The Second Time Around

The Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark Read Free Book Online

Book: The Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Higgins Clark
and then accepted an invitation to join the research team at Sloan-Kettering in New York.After a short time he left to take over the laboratory at Gen-stone because he was convinced they were on the path to a potentially revolutionary achievement in medicine.
    Ken and Don came in as I was folding my notes. The receptionist took their names, and a few minutes later we were escorted into Charles Wallingford’s office.
    He was sitting behind an eighteenth-century mahogany desk. The Persian carpet at his feet had faded just enough to give a soft glow to the red and blue and gold tones in its pattern. A leather couch and several matching chairs formed a seating group to the left of the door. The walls were paneled in a butternut shade of walnut. The narrow draperies were a deep shade of blue, framing rather than covering the windows. As a result, the room was filled with natural light, and the beautiful outside gardens served as living artwork. It was the room of a man with impeccable taste.
    That verified the impression I’d had of Wallingford at the stockholders’ meeting on Monday. Even though he was clearly under great strain, he had conducted himself with dignity when the derisive shouts were hurled at him. Now he got up from behind his desk to greet us with a courteous smile.
    After we had introduced ourselves, he said, “I think you’ll be more comfortable there,” indicating the seating area. I sat on the couch, and Don Carter sat next to me. Ken took one of the chairs, and Wallingford perched on the edge of the seat of the other one, his elbows resting lightly on the arms, the fingertips of his hands touching.
    As the business expert of our group, Don thanked Wallingford for agreeing to be interviewed and then began to ask some pretty tough questions, including how so much money could have gone missing without Wallingford and the board of directors getting some kind of warning.
    According to Wallingford, it boiled down to the fact that after Garner Pharmaceuticals contracted to invest in Gen-stone, they became alarmed at the continuing disappointments in the results of the ongoing experiments. Spencer had been looting the revenues of their medical-products division for years. Realizing the FDA would never approve the vaccine and he could no longer stave off discovery of his theft, he probably decided to disappear.
    â€œObviously fate took a hand,” Wallingford said. “On his way to Puerto Rico, Nick’s plane crashed in that sudden storm.”
    â€œMr. Wallingford, do you think that you were invited by Nicholas Spencer to join him in the company and be chairman of the board because of your investment expertise or your business acumen?” Don asked.
    â€œI guess the answer is that Nick invited me for both those reasons.”
    â€œIf I may say, sir, not everyone was impressed by your handling of your previous business.” Don began reading excerpts of some articles from business publications which seemed to suggest that Wallingford had pretty much made a mess of the family company.
    Wallingford countered by saying that retail sales offurniture had been diminishing steadily, labor and delivery problems had escalated, and if he had waited, the company would surely have ended up in bankruptcy. He pointed to one of the articles Carter was holding. “I can cite a dozen other articles written by that guy that show how much of a guru he is,” he said sarcastically.
    Wallingford seemed unperturbed by the implication that he’d been wrong in his handling of the family business. From my own research I had learned that he was forty-nine years old, had two grown sons, and had been divorced for ten years. It was only when Carter asked if it was true that he was estranged from his sons that his jaw hardened. “Much to my regret, there have been some difficulties,” he said. “And to prevent any misunderstanding, I will tell you the reason for them. My sons did not

Similar Books

Hotel du Barry

Lesley Truffle

Miss Manners

Iman Sid

Loving Time

Leslie Glass