Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery

By Arturo Sangalli | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
FOUND AND LOST

Monday came and went and Green had not yet heard from Galway. The translation may be taking the professor longer than he had anticipated, he thought. But he didn’t mind, for he had his hands full with the preparation of the new catalogue.

On Tuesday morning, almost one week after he had first called, Alfonso Lopez de Burgos was back at Green’s shop. In the intervening time his hotel room had been broken into and he had spent three days in Hamburg on business. He was in a rather somber mood, contrasting with the expansive customer that had walked into the shop six days earlier with an ancient book in his briefcase.

As he had insisted on seeing Green in private, they were in a small room next to Green’s office that was used on such occasions. The Spaniard was over six-feet-three and built like a weightlifter, darkeyed, with a balding head and an immaculately trimmed thin moustache. He was wearing a gray pinstripe business suit and shiny black shoes. Green invited him to sit down in a large armchair next to the window, while he took a seat on the couch opposite him. A couple of chairs, a shaky table on which sat a coffeemaker, a file cabinet, and a low bookcase completed the furnishings in the room, which Green used mostly as a place to read and relax.

The book dealer had prepared a plan of attack. He would confront de Burgos with the mutilated spine and ask for an explanation without directly accusing him of wrongdoing. He would then argue that the loss of the last part negatively affected the value of the

-38-

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