Sunday 24 January 2021

Case 2 - Episode 21 - Willy Blines on the back foot

There was a minute’s silence, then Felicity decided to weigh in with a question of her own, "Do you know either Harry or Xavier Walthenson?"

She kept a close eye on him as she asked the question, knowing that in those first few seconds as it registered, people often gave away a completely different answer than their verbal reply. 

Willy was no different.  His go-to for evasion or thought time before he spoke, was to refresh the ice in his drink that didn't need refreshing.  But he was not quick enough in turning to stop that look of recognition in his eyes.

She waited while he topped up the ice.  The answer when he faced them again was predictable.

"No.  Should I?"

"Well, let's take a step in another direction, and think carefully before you answer.  Do you know Emil Florenz?"

Was that panic?  She could almost hear the internal argument he was having with himself, weighing the odds of whether they'd seen Florenz arrive and go earlier.  It was a losing argument.

The was only one answer 

"Yes.  Why?"

Sykes took over.  "Although there's no police investigation yet," a sidelong glance at Felicity, "we have information that might indicate that Florenz is mixed up in some criminal financial activity.  Do you have any business dealings with him.”?

"What makes you think I know him, other than knowing of him?"

A question Sykes believed was to draw out whether they had seen him come and/or go from his office.

"Don't dance with me, Willy.  If I find you are withholding information that might eventually be part of an ongoing investigation, you can be charged as an accessory, before or after the fact won't bother me all that much."

Another momentary thought, one that Felicity might have said indicated the dilemma; damned if you do, and damned if you don't.  Who did Willy fear the most, Florenz or Sykes?

"I manage a property or two of his, nothing illegal about those transactions "

"One wouldn't have anything to do with that parcel of land at the docks where your brother is playing guard dog?"

"No, definitely not."

"Then you know who's owns it then?"

Deftly maneuvered into a compromising position, virtually admitting he knew who the owner was.

"No, not really.  Just the person who made the request for security.  That was a man called Samuel Argeter from Bilboa Investments.  Perhaps he is the owner or knows who is."

Argeter, Felicity thought; she knew that name, she’d heard it used earlier that day, yes, in the discussion between Florenz and Harry's mother.

She knew who he was but couldn't for the moment remember what had been said about him.  

It was beginning to appear, to her, there was a group, perhaps old school chums, who worked together.  Perhaps Harry could pursue it with his mother.

Felicity looked at Sykes.  He seemed satisfied with the meeting, pulled out a card from his inner suit pocket, and put it on the bench.

"Two things to remember.  If you’re a mind to settling scores over Theo, make sure it's the real killer not the result of some crazy guesswork.  You know what I'll do if you go down the wrong path.  And just in case your memory comes back, or the owner's name pops into your head, my number is on the card.  Have a nice day, Willy."

And if he chooses to ignore Sykes, Felicity will know tomorrow when she checked on Corinne.  Or now that he knew she was one of the shooters, she'd have to have eyes in the back of her head.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

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