Résumés of chapters 16,17 and 18 - from the original French by Frencheuropean.
Still single at age 46, Paulo Andreotti lives, as is the custom, with his mother. He is happy with his life and commits a lot of time to his investigations.
It's strange that, if the child was abducted, he didn't make any noise and wake his brothers. No trace of chloroform was detected by the forensic police. What were the cucumbers doing in the entrance hall when they should have been found in the child's bedroom or in the kitchen? Unless it was the child who placed them there before going outside where he was kidnapped?
He is going to re-interrogate everyone, check up on criminal records and alibis.
He feels some affection for Laurence, who reminds him of a former conquest.
He thinks of his best friend, Simone Cazzi, who never had a chance in life: beaten by his parents; born on a February 29th (a present every four years) and who, just when he was happy, having customised the car of his dreams, saw that car crushed in just a few seconds by a bin lorry. He hasn't fared very well since.
Laurence, who has not eaten in four days, pushes away the image of Madec's body that surfaces from time to time, repeating to herself, "I didn't kill him," On reflection, she concludes that "what's missing for the case to advance is a guilty party."
Her blood runs cold when Andreotti comes to inform them that the maritime brigade is exploring the coasts, searching for a body. She imagines the return to Granville in shame and sadness.
Andreotti also announces that the press is about to arrive to interview them and advises them to be wary.
Laurence, who flatly refused to begin with, looking offended, is quite happy however when Andreotti makes the remark that the press may be able to help in the search. She then pretends to be resigned to it: "in that case, of course..."
That evening, she fears the worst when the inspector knocks on the door. He brings them a photo, that of a suspect.
Ron Murdoch thinks of his past. A teacher in an English school in Italy, he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison in England for interfering with young pupils. He had pleaded guilty, regretting that the death sentence didn't exist. On leaving prison, he found a job in a bar in Leicester. He fled to London because a 20 year-old barman, Magnus, had fallen in love with him and he had sworn never again to associate with young adolescents. Magnus, however, found him and they set up home together.
To please him, Ron, who had just had an inheritance from his mother, offered to take him on holiday. Magnus chose Italy, in a quiet holiday village. Ron hesitated and then agreed. However, shortly before the departure, he takes on to tell Magnus everything about his past. Magnus, knowing everything, reproaches him for having, with that confession, raised a wall between them and he leaves.
Ron leaves for Italy by himself. At the swimming pool, he goes to the rescue of a child who is drowning. Later, he goes to spend two days visiting the monuments of Florence.
On his return, he is visited by the police and the inspector informs him, in a quiet voice, that he is the prime suspect in the abduction of a little boy: Madec Macand.