Summary: Aboard Teabing’s jet, Fache, who inspecting Saunière’s rosewood box, receives a call from Vernet. Vernet wants the safe deposit box back, but will not disclose its contents to Fache. Fache assures Vernet that both the box and Vernet’s bank’s reputation are in the best of all possible hands.
Analysis: Vernet’s dismissal of Fache’s concerns about the contents of Saunière’s box—“The contents are immaterial” (p. 399)—is curious, given that Vernet earlier protested to several characters that the Zurich Bank prizes the anonymity and privacy of its clients above all, including the contents of their accounts. Similarly, Fache’s ultimate reply—“your box, along with your bank’s reputation, are in the safest of hands” (p. 399)—raises questions in the reader’s mind when coupled with his close inspection of the box and first cryptex earlier in the chapter. Is Fache’s interest, as has been hinted recently in the text, more than professional? Is his close attention to the box and cryptex more than a thorough police investigation? Fache tells Vernet he is a “man of honor” (p. 399)—does he feel bound by honor to the Grail itself? One of the repeatedly demonstrated strengths of Brown’s novel is to raise these questions and then immediately move to some other thread of the plot and action, leading readers to hold their inquiries in abeyance until he, as author, desires that they be resolved.