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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)

I shifted a couple of tasseled cushions to make room and sat on the uncomfortable large sofa. Barbie opened a drinks cabinet and pulled out a couple of glasses.

“Now, what do you want to drink? You look like a whiskey drinker to me. My ex-husband drank a gallon of whiskey a day. He said he needed it to put up with me.” She laughed. “I’m a wine connoisseur, actually. I went on a course in the Bordeaux region in France. I have an excellent nose.”

She paused for breath and I took the opportunity to speak while I had the chance. “I don’t like whiskey. I’m not much of a drinker … just the odd beer, really.”

“Oh.” Barbie looked rather annoyed. “I don’t have any beer.”

“Well, that’s fine, I don’t need a drink—”

“Well, I do, honey. It’s been one of those days.”

Barbie poured herself a large glass of red wine and curled up in the armchair as if she were settling in for a good chat. “I’m all yours.” She smiled flirtatiously. “What do you want to know?”

“I have couple of questions, if that’s all right.”

“Well, fire away.”

“Did Alicia ever mention seeing a doctor?”

“A doctor?” Barbie seemed surprised by the question. “You mean a shrink?”

“No, I mean a medical doctor.”

“Oh, well, I don’t…” Barbie hesitated. “Actually, now that you mention it, yes, there was someone she was seeing.…”

“Do you know the name?”

“No, I don’t—but I remember I told her about my doctor, Dr. Monks, who’s just incredible. He only has to look at you to see what’s wrong with you straightaway, and he tells you exactly what to eat. It’s amazing.” A long and complicated explanation of the dietary demands by Barbie’s doctor followed, and an insistence I pay him a visit soon. I was starting to lose patience. It took some effort to get her back on track.

“You saw Alicia on the day of the murder?”

“Yes, just a few hours before it happened.” Barbie paused to gulp some more wine. “I went over to see her. I used to pop over all the time, for coffee—well, she drank coffee, I usually took a bottle of something. We’d talk for hours. We were so close, you know.”

So you keep saying, I thought. But I had already diagnosed Barbie as almost entirely narcissistic; I doubted she was able to relate to others except as a function of her own needs. I imagined Alicia didn’t do much talking during these visits.

“How would you describe her mental state that afternoon?”

Barbie shrugged. “She seemed fine. She had a bad headache, that was all.”

“She wasn’t on edge at all?”

“Should she be?”

“Well, given the circumstances…”

Barbie gave me an astonished look. “You don’t think she was guilty, do you?” She laughed. “Oh, honey—I thought you were smarter than that.”

“I’m afraid I don’t—”

“Alicia was no way tough enough to kill anyone. She wasn’t a killer. Take it from me. She’s innocent. I’m a hundred percent sure.”