By Peter Carey
Michael "Butcher" Boone is an ex-“really recognized" painter, now diminished to dwelling in a distant state residence and performing as caretaker for his more youthful brother, Hugh. by myself jointly they have solid a fragile equilibrium, a stability immediately destroyed while a mysterious younger lady named Marlene walks out of a rainstorm and into their lives. attractive, clever, and bold, she's additionally the daughter-in-law of the past due nice painter Jacques Liebovitz. quickly Marlene units in movement a sequence of occasions which may be the making--or the ruin--of all of them.
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Says Butcher Bones, and we laid our crate down on the floor. There's no Jim, said the Nancy Boy. And you can't bring that crate in here. But the Butcher was wearing our father's wide thin grin. Jim Agnelli, he says. Mr. Agnelli passed away, said the fellow. If Butcher felt grief, he did not have the time to show it. Well, he said. I am Michael Boone. This name seemed not to have the effect he had desired. He added: And I came to show Jim what I've been up to. He did not say, Shame I missed him, but that was his tone.
His father's work makes him ill. " I did not know what to say or where to look and I certainly did not enquire how someone might be made ill by a great painting. " Why did she want to tell me quite so much? " I shrugged. She folded her arms and surveyed the traffic and we maintained a stiff silence until our table was ready and Hugh had been permitted to unfold his chair. Watching him, Marlene Leibovitz's eyes were surprisingly soft, and when she smiled--not much, a tiny stiffening of the muscle in her upper lip--I thought for a mistaken moment that she was going to cry.
I asked for Amberstreet. "Detective Amberstreet is not here," she said. She had an awful lot of braid and silver and piercing bright blue eyes. " My God, the last time I saw the moron he had my painting. "Oh no," I cried. " Her eyes moistened and she lay her hand upon my sleeve. "He was up in Coffs Harbour," she said. " But what about my canvas? It could still be in Coffs Harbour District Hospital. If the crate had dropped, it may have split and now it could be--worse than the hospital--in some coastal charters office at Coffs Harbour airport, all crunched up and folded, like a take-out menu in the back of an office drawer.