Perfect Strangers 3 (Pages 162- 212)

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In France Josh and Sophie try to find out something that leads them to know who killed Nick.

Josh knows where Nick stayed. It is an apartment in a posh area that belongs to a contesse who Nick had a relationship with. They manage to sneak inside, and what they find is that Nick was selling wine of a very expensive kind, but Sophie realises that the wine and the labelling is all wrong, so it means that this was one of Nick’s seedy businesses. Then they find several numbers in a notebook, and one of those telephone numbers was for a club in Montmartre, whose owner Maurice Balbi is another dangerous man. Sophie wants to go there, and despite Josh’s warnings, she won’t be dissuaded. Maurice turns out to be an old acquaintance of Josh’s, and when they start questioning him about Nick, the man clams up. Josh has to threaten him, and Maurice gives them a name, a wine dealer in Cannes.

Their next stop will be the Cote D’Azur. They take the train to Nice, but before boarding, Sophie makes the mistake to call her mother. She knows Julia will be worried, and she just wants to assure her she is fine. Josh had forbidden her to contact anybody by phone, but Sophie thinks a call won’t do them any harm, and it will do her mother a world of good. Soon she realises the mistake, when in Nice they are attacked by a couple of thugs, and they manage to escape, hiding in the back of a van. Josh is very angry, and I can’t blame him. Yet, he has to understand – in my opinion – that this chasing and messy business is new to Sophie, and she is clearly out of her depth. Not like Josh, who has told her about his past as a swindler and his partnership with Nick. It is after he decided that he wanted to lead a honest life, fixing and selling real clocks, that Nick and Josh fell out as the former didn’t understand how Josh would want to change.

As for Ruth, she has talked to Barbara Beddingfield, Nick’s mother. The older woman tells her that she was aware that her son didn’t lead a straight life, and he even had a problem with the law, arrested for fraud but acquitted. Barbara begs Ruth to help her and find out who killed her son. Barbara gives Ruth a name, Joanna Parsons, a woman who the woman assumed was Nick’s girlfriend. Ruth manages to locate Joanna Parsons, and the woman gives information about Nick, which we already knew but Ruth didn’t. She confirms that Nick was a con man, living off wealthy women. Other than that, Ruth learns that Joanna is married, but she and Nick had an on-off relationship for years.

From this part of the book, what stands out for me is the Russian men chasing Josh and Sophie once again. What do they want from her? What is she supposed to have in her possession? I can’t think of anything. Nick didn’t give her anything when they were together, and it is clear that whatever it is these men are looking for, they didn’t find it in Nick’s hotel room or Sophie’s flat. What can be so important that puts Sophie’s life at risk? I still wonder if Nick targeted Sophie because he thought she was rich, or maybe it was something to do with her father.

 

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