HAVE you, Will?” Len called.
Will stood up and walked to face them. His slight limp was always noticeable to Kate now.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the blighter. I was in the wings one night when I noticed a chap take his seat in the front row side aisle just before Lennie began his routine. There was something odd about him.” He paused for a moment.
“I couldn’t place it at first, then it struck me. He never looked at Lennie. He didn’t look at the stage once. His head was bent down under a brown trilby hat and I could see he had a notepad and was writing fast.” Will looked at Lennie. “I’ve seen him twice now, and when you go off, Lennie, so does he.”
There was a roar of approval.
“Well done, Will,” Lennie called. “I owe you a drink, old son.”
Nesbo now took over.
“When Will told me about this, I arranged for someone quick and agile to follow this man. So I asked Fabio to get on his tail. Fabio, tell us what you saw,” Nesbo finished.
“Si, signor. I follow this man. He go to a public house. This man meet another man a fat man.” Fabio extended his arms across his stomach. “They look at a notebook. And then . . .” Fabio paused for dramatic effect “. . . the fat man gives an envelope and puts notebook in his pocket. Money, I think.”
“Yes, I think so, too,” Lennie agreed enthusiastically. “The fat chap might be Kenny Wakefield. He’s a theatrical agent and a very shady character.”
Kate squeezed Lennie’s arm.
“I knew Nesbo would catch him.”
Nesbo addressed his colleagues.
“Well, we know who he is, and now we have to deal with him. I think you can leave most of that to me.” He turned and looked at Kate. “And, of course, my beautiful assistant, Zara.”
Kate’s eyes opened wide. What would she have to do?
* * * *
For the next three nights, under Nesbo’s instructions, Will Griffiths waited in the theatre foyer among the crowds arriving for each evening performance. Then he spotted his quarry: a thin-faced, rain-coated individual in a brown trilby hat. Will had no doubt that there would be a notebook in the pocket of that coat. He knew what to do.
He weaved his way through the press of people. When he got close to the man he tapped him lightly on the shoulder. As the man turned, Will gave him a broad, friendly smile.
“Rupert!” he exclaimed. “I’ve not seen you for years. How are you?”
The man looked puzzled. He shook his head.
“You’ve made a mistake,” he muttered and started to move away, but Will quickly moved after him.
“Rupert,” he said again. “Don’t you know me? We were at school together.”
The man shook his head.
Will pretended to look puzzled.
“You’re Rupert Featherstone, aren’t you?”
“My name’s Hatton. Percy Hatton. You’ve got the wrong bloke.” He moved away.
No, I haven’t, Will thought. Now to find Nesbo and Kate.
* * * *
Kate’s heart was thumping even harder than usual as she stood in the wings waiting with Nesbo, ready to go on. They’d both had a good look at the man Will had pointed out. He was sitting in his favourite seat on the far side aisle.
Nesbo turned to her.
“Remember what I said. You’ve either got to charm him, or make such a show of him that he can’t refuse. Yes?”
She nodded quickly.
“I’ll try,” she said.
“You can do it,” Nesbo growled.
Kate thought of Lennie, the gentle giant who’d been so kind to her after her first nerve-racking appearance on stage. She couldn’t let him down.