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He poured out the last of the wine while I unfolded the page he'd handed me and looked at what he'd written. A list of names, basically. 'So expand, Sandro,' I said.

'Well, for a start, all of them have one parent who is Italian and one who is English. Like me. So they're all equally at home in either country. And they're all kind of interconnected. For instance, I went to school with Harry and Jack Jago. Fabio Wisdom is a great friend of Katy Pasqualin  their mothers are cousins. And Katy herself is one of my Aunt Allegra's nieces, so is a sort of cousin to me as well.'

'And what does Katy do?'

'She's the manager of an art gallery in Kensington.'

In other words, one of those as-soon-as-my-boyfriend-proposes-I'm-outta-here sort of jobs. I could just imagine her, all designer scarves and big ethnic necklaces made of lava and seal tusks, with expensive patent leather shoes on her elegant feet.

'She's also a bit of a championship swimmer,' continued Sandro, surprising me. 'And Fabio is a fashion designer in Milan. He's just set up his own evening gown label. Then there's Laura, who's a model. Not in the Claudia Schiffer or Cara Delevingne class yet, but on the way there. She's done quite a few shows for Fabio.'

'And... uh...' I looked down at the list in my hand. 'Bianca Mondori?'

'She works in the City. Like I do.'

'What about your girlfriend?'


I scanned the sheet of paper. 'Suzy Hartley Haywood.' I knew the name because she was always in the trash mags: seen in a nightclub with Prince Harry, holidaying in a minuscule bikini in Malibu, flaunting her luscious attributes as she falls out of her dress (as the tabloids have it) at some glitzy function or other. Despite my best efforts, I could feel my lips purse. Miss Hartley Haywood didn't sound like high quality daughter-in-law material.

'She's with a PR company,' Sandro said.

'Makes sense.'

'And her brother, Tony, works with his parents at their stud farm near Cheltenham.'

'What do Harry and Jack do?'

'They're twins. They farm. Or maybe you could call it more of a large allotment than an actual farm.' He grinned at me, showing the kind of beautiful white teeth it takes thousands of pounds to achieve. 'No, that's not fair. It's like a cottage industry, really, very small, which is how they want to keep it. They're not far from the Hartley Haywoods, as a matter of fact. They're into healthy eating, growing organic kind of stuff. Honey and fresh herbs, dodgy-looking vegetables, genuine free-range eggs, peat-raised cabbages. That sort of thing. Vegetable boxes, it's called. It's all the rage. You subscribe to their website for a year, and they deliver a big box of seasonal fresh stuff to you once or twice a week or
fortnight. As often as you like.'

'Sounds like a good idea.'

'I'll say. They're making a packet.'

'Your friends sound like a busy lot.'

'They are.' Sandro's face drooped. 'I just can't believe that these thefts have anything to do with any of them.'

'If you absolutely had to name one of them in particular, or think one of them is more capable of this theft than the others, who would it be?'

'If I absolutely had to...' He paused, then shook his head. 'I can't. I've known them most of my life. I'd have said they were all absolutely trustworthy.'

'But if it was life or death...'

'I suppose I'd...' He dragged the words out reluctantly. 'Tony Hartley Haywood. Suzy's brother. But only because there was some trouble at his tennis club, years ago... He was accused of stealing somebody's engagement ring. It turned up again, but people said that was only because he got scared he'd be found out, so he dropped it in the girl's sports bag where it was bound to be found. Tony can be a bit of a...' He failed to complete the sentence, but I got the drift anyway....

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