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datatime: 2022-11-28 13:15:57 Author:corJCoux

He looked at her strangely, almost as though she'd said something obscene.

'I read about it. Tragic.'

'He used to call himself the Great Pretender,' she said. The thought made her smile.

'Don't blame New York,' he said. 'It can't help itself.'

He looked at her strangely, almost as though she'd said something obscene.

'And he was no miracle-worker?'

'I read about it. Tragic.'

'He's grief-stricken,' she said. 'Forgive him his behaviour. He was with Swann from the beginning of his career. I think he loved my husband as much as I did.'

'I called him a magician a while back,' Harry said. 'You corrected me.'

'May I ask . . . your name?'

'We were only over for three months, while his show ran. We were going back in September . . .'

'The letter,' she repeated.

He turned on his heel and made a smart withdrawal.

'I read about it. Tragic.'

'The letter,' she repeated.

'To Hamburg,' she said, 'I don't like this city. It's too hot. And too cruel.'

'I read about it. Tragic.'

'About it being an accident.'

'About it being an accident.'

'Oh yes. I lived with Swann seven and a half years, and I got to understand him as well as anybody ever could. I learned to sense when he wanted me around, and when he didn't. When he didn't, I'd take myself off somewhere and let him have his privacy. Genius needs privacy. And he was a genius, you know. The greatest illusionist since Houdini.'

'So I did,' she said, conceding his point with an apologetic look. 'Forgive me. That was Swann talking. He hated to be called a magician. He said that was a word that had to be kept for miracle-workers.'

'Maybe,' she replied, nodding. 'Perhaps what happened to Swann would have happened anyway, wherever we'd been. People keep telling me: it was an accident. That's all. Just an accident.'

'Now I think I didn't know him at all,' she went on, 'didn't understand him. I think maybe it was another trick. Another part of his magic.'

Harry wanted to say Swann would have been mad not to have done so, but the comment was inappropriate. She didn't want blandishments; didn't need them. Didn't need anything, perhaps, but her husband alive again.

'But you don't believe it?'

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