Home > Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(7)

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(7)
Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton

Werner looked a little uncertain at that. “Yes. I think he just went off the deep end.”

“With six hundred thousand dollars? Why wouldn’t he take more?”

“Maybe it was all he could get his hands on, on short notice.”

“But why the short notice? If he ran off, he could do that at any time, on his own schedule. Was something pressuring him?”

Werner laid his hands, palms up, on the table. “We just don’t know.”

Riley tried to restrain herself, but the question just couldn’t be held in. “Have you gone to the police?”

Werner looked at her. “You’re familiar with my family?”

“Of course,” Riley said. “Siblings who occupy the highest seats of power in America. You and your brothers are called the Three Musketeers of Twenty-First-Century America.”

Werner nodded. “Problem is, there are four of us.”

Riley knew the story. The Grunwald brothers had grown up in Washington, the sons of the legendary Bertram Grunwald, the Harvard professor who went on to become chairman of the Federal Reserve and who raised his sons to excel at all costs. Professor Grunwald died seven years ago, having succeeded in pushing his boys beyond his or their wildest dreams.

Werner graduated at the top of his class at Princeton and went on to conquer Wall Street. Scaling up the corporate ladder of the stodgy old banking concern of Blane Brothers, he had transformed it into one of the most powerful investment firms in the world. Before he’d reached fifty, he had added his name to it and made it his own personal fiefdom.

More impressively, there was Hans, who had gone to West Point. He had distinguished himself in the field and became commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Two years after he achieved the rank of four-star general, he’d been picked to run the National Security Agency. This was one of the few appointments made by the current administration that had sailed through Congress without a murmur of protest.

As if running the NSA and one of the world’s major banks wasn’t enough for the Grunwald family, there was Manfred Grunwald, the judge. Manny graduated with honors from Yale Law School. He served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist before starting his own law firm. Now Manny was about to be sworn in as associate justice of the Supreme Court.

The Grunwalds had conquered America.

Except for the youngest brother, Günter.

Günter hadn’t gone to Yale or Princeton or West Point. Günter had gone to Northwestern. He went on to be a successful trader on Wall Street and had been hired by his brother to work at Blane-Grunwald, where he had made millions as head of the Investment Management Division.

Millions, not billions. Head of a division, not head of an empire. A success, not a legend. When Riley googled Günter Grunwald, all she got was information on his brothers.

“You might say that Günter is the black sheep of the family,” Werner said with a sigh. “The underachiever.”

“And now, apparently, the felon,” Emerson said.

“ ‘Felon’ is such a harsh word,” Werner said. “And this is a very delicate matter. My brother Manny is about to be sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.”

“And this would be a bad time for a scandal to break?” Emerson asked.

“The worst time.”

“So Günter gets to disappear with impunity.”

“Not impunity,” Werner said. “We would like to bring him back here, but without the involvement of law enforcement or the press.”

“In other words, without anyone knowing about it,” Emerson said.

Werner rose, indicating that the meeting was concluded. “Yes, I suppose that covers it.”

Emerson nodded decisively. “All right, I’ll do it.”

Werner looked surprised. “Do what?”

“I’ll help you find Günter.”

Werner looked around the room. He was apparently so confused he even looked to Riley for clarification.

“I don’t think Mr. Grunwald was asking for your help,” Riley said to Emerson.

“Of course he was. Why else would he tell me all this? In fact, I’m quite good at finding lost things. Not my keys or the television remote, but other things of more interest. My high school aptitude test scored me very high as a finder of lost objects. And I once found a man bobbing about in the Indian Ocean.”

Emerson stood, stuck his hand out, and Werner, looking a little dazed, mechanically shook it.

“If you feel I need to be compensated for my time you can make my payment out to your favorite charity,” Emerson said to Werner. “I assume Günter’s office is next to yours?”

“Yes,” Werner said, puzzled. “How did you know that?”

“He’s your brother. You’d give him the second-best office. Nice, but without the view of the Capitol. Not because you like him or feel compelled out of family responsibility, but because one must keep up appearances.”

Emerson walked out of Werner’s office and into Günter’s office. Werner followed him. Riley followed Werner.

The office was nearly as big as Werner’s. Though Werner’s was decorated with austere Danish Modern simplicity, Günter’s décor was baronial, with heavy furniture, dark wood paneling, and full brocade curtains on the windows. Riley almost expected to see Rumpole of the Bailey sitting in the embossed leather chair at the monstrous desk.

Emerson stood in the middle of the room, turning slowly around, as if he were a camera, taking it all in.

“There are no mementos, no personal photographs here,” he said.

“His wife came in a few days ago and may have removed them,” Werner said. “I think she’s given up hope that he’ll return.”

“Did Günter have an assistant?”

“Maxine Trowbridge,” Werner said. “She’s just one office away.”

Emerson gave one last sweeping look around and went to the door. “I’d like to speak to Maxine.”

“Of course,” Werner said, leading the way.

Emerson paused at the open doorway and looked in at Maxine.

“Emerson Knight, here,” he said. “Could I talk with you for a few moments?”

Maxine was in her midthirties. Her hair was blond, pulled back at the nape of her neck, and secured with a simple gold clip. Her makeup was tasteful and perfectly applied but unable to hide the dark circles under her eyes. Her conservative designer suit was a snug fit, as if Maxine had recently gained weight. Stress, Riley thought. She’d seemed close to Günter when Riley was interning, and now that Günter was MIA she had to be worried.

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