Home > Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(10)

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(10)
Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton

She leaned forward. “Excuse me? Mr. Knight?”

He didn’t respond so she picked a couple kumquats off a nearby tree and pitched them at him. The first one sailed past his ear. The second bounced off his forehead. He opened his eyes, stretched, and came off the table.

“The Siddhar sends his salutations.”

“The Siddhar?”

“Yes. Thiru Kuthambai Siddhar, the nineteenth to bear that exalted title. I’ve studied with him from time to time on Nancowry Island, a tiny spot of land in the northeast Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Now that my responsibilities dictate that I live here, I’ve had to discontinue my studies with the Siddhar, but I still commune with him every morning.”

“Astral projection?”


Riley wasn’t sure if she was relieved or disappointed. “I thought maybe you were talking to him while you were on the table.”

“That was a simple yoga relaxation exercise. I find it helpful to periodically clear my mind.”

“An excellent use of time,” Riley said. “After you get it empty you can pick and choose the information you want to put back in.”


“I was kidding,” Riley said.

Emerson snatched a gray sweatshirt off the floor, shook it, and a lizard fell out. “I wasn’t. That’s why you’re here. To collect and preserve all the worthless bits and pieces of information deemed too insignificant to be returned to my brain.”

“Now you’re kidding,” Riley said.

“Yes, now I’m kidding, although there is an element of truth to it.” He slipped the sweatshirt on over his navy T-shirt and grabbed his rucksack. “Come along, Miss Moon. We’ll take the Mustang this time. Larry used to like to drive the Mustang on weekends.”

“I’m not Larry and this isn’t the weekend.”

“More’s the pity,” he said, and he disappeared behind the ferns.

Emerson’s Mustang was a green ’68 GT Fastback, just like the one Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. For all Riley knew, it was the one McQueen drove. Talk at her parents’ dinner table was that McQueen always regretted not driving the Mustang off the set and keeping it for himself. He’d searched for years and never found it, so who was to say where the car resided.

Riley drove the car off the property and headed south through Rock Creek. This was a muscle car, like her father’s GTO, and it felt good to be behind the wheel.

“Where are we going?” she asked Emerson.

“To Günter Grunwald’s house. I want to ask his wife a few questions. Take the George Washington Parkway. I’ll tell you where to turn.”

“Did you call and tell her we were coming?”

“And lose the element of surprise?”

Riley looked at her watch. “It’s eight-thirty. Irene Grunwald doesn’t impress me as an early riser.”

“Do you know her?” Emerson asked.

“I met her once. At the office. Let’s just say I’d call first.”

“I met her, too. At my father’s funeral. She seemed rather distant. You may be right. I’ll consider calling.”

Riley drove past the golden statues of the improbably muscular horses and riders that guarded the entrance to the Arlington Memorial Bridge. She crossed the Potomac and turned onto the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Riley looked out at the quaint redbrick townhouses of Alexandria, and eventually they gave way to a densely wooded parkway with the broad Potomac River sparkling on her left.

Günter’s house was on the riverside, off Southdown Road. It was a large Colonial with black shutters and professional landscaping. Riley parked in the curved driveway and turned to Emerson for further instructions.

“Now what?” Riley said. “Do we get out and ring her doorbell?”

“You suggested we call first,” Emerson said. “So you should call.”

“But we’re already here.”

“Does that matter?”

“Yes. We can’t call from the driveway. We should have called a half hour ago. It’ll be like we’re stalking her if we call now.”


“Yes. You wouldn’t call a girl and tell her you’re waiting outside her apartment, would you? She’d think you were deranged.”

“That explains a lot,” Emerson said, getting out of the car.

He walked to the front door and swung the little pineapple-shaped door knocker. No one answered. He tried the door knocker again, waited two beats, and took off around the side of the house.

“Hey!” Riley whispered, tiptoeing after him. “Psssst! What are you doing? You can’t just go wandering around somebody’s yard!”

“Of course I can,” Emerson said. “Look at me. I’m doing it.”

“But what if she sees you?”

“Then my goal will have been achieved.”

Emerson reached the back of the house and stopped short, hands on hips, taking it all in. It was a large yard, landscaped into a formal garden that sloped down to the river. There was a dock at the river’s edge and a large sailboat tied up to the dock.

Irene Grunwald stood in the middle of the yard with her back to Emerson and Riley. She had a spade in her hand, and she was looking into a freshly dug hole.

“Stupid saint,” she said to herself. “I hate these stupid saints.”

Irene was silver blond, in her midforties, and professionally toned. She was dressed in creased tan chinos, a pastel-collared shirt, and fashionable work gloves, presumably to preserve her manicure. Martha Stewart would have approved.

Riley elbowed Emerson and made a gesture to indicate that he should alert Irene of their presence. Emerson cleared his throat. Irene gave a yelp, dropped her spade, and whirled around with her hand over her heart.

“Emerson Knight?” Irene said, squinting at Emerson. “Good Lord, you scared the bejeepers out of me. I didn’t hear you drive up.”

“Are you digging for buried treasure?” Emerson asked.

“Hardly. My gardener was preparing a flower bed for mums when he dug up a plaster statue of a saint and freaked out. He said it was a bad omen, crossed himself a dozen times, and took off. And it’s not the first time this has happened.”

Emerson looked into the hole. “Saint Nicholas,” he said. “I’d know him anywhere.”

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