As always, as much as I sometimes hate to admit it, Ricky was right. By mid-morning, after I took care of other business that kept my agency in the black, I was on the computer checking out the Shreveport address. It turned out to be a large apartment building that my map program said was in the center of the city.
A search gave me the phone number of the management company. A call, and several transfers, put me in touch with the woman responsible for that particular building. Once I identified myself she was willing, after a few moments of hesitation, to give me the name and number of the building's onsite manager.
She paved the way for me, so when I called the man he was willing to talk to me.
"Ms Engel? Yeah I remember her. Nice woman. Good tenant. Her and her boyfriend. Wish we had more like them. Always paid on time, didn't cause any problems."
"How long were they there and do you remember the boyfriend's name?"
"About ten months, until he took off. Poor woman. She was devastated. His name was… Hang on a sec and let me check."
He was back a minute later.
"Yeah, thought I remembered it rightly. Frank Milano. Good looking kid. Dark hair, dark eyes, sorta reminded me of Al Pacino in that movie about kids on drugs, or in 'The Godfather'. Dating myself, huh? Anyway, he was maybe five years younger than her but he didn't seem to care. Treated her like a queen while he was still in the picture."
"Does he have a middle name?"
"Did Ms Engel say why he left?"
"Nope. I sorta figured he met someone his own age, despite the fact he seemed to dote on her. About two weeks later she moved out. Said she's inherited some money and was going off to"—he chuckled—"the big city. Now I know Shreveport isn't New Orleans or New York but we're not Podunk either."
The 'inheritance' thing interested me. Made me wonder if somehow she finagled it from the boyfriend. Or stole the money from him and he split when he found out, rather than try to get it back. Especially if he couldn't prove he didn't give it to her. Of course first I needed to find out if he had money. According to the dates she was in Shreveport she would have been thirty-seven, thirty-eight. That would have made him in his early thirties, so his having money wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
I thanked the manager for speaking with me and then it was on to what seemed to be my lot in life at the moment. More Internet people searches.
I got no hits for Frank Vincent Milano or Frank V. Milano, and only three for just Frank Milano. None of those men were within the correct age range. Then, because of his last name, I decided to try Franco and Vincente, or variations there of. Finally! I clicked on Francesco Vincente Milano. Right age, looked sort of like Pacino.
Further searching brought up an interesting piece of information. Milano's father was Amedeo Milano, a reputed mobster, whereabouts unknown at the moment. "I wonder…" I muttered.
I knew a man who might be able to give me more information on the Milanos—father and son—than I've been finding online. Of course Nicolò Caiazzo denied that he had 'connections'. On the other hand, he was reputedly the head of a sophisticated theft ring—something he also denied, although from personal experience I knew better.
I made a call to Caiazzo's place of business, a local and very reputable bookstore.
"Walt," Caiazzo said when I reached him, "a pleasure to hear from you." He chuckled. "Are you searching for another rare book?"
That's how we'd connected in the first place. When I'd suspected he might have been behind the theft of a book valued at well over forty thousand dollars.
I laughed, admitted I wasn't, and asked if I could drop by the bookstore to talk to him. He said he'd be there all day and would be glad to see me again. After letting Chelsea know I'd be gone for an hour or more I headed out.