The Job (Fox and O'Hare #3)(9) by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

“I work for the Demirkan Foundation. Chief Investigator Semir Atalay of the Emniyet Genel Müdürlügü, our police department, and Bayan Ceren Demirkan, the director of the Foundation, are awaiting you at the museum. They are most eager to see you. Please come along.”

Kate followed him out of the building and onto the tarmac, where a black helicopter was waiting. The tulip and dagger emblem was splashed across its side, and a red carpet led to the steps. They boarded without ceremony, and the helicopter lifted up and headed out over the Bosphorus.

Erdin pointed out the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. “These are our national treasures,” he said, his voice coming through Kate’s headset. “They were long ago constructed as symbols of faith, wealth, and power. They are now open to the public.”

“I know all about them,” Kate said. “I saw a special on the Travel Channel, but they’re even more amazing in person, with the morning sun shining on them.”

The chopper followed the Bosphorus Strait toward a huge suspension bridge. Just before they reached the bridge, the helicopter veered sharply to the west, and flew over a large waterfront villa.

“This is the Aykut Demirkan Museum,” Erdin told Kate. “It’s in a yali, a summer house that has belonged to the Demirkans for many generations.”

Kate had grown up on a bunch of army bases, and her summer house experience was a tent in the woods. The Demirkan summer house was huge. Four stories, with ornate marble and gold trimmings.

The helicopter fluttered down onto the lawn, not far from a tall woman wearing a white dress and a short man in an ill-fitting gray suit. The welcoming committee, Kate thought, waiting for the helicopter to wind down before she disembarked and walked to the man and woman.

“I’m Special Agent Kate O’Hare,” she said, offering her hand to the man, who had a high, shiny brow and a wispy gray-flecked goatee.

“Chief Inspector Atalay,” he said. “I look forward to working with you.” He turned toward the woman beside him. “This is Ceren Demirkan. She runs her family’s foundation, which owns this museum and the collection it contains.”

Ceren offered her hand. She had long, delicate fingers, and pale, glowing skin that gave the middle-aged woman an almost ethereal quality.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Ceren said. “I understand you’re the expert on Nicolas Fox.”

“I’ve spent a lot of years chasing him,” Kate said.

“You are also the only one who has ever captured him. And if you did it once, you can do it again.”

Kate was beginning to see the dynamic at work here, and why the Bureau’s legal attaché had been able to clear her travel so quickly. Ceren thought Kate was the one and only magician who could snag Fox and reclaim the lost goblet. Chief Inspector Atalay didn’t look as convinced.

Ceren led Kate and Atalay to the museum.

“I’m sure you’ve noticed the family crest displayed everywhere,” Ceren said. “The tulip symbolizes the flowering of culture, art, and architecture in the Ottoman Empire during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the period represented by the majority of the pieces in our collection. Our ancient ancestor Aykut Demirkan was a sipahi, what you’d consider a medieval knight. It is by virtue of his fortitude, bravery, and business acumen that our family grew and spread across Europe, much like the tulip. The kilij, or saber, represents our family’s, and our foundation’s, enduring patriotism, strength, and determination.”

Ceren walked past the main entrance and took them to the side of the building where police tape cordoned off an area around a fire exit. The steel double doors appeared to have been forced open. An armed uniformed police officer guarded the door.

“This is where Nicolas Fox broke in two nights ago,” Chief Inspector Atalay said. “He forced open the door with a crowbar.”

The nature of the crime matched the simplistic approach of the Gleaberg job, Kate thought. It bore no resemblance to the audacious, precisely planned heists that were the trademark of Nick Fox.

“Where were the guards and patrols?” Kate asked.

“There weren’t any,” Ceren replied. “Naturally, we have guards during the day when people are going through the museum and could steal or vandalize items in the collection. But at night, we rely upon state-of-the-art alarm systems that include motion detectors, heat sensors, infrared beams, and complete video surveillance of the interior and exterior of the building. All the alarms worked perfectly and the police were here within five minutes, but by then it was already over.”