Home > Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42)(6)

Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42)(6)
J.D. Robb

“Where are you?”

“At his grandfather’s house. Mr. Mira’s grandfather. Or it was. It’s half Mr. Mira’s, half his cousin’s—former Senator Edward Mira—who was also attacked, and is currently missing. I need to go through the house here to make sure he’s not dead and stuffed in a closet, then I have to talk to some people on the way home. I don’t know how long—”

“Give me the address there.”

“Roarke, it’s in SoHo. There’s no need for you to come all the way down here on a night like this.”

“You can give me the address or I can find it for myself. Either way, I’m on my way.”

She gave him the address.

She’d gone through the top floor—both wings—before he got there. And could admit, seeing him and the go-cup of coffee he held out lifted her mood.

“I was going to make dinner.”

Those wonderful lips curved, then brushed hers. “Were you now?”

“Hand to God. Nothing cooking at the shop, so I was heading out, figured I might beat you home, and set up wine and candles and spaghetti right in the dining room.”

“I’ll treasure the thought.”

“Mira caught me. You don’t see her seriously shaken often, and she was. Mr. Mira contacted her when he came to—took the bash downstairs in the study—and asked her to bring me.”

“Of course he did. He’s an intelligent man.”

“I’ll give you the background as I look for possibly dead Edward, but tell me first, Mr. Buys the Entire World and Its Satellites, if you were going to buy this place, what would you give for it?”

“I haven’t done a full walk-through, but from what I’ve seen it’s beautifully preserved and maintained. Likely built in the 1930s. Round about six thousand square feet, and in this neighborhood? I expect I’d offer about ten. If I were selling, I’d ask fifteen.”

“That’s million?”

“It is, yes.”

“That’s a big bunch of money.”

“Do you fancy it? Does Dennis want to sell?”

“No—I mean, sure, it’s a nice house, but we have one. I’m fine with one. And no, he doesn’t want to sell, which is part of the deal here.”

She filled him in as she searched, knew he’d take in every detail even when he stopped to admire a piece of furniture, some woodwork, or a ceiling medallion.

“I could get twenty, with the right buyer, and careful staging,” he mused. “But back to the matter at hand. You know the senator’s a complete burke—at least from my personal leanings.”

“He’s a complete burke from my perspective from what I got out of Mira, and what Mr. Mira didn’t say. But it’ll be nice to find him alive.”

“Agreed.”

With Roarke she walked back to the study. It smelled of sweeper dust and chemicals now.

“I knew Bradley Mira, a little.”

“Get out.”

“A very little,” Roarke added. “And mostly by reputation. He was respected and admired. Have you run his background?”

“No, not immediately applicable.”

“The prosecuting attorney for New York—before your time and mine. I believe there was some family money, and he made more. He became Judge Mira, and retired more than a decade ago—likely closer to two decades, if memory serves. He spent the last part of his life doing good works, as you see here from all the plaques displayed. An admirable man who, by all accounts, lived a good and productive life.”

“Mr. Mira loved him, that comes through loud and clear. Twenty million?”

With those wild and canny blue eyes, Roarke scanned. “With the right buyer, yes.”

“Half of that’s big motivation to find the right buyer. I need to talk to this Realtor, which means I have to talk to whoever made the appointment for Edward Mira. But now, I want to talk to the housekeeper and the wife. Housekeeper’s on the way to the wife.”

“Why don’t I drive, and you can run backgrounds?”

“It’s a plan. Let me check on the canvass first.”

Sila Robarts lived with her husband of twenty-seven years a few blocks away in the second-floor apartment of a converted townhome. She ran a cleaning company, Maid to Order, while her husband owned and operated We’re Handy—a handyman business.

They’d raised two children, both of whom worked within the two companies, and had three grandchildren.

“They own the place.” Eve nodded at the white brick townhouse after Roarke parked. “Use the first floor for their businesses, live on the second.” She pressed the buzzer for the apartment at the front entrance.

A woman’s voice, brisk and impatient, said, “Yes?”

“NYPSD, Mrs. Robarts. We need to speak with you.”

“What the hell for? Let me see ID. Hold it up for the camera.”

Eve held up her badge.

“What happened? Is one of my kids hurt?”

“No, ma’am. We just need to speak with you. Dennis Mira gave me your name and address.”

“Mr. Dennis? Is he okay? What’s this— Hell.” The woman cut herself off, buzzed them in.

A hallway cut the first floor in half, with doors to the maid service and the handyman business on either side. Another door at the back was marked PRIVATE.

It, too, buzzed open.

They took the stairs up to the second floor, and a pair of double doors. One of them swung open.

“Are you sure Mr. Dennis is okay? Who are you?”

“NYPSD,” Eve repeated, and once again offered her badge. “Lieutenant Dallas.”

“Dallas? Dallas?” The woman had enormous eyes of bitter-chocolate brown and hair nearly the same color piled in a knot on top of her head. At the name, the eyes went big as planets. “Roarke? Dallas? I saw the vid, I listened to the book. Oh my sweet Jesus. Mel! Mel! Get out here. Something terrible’s happened to the Miras.”

“Mrs. Robarts, calm down. The Miras are fine.”

“You’re Homicide,” Sila snapped, pulling at the neck of a sweatshirt bearing her company’s logo. “You think I don’t know that?” she demanded as footsteps pounded in from the rear of the apartment. “You work with Miss Charlotte.”

“What happened to them?” The man who ran in moved fast for a big guy. He had to be two-fifty spread over about six foot two. An Arena Ball player’s build. “Was there an accident?”

“I think they were murdered!”

“What? What?” The big guy grabbed his hysterical wife, and looked about to join her in the wailing parade. “Oh my God. My God! How—”

“Quiet!” Eve boomed it over the hysteria. “Both the Miras are fine, and probably sitting down eating dinner and maybe having a really big drink. Now everybody just calm the hell down, and sit the hell down!”

Tears rolled out of those bitter-chocolate eyes. “They’re all right? You swear it?”

“If it’ll stop the madness I’ll sign an oath on it in my own blood.”

“Okay, sorry.” She swiped at her cheeks. “Sorry, Mel.”

“What the hell, Sila?”

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