“This is good barbecue, Blow. You should open a restaurant.” Mary Lloyd's words came out muffled through her chewing, the gusto of which alone obviated a need for comment. But Blow smiled in appreciation.
“I'll tell Dad. It's his recipe.”
“Secret? One of those you'd-hafta-kill-me-if-ya-told-me kind?”
“I don't think so. He told me, and he knows I can't keep a secret.”
“You did alright with Callahan.” She waited a beat. “And me.”
“Those aren't secrets, Mary, they're mandates. Professional life-and-death, if you will.”
She picked some coleslaw from her teeth. “Not even a hint?”
Blow took a bite of barbecue, chewed it up and swallowed it, grinning at Mary all the while. “OK, here's what I can do. I'm going to give you a hint but it's got to be sort of round about. I'm going to sort of mingle it in with Dad's barbecue recipe, which will also be sort of indirect. And my reason for being so circumspect, which might sound like paranoia—hell, it does, in fact—is because this thing is getting so big.
“I mean, Yorktown seems to be under siege again, this time by the federal government, because a man who claimed to be interested in Gunther's murder was himself murdered there. And now it looks as if he—Himmler—was some sort of federal agent. Now, you know my sister's good friend and possible fiancé is a high-ranking FBI agent. I would hope he would have the decency to respect my Constitutional guarantee of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, meaning he wouldn't have hidden microphones in this house without legal court authorization. And by that I mean he wouldn't have lied to obtain the authorization.
“But, Mary, with all this shit going on right now—pardon my exuberance—and the lingering xenophobia in this country that continues to feed policing excesses, I just can't be certain anymore. I don't feel as secure.”
Mary followed his eyes up at the smoke detector over their heads. “So you--”
“Just playing it safe. I could have the house swept, but I'm afraid merely acting on these misgivings would only nudge them into full-fledged suspicion, which I would rather avoid at present. And maybe I really don't want to know. So listen carefully now. Here's how I'm going to do it. I don't know if Gladstone has told Callahan how he found out about the musket he says might have been used to murder Gunther. There's no mention in Watterman's article either.
“OK, so now I'm going to tell you how to find Dad's recipe on the Internet. This way I can steer you in the right direction without risk of pissing him off by revealing a secret I'm not even sure is a secret. Just playing it safe. So let's say all you know about this barbecue is the name Bubba. Nothing else. So you go online and Google the words Bubba and barbecue, and lo and behold, up comes a website for Bubba Foods of Jacksonville, Florida. You go to the website and find that one of the products sold by this company is Bubba Grillers, described, let's say, as hickory smoked authentic pork barbecue with sauce.
“Now, perhaps you will find included with the description of this product various suggestions for preparing this barbecue, one of which might be to slow-cook it for several hours with, say, a commercial barbecue sauce such as Stubbs Legendary Bar-B-Q of Austin, Texas. Are you with me? Good. OK, now, here's where it gets especially interesting. Let's say none of these suggestions are included with the product description, but a link is provided to a blog for discussions about various ways to prepare Bubba's hand-pulled, pit-cooked barbecue. A blog. There. I think you can figure out where to go from here, and nobody can accuse me of violating any professional confidentiality that might exist between me and a client.”
Mary laughed quietly. “A blog, huh? Well, whattaya know.” She glanced up at the smoke detector. “Hmmmm. You don't suppose our friendly federal agents, whomever they might be, will be having really excellent barbecue at their next office get-together?”
“It might at least improve their disposition.”
“Sons of Lexington. Now where have I heard that before?”
“Good question, Mary, although if I recollect correctly I think I heard you say it not so long ago. Right here, in fact. Like some more barbecue?”
“Thanks, Blow, but I'm stuffed.”