..."Unfortunate," says Mek, "that it no longer exists."
"Yes. Well, it does still exist. My lout of an ex-husband faked that fire so he wouldn't have to give it back to me."
"To what end? He can now never display it again."
"Spite, Herr Grün" she says, rather calmly . "Spite only. He cares nothing for art. Only girls. And the roulette wheel. And more girls. He cares only that I do not have it. I'm sure he would have happily destroyed it, to that end only, if not for the added thrill of knowing that I know that it still exists. But I can do nothing about it. Or so he thinks."
"You know it is still on the estate?"
"Yes. For the next three days only. Then he moves it to his private box at the United Swiss Credit Bank of Luxembourg. The Nassau branch."
"But if he were to no longer possess this box, would not suspicion immediately fall on you, since you are the only person who knows it has not been destroyed." He looks at her calmly and adds, "From what I've read he is not stable enough to rule out a physical attack. On you."
"Oh yes," she replies. "He almost certainly would. IF, that is, he were ever to realize that the box was gone. But he won't. Because as far as he will ever know, it will sit in his little private vault in the Bahamas until the end of his days. That, Herr Grün, is why we have brought these Haukka cases. Mine has within it a perfect forgery of 'Toward the Blue Peninsula'. I won't insult you by being coy. It's obvious what I'd like you to do, but I also want you to leave the replica behind in the original's place."
She looks at Mek with barely masked glee. "In that way I will be safe. And my Cornell will be safe - with me."
"And it doesn't bother you," Mek asks, "that you, also, will not be able to display it, or even acknowledge that it exists, for fear of reprisals?"
"No, Mr. Pääll...I mean, Herr Grün. I shall be perfectly content just knowing that I have my property back."
He stares at her for a long moment before saying, "Yes."
"Yes what?" she asks.
"Yes, we will do it. Where is it kept?"
"In a wall safe in the master bedroom. All the pertinent information is in the case with the reproduction." ...