Sykes was not sure what to make of Felicity.
All he knew about Walthenson was that he was more of a lone wolf than he was, so he was going to treat her as suspicious until he could verify what she had told him was the truth. He knew that Walthenson didn’t have any partners in the agency he ran, nor had he said at any time he was working with another investigator.
This Felicity might be simply fishing for information.
As for what happened to Walthenson, he was almost sure it was nothing to do with the Jones’ cases, but another case Harry had been working on. The question he had for Harry, when Harry was up to a few questions, was why he had confided in Sykes.
Perhaps it might be time to forge a better working relationship with the private detective, even though he hated them in principal.
But it was something he needed to question Walthenson about, properly. Aside from the statement from the homeless man who had found him which provided no details at all, he had nothing to move that case forward.
It was, according to his chief, another of his cases hovering above the cold case bin, somewhere between unsolved and unsolvable. It seemed to be most of the cases handed to him these days as if he was expected to fail.
He'd been to Walthenson's office before and thought it rather quaint. He took the stairs remembering the lift was out of order the last time, but noticed too late, the tape across the front announcing the fact it was still 'under repair' was missing. Then, slightly out of breath, and likewise condition, he walked the short distance to the door slowly, then took several deep breaths before knocking.
It was a minute perhaps two before the door partially opened and he could see Felicity peering out at him. Not necessarily the face of an investigator, but he had learned the hard way not to judge a book by its cover.
"Detective Sykes?” She said pleasantly. “Do come in. Excuse the mess."
The door opened further and she let him pass.
The office was certainly very messy, but not from a renovation or a cleanup but from a systematic and professional search. Just as the janitor had reported. And silently cursed because this woman had no doubt tampered with his crime scene.
But taking in the extent of the damage, it was clear to him that this was nothing to do with Jones, and everything to do with what happened to Harry. Very definitely, it had to be one of his cases gone bad.
He heard the door close behind him.
He turned to look at the girl Felicity. Yes, he thought, she was more a girl than a woman, not much older than Harry himself. "What happened here?" It would be interesting to hear her opinion.
"I think someone was looking for a file or information, possibly one of the cases Harry was working on, now or in the past. If it was a common thief several valuable items would be missing but they were left behind."
He took another long look at the mess. Quick, but thorough, in his opinion. The purportrator was an expert focused on a single object and by the extent of the mess he or she may not have found what they were looking for, or, according to the janitor, had been interrupted.
"Any idea what they were looking for," he asked.
"Since all of the case files seemed to be about missing pets or belongings I couldn't say. From what I can see the two Jones's cases were his first involving people, and not all that spectacular. One brother suspected of sleeping with the office manager and the other brother accusing his brother of sleeping with his wife. Tawdry at best, but not uncommon."
That was just about the sum of it, except both brothers were dead along with the third partner Brightwater. And he was yet to find a true motive for the deaths, or a likely suspect who wanted all three dead, including the said wives, and staff at Outtel.
Everyone seemed to have an alibi.
But, he was still waiting for the forensic accountants reports, and had in the interim, blocked all the company’s bank accounts just in case any or all of the women involved decided to take the money and run.
It would not be the first time.
"Do you know who could have done this?" she asked.
A complicated question, one he had just asked himself. There were several candidates, who had tossed places like this before, on his list and who would be getting a visit as soon as he was finished here.
"I can get a forensic team over here and see what we can determine, but it's unlikely we'll find anything incriminating. I’m assuming both you and Harry’s sister Corinne have basically contaminated the whole scene."
She put on her best ‘I’m disappointed in you’ face, and said, “I can’t tell you what the other girls did while they were here, but I’ve tried to keep my participation to a minimum.” But, she thought, it was enough to probably wreck any chance of the police forensic teams getting anything useable.
"Then perhaps I'll clean up and leave it alone. Nothing seems to be missing. It seems to me whoever was looking didn't find it. There are elements of anger and annoyance here."
Was she a behavioural expert? He simply shook his head.
"Perhaps you're right. Unless Harry calls the police and makes a formal request, I can't do anything about it. That janitor didn’t want to pursue matters either. Did he catch the person in here?”
“I think so. He was in pretty bad shape when I arrived. I didn’t touch anything and told him to call you. I assume he did.”
“Not right away. Had it, I might have got here before the elephants.”
She let it pass. “Perhaps we should go into the office and talk. It’s cleaner than out here and the chairs are more comfortable."
© Charles Heath 2016-2019
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