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       Quest for Anna Klein, The, p.1

           Thomas H. Cook
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Quest for Anna Klein, The


  THE QUEST FOR ANNA KLEIN

  Thomas H. Cook is one of the world’s most respected crime writers. He won an Edgar award for his novel The Chatham School Affair and has been shortlisted for the award six times, most recently with Red Leaves, which was also shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger award. Cook lives with his family in Cape Cod and New York City.

  Books by Thomas H. Cook

  FICTION

  Blood Innocents

  The Orchids

  Tabernacle

  Elena

  Sacrificial Ground

  Flesh and Blood

  Streets of Fire

  Night Secrets

  The City When It Rains

  Evidence of Blood

  Mortal Memory

  Breakheart Hill

  The Chatham School Affair

  Instruments of Night

  Places in the Dark

  The Interrogation

  Taken (based on the teleplay by Leslie Boehm)

  Moon over Manhattan (with Larry King)

  Peril

  Into the Web

  Red Leaves

  The Cloud of Unknowing

  Master of the Delta

  The Fate of Katherine Carr

  The Last Talk with Lola Faye

  The Quest for Anna Klein

  NONFICTION

  Early Graves

  Blood Echoes

  A Father’s Story (as told by Lionel Dahmer)

  Best American Crime Writing 2000, 2001 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Writing 2002 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Writing 2003 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Writing 2004 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Writing 2005 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Writing 2006 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Reporting 2007 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Reporting 2008 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Reporting 2009 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  Best American Crime Reporting 2010 (ed. with Otto Penzler)

  THOMAS H.

  COOK

  THE QUEST FOR

  ANNA KLEIN

  First published in the United States of America in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  This edition first published in Great Britain in 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

  Copyright © 2011 by Thomas H. Cook.

  Published by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

  The right of Thomas H. Cook to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

  1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

  Hardback ISBN: 978-0-85789-259-1

  Trade paperback ISBN: 978-0-85789-260-7

  ebook ISBN: 978-0-85789-467-0

  Printed in Great Britain.

  Corvus

  An imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd

  Ormond House

  26-27 Boswell Street

  London WC1N 3JZ

  www.corvus-books.co.uk

  Table of Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  PART I The Slenderness of Bones

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Delmonico’s, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Old Town Bar, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Old Town Bar, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Pulitzer Fountain, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Dugout Bar, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Danforth Imports, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Winterset, Connecticut, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  PART II The Point of a Spoon

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Winterset, Connecticut, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Winterset, Connecticut, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Oak Bar, Plaza Hotel, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  New York Public Library, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  214 West Ninety-fifth Street, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Winterset, Connecticut, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Century Club, New York City, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  New Brunswick, Connecticut, 1939

  PART III Chekhov’s Hammer

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Paris, France, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  The Savoy, London, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Paris, France, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Orléans, France, 1939

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  PART IV The Scent of Almonds

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  Orléans, France, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Orléans, France, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Berlin, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Berlin, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  PART V The Digger’s Game

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Berlin, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Munich, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Munich, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Munich, Germany, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  PART VI The Nightingale Floor

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  London, England, 1939

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Southern France, 1942

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Nuremberg, Germany, 1946

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Lemberg, Ukraine, 1951

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Moscow, Soviet Union, 1952

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  PART VII Traitor’s Gate

  Blue Bar, New York City, 2001

  Kolyma, Soviet Union, 1964

  Lexington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  Washington Square Park, New York City, 1974

  Lexington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  Baku, Azerbaijan, 1981

  Lexington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1983

  Munich, Germany, 1939

  Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1983

  Lex
ington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  Magadan, Russia, 1986

  Lexington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  Erzinghan, Turkey, 1915

  Lexington Avenue, New York City, 2001

  And hence one master passion in the breast, Like Aaron’s serpent, swallows up the rest.

  — ALEXANDERPOPE

  For Susan M. Terner, first reader, editor extraordinaire, and in all ways, my secret weapon

  PART I

  The Slenderness of Bones

  Century Club, New York City, 2001

  The question was never whether she would live or die, for that had been decided long ago.

  Danforth had said this flatly at one point deep in our conversation, a conclusion he’d evidently come to by way of a painful journey.

  It had taken time for him to reach this particular remark. As I’d learned by then, he was a man who kept to his own measured pace. After our initial greeting, for example, he’d taken an agonizingly slow sip from his scotch and offered a quiet, grand-fatherly smile. “People in their clubs,” he said softly. “Isn’t that how Fitzgerald put it? People in their clubs who set down their drinks and recalled their old best dreams. I must seem that way to you. An old man with a head full of woolly memories.” His smile was like an arrow launched from a great distance. “But even old men can be dangerous.”

  I’d come to New York from Washington, traveled from one stricken city to another, it seemed, a novice member of the think tank that had recently hired me. My older colleagues had manned the desks of what had once been called Soviet Studies. They’d been very assiduous in these studies. There’d hardly been a ruble spent on missiles or manure that they hadn’t recorded and scrutinized. But for all that, not one of them had foreseen the abrupt collapse of the Soviet Union, how it would simply dissolve into the liquefying fat of its own simmering cor-ruption. That stunning failure in forecasting had shaken their confidence to the core and sent them scrambling for an explanation. They’d still been searching for it years later when the attack had come even more staggeringly out of nowhere. That had been a far graver failure to understand the enemy at our gates, and it had sharply, and quite conveniently for me, changed their focus. Now I, the youngest of their number, their latest hire, had been dispatched to interview Thomas Jefferson Danforth, a man I’d never heard of but who’d written to tell me that he had “experience” that might prove useful, as he’d put it, to “policymakers” such as myself, “especially now.” The interview was not a prospect I relished, and I knew it to be the sort of task doled out to freshman colleagues more or less as a training exercise, but it was better than standing guard at the copying machine or fetching great stacks of research materials from the bowels of various government agencies.

  “I remember that line of Fitzgerald’s,” I told Danforth, just to let him know that, although a mere wisp of a boy by his lights, I was well educated, perhaps even a tad worldly. “It was about Lindbergh. How ‘people set down their glasses in country clubs,’ struck by what he’d done.”

  “A solo flight across the Atlantic that remindent them of what they’d once been or had hoped to be,” Danforth added. Now his smile suddenly seemed deeply weighted, like a bet against the odds. “Youth is a country with closed borders,” he said. “All that’s valuable must be smuggled in.”

  I assumed this remark was rhetorical and found it somewhat condescending, but our conversation had just begun and so I let it pass.

  Danforth winced as he shifted in his chair. “Old bones,” he explained. “So, what is your mission, Mr. Crane? The grand one, I mean.”

  “Our country’s good,” I answered. “Is that grand enough?”

  What remained of Danforth’s smile vanished. “I was young like you.” His voice was even, his tone cautionary, as if he regarded my youth as an animal that could easily turn on me. “Clever and self-confident. It was a very good feeling, as I recall.”

  He’d been described to me as reticent, distant, somber, and his experience in what my senior associates still called “the great game” had been brief and long ago. For these reasons, I’d concluded that in all likelihood he could offer little of value to the present situation. But in the still-settling dust of the Towers’ collapse, every corner was being searched, every source, no matter how remote and seemingly irrelevant, gleaned for information. The gyroscope at the center of our expertise had been struck by those planes — so the thinking went — and it had wobbled, and now all its movements had to be recalibrated.

  And so, after reading Danforth’s letter, Dr. Carlson had decided that Danforth might have something to add to our intelligence. He’d told me that Danforth did not give interviews, so it was quite surprising that I’d been singled out for this audience.

  “Have you ever met the old buzzard?” he asked.

  I shook my head.

  “Then why you, Paul?”

  “I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe he saw that little piece I wrote in Policy Options.”

  “Oh, well,” Dr. Carlson said. “At least you’ll get to see the Century Club.”

  Which was indeed something of a treat, I had to admit, as I glanced about the room in which Danforth and I now faced each other, its bookshelves lined with works written by the club’s members.

  “A very impressive place,” I said.

  “If one is easily impressed,” Danforth replied with a slight smile. “I read your article on the current crisis. You seem very certain, I must say, in regard to what should be done.”

  I shrugged. “It’s not really a very prestigious publication,” I told him with slightly feigned modesty. “More of an opinion sampler where graduate students attempt to get noticed. Which I did, evidently. By you.”

  “Your father was a professor of foreign affairs,” Danforth said.

  My father’s position at a rather modest little college had been mentioned in the brief biography that accompanied my article, so I wasn’t surprised that Danforth was aware of it. Still, there was an air of clandestine knowledge in his tone; he seemed to carry, almost like a mark upon his brow, the faded brand of a spy.

  “Yes, he was,” I told him. “He never made policy, of course . . .”

  “Which is clearly what you hope to do?”

  “Yes.”

  “Hmm,” Danforth said. He drew a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and read: “‘Our response should flow from passion as much as policy, and should bear with it a hint of the paranoid.’” He looked at me quite seriously. “So there should be no irrationality gap between ourselves and our enemies.”

  His remark held no mockery, it seemed to me; Danforth truly appeared to be considering what I’d written.

  “My point is that now is not a time for half measures,” I replied. “Not in the face of these medievalists.”

  “The target is all,” Danforth said. “Picking it and destroying it. Which is where true intelligence comes in.”

  Comfortably seated amid the old-fashioned opulence of the Century Club, Danforth looked very much the worldly intelligence offi cer who’d once sipped cognac and smoked cigars with the sort of characters one might find in Graham Greene or Somerset Maugham. His suit had passed its prime, and his tie was unstylishly wide, but I could imagine him as a figure from a bygone age, a handsome young man in a white dinner jacket, lounging on some tropical veranda, watching a steamer move out of the harbor. There would be riotously colored birds in the long green fronds of the nearby trees, and on that ship, a woman in a satin dress would be standing with a champagne glass in her long white fingers, lifting it to him silently, Adieu, mon amour. He was part of a vanished time, I thought, a lost world, and because of that, my current mission seemed even more a matter of giving the new boy something to do.

  “You’re an Ivy Leaguer,” Danforth said. “Columbia.” His gaze softened, and I saw the wound we shared. “A fellow New Yorker.”

  A familiar wave of kill-them-all rage passed over me at the barbarity that had been inflicted upon wha
t had always seemed the most American of cities, but I tamped it down with a crisp “Yes.”

  Even so, it was clear that Danforth had seen the flame that briefly lit my eyes.

  “Hatred is a very legitimate emotion,” he said. “Believe me, I’ve known it well, and certainly at this moment we have a right to our ire.”

  This was a different position from the self-loathing justifications for the attack that had lately wafted up from various quarters, and I was relieved to hear it.

  “Anyway,” Danforth said, “I’m sure the best think tanks are bloated with boys like you.”

  I didn’t like the term bloated but nodded anyway, now a little impatient to get on with the interview, write up my report, and head back to Washington. “So?” I said hastily. “Shall we go on?”

  Danforth noted my impatience. “You are a very focused young man.” His expression was quite gentle, perhaps even a bit indulgent. I might almost have called it Socratic.

  “Crane,” he said. “An English name.”

  “Yes, but I’m really of German stock,” I answered. “At least, for the most part.”

  “So a name must have been changed along the way,” Danforth said. “What was it before?”

  “I don’t know,” I answered. “My grandfather changed it during the war.” I offered a quick smile. “I suppose he didn’t want to be blamed for things he hadn’t done.”

  Danforth nodded. “Quite understandable. No one would have wanted to be accused of things like that.”

  “And which he couldn’t have done because he left Germany before the war,” I added.

  Danforth smiled. “Do you speak German?”

  “Not since high school.”

  “That’s a pity,” Danforth said. “Certain words in that language often come to mind. Rache, for example. It has a rough sound, don’t you think? Kind of a snarl. It sounds like what it means: ‘vengeance.’ But others don’t sound anything like what they mean, of course. For example, Verrat doesn’t sound like what it means at all.”

  “What does Verrat mean?”

  “‘Betrayal.’”

  Before I could respond to this, Danforth turned toward the window, beyond which a gentle snow was falling. “There was a lot of fear after the Crash of Twenty-nine,” he said. “People were desperate.” His gaze turned searching. “I’m sure you’ve read about it in your history books.”

 

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