I looked into his blue eye, then at his brown and green eye and gave up, looking self-consciously at the bridge of his nose. I’m not as a rule self-conscious or uncomfortable talking to anyone, so it was an unsettling experience. He must have been used to it.
“Hi,” I said. “Mr…?”
“Zacharius. Robert Zacharius,” he said.
“I’m Thomas Farrelly,” I said. “I’m a private investigator.”
He displayed the usual reaction of mild interest tinged with disbelief at this statement. “Really?” he said. “Don’t think I’ve ever met a private investigator before. What are you investigating? Not me I hope!”
“Edward Sennet. He…”
“Wait, I remember. The police came and asked about this. A while ago now. Must be oh, last month?”
“Well, time flies,” he said and grimaced. “As long as that! What did you want to know?”
“How did he seem, when he came in here?”
“I told the police all of this,” he said, frowning.
“I know, but I have to go over the same ground. It’s not the same, looking at transcripts.” I smiled encouragingly. “Look, anything you can tell me is a help. Anything.”
“Who hired you?”
“Can’t say I’m afraid. “ I shrugged regretfully. “Client confidentiality.”
“His family, I assume,” he said. He patted the book again and let his hand drop to his side. “What can I tell you. He came in. He looked around at the stock. He was interested in a cabinet at first, but then a vase caught his eye. He put a deposit on it and left. That’s all. He was just a typical customer on a typical day. He seemed perfectly calm and relaxed, but as I never knew him personally perhaps I’m wrong about that. A friend could have said what mood he was in, maybe. He was obviously a visitor. He was quite knowledgeable. That’s it.”
“This vase. Can I see it?”
“Nope, sorry. It was sold.”
“Sold? When?” I asked the question idly.
“The Monday I think. No, the Tuesday. Tuesday after I spoke to the police.”
“Do you happen to remember who bought it?”
He smiled a thin, dry smile. “I can’t claim client confidentiality can I? Yes, I do remember as it happens. I sell high-end goods. If I make two sales in one week that’s a good week. It was a local woman. A Miss Gordon.”
“Gordon? Eleanor Gordon?”
“That’s how she signed. E. Gordon. Yes, that’s right.” The eyebrows rose over his strange eyes. “You know her.”