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Amen to that,’ said Ralston. He handed Tom his copy of the previous day’s New York Times which had been folded so that he could read an account of Fidel Castro’s trip to New York, to address the General Assembly of the United Nations. Tom glanced over the story, with which he was already familiar from his own paper. Alleging that they were being overcharged, the Cuban delegation had moved out of the Shelburne Hotel to stay with their oppressed black brothers in the Theresa, a run-down flophouse in Harlem that not even the poorest African diplomat would have considered suitable.

He always disliked poking a rifle out of an open window, preferring the comparative anonymity of a makeshift marksman’s platform constructed inside the shooting position. Moving the wardrobe away from the wall by six or seven feet had created the perfect urban hide, rendering him virtually undetectable from the street or the office building opposite. 30-calibre rifle when he squeezed the trigger. But even that, he hoped, had been taken care of: Sylvia was already signalling to a car parked on the other side of the street.

Repatriated August. Honourable discharge. Several decorations et cetera, et cetera. ’ ‘You’re pretty cute yourself, Mister Ilani,’ Tom said with a smile. ‘All that information without so much as a note in front of you. A regular Charles Van Doren, that’s what you are, sir. ’ Moe Dalitz, who had got up to fix himself another drink, snorted loudly. ’ Rosenstiel laughed uproariously and lit a large cigar. ‘ Tom lit a Chesterfield and let them carry on with this line of conversation for a minute or so before drawing them back to the contract that was on the table.

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