beirut, he let them do
things to his body I don't even want to think about, much less describe then to
"How awful," she said, putting her hand on
I told her more
about my mates. It felt cathartic
telling her things that I had never told another living person.
"Anyway, Yuri Lermentov
accidentally got his hands on the list.
He happened to be in the embassy communications center when a stray MI-6
burst transmission bounced off the wrong satellite. He recognized the boys' code names and their
"But I thought that sense the cold war ended, the
Russians haven't been any friendlier to the Libyans than we are," Jessica said.
"Well, you got that right. Only, Yuri
figured that there were many people, middle men, with connections in Tripoli
who'd pay handsomely for the list. And
then sell it for bigger money over there."
Jessica said with disgust, "All
of those people trafficking in human lives."
"Yeah, you try not to think of it. And when you do, you kind of rationalize the
fact that a great many more lives are at stake, civilians, millions of
them. Except, every so often I get this
sneaky thought. Maybe we're just doing a
number on ourselves to justify playing cowboys and Indians. At any rate, Yuri
wasn't all that happy with himself for what he was doing and at the last
minute, he had a change of heart, slipped the list into that book that Prouty
gave you." I sighed. "Jess, there's no way you can imagine
how badly I want to get my hands on the miserable son of a..."
She stopped me. "After what he almost did to your
friends, Michael? How can you feel that way?"
"I guess I keep forgetting how hard it is for
civilians to relate to the world I live in.
Let me tell you about Yuri
I filled her in on my "friendship" with Yuri
over the years, especially our scrape in Salonika. She listened carefully and with
understanding. She told me about going
to the police department with Prouty.
Apparently, he had recognized me from a previous trip to Whitehall
so my cover was blown. To make things
worse, both of our finger prints were on the marble statuette which was used to
kill Yuri. We drained the bottle of champaign on the
terrace of her suite. Finally, we
retreated back to the comfort of the living room, where I finished filling her
in on the list. Our relationship had
reached a new level. This dear lady, so
beautiful and so brilliant, was more of a friend to me than I had ever
imagined. She listened when I most
"So Mr. Lermentov broke into my
room to retrieve the list to make sure it didn't fall into the wrong
"That's the way I read it Jess. And someone followed him, and..." I said
with a sigh. "Yuri
was as much my friend as those fellows in Libya."
Isn't it possible that there are other copies?" Jessica asked.
no. But there could be. Whitehall
sent a man into Libya to warn the
others, but that's going to take a few days.
Meanwhile, they aren't going to be safe as long as one copy of the damn
thing is out here and neither are you."
Suddenly, the door was kicked open and the police barged
in. I jumped up and shielded Jessica with my body.
"Don't even move Haggarty, or you're dead meat."
cried out to him in protest.
"I don't want to hear about it Mrs. Fletcher. Mr.
you're under arrest for the murder of Yuri Lermentov,
for resisting arrest, for assaulting a police officer, for unlawful
flight. And, with a little luck, illegal
entry into the U.S. Cuff
him," he said. "And you dear lady, I ought to be running you
in for harboring a fugitive."
"You don't listen, do you Mrs. Fletcher?"
Jessica stood up
for me. "And if I may say so, you
don't listen very well yourself. You've
got the wrong man. The person who
searched these rooms is very likely the killer."
He laughed, "And you don't quit either do you? You'll tell me just about anything to take
the heat off this bozo, won't you?"
Of course, Jessica
was not about to give up. "And I'll
tell you something else. Both Bonnie Hartman
and Charles Lawton Standish were here in this hotel just before I
She had him there. Blaisdell
said on his radio, "This is Blaisdell.
I want a finger printing unit up here in Mrs. Fletcher's
suite on the double." He turned
back to Jessica, "I'm still
taking Haggarty in. And you, Mrs.
don't even think about leaving town and don't touch anything."
I was finally able to get a word of warning in to
Jessica. I said, "Jessica, for God's
sake, be careful. Five people, five lives, and yours hang in the balance."
Blaisdell said, "Let's go, come on."
I turned back and looked at Jessica
one last time and then we were out. I
knew that she would help me as much as she could, but I was also worried about
her. Once we were at the police
department, Blaisdell put me in an interview room. I didn't think he intended to book me,
especially concerning my MI-6 status. I
spent the day pacing the small room.
Finally late in the afternoon, Blaisdell came in.
"Well Haggarty, let's go. Mrs. Fletcher
thinks she has it figured out and is setting the trap as we speak."
"I knew she would figure out. You should have listened to her from the
start," I said smugly.
"Just keep your trap shut. She hasn't proved anything yet."
We burst into Jessica's
suite just in time to keep young Harry
Neville from using
his revolver on Jessica and
Prouty. I sighed in relief. Blaisdell grabbed Neville and lead him out
of the room. He was put into a squad
car. Prouty, Jessica
and I rode together with Blaisdell in a separate unmarked police car. On the way to the station, Jessica filled us in on how she came to suspect Harry.
"Yesterday, when Harry
and Arthur brought me back to my
hotel, we talked about our books. We all
wondered why it was that people seemed to want Arthur's
book. Now, Michael,
this was before you told me about the list.
Harry joked that maybe there it
was a collector's edition or there was a clue in it and then referred to a clue
in my latest book," she said.
"But Jess, how could Harry
have known anything about Yuri or the
"Well, he mentioned a clue from my book. When I looked at my stack of books today, I
remembered that I only had five copies left and now there were only four. I called Arthur
to find out if he had lent Harry the
copy I had given him. When he hadn't, I
knew that Harry had been in my room
and taken my book. See, these are advance copies. They
haven't been released for sale yet.."
Prouty asked, "But that doesn't account for the
list. How would Harry
know about that?"
"Well, I wasn't sure about it. But the other day in your office, I noticed
that Harry opened your mail. So today, I took a chance that he would open
it again. I sent him the list in via a
messenger service. That's the point when
he knew that I knew that he was involved and he came to my hotel to take care
of me. And Michael,
that's when you and Lt. Blaisdell
saved the day."
"No, Jess, I think it's you who saved the day."
"Thank you, Michael,"
she said, patting my hand.
We gathered in Blaisdell's office.
"We found these in his apartment. Apparently, he's been taping every
conversation coming into or out of your office over the last three years,"
Blaisdell said to Prouty.
"My God," Prouty said.
"That's how you found out about the list, isn't it Harry? The
other day, when I was in the office, a Mr. Kesmek
barged in when I was in with Arthur. Then, you took a call from Kesmek's attorney
Charles Lawton Standish. You must have
heard them discussing the purchase of the list.
He wanted to get his hands on it terribly bad. Kesmek even directed Standish
to buy it from me. He offered me a
million dollars. Anyway, Harry heard both sides of the conversation via the
tape," Jessica surmised.
"We also found these leather gloves in Neville's
apartment. The leather print on them matches a pattern we found on the marble
statuette that was used to kill Lermentov," Blaisdell said.
Neville spoke up
here, "I didn't know all that much about the list except for the big money
involved. But then at the trade
reception, I happened to pick up on the looks between Kesmek and Lermentov and
when Lermentov slipped something into the book...well anyway, after the
reception, I saw the headwaiter give the book to Mr. Prouty
and when he got on the elevator..."
"You knew it would be in my room and you were already there when Mr. Lermentov
let himself in."
"I just found what I thought was the right book. I bumped into something and then he saw
me. I had no choice."
"The hell you didn't..." I said.
Hartman must have
been another one who saw Lermentov get rid of the list," Blaisdell said.
"You know, Arthur,
you and I must have been the only two people in that room that didn't see
I shook my head, "Poor sweet lass, that Miss Hartman,
well, I guess she just got in over her head."
"Well, so far, all we've got her for is illegal
trespassing in Mrs.
suite. We haven't picked her up
Prouty interjected now, and said smugly, "I doubt if
it will stick Lieutenant. While Mr. Haggarty
believed that he was using Miss Hartman
to get into the reception, she knew exactly who he was."
"Now wait a minute.
That young lady bought my act without so much as a flicker of the stars
that I put in her eyes," I bragged.
"Mr. Haggarty, Miss Hartman
works for US intelligence. And while she
was searching Jessica's room, she was
trying to determine who was doing what to whom
Much to my chagrin, I heard Jessica
laugh. Ignoring them both, I picked up
the list from Blaisdell's desk and examined it.
there is one thing. With all due
respect, I have to say by sending this, you were taking one hell of a chance
with five men's lives."
"Oh, but that's not the real list, Michael. I
scribbled that one in the messenger's office.
The original list is in the hotel safe." She flashed me a huge smile.
Later that evening, I took Jessica
to a celebratory dinner at Butterfield9 in the district. It was an elegant restaurant with a modern
menu. We extended the evening by
enjoying a walk around the mall. I never
took enough time to admire the beauty of all the monuments. At night, they were especially
beautiful. We chatted about our lives
and caught up. It was probably the first
time that I made it through any amount of time without shamelessly flirting
with her. I wanted her to know how much
she meant to me as a friend, yet somehow I was unable to say it. Somehow, I think she understood. We said goodnight after a nightcap in the
Round Robin Bar at The Willard. It was
among the finest evenings I had ever enjoyed.
The next morning, I escorted Jessica
through the busy lobby of the Willard
Hotel to the waiting
taxi that would take her the airport and out of my life again.
"Well, I guess poor Yuri
got his wish. He doesn't have to go back
to Kiev after all. So, listen Jess, you have no idea how
relieved I am I helped you see the light about that Prouty fellow. Now, about you and me..."
"Oh come on Michael,"
she said with a laugh.
please, hear me out. We've simply got to
start spending more time together. And I
have the perfect plan. You see I have to be in Singapore
the day after tomorrow," I said.
"And you need a cover."
"And I need a cover.
And you'd be perfect. There's
absolutely zero risk. And it would be a
great chance for you and I to, um..." I said, raising my eyebrows and
giving her a wink. She laughed and
pretended to elbow me. She gave me a
lingering hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Goodbye Jess, until we meet again. If the luck o' the Irish is with me, it'll be
sooner than later." She laughed
again and got in the taxi. I stood
there and waved goodbye to her, letting out a sigh.