'Directly?' said George.

'Directly,' repeated Abel. 'Perhaps he didn't sell it directly. Kane could have arranged for an intermediary to deal with the whole thing if he already knew that Henry was heavily in debt, and the bookmakers were threatening him.'

'That might be right, Abel, and it certainly wouldn't have taken an ace detective to discover the extent of Henry's financial problems. They were common knowledge to any~ one sitting on a bar stool in Chicago, but don't jump to hasty conclusions just yet. Let's find out what your lawyer has to say - 1 The Cadillac came to a halt outside Florentyna's former home, which Abel had retained and kept spotless in the hope that his daughter would one day return. George opened the door, and they walked through to join H.

Trafford Jilks. Once they had settled down, George poured Abel a large whisky. He drank the malt in one gulp, and gave the empty glass back to George who re - filled it.

'Tell me the worst~ Mr. Jilks. Let's get it over with.'

'I am sorry, Mr. Rosnovski,' he began. 'Mr. Novak told me about Warsaw!

bat's all over now, so we may as well forget "Your Excellency". You can be sure if Vincent Hogan were asked, he wouldn't even remember my name.

Come on, Mr. Jilks, what am I facing?'

'You've been indicted on seventeen charges of bribery and corruption of officials in fourteen different states. I've made provisional arrangements with the Justice Department for you to be arrested here at the flat tomorrow morning, and they will make no objection to bail being granted!

'Very cosy,' said Abel, 'but what if they can prove the charges?'

~Oh, they should be able to prove some of the charges,' said H. Trafford Jilks matter of factly, 'but as long as Henry Osborne stays tucked away, they're going to find it very diffi~ cult to nail you on most of them. But you're going to have to live with the fact, Mr. Rosnovski, that most of the real damage has already been done whether you're convicted or not.'

'I can see that only too well,' said Abel, glancing across at a picture of himself on the front page of the Daily News, 'So you find out, Mr.

Jilks, who the hell bought that file from Henry Osborne. Put as many people to work on the case as you need. I don't care about the cost. But you find out and find out quickly, because if it turns out to be William Kane, I'm going to finish that man off once and for all.'

'Don't get yourself into any more trouble than you are already,' said H.

Trafford Jilks. 'You're knee deep in as it is.'

'Don't worry,' said Abel. 'When I finish Kane, it'll be legal and way above board!

'Now listen carefully, Mr. Rosnovski. You forget about William Kane for the time being and start worrying about your impending trial, because it will be the most important event ever to take place in your life unless you don't mind spending the next ten yearsin jail. Now there's not much more we can do tonight, so go to bed and catch some sleep. In the meantime, I'll issue a short press statement denying the charges and saying that we have a full explanation which will exonerate you completely!

'Do we?' asked George hopefully.

'No,' said Jilki, 'but it will give me some much needed time to think.

When Mr. Rosnovski has had a chance to check through that file of names, it wouldn't surprise me to discover that be's never had direct contact with any of them. It's possible that Henry Osborne always acted as an intermediary without ever putting Mr. Rosnovski fully in the picture.

Then my job will be to prove that Osborne exceeded his authority as a director of the group. Mind you, Mr. Rosnovski, if you did meet any of the people mentioned in that file, for God's sake let me know, because you can be sure the justice Department will put them on the stand as witnesses to testify against us. But we'll start worrying about that to - morrow. You go to bed and get some sleep. You must be exhausted af ter your trip. I will see you first thing in the morning.'

Abel was arrested quietly in his daughter's apartment at eight thirty a.m.

and driven away by a U.S. marshal to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. The brightly coloured St. Valentine's Day decorations in store windows heightened Abel's sense of loneliness. Jilks had hoped that his arrangements had been so discreet that the press would not have picked them up, but when Abel reached the courthouse, he was once again surrounded by photographers and reporters. He ran the gauntlet into the courtroom with George in front of him and Mr. Jilks behind. They sat silently in an anteroom waiting for their case to be called.