Date With a Sheesha – Chapter One

You are invited to the death of Nayan Gupta.

Those were the chilling words inscribed on the cold white, cardstock invitation.

It was the last Monday in January. Blue Monday.

According to some government-subsidized scientist somewhere, the final Monday of the first month of the year is the most depressing day of the year. I think it has something to do with Christmas bills coming in, broken New Year’s resolutions, and lousy weather. I could almost buy into all that. It made a certain sense. But an invitation to a death? That was going a bit far. My Blue Monday had suddenly turned into Menacing Monday.

I studied the invitation carefully. Below the cryptic request was the date: Today; Time:11:00 a.m..; and Location: Saskatoon airport. I turned the card over. There was nothing more, just blank whiteness, not unlike the part of my brain that was scrambling to answer the question: What the hell?

I checked my watch. It was nearing ten-thirty.

The envelope had been part of the normal weekday delivery of mail into my in-basket. Our ever cheery receptionist, Lilly had brought it in only moments ago. No return address. Of course not. That would be too simple.

My fingers tapped at my desktop’s keyboard. Google found 250,000 hits matching “Nayan Gupta,” and not many fewer matching “Nayan Gupta Saskatoon.” I opened Facebook and typed the name into the “search” box. Thirty-one possibles. I liked these odds much better. I sipped my tall, double, non-fat latte and scanned the resulting list. In the top third, I came to a Nayan who listed “Saskatoon” as one of his networks. The picture on the left-hand side showed a handsome fellow, with dark eyes, curly black hair worn on the longish side, and a friendly smile. The photo had obviously been cropped. It looked like Nayan had his arm around someone who’d been unceremoniously chopped from view.

I clicked on the photo and was taken to a new page. I growled under my breath when I was presented with the standard greeting: “Nayan only shares certain information with everyone. If you know Nayan, add him as a friend on Facebook.” Privacy laws be damned! I had no idea if Facebook Nayan Gupta was the same Nayan Gupta whose death I was invited to, but I was curious enough to find out.


Okay, okay. My lack of previously booked engagements (read: Boredom) may have had something to do with it too.

According to my Day-timer, other than an afternoon coffee date with my friend Anthony, the day was devoid of appointments with clients clamouring for my services. As was the next day and the day after that. Business was slow. My brow creased, and I let out an audible humph. Maybe that Blue Monday scientist was on to something after all.

I jumped up and headed for the door. There was just enough time to make it to the airport.


Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker Airport is named for the thirteenth Prime Minister of Canada, who grew up in our city. He had many nicknames during his political career, my favourite being “The Dief” (which I always thought would have made for a much snappier airport moniker. I can hear the pilot’s dulcet tones now: We will soon be on our approach for a landing at The Dief.)

I pulled into the parking lot just after eleven. Eighteen months ago, my beloved and mucho sexy Mazda RX7 convertible was pushed off the roof of a downtown parking garage. I was meant to be in it. Luckily, I managed to escape, just in time to see her splat on the ground three storeys below me. If this isn’t proof that life as a prairie private detective is nothing short of exhilarating, I don’t know what is. That sad day suddenly left me without any readily available means of transportation. Other than my own two feet, that is. It made it rather difficult to pursue fleeing criminals in speeding vehicles. And late-night surveillance with nowhere to sit but the snow bank across the street from the bad guy’s house just wasn’t working for me.

For many years, I’d resisted what I knew deep down to be true. A two-seater convertible, no matter how much of a man-magnet , is simply not a practical vehicle given the life of a private eye. In my line of work, I spend more time in my automobile than most—somewhere in between a lawyer and a travelling salesman, I’d estimate. Add to that two dogs, a mother who’d needed the Jaws of Life to get in and out of the Mazda, and a boyfriend who has a daughter and two dogs of his own. The car was Impractical with a capital “I.” So, today, I am the owner of another Mazda. A Mazda5 to be exact.

It’s a…gulp…minivan.

I know I made the right decision. A minivan is what I need. It’s good for me. Like fibre is good for me. And cod-liver oil. And regular appointments with John the dentist.

As I closed the door of the “Babamobile” (as I’d come to think of her) I heard the reassuring thunk of the heavy door with childproof locks, and felt a good deal older than my spritely thirty-nine years. But I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. It was damn cold out and my ears were already feeling the burn. (I never wear a toque—messes the hair). So I made a hasty dash for the terminal, and my appointment with death.

Once inside, I loosened my scarf and unzipped my quilted jacket. I passed by the signs for Air Canada, Delta, Pronto, Transwest, United, and WestJet. There didn’t immediately appear to be any check-in counter for “Nayan Gupta’s death,” but as I toddled along, I realized I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Would there be banners and streamers and watered-down punch? Music? Maybe some speeches?

“Hello there,” came a cheery voice from somewhere behind me. “May I help you? You look a little lost.”

I turned and came face to face with Bob (according to his name tag), one of those preternaturally cheerful airport greeters. Although clearly of retirement age, this fellow had energy to burn and could barely stand still. His eyes sparkled and his dentures gleamed. Here was someone who fully loved what he was doing today. Me, I wasn’t so sure.

I gave Bob a blank look, considered asking him for directions, realized the futility of that, and instead mumbled  “no thanks” and ambled off.

I had to admit to myself that I didn’t really expect to find anything here. I’d come all this way because I had nothing better to do. It got me out of the office. After all, how seriously would anyone in their right mind take an invitation to death? The whole thing was a hoax. Someone’s idea of a joke on Blue Monday. Kind of like pulling an April Fool’s Day joke on a friend. I just happened to have the time to play along. On the way back to the office I’d pick up something fun for lunch. Maybe sushi. Not a bad morning, really.

Although I’m not a Tim Hortons fan (and therefore—according to some—not really Canadian), I stopped next to the cheery kiosk and debated ordering a cup of java. Steaming hot liquid in any form is always a good thing in January in Saskatchewan. Just as I was about to succumb to the opportunity to rrrrrrroll up the rim to win, a crowd of about twenty people diverted my attention. They were standing on the far side of the food court, near the big windows that look out onto the tarmac. Although it wasn’t exactly a commotion, they were definitely getting worked up about something.

I sauntered over to get a better view of what it was they were staring at. From what I could tell, they seemed particularly transfixed by a nearby Air Canada jet. It looked like the aircraft had been there for a while. Arriving passengers had already disembarked. A gas truck was refuelling the plane. A de-icing vehicle was standing by in case the plummeting temperature necessitated its use. Cargo was being unloaded. Nothing seemed amiss or particularly interesting about the airplane. I didn’t get it.

Then came a collective intake of breath, followed by a stifled cry. Followed by several more cries.

What was going on?

My eyes searched the plane and the surrounding area all over again: Big metal tube. Two wings. Sitting on a wide, flat, frigid-looking expanse of runway. All looked standard to me.

But there had to be something…something…

Then I saw it. A new piece of cargo had just been unloaded from the plane’s belly. From its size and shape, and the reaction of the assembled group, now flattened against the window, I knew it could only be one thing. A coffin.

I turned to examine the people. They were hugging one another, murmuring in voices thick with grief, pressed as close to the pane of glass or each other as they could be. Others in the food court were watching the public tumult too. They couldn’t resist. It was as if we’d somehow been transported to a stranger’s funeral. We were compelled to watch the sadness, witness the misery. At the same time, we were glad to be removed, glad it wasn’t someone we loved in that solitary, cold-looking box. Even so, the emotions were so big, so raw, so real, a wave of sorrow radiated out from the mourners, washing over the rest of us. We couldn’t help but be covered by the tide of loss.

Many of the women, and some of the men, were sobbing. The others did what they could to comfort them. Small children looked up at their parents, eyes wide, faces strained, unsure whether to cry or run away and hide.

One of the older women, nearly overcome with her sadness, began to collapse. The crowd rallied around her. She was helped to a nearby chair, and slumped into it. I noticed a colourful swath of fabric pool around her feet. Under her coat she was wearing a sari. I studied the group more closely and saw that all of the mourners were of East Indian descent. Gupta. Nayan. East Indian. The dark handsome features of the young man on Facebook…East Indian? Could it be?

Suddenly I felt ashamed for having taken the whole thing so lightly. Had I really been invited to the death…or at least the aftermath of the death…of Nayan Gupta? Were these people his family? His mother and father? Siblings? Cousins? Aunts and uncles? Nieces and nephews? Friends and relatives? Here to greet him at the end of his final voyage home from who knew where. Here to escort him to his final resting place.

Why was I here? Who would send me an invitation to this? Who would do such a thing? The whole idea was nothing short of ghoulish.

With the casket disappearing from view, the family began to regroup, recover, and move, en masse, toward the exit. I was only a bystander, an outsider, yet I felt wrung out by the ordeal myself. My heart had been frayed by the unexpected display of pain.

When the man broke off from the departing group and came toward me, I was not surprised, I was relieved. Here at last would be the answer to my questions. Here at last would be an explanation for my requested presence. I’d know what my part in all of this was meant to be. Deep down, even though I didn’t know a soul amongst those gathered at the airport that day, I was filled with a desire to help them if I could.

The man who approached me was several inches shorter than I, heavy-set, with an egg-shaped face and expressive, intelligent eyes. Familiar eyes. I would have bet dollars to doughnuts this was Nayan Gupta’s father.

Without a word, the man reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a folded piece of paper, and handed it to me.

“Mr. Gupta?” I asked.

“Mr. Quant,” he answered. “Thank you for coming. Neil was my son.”


“Nayan. He called himself…most people called him Neil.”

“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Gupta.”

“Thank you. That is very kind. I’d like very much for you to come to our home now. Can you do that? I have something to tell you.”

“Pranav,” a woman from the departing crowd called out to the man.

His eyes remained on me. “I must go,” he told me. “Will you come? Will you come to my home? I will be there, at the address on the paper I just gave you. With my family.”

I nodded. “Of course,” I agreed. As I did, I wasn’t quite sure why I was being so accommodating to this strange man with his strange request.

He reached down for my hand and pulled it into a brisk handshake. He gave me a smile that must have cost him dearly, given the circumstances. “I must go now.”

And then he, along with the rest of Neil’s family and friends, was gone.


A sombre looking woman opened the door to the Gupta’s sizeable Arbor Creek house. She nodded at me and stepped back to let me in. Although I couldn’t see the rest of the brooding clan, I could hear the hum and buzz of people in unhappy conversation not far off.

“My husband is waiting for you,” she said.

“You’re Mrs. Gupta?” I said, mostly because I had nothing else up my sleeve.

“Yes,” she told me with pursed lips. “I am Unnati Gupta.

Unnati was wearing a stunning sari of rich turquoise, bright pink, and deep yellow. Her dark hair was pulled back from her face, bringing focus to eyes that were sharp and slightly narrowed, as if she was in a permanent state of suspicion. Her lips were painted bright red, matching her fingernails. A lovely collection of gold jewellery adorned her wrists, ears, and neck.

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” I told her.

She nodded again, those eyes taking in every bit of me.

“And who is this, Unnati?” Another, older woman wearing an equally colourful and striking sari joined us .

“This is no one,” she answered. “He’s only here to see Pranav.”

I must not have hidden my surprise at her brusque comment too well, because she quickly added: “I mean you aren’t family. Everyone here today is family, you see.”

I managed a wan smile.

“Well, he should eat anyway,” the other woman said. Taking firm hold of my arm, she purposefully led me away from the front door. Unnati followed at a discreet distance, as if wanting to know where we were going but not wanting to be part of the trip.

My as yet unnamed companion handed me a plate and welcomed me to try one of everything. Although I could readily identify some of the dishes: pakoras, samosas, a lentil-based dal, chickpea masala, kebabs with sauces, mango chutney, and piles of freshly baked naan bread, there were many more I did not recognize. No problem. My hospitable escort was more than happy to introduce them, spooning healthy portions of each onto my plate.

When she was done—or rather when there was no room left—the woman pointed at the sweets. She made me promise to come back for dessert. In particular, she suggested the gulaab jamun. My mother would say the dish looked something like fried perogies in syrup. (And then she’d go home and try to make it herself—Ukrainian style.)

As soon as the old lady was gone, Unnati was at my side.

“My husband is waiting for you,” she told me, with a pointed look at my overflowing plate. I could almost hear it groan from the strain, of both the overabundance of food and my chaperone’s disapproving glare. “It’s this way.”

Following behind the departing woman, feeling a bit like Oliver Twist caught with too much porridge, I took the opportunity to inventory the sights along the way. From what I could see of the furnishings, the artworks, and the general splendour of the Gupta’s house, I concluded that although maybe not filthy rich, the Guptas were getting plenty dirty on their way there. Undecided between modern-day contemporary and traditional Indian, they’d decided to go with both. Beautifully carved antique chests and doorway arches of dark brown woods mixed seamlessly with sleek leather divans and glass-topped coffee tables. Massive brass deities sat companionably next to postmodernist sculpture. Lush carpets covered slate tile, gold-framed art depicting humanized gods and celestial beings hung next to vivid oil originals by famed local artists like Ernest Lindner, Dorothy Knowles, and Darrell Bell. The result was a wildly eclectic decor, but skilfully accomplished in a way that no single feature was highlighted at the expense of another.

“He’s in here,” Mrs. Gupta said, indicating a closed door at the end of a wide hallway. The quiet that surrounded us was a testament to sound construction, thick walls, and the size of the house.

Before I could say anything, she was gone. “Thanks,” I said to the void, minding my manners.

It felt awkward standing there, in a stranger’s home, not knowing if I should knock on the door or simply walk in. Did I abandon my plate of crispy onion bhajis, Chicken Malai Tikka, and saffron rice? Or hurriedly shovel it down before going in?

I decided. Rapping on the dark wood, I tried the knob. Finding it unlocked, I hesitantly pushed open the door.

“Mr. Quant, please come in,” Pranav Gupta said with a surprising gusto when he saw it was me. “Thank you very much for coming.”

He was standing behind the biggest desk I’d ever seen. Even though the room itself was large, the desk was an overpowering presence. Here again old East met new West. The desk was a piece of art, intricately carved and detailed, with complex patterns highlighted by gilt and multicoloured hues of rich stain. Atop the desk there was room for a laptop, a high-speed printer, and even a small plasma TV screen. The floors were thick with carpet and the walls obscured by bookshelves and wall hangings and draperies. The overall effect was like entering the inner sanctum of a maharaja, who also happened to be a modern-day entrepreneur.

Gupta stepped from behind the behemoth and grasped my hand in a solid handshake. “I see you are trying some of my mother’s cooking. What do you think?”

I gave him an appreciative nod. “You’re mother is an excellent cook.” I hadn’t tried any yet. But I’ve always found you can never go wrong complimenting a mother’s food.

The man beamed. “Which is your favourite?”


Using my fork I indicated one of the lumps on my plate.

“Oh, but have you tried the Rogan Josh? It’s lamb with yoghurt.” He pointed at another specimen. “Or the Jeera Aloo? It’s potato, you know. Please, try it.”

When I realized he was serious, and was waiting for me to sample the food, I readily complied.

Oh my.

I was reminded—as I too often am—how much I love food, and how it had the power to transport me to faraway, exotic places.

Making sounds more appropriate to the boudoir, and under Pranav Gupta’s watchful eye, I forked in a few more mouthfuls. The distinct flavours—sharp, sweet, spicy, and everything in between—began a party in my mouth. The tangy spices of the Rogan Josh played with the cumin in the Jeera Aloo, pungent saffron danced around the creamy mellowness of the yoghurt. It was truly a divine experience.

But I was here to work.

Resolutely, lest I be distracted by the charms of its aromas, I set the dish aside on a nearby table.

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. My mother with be pleased.”

“My pleasure completely. Thank you. And pass my compliments to your mother.”

Culinary business complete, Mr. Gupta grasped my hand, and pulled me across the room to a bureau featuring what looked to me to be a mini shrine in honour of his dead son. He picked up the largest photo—one of about a dozen—an 8×10 in a gold frame and handed it to me. I was surprised at how heavy it was. This was no $7.95 Walmart special.

“This is my son. My only son. This is Nayan. Neil to those outside our family.”

I studied the picture. The face that stared back at me was the same one I’d found on Facebook.

“Again, Mr., Gupta, I’m sorry for your loss. But I’m afraid I don’t know why I’m here, why you invited me here.”




“Ah, yes, the invitation,” he said with a chuffing noise, taking back the photograph and returning it to its place of honour on the bureau. “Let me begin by apologizing for such a melodramatic action, and for the short notice of the invitation. This is not how I normally carry out business, you understand. But I needed to have your attention. I was afraid if I gave you too much time to consider the request, you might turn it down.”

He was probably right. My head bobbed ever so slightly. I needed to move this along. “If you’re looking to hire me, a visit to my office would have sufficed,” I told him. “I have to tell you, Mr. Gupta, I’m feeling a little uncomfortable being here. Obviously this is a very sad day for your family. Why don’t we make an appointment to meet in a few days? We can discuss whatever it is you want to discuss then?”

“No,” he responded quickly. “No, I want you to be here. I need you to be here. To feel this grief. To understand the depth of our sadness. To know how much my son’s death has affected our family. I want you to develop the same burning need that I have—that we all have—to find out the truth about Neil’s death.”

I must have looked doubtful; once more, he picked up his son’s picture and thrust it toward me. I looked but did not take it.

“My son is dead,” he proclaimed, as if this were fresh news. “Today we witnessed his body coming home. This should never have happened. He should not have died…”

“I can sympathi…”

“I want more than sympathy, Mr. Quant,” the grieving father informed me, his voice forceful, and the picture frame in his hands shaking with his vehemence. “I want your passion. I am a person who believes that in all a man does—be it in his business, his personal life, his religious beliefs—success comes from passion. I need your passion, Mr. Quant. Because, you see, I am about to ask a very great deal of you.”

Uh oh. “What exactly are you asking me to do?”

“I want you to find my son’s murderer.”

Although I knew nothing about Neil Gupta’s death, I’d been expecting this exchange would turn into something along these lines. So, as shocking as murder always is, I was ready for this. “Are you sure you want to discuss the details of this today?” I asked again, my head slightly inclined toward the den door and the houseful of guests on the other side of it.

“I am.” He reverently returned the photo of his lost son to its setting. “Emotions are high today. We are very sad, as you’ve no doubt witnessed. I want you to take this in. I want you to use it as the fuel for your passion when you search for the one who ended my son’s life.” He paused, and then added, “You will need it.”

Now he was making me nervous. “What happened to your son, Mr. Gupta?”

“Please,” he said, indicating a chic sofa of dark chestnut leather. “Sit with me a while.”

We sat next to one another on the couch, he slightly closer to me than I would have liked. Mr. Gupta’s sense of personal space was a little less expansive than my own.

“My son was working in the Middle East,” he began earnestly, “based out of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. He was there under the auspices of the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Antiquities, of which my wife is the head.”

Before I could think it, Gupta added, “His stepmother played no favourites in making this decision. Neil deserved this position. He is very young, that is true. But he is a knowledgeable researcher and a very talented lecturer.”

I nodded my acceptance of his assertions and asked, “What was it he was researching and lecturing about?”

“Carpets.” It was an answer I was not expecting. From the look on the man’s face, I could see he knew it and was enjoying my surprise. “My son’s specialty is the antique carpet trade. Not many people are aware that this is a long and distinguished area of study, with great historical significance. Most people, when they think of carpets, they think of pile rugs, welcome mats, or at best, oriental carpets.”

I know I did.

“But there is a world of magnificent and breathtaking carpets from all over the globe. Carpets from Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Morocco, and Turkey and…” Gupta stopped there. He sat back and let out a chuckle. “Oh my, listen to me. Speaking of all this, as if I know something, when in reality I know so little. I am a structural engineer, not a specialist in antique carpets. Yet here I am lecturing about all this to you. Forgive me. It is simply an acquired enthusiasm, borrowed from my wife and son, and born from many, many hours listening to their conversations and arguments .”

I gave him a nod with a gentle smile of understanding. From personal experience, I myself knew way too much about clothing and opera from spending time with my menswear-store-owning, La-Bohème-loving friend, Anthony Gatt. “I see. So your wife sent Neil to Dubai to learn more about carpets?”

His head shook. “Quite the opposite really. During his six months there, he was to be guest lecturer at several Middle Eastern universities. He was going to teach them. But his main reason for going was something of greater importance. Last year, the University of Saskatchewan announced funding for a permanent display of antique carpets, to be housed at the Department of Antiquities. Perhaps you recall the press conference, the stories in the newspaper?”

I gave the man a look that I hoped conveyed I was vaguely aware, when really, I wasn’t at all.

“This is a very important move by the university. This collection will be the first of its kind amongst universities in western Canada. Unnati, as had many department heads before her, lobbied and politicked for this for a very long time. It is an exhilarating accomplishment for her. This will be the legacy of her tenure with the Department of Antiquities. And the university, the city, and the province too, will each reap significant benefits from this. Not only in terms of research and education, but tourism dollars. People will come from all over the world,to visit what is sure to become a world-class attraction.”

Rugs as a world-class attraction? Who knew? “And it all begins very soon.”


“I was about to tell you Neil’s greater purpose in the Middle East. He was to travel the area, assessing and making the final acquisition decisions on the most important of the carpets intended for the UofS collection. The climax of his trip was to be his return in two weeks from today. He and the final carpets were to arrive just in time for the World Antique Carpet Symposium being held here in Saskatoon.”

WACS? Except for the name, this did sound impressive.


“It is the first time the symposium has been held in Canada,” Gupta told me. His animated face turned dark. “It was to have been a triumphant return for Neil. But instead of bathed in glory, my son came back to us in a casket.”

I was about to say how sorry I was, but I’d said it so often already  the sentiment had lost its meaning. And I still didn’t know how Neil Gupta had died. “Tell me what happened to your son, Mr. Gupta.”

“The official word is that he was attacked by hoodlums in a souk near Dubai Creek. Are you by any chance familiar with Dubai, Mr. Quant?” he eyed me carefully.

“No, I’m sorry.”

“No problem, no problem,” he hurriedly assured me.

“I take it you don’t quite believe the official word?”

He shook his head. “I do not.”

“Tell me why.”

“My son was in the souk for a party. A surprise farewell party held in his honour, arranged by his colleagues. It does not make sense that he would be in an unsafe area where he could be attacked by criminals.”

“Accidents happen,” I suggested as gently as I could. “Perhaps your son got lost, or wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time.” I’d been in a souk in Tunis a few years earlier. I had first-hand knowledge of what utterly confusing and bewildering places they can be. And dangerous.

He shook his head, resolute in his belief.

“What exactly did the authorities say?”

“That he was stabbed repeatedly, to death, by villains as yet unknown to them. Their doctors confirmed this manner of death. I had a third party, whom I trust, perform a second examination. They concur. But what they cannot confirm, Mr. Quant, is that this stabbing was a simple act of violence performed by miscellaneous thugs. This is unbelievable to me. As you may know, Dubai prides itself on its very modern police force. This is a city with a reputation for being practically crime free.”

I found this hard to believe—not to mention, lousy news for people in my particular line of work—but I let the comment go by uncontested.

“Again, Mr. Gupta, although I can understand how hard it must be for you to believe that this happened to you, to your son, these things do happen. People travel to foreign countries every day. Some never return. Murder, I’m sorry to say, can happen anywhere. And, I’m sorrier to say, sometimes it happens without reason or provocation.” I feared Neil’s father was suffering from the old “it can’t happen to me” syndrome.

And then he dropped his bombshell. “But you see, Mr. Quant, there was a reason.”

I wanted to suggest he might have started with that line, but whatever.

“And that is why I especially wanted you here today.”

Now we were getting somewhere.

“You see, Mr. Quant, like you, my son was gay.”

I almost winced at the sound of the word, which Mr. Gupta had pronounced with a harsh, hard-sounding “g.”

“Homosexual practices are illegal in all the Peninsula countries, including the United Arab Emirates. In some, under sharia law, it is even punishable by death.”

“Is that what you believe, Mr. Gupta? Do you believe your son was killed for being gay?”

He nodded. “That is exactly what I believe.”

Although I was aware of the stance on homosexuality in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, if this were true, it was shocking beyond belief. I’d heard of punishment ranging from flogging and imprisonment to deportation. Those were bad enough. But was it possible that someone would be killed for being gay? Especially in Dubai, the glitziest, most over-the-top, over-exposed, most modern, most western emirate of the UAE. The very idea raised my ire.

“Now you understand,” Gupta said to me, moving a little closer on the couch. “You understand why I need your help.”

But I didn’t. Not really. “What do you want me to do for you, Mr. Gupta?”

“I want you to go to Dubai. I want you to find out if I am right in my suspicion. I want you to find out why my son died—the real reason. I deserve to know. My family deserves to know. Until we do, we cannot find peace.”

I heard the door to the office swing open, and with it an unexpected accusation: “Do not believe what he says, Mr. Quant,” the voice said. “My husband is lying to you.”