“He gave you a key?”
“Actually, Riles gave me the key. Riley Brodin, Navarre’s girlfriend.” The woman didn’t speak, but her eyes widened with recognition, so I kept on. “Do you know Riles?”
“I know of her.”
“She’s Walter Muehlenhaus’s granddaughter.” She looked away for a moment, and I wondered if the name Muehlenhaus had that effect on everyone. “Navarre gave the key to her, and she gave it to me because Navarre didn’t have any other extras. I was supposed to meet him here.”
“Did Juan Carlos give you the code to the alarm system?”
That slowed me down. I hadn’t actually thought of that—I had a security system at my house; surely Navarre must have had one, too. Yet I didn’t see a console when I entered the house. I wondered briefly if I had tripped a silent alarm when I unlocked the door, then dismissed the idea. I had been in the house far too long without being shot at for that to be true.
“He never said anything about an alarm system,” I said.
“I checked when I arrived. It’s been turned off.”
“Not by me.”
“By whom, then?”
“I don’t know. Ask Navarre.”
“He’s not here.”
“I know he’s not. Who are you, lady?”
I flashed on the sign at the end of the driveway. “Rehmann Real Estate?”
“What’s that about?” I asked. “Navarre didn’t say anything about moving.”
“When did you talk to him last?”
“He called Saturday. He was supposed to meet Riles and me for lunch at Casa del Lago. He called and said he couldn’t make it.”
Anne sighed, and with the sigh I saw the anxiety draining from her body. Everything I told her seemed to fit what she already knew—which is a trick they teach you at the police academy when it comes to conducting interrogations. Tell suspects what little you know in just the right manner, and they’ll come to believe that you know everything.
“I don’t know what Juan Carlos told you, but he doesn’t own this house,” Anne said. “He’s leasing with an option to buy. The house actually belongs to Mrs. Irene Rogers. After her husband died, she decided it was too big for her, so she bought a condo at Club Versailles. Somehow she met Juan Carlos and agreed to let him stay here until I could find a buyer. I came over because I wanted to ask if he decided to make an offer. If not, I wanted to arrange a time to show the estate to a couple of prospects.”
“So you don’t know where Navarre is, either,” I said.
She shook her head.
“That’s odd,” I said.
Anne snorted at the remark.
“A lot of people on Lake Minnetonka live according to their own private calendars,” she said. “Screw the rest of us.”
Dissatisfaction, my inner voice reminded me. You can use that.
“You’d think people would show a little consideration,” I said. “I don’t care how much money they have.”
“The rich are different from the rest of us,” she said, repeating a line often attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Haven’t you heard?”
“Yes, they have more money,” I said, quoting Ernest Hemingway’s famous reply.
Anne snorted again and asked, “The Audi in the driveway, is that yours?”
Anne nodded her head. I knew exactly what she was thinking: You drive an Audi S5 coupe; you must have plenty of dough lying around. I waited for the question I knew was coming.
“Are you in the market for a home on Lake Minnetonka?” Anne asked.
“I am. In fact, the more Navarre talks about it, the more I like the idea. Tell me, how much are you asking for this place?”
I made a hissing sound. “That’s a little out of my price range.”
“What is your price range?”
“One and a half.”
Anne nodded her head as if she knew it all along. “I have a few properties you might be interested in. Do you have a card?”
I didn’t, but I gave her my name and cell number, and she dutifully jotted both down. I was sure that before sundown she’d know my net worth down to the last nickel—which would be a helluva lot more than I knew.
Anne gave me her card.
“Perhaps we can talk later this week, Mr. McKenzie,” she said.
“Perhaps we can have lunch or dinner or drinks or all of the above.” I gave her my best George Clooney smile, the one that suggested I was talking about more than business. “But only if you drop the mister. McKenzie is fine.”
I smiled again. She smiled back.