Chinita Macri was mad. She sat in the passenger’s seat of the BBC van as it idled at a corner on Via Tomacelli. Gunther Glick was checking his map of Rome, apparently lost. As she had feared, his mystery caller had phoned back, this time with information.
“Piazza del Popolo,” Glick insisted. “That’s what we’re looking for. There’s a church there. And inside is proof.”
“Proof.” Chinita stopped polishing the lens in her hand and turned to him. “Proof that a cardinal has been murdered?”
“That’s what he said.”
“You believe everything you hear?” Chinita wished, as she often did, that she was the one in charge. Videographers, however, were at the whim of the crazy reporters for whom they shot footage. If Gunther Glick wanted to follow a feeble phone tip, Macri was his dog on a leash.
She looked at him, sitting there in the driver’s seat, his jaw set intently. The man’s parents, she decided, must have been frustrated comedians to have given him a name like Gunther Glick. No wonder the guy felt like he had something to prove. Nonetheless, despite his unfortunate appellative and annoying eagerness to make a mark, Glick was sweet . . . charming in a pasty, Briddish, unstrung sort of way. Like Hugh Grant on lithium.
“Shouldn’t we be back at St. Peter’s?” Macri said as patiently as possible. “We can check this mystery church out later. Conclave started an hour ago. What if the cardinals come to a decision while we’re gone?”
Glick did not seem to hear. “I think we go to the right, here.” He tilted the map and studied it again. “Yes, if I take a right . . . and then an immediate left.” He began to pull out onto the narrow street before them.
“Look out!” Macri yelled. She was a video technician, and her eyes were sharp. Fortunately, Glick was pretty fast too. He slammed on the brakes and avoided entering the intersection just as a line of four Alpha Romeos appeared out of nowhere and tore by in a blur. Once past, the cars skidded, decelerating, and cut sharply left one block ahead, taking the exact route Glick had intended to take.
“Maniacs!” Macri shouted.
Glick looked shaken. “Did you see that?”
“Yeah, I saw that! They almost killed us!”
“No, I mean the cars,” Glick said, his voice suddenly excited. “They were all the same.”
“So they were maniacs with no imagination.”
“The cars were also full.”
“Four identical cars, all with four passengers?”
“You ever heard of carpooling?”
“In Italy?” Glick checked the intersection. “They haven’t even heard of unleaded gas.” He hit the accelerator and peeled out after the cars.
Macri was thrown back in her seat. “What the hell are you doing?”
Glick accelerated down the street and hung a left after the Alpha Romeos. “Something tells me you and I are not the only ones going to church right now.”