Ligurian coast is the Italian Riviera, sweeping in a semicircle from the French-Italian border around to Genoa, and then continuing down to the Gulf of La Spezia. The beautiful long ribbon of coast and its @Wrkling waters contain the storied ports of Portofino, Vernazza, and beyond them Elba, -Sardinia, and Corsica. Blue Skies was approaching Portofino, which even from a distance was an impressive sight, its hillsides covered with olive trees, pines, cypresses and palms. Harry Stanford, Sopbia, and Dniitri were on deck, studying -the approaching coastline.

"Have you been to Portofino oftent Sophia asked. ' few times.' 619there is your main home?' Too personat ''ll enjoy Portofino, Sophia. It's really quite beautiful! Captain Vacarro, approached them. ' you be having lunch aboard, Signor Stanfordt ', we'll have lunch at the Splendido.' 21 ' good. And shall I be prepared to weigh anchor right after lunch?" think not. Let's enjoy the beauty of the place." Captain Vacarro, studied him, puzzled. One moment Harry Stanford was in a terrible hurry, and the next moment he seemed to have all the time in the world. And the radio shut down? Unheard of! Pazzo. When Blue Skies dropped anchor in the outer harbor, Stanford, Sophia and Dmitri took the yacht's launch ashore. The small seaport was charming, with a variety of amusing shops and outdoor trattorie lining the single road that led up to the hills. A dozen or so small fishing boats were pulled up onto the pebbled beach. Stanford turned to Sophia. ''ll be lunching at the hotel on top of the hill. There's a lovely view from there.' He nodded toward a taxi stopped beyond the docks. ' a taxi up there, and I'll meet you in a few minutes.' He handed her some lire. ' well, caro." His eyes followed her as she walked away; then he turned to Dmitri. ' have to make a call.' But notfrom the ship, Dmitri thought. The men went to the two phone booths at the side of the dock. Dmitri watched as Stanford stepped inside one of them, picked up the receiver, and inserted a token. 40perator, I would like to place a call to someone at the Union Bank of Switzerland in Geneva.' A woman was approaching the second phone booth. 22 Dhlitri stepped in front of it, blocking her way.

"Excuse me,' she said. ' .. ''m waiting for a call.' She looked at him in surprise. '.' She glanced hopefully at the phone booth Stanford was in. , wouldn't wait,' Dmitri grunted. ''s going to be -on the telephone for a long time., ' woman shrugged and walked. away.

6Hello?9 Dmitri was watching Stanford speaking into the mouthpiece. @Peter? We have a little problem.' Stanford closed the door to the booth. He was speaking very fast, and Dmitri could not hear what he was saying. At the end of the conversation, Stanford replaced the receiver and opened the door. ' everything -all right, Mr. Stanford?" Dmitri asked. ''s get some lunch.' The Splendido is the crown jewel of Portofino, a hotel with a magnificent panoramic view of the emerald bay below. The hotel caters to the very rich, and jealously guards its reputation. Harry Stariford and Sophia had lunch out on the terrace.

"Shall I order for yout Stanford asked. ' have some specialties here that I think you might enjoy.",' Sophia said. Stanford ordered the trenelle al pesto, the local pasta, veal, andfocaccia, the salted bread of the region. 23 ' bring us a bottle of Schram Eighty-eight." He turned to Sophia. ' received a gold medal in the International Wine Challenge in London. I own the vineyard.' She smiled. ''re lucky." Luck had nothing to do with it. 11 believe that man was meant to enjoy the gustatory delights that have been put on the earth.' He took her hand in his. ' other delights, too."'re an amazing man." you.' It excited Stanford to have beautiful women admiring him. This one was young enough to be his daughter and that excited him even more. When they had finished lunch, Stanford looked at Sophia and grinned. ''s get back to the yacht.", yes!' Harry Stanford was a protean lover, passionate and .. His enormous ego made him more concerned about satisfying a woman than about satisfying himself He knew how to excite a woman's erotic zones, and he orchestrated his lovemaking in a sensuous symphony that brought his lovers-to heights they had never achieved before. They spent the afternoon in Stanford's suite, and when they we finished making love, Sophia was exhausted. Harry Stanford dressed and went to the bridge to see Captain Vacarro. @`Would you like to go on to Sardinia, Signor Stan- T the captain asked. ''s stop off at Elba first.' ery good, sir. Is everything satisfactory?" Stanford said.

"Everything is satisfactory! He -was feeling aroused again. He went back to Sophia's ,,,@stateroom. They reached Elba the followirs afternoon and AR anchored at Portoferraio. '@', M As the Boeing 727 entered North American airspace, the pilot checked in with ground control. ' York Center, Boeing eight nine five Papa is with you, passing flight level two six zero for flight Jevel two four zero.' The voice of New York Center came on. ', you are cleared to one two thousand, direct JFK. Call approach on one two seven point four.' From the back of the plane came a low growl. ', Prince. That's a good boy. Let's get this seat belt around you.' There were four men waiting when the 727 landed.

They stood at different vantage points so they could watch the passengers descend from the plane. They waited for half an hour. The only passenger to come out was a white German shepherd. 24 25 portofcrraio is the main shopping center of Elba. The streets are lined with elegant, sophisticated shops, and behind the harbor, the eighteenth-century buildings are tucked under the craggy sixteenth-century citadel built by the Duke of Florence. Harry Stanford had visited the island many times, and in a strange way, he felt at home here. This was where Napoleon Bonaparte had been sent into exile. ''re going to look at Napoleon's house,' he told Sophia. ''ll meet you there.' He turned to Dmitri. ' her to the Villa dei Mulini.", sir.' Stanford watched Dmitri and Sophia leave. He looked at his watch. Time was running out. His plane would already have landed at Kennedy. When they learned that he was not aboard, the manhunt would begin again. It will take thenr a while to pick up the trail, Stanford thought. By then, everything will have been settled. He stepped into a phone booth at the end -of the dock. ' want to place a call to London," Stanford told the operator. ' Bank. One seven one ...' Half an hour later, he picked up Sophia and brought her back to the harbor. ' go aboard,' Stanford told her. ' have another call to make.' She watched him stride over to the telephone booth 26 beside the dock. "y doesn't he use the telephones on the )wchi? Sophia wondered. Inside the telephone booth, Harry Stanford was saying, ' Sumitomo Bank in Tokyo .. Fifteen minutes later, when he returned to the yacht, he was in a fury. ' we going to be anchoring here for the nightt Captain Vacarro asked. ',' Stanford snapped. '! Let's head for Sardinia. Now!' The Costa Smeralda in Sardinia is one of the most ' places along the Mediterranean coast. The ' town of Porto Cervo is a haven for the wealthy, with a large part of the area dotted with villas built by Aly Khan. The first thing Harry Stanford did when they docked was to head for a telephone booth.. Dmitri followed him, standing guard outside the booth. ' want to place a call to Banca. d'Italia in Rome The phone booth door closed- , The conversation lasted for -almost half an hour. When Stanford came out of the phone booth, he was grim. Dmitri wondered what was going on. Stanford and Sophia had lunch at the beach o f Liscia di Vacca. Stanford ordered for them. ''ll start with malloreddus.' Flakes of dough made of hard-grain 27 wheat. ' the porceddu.' Little suckling pig, cooked with myrtle and bay leaves. ' a wine, we'll have the Vemaccia, and for dessert, we'll have sebadas." Fried fritters filled with fresh cheese and grated lemon rind, dusted with bitter honey and sugar. gbene, signor.' The waiter walked away, impressed. As Stanford turned to talk to Sophia, his heart suddenly skipped a beat. Near the entrance to the restaurant two men were seated at a table, studying him. Dressed in dark suits in the summer sun, they were not even bothering to pretend they were tourists. Are they after me or are they innocent strangers? I mustn't let my imagination run away with me, Stanford thought. Sophia was speaking.

"I've never asked you before. What business are you int Stanford studied her. It was refreshing to be with someone who knew nothing about him.

"I'm retired,' he told her. ' just travel around, enjoying the world."

"And you're all by yourselff Her voice was filled with sympathy. ' must be very lonely.' It was all he could do not to laugh aloud. ', I am. I'm glad you're here with me.' She put her hand over his. ', too, caro.' Out of the comer of his eye, Stanford saw the two men leave. When luncheon was over, Stanford and Sophia and Dmitri returned to town. 28 Stanford headed for a telephone booth. ' want the Cr6dit Lyonnais in Paris ...' Watching him, Sophia spoke to Dmitri. ''s a wonderful man, isn't het ''s no one like him." you been with him long?" years,' Dmitri said. ''re lucky." know.' Dmitri walked over [email protected] stood guard right outside the telephone booth. He heard Stanford saying,'Ren& You know why I'm calling ... Yes ... Yes ... You will? ... That's wonderful!' His voice was filled with relief. ' ... not there.

Let's meet in Corsica. That's perfect. After our meeting, I can return directly home. Thank you, Renv Stanford put down the receiver. He stood there a moment, smiling, then dialed a number in Boston. A secretary answered. "Mr. Fitzgerald's office." is Harry Stanford. Let me talk to him.", Mr. Stanford! I'm sorry, Mr. Fitzgerald is on vacation.

Can. someone else ... ?' .'No. I'm on my way back to-the States. You. tell him 1 want him in Boston at Rose Hill at nine o'clock Monday morning.

Tell him to bring a copy of my will and a notary."'ll try to -I "Don't try. Do it, my dear.' He put down the reoeiver and stood there, his mind racing. When he stepped out of the telephone booth, his voice was calm. ' have a 29 little business to take care of, Sophia. Go to the Hotel Pitrizza and wait for me." right,' she said flirtatiously. ''t be too long." won't.' The two men watched her walk away. ''s get back to the yacht,' Stanford told Dmitri. ''re leaving.' Dmitri looked at him in surprise. ' about ... T ' can screw her way back home.' When they returned to the Blue Skies, Harry Stanford went to see Captain Vacarro. ''re heading for Corsica,' he said. ''s shove off.' @ ' just received an updated weather report, Signor Stanford.. I'm afraid there's a bad storm. It would be better if we waited it out and -" want to leave now, captain.' Captain Vacaffo hesitated. ' will be a rough voyage, sir. It's a libecdo - the southwest wind. We'll have heavy seas and squalls." don't care about that.'The meeting in Corsica was going to solve all his problems. He turned to Dmitri. ' want you to arrange for a helicopter to pick us up in Corsica and take us to Naples. Use the public telephone on the dock."

"Yes, sir.' Dmitri Kaminsky walked back to the dock and entered the telephone booth. Twenty minutes later, Blue Skies was under weigh. Copyright 2016 - 2024