The Blood Promise: A Hugo Marston Novel

The Blood Promise: A Hugo Marston Novel by Mark Pryor Page A

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Authors: Mark Pryor
my word that I will do everything I can to be discreet, assuming I am a part of any ongoing investigation.”
    Tourville shook his hand. “I know you will. I trust you, Hugo, and I am also sorry things have worked out this way. Perhaps you can quickly solve this other murder and we can resume our business.” But he didn’t sound hopeful.
    “If I can, I’ll let you know how things are going. And I’m sure Ambassador Taylor will be in touch, maybe even Senator Lake himself.”
    “Maybe. An interesting man, that Senator Lake. Do you really think he has a chance to be your president?”
    “Anything’s possible.” Hugo shrugged and smiled. “After all, America is the land of opportunity, and pretty much anyone can try and become president.”
    “We’re not quite that naïve, though, are we? We both know it’s the money that counts as much as the person. Without the money, well, look at my sister. Potential for greatness, but once the people with the money decided she wasn’t worth supporting, whether they were right or not, her career was over. We’re just lucky she had other talents, other things she could do.”
    “True. And she seems to be doing fine.”
    Tourville was staring at the ground and he was silent for a moment, before looking up. “What? Ah yes, doing fine. That’s the thing about people, you never really know, do you?”
    Hugo thought of Tom, the alcoholic who’d apparently given up booze with a snap of his fingers. “Very true,” he said, “you never really know for sure.”
    Tourville turned and headed back to the house, a tall man weighed down by the disappointments and frustrations of the past few days, Hugo thought. And of the possible embarrassments to come, if that fingerprint really did lead police back to the chateau.
    Hugo’s car had been driven back to Paris by Special Agent Emma Ruby when Senator Lake left, so he rode with Tom and Garcia. Tom, who’d taken a late-night taxi to the chateau, grumbled but put himself in the back seat of the Frenchman’s Renault.
    “There’s a reason no other country in the entire world buys French cars,” he said. “You want me to tell you what that reason is?”
    “Be quiet, Tom,” Garcia said. “One more complaint and I’ll drop you at the train station. Maybe a couple of miles away from it, so you can appreciate the countryside a little.”
    Hugo smiled at the banter but his mind was on the staff interviews, such as they were. “Raul, how many statements did we get in the end? And by statements,” he added, “I mean complete rejections.”
    “By my calculations, we spoke to four of the seven staff who were working that day, and only Tourville himself from the family. As far as I know, there were eighteen outside guests we’ll still need to approach.”
    “No Vibert, Natalia, Alexandra?”
    “Vibert wouldn’t come out of the library, and the two women are in Paris for the day. At least, that’s according to Tourville. The cook, whatever her name was, confirmed that—not that it matters much.”
    “So,” Hugo said, “pretty much a complete waste of our time.”
    “Well,” Tom said lightly, “I wouldn’t go that far.”
    Hugo turned in his seat. He recognized that tone, the way a father recognizes the guilty tone of a mischievous son. “Tom, what did you do?”
    Tom patted a duffel bag on the seat next to him. “You know, sometimes I feel like I just don’t get the appreciation I deserve.”
    Hugo turned and looked forward again as they eased onto the main road. “Here we go. Fine, Tom, I’ll play. Why don’t you feel appreciated?”
    “Oh, that reminds me,” Tom said. “Can we stop somewhere and buy some packing materials?”
    “Packing materials?” Garcia asked, with a worried look at Hugo. Is he mad?
    “Yes, packing materials. For the glasses I borrowed from Tourville’s kitchen.”
    “The . . . glasses?” Hugo turned around again. “What the hell are you talking about?”
    “The water glasses,” Tom

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