The last chess piece fell into place by accident. Tyler had been thinking about his father's will, and he felt outraged that Woody and Kendall were getting an equal share of the estate with him. They don't_ deserve it. If it had not been for me, they both would have been cut out of the will completely. They would have had nothing. It's not fair, but what can I do about it? He had the one share of stock that his mother had given him long ago, and he remembered his father's words: ' do you think he's going to do with that share? Take over the company?" Together, Tyler thought, Woody and Kendall have two-thirds of Father's Stanfordunterprises stock. How can I get control with only my one extra share? And then the answer came to him, and it was so ingenious that it stunned him. ' should inform you that there is a possibility of another heir being involved ... Your father's will specifically provides that the estate is to be divided equally among 203 his issue. Your father sired a child by a governess who worked here ...' If Julia showed up, there would be four of us, Tyler thought. And if I could control her share, I would then havefifty percent of Father's stock plus the one percent I already own. I could take over Stanford Enterprises. I could sit in my father's chair. His next thought was, Rosemary is dead, and she probably never told her daughter who her father was. Why does it have to be the real Julia Stanford? The answer was Margo Posner. He had first encountered her two months earlier, as court was called into session.

The bailiff had turned to the spectators in the courtroom. ', oyez.

The Circuit Court of Cook County is now in session, the Honorable Judge Tyler Stanford presiding. All rise.' Tyler walked in from his chambers and sat down at the bench. He looked down at the docket-. The first case was State of Illinois v. Margo Posner. The charges were assault and attempted murder. The prosecuting attorney rose. ' Honor, the defendant is a dangerous person who should be kept off the streets of Chicago. The State will prove that the defendant has a long criminal history. She has been convicted of shoplifting, larceny, and is a known prostitute. She was one of a stable of women working for a notorious pimp named Rafael. In January of this 204 year, they got into an altercation and the defendant willfully and cold-bloodedly shot him and his companion.' I Did either victim diet Tyler asked. ', Your Honor.

They were hospitalized with serious injuries. The gun in Margo Posner's possession was an illegal weapon.' Tyler turned to look at the defendant, and be felt a sense of surprise. She did not fit tho-image of what he had just heard about her. She was a well-dressed, attractive young woman in her late twenties, and there was a quiet elegance about her that completely belied the charges against her. That just goes to prove, Tyler thought wryly, you never know. He listened to the arguments from both sides, but his eyes were drawn to the defendant. There was some- thing about her that reminded him of his sister. When the summations were finished the case went to the jury, and in less than four hours they returned with a verdict of guilty on all counts. Tyler looked down at the defendant and said, ' court cannot find any extenuating circumstances in this case. You are herewith sentenced to.

five years at Dwight Correctional Center. Next case.' And it was not until Margo Posner was being led away that Tyler realized what it was about her that reminded him so much of Kendall. She had the same dark gray eyes. The Stanford eyes. 205 Tyler did not think about Margo Posner again until the telephone call from Dmitri. The beginning chess game had been successfully completed. Tyler had planned each move carefully in his, mind. He'd used the classical queen's gambit: Decline opening, moving the queen pawn two squares. It was time to move into the middle game. Tyler went to visit Margo Posner at the women's prison. ' you remember met Tyler asked. She stared at him. ' could I forget you?

You're the one who sent me to this place." are you getting along?" Tyler asked. She grimaced. ' must be kidding! It's a hellhole here."

"How would you like to get outt ' would I ... ? Are you serioust ''m very serious. I can arrange it.", that ... that's great! Thanks.

But what do I have to do for itt ', there is something I want you to do for me.' She looked at him, flirtatiously. '. That's no problem."

"That's not what I had in mind.' She said, warily,'What did you have in mind, judge?" want you to help me play a littlejoke on someone.'- "What kind of joke?" want you to impersonate someone.' 206 "Impersonate someone? I wouldn't know how to -"'s twenty-five thousand dollars in it for you.' Her expression changed. ',' she said quickly. ' can impersonate anyone. Who did you have in mindt Tyler leaned forward and began to talk. Tyler had Margo Posner released into his custody. As he explained to Keith Percy, the chief judge, ' learned that she's a very talented artist, and she's eager to live a normal, decent life. I think it's important that we rehabilitate that type of person whenever we can, don't yout Keith was impressed and surprised.

"Absolutely, Tyler. That's a wonderful thing you're doing.' Tyler moved Margo into his home and spent five full days briefing her on the Stanford family. ' are the names of your brotherst ' and Woodruff."."'s right - Woodrow." do we call himt "Woody." you have a sistert '. Kendall. She's a designer." she married?"'s married to a Frenchman. His name is ... Marc Renoir.".' 207 '." was your mother's narnet "Rosemary Nelson. She was a governess to the Stanford children." did she leavet ' got knocked up by ..."!' Tyler admonished her.

"I mean, she became pregnant by Harry Stanford." happened to Mrs. Stanfordt ' committed suicide." did your mother tell you about the Stanford childrent Margo stopped to think for a minute. ' "There was the time you fell out of the swan boat." didn't fall out!" Tyler said. ' almost fell out.". Woody almost got arrested for picking flowers in the Public Garden." was Kendall ...' He was ruthless. They went over the scenario again and again, late into the nights, until Margo was exhausted. ' was bitten by a dog." was bitten by the dog.' She rubbed her eyes. ' can't think straight anymore. I'm so tired. I need some sleep." can sleep later!" long is this going to go ont she asked defiantly. 208 ''I think you're ready. Now let's go through it again.' And on it went, over an dover, until Margo became letter perfect. When the day finally - arrived that she knew the answer to every question Tyler asked, he was satisfied. ''re ready,' he said. He handed her some legal documents.

"What's thist ''s just a technicality,' Tyler said casually. What he had her sign was a paper giving her share of the Stanford estate to a corporation controlled by a second corporation, which in turn was controlled by an offshore subsidiary -of which Tyler Stanford was the sole owner. There was no way they could trace the transaction back to Tyler. Tyler handed Margo five thousand, dollars in cash. ''ll get the balance when the job is done,' he told her. ' convince them that you're Julia Stanford.' From the moment Margo had appeared at Rose Hill, Tyler had played the devil's advocate. It was the classic antipositional chess move. Irm sure you can understand our position, Miss ... er ... Without some Positive proof, there's no way ... I think the lady is afraud ... ' many servants worked in this house when we were children? ... Dozens, right? And some of them would have known everything this young lady told us ... 209 Any one of them could have given her that photograph Let's not forget that there's an enormous amount Of money involved' His crowning move had been when he had demanded a DNA test. He had called Hal Baker and given him his new instructions: ' up Harry Stanford's body and dispose of it.' And then his inspiration of calling in a private detective. With the family present, he had telephoned the district attorney's office in Chicago.

"This is Judge Tyler Stanford I understand that your office retains a private detective from time to time who does excellent workfor you. His name is something like Simmons or -", you must mean Frank Timmons."

"Timmons! Yes, that's it. I wonder if you could give me his telephone number so I can contact him directly?' Instead, he had summoned Hal Baker and introduced him as Frank Timmons. At first Tyler had planned for Hal Baker merely to pretend to go through the motions of checking on Julia Stanford, but then he decided it would make a more impressive report if Baker really pursued it. The family had accepted Baker's findings without question. Tyler's plan had gone off without a hitch.

Margo Posner had played her part perfectly, and the fingerprints had been the crowning touch. Everyone was convinced that she was the real Julia Stanfor-d. 210 7, for one, am glad it's finally settled Let me go up and see if she needs any help.' He went upstairs and walked along the corridor to Julia's room. He knocked at her door and called loudly, Vulia?"'s open. Come in.' He stood in the doorway and they stared silently at each other. And then Tyler carefully closed the door, held out his hands, and broke into a stbw grim When he spoke, he said, ' did it, Margo! We did it!" Copyright 2016 - 2024