Angel of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon

According to Daley, Jakes had abandoned him and his mother and sister, apparently cutting them off without a penny. Was that enough of a motive for murder? Sure. Matt would have been in his midtwenties when Andrew Jakes was killed, more than old enough to plan and carry out a homicide. What if he didn’t meet Azrael as Lisa Baring? What if he already knew her as Angela Jakes, his father’s second wife? And later as Tracey Henley and Irina Anjou, and now as Sarah Jane Ishag?

But if that was the case, where did Lyle/Frankie fit into all this? And why, more importantly, would Matt Daley have flown to Lyon to see Danny McGuire in the first place? To point out to Danny the links between the various Azrael killings and convince him to reopen the case? Surely, if Matt were involved in the murders, that made no sense.

Unless he wants to get caught.

Wasn’t that the classic psychopathic mind-set? That there was no point committing the perfect crime if the world never got to know how brilliant you were? Danny pictured Matt Daley, first in L.A. then later in London and the South of France, waiting for the police sirens, for retribution, for the knock on the door that never came. Perhaps the anonymity had gotten to be too much for him?

“Camera three, sir!” Ajay Jassal’s voice brought Danny back to reality. “Daley’s leaving.”


Now Danny was even more confused than before. Wasn’t the hit on Ishag supposed to be tonight? If so, why the hell would Matt Daley be leaving, and at breakneck speed too? That van must be doing sixty miles an hour.

He looked at his watch. Five to eight. Dinner would take at least an hour. David wasn’t scheduled to go up to bed until well after nine.

“Where’s Ishag right now?”

“Still in the drawing room, sir. Audio’s picking him up clearly. He’s fine.”

Danny McGuire made a split-second decision.

“Okay. Follow Daley. Follow the van.”

Ajay Jassal hesitated. “Are you sure, sir? If something unexpected happens up at the house and we don’t get back in time…”

“We’ll get back in time. I wanna know where that bastard’s headed in such a hurry.” Danny picked up the walkie-talkie so he could speak to the men sitting in the second surveillance vehicle, parked on the front side of the mansion. “Jassal and I are in pursuit of a possible suspect. You guys stay in contact, let us know if you need to go in earlier, or if anything happens.”

“Yes, sir.”

Danny turned back to Ajay Jassal. “What are you waiting for, man?” he shouted. “Drive.”

COILED LIKE A RATTLESNAKE IN DAVID Ishag’s master-bedroom closet, the man pressed the barrel of his pistol against his cheek, closing his eyes as if embracing a lover. At his feet the blade of a six-inch hunting knife glinted in the darkness.

It was uncomfortable, crouched in his hiding place, but the dull ache in his thighs was a small price to pay for vengeance.

In one short hour it would all be over.


“Very good. Thank you.”

“I made it myself.”

Really? We’re making small talk? David scraped the last of his matzo ball from the bottom of the bowl. He’d worried all day that he’d be too nervous to eat tonight. Danny McGuire had stressed the importance of behaving naturally around Sarah Jane, but what if David couldn’t? What if he threw up, or passed out, or accidentally blurted out Why are you trying to kill me? over dessert? But as it turned out, he found that he was surprisingly hungry for the condemned man’s last meal. And the soup was good.

“What’s so funny?” Sarah Jane asked. David realized belatedly that he’d been grinning like an idiot, lost in his own thoughts.

“Nothing.” He tried to reset his features to neutral. “What’s for dessert?” Death by chocolate?

“Ice cream. Are you sure you’re all right, David?”

It was no good. He was visibly laughing now, powerless to stop the tears of mirth from rolling down his face. He hadn’t felt like this since his brief stint as a pot head back in his Oxford days. I must be getting hysterical.

“Do you want to go upstairs and lie down?”

Upstairs. The word sobered him up instantly, like a glass of ice-cold water in the face.

So she wants to do it now, does she? Get it over and done with? Why not?

The original plan had been to wait until after dinner to make his move upstairs, somewhere around nine fifteen. But if Sarah Jane was ready now, then so was he. He thought about the SWAT team surrounding the property and remembered Danny McGuire’s words from this morning. “You’re completely safe. If she tries anything, we’ll be there in an instant.”

He turned back to Sarah Jane.

“I think I will, if it’s all the same to you. I don’t feel too great all of a sudden.”

THE CATERING VAN WEAVED ITS WAY through the grand streets of Marathi, as fast and nimble as a mouse. Ajay Jassal followed, struggling to keep control of his large, squat surveillance vehicle while the usually mild-mannered Danny McGuire screamed at him to “Keep up! Don’t lose him!”

Jassal knew the streets well. But surveillance vans were not designed for high-speed chases. They were designed to stay parked for long, wearisome hours and to blend in with their surroundings. It was a tribute to Ajay’s skill that he managed to keep the smaller vehicle in sight at all, bouncing over cobblestones and careering precariously around corners, often into unlit streets. God knew what the ride was doing to their expensive audiovisual equipment.

The catering van was taking them on a tour of South Mumbai’s most upscale residential neighborhoods: Walkeshwar Road, Peddar Road, Breach Candy, all of them distinctive for their British architectural leanings. The driver avoided the commercial thoroughfares such as Cuffe Parade or Carmichael Road, preferring to duck and dive through the quieter streets. Clearly, he realized he was being followed.

After twenty minutes, much of it spent driving around in circles, the van headed north toward Wankhede cricket stadium. As they got nearer, the streets thronged with crowds of young men. The blazing stadium floodlights could be seen from miles away.

“Must be a match night,” said Ajay Jassal. “I doubt if we’ll get much farther. Not by car.”

Danny McGuire could hardly see the van now through the dark, heaving mass of bodies. Was Matt Daley planning to make a run for it? Danny looked at his watch. Eight forty-five. David Ishag’s dinner date would soon be over. They had to get back to the house.

Without thinking, McGuire threw open the door of the surveillance vehicle and began pushing his way through the mob, shouting, “Police!” and grabbing shirts and jackets indiscriminately as he literally flung bystanders out of his path.

Within seconds he’d reached Matt’s van. It too was empty, abandoned only a few yards from the gates of the cricket ground. Desperately McGuire looked around, scanning the crowd for Matt’s distinctive blond mop of hair. Nothing.

Then suddenly he saw him, right at the stadium entrance, about twenty yards away. By the time Danny got there, Matt would be inside, subsumed into the crowd. Gone. Instinctively Danny’s fingers tightened around his gun, but he knew he couldn’t use it. Fire a shot here and you’d trigger a stampede. Just as despair began to wash over him, Danny saw Ajay Jassal sprinting past him, parting the crowds like Moses at the Red Sea, his long legs powering over the hard ground like a cheetah. There was a scream and a scuffle. Danny forced his way forward, waving his Interpol badge as if brandishing garlic at a vampire.

Jassal had pounced, knocking Daley clean off his feet and pinning him to the ground.

“I have apprehended the suspect, sir,” he panted.

Danny McGuire wheezed up behind him. “Good job, Jassal. Matthew Daley, I’m arresting you on suspicion of attempted—” He stopped midsentence.

The man on the ground had turned to face him. His cheek was badly bruised and his brown eyes were wide with confusion and panic.

He was as Indian as the Taj Mahal.

DAVID ISHAG STARED AT THE BATHROOM mirror, clutching the marble countertop for support.

This is it. Any moment now, she’s going to let him in.

My killer.

He splashed cold water on his face, willing the dizziness to stop. Remember what McGuire said. He’s right outside. All I need to do is collapse to the floor with chest pains the second the guy walks in. Easy.

“David? Darling?” Sarah Jane stood swaying in the doorway. “Are you all right? Do you need a doctor?”

Swaying? That’s weird. Why’s she swaying?

Spots began swimming before David’s eyes. “I…I don’t feel good.” Now the whole room was lurching, like a ship in high seas. All of a sudden he felt violently ill. Never mind a faked collapse. At this point he was about to have a real one.

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Categories: Sidney Sheldon