Saturday, 17 August 2019

Episode 104 - We seek him here, we seek him there...


Bodies don’t get up and walk away.  Especially one the size of Al Jones.  Nor could they be dragged, especially not dragged out of the room past me, and there was no other easy way to take a body the size of Al out of the building but go past me.
Or so I thought.

I needed to revisit the scene of the crime.  I also needed to recover the weapon, if it was still there.  I had a nagging thought that Angela may have beaten me to it, having reasonably assumed from our conversation that the weapon was still somewhere in the basement.

Corinne was right, I was not a very good liar when it came to Angela.  I had also allowed myself to become beguiled by her, so much for the private investigator’s motto of keeping an open mind to all possibilities.

I didn’t believe Al had a twin.  I think he may have had someone who looked like him, used him as a red herring, and was running an agenda that targeted everyone connected with Outtel. 

Perhaps he hadn’t liked the idea of the company going legitimate and was being squeezed out.  Being the muscle, he’d hardly benefit if no strong-arm tactics were needed anymore.

Perhaps it was a simple case of thieves fall out, Joe was cheating him, and Al killed him.  IT made sense given the facts I had to hand in the case.

Then, of course, Angela had once again muddied the waters with the revelation that Joseph Jones had something to do with the murder of Cathy Jones, and if I understood the subtext, that Joseph had not only sexually assaulted her, but killed her to silence her.

This, of course, had nothing to do with my original case, Al’s wife, Jennifer, hiring me to see if her husband was having an affair with Miriam.

The fact I was not the first PI to investigate made me consider what had happened to the others?  Had he simply bought them off?  Nothing I saw told me he was having an affair with Miriam, but clearly, she had some sort of arrangement with him.  Given there was allegedly a matter of embezzlement hanging over the company, was she with AL’s help systematically stealing money from the company.  
By all accounts it was quite a lot.

That was a more plausible explanation for their relationship and Jennifer was not so worried her husband was cheating on her, as it was that he planned to dump her and leave her penniless.  It might have been easier to investigate if I had all of the facts, rather than just her version of them.

But, just what was Jennifer Jones involvement in all of this?  What, if anything, did she stand to gain from Al’s death, if, in fact, he was dead?  She didn’t strike me as the type of person who would kill anyone, but what did I know of who could or could not kill?  Besides, didn’t women prefer to use poison, rather than a gun to kill their spouse?

And Joe’s allegation about Al and Edwina?  She was incapable of hiding the involuntary distaste she had for Al, and I doubt she would touch him with a ten-foot barge pole let alone anything else.  That was just Joe misdirecting my investigation away from him.

And if I was honest, if Al was still alive, I didn’t think he killed Joe.  He might hate him, but I didn’t think Al would want to go back to prison.  But I did think someone at Outtel did kill Joe, but I was not sure what the reason was.  Not yet.  The most likely reason was that he’d found out what Al and Miriam were up to, and Miriam killed him.  She certainly looked like a murderer to me.

My phone rang.

I looked at the screen.

Sykes.

I answered with, “Yes?”

“Miriam Walters is dead.  It looks like a suicide, but I susp0ect once we get the coroner’s report it won’t be.  That’s all of the top staff of Outtel dead.  And if I follow the money, it firmly places the blame on the two wives, Jennifer and Edwina.”

“And if I told you I think Al is still alive?”

“Can you prove it, because that would answer quite a few questions I have.”

“I believe Angela can.  Last time I saw her she was trying very hard to sell me a story that was losing credibility by the minute.  She knows a lot more than she’s been saying.  Have your forensic accountants gone over the Outtel books yet?”

“There’s a few million missing somewhere, and the cover-up was very professional.  A real accountant might miss it if he wasn’t looking for it.”

He went on to add that he forensic accountants had finished their preliminary investigation into Outtel’s financial affairs and according to them the company should have flat-lined by now.  Over ten million dollars had disappeared over a three year period, a fact that might not have immediately become evident had Joseph not been murdered.

An investigation into Miriam Walters found that she was really Alice Benson, an ex-felon who spent ten years in jail for embezzlement at a previous financial institution where she got away with five million dollars, none of which had been recovered.  Maybe, Sykes said, she was the only beneficiary, but in this case, like her last, the money had disappeared.

But, Sykes had not found a previous connection between Al and Miriam, so perhaps she hadn’t been hired for her embezzling skills on their behalf.  The fact she was dead suggested otherwise, no one who just got away with ten million would contemplate committing suicide, except from an overdose of the good life.

“So,” he concluded, “Do you think the real reason Jennifer hired you was to find out what Miriam and Al were up to, and it was not necessarily sex in a seedy hotel.”

Interesting choice of words, I thought.  But it looked to me like Sykes had been thinking the same as I had been.

“Then if Al is alive, he’s making his final move and leaving no witnesses.  That, I suspect might include Angela.  I think I should pay her a visit, and if I get anything out of her I’ll give you a call.  In the meantime, I think you should put out a wanted poster on Al.”

“Among other things.  I’ve now got three possible murders and a fugitive.  And I think it’s time I revisited the merry widows.  On paper, they don’t stand to inherit much from the company, but I’m willing to bet the boys managed to squirrel away a lot of undeclared wealth, and that would certainly be a good motive for murder.  Call me as soon as you can.”


The call fortuitously ended at the same time another was coming in.  Felicity.

“She’s on the train, and no one was following her.”

“Thanks.  I owe you.”

“I heard there was another body connected to the Outtel Jones case.  Some woman by the name of Miriam something or other.”

“Sykes just told me.  We think Al is still alive and cleaning up before he leaves with a large chunk of embezzled funds.”

“And not with Miriam.  Nothing going on there then?”

“Apparently, though Sykes said that wasn’t her real name, and she had been jailed for another embezzlement at a former company she worked at.  That was probably why AL was interested in her.”

“Money not sex this time.  I’d like to see Jennifer Jones face when you tell her.”

“That’s Sykes department.  I promised not to interfere with police business.  I just have one more task to complete for this case, and then you can tell me all about your adventure.  My treat.”

“With top shelf champagne.”

“Done.”

After the call ended, a message came through from Corinne, confirming Felicity’s report.  She was on the train, reluctantly, and would await my call when it was safe for her to return.  But there was a short addition to the text.  Our father had not come home last night, not that it was concerning, but when mother had called the office, they said he had told them he was going away for a few days.  
He’d never done that before, not without telling us.
I hoped this had nothing to do with our little discussion about his involvement with Outtel, or the matter regarding the empty block at the docks.

Copyright © 2016-2019

Friday, 16 August 2019

Episode 103 – Angela and Al confer


In the event, Al arrived, somewhat harried, and looking over his shoulder, on Angela’s doorstep.  Without so much as a word, he barged past her, whispering savagely, “close the door quickly”

Angela didn’t know what annoyed her the most about his arrival, that he had totally ignored the usual meeting place, which was in an open area where no one could overhear them, or the fact he looked like he was being followed.
“What part of the usual place didn’t you understand?” She said as she watched him go from door to door checking to see if anyone else was in her apartment.
“Just who the hell are you looking for?”
A last check and then he came back, not to sit, but to stand by the kitchen bench.  “That pesky private detective you’ve been cozying up to, what’s his name, Wally?”
“Walthenson.  It was your idea to set him up in the bank.  I told you that could go very wrong, and I think it has.  I think he suspects you’re still alive.”
“Then he’s not as dumb as he looks.”
“No.  Did you get some of your old thug mates from your prison days to work him over?”
Clearly, though, she could see that was not what was worrying him.  He looked surprised when she asked.
“What do you mean.  I haven’t seen him since the bank.  I told you then I had to go away for a while and sort out another problem that my precious brother landed me in.  Good thing someone else killed him or would have done it myself.”
“You didn’t kill him?”
“No.  I can tell you that sent a shiver down my spine.  He didn’t make nearly as many enemies as I did, but that was only back when we were running the loan shark business.  I suppose Walthenson was investigating that murder too?”
“He was there and witnessed it.  Said the killer drove off in a car he later discovered belonged to the Outtel company.”
“The bitch,” he muttered under his breath.
“What bitch?”
“Miriam.  She was creaming a percentage for herself, but it wasn’t beyond Joe getting someone else to pull a stunt like that for himself.  That’s why I was trying to get on her good side, to find out what she was up to.  Hard as nails, that one, and a consummate liar.  I reckon she had Joe killed to cut him out of her scheme.  She’s next on my list to visit after I leave here.  I need the money now to pay off a few debts, and to get out of here.  Jennifer can have Brightwater for all I care.  They deserve each other.”
“You do know Joe killed Cathy, don’t you?”
“Now I do, but then there’s that little problem of Cathy not being my daughter, but Brightwater’s.  That was a bombshell I didn’t need.  Everyone seems to be screwing around with everyone else.  Me, all I get is platitudes from Joe, a cheating wife, and a jail sentence I didn’t deserve.”
“At least you kept up your part of the bargain, and took care of Joe for me.”
“For us, Angela, not just you.  It’s now one more body on my conscience.”
“Did you kill Brightwater?”
“What the hell, him too.  No, of course not, even if he was the father of my child.  But the good thing about it is that the police with think someone’s targeting all of the owners of Outtel.  I think I’m lucky everyone thinks I’m dead.
“And the money you promised me?”
“After I see Miriam.  All you’ve got to do is lie a little longer, and I’ll be gone, and you’ll be much richer for it.  All you’ve got to do is keep that Wally character out of my hair for another 24 hours, and everything will be fine.  As far as everyone is concerned I’ll be dead and gone, and you’ll have everything you asked for.”
He started walking towards the door, still acting very nervous.
Just to add a little extra to fuel his nervousness already stretched to breaking point by coming out into the open, there was a resounding knock on her door that stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Don’t answer it.”
“Don’t be a fool.  Get in the bedroom, close the door and don’t make a sound.  I’ll get rid of whoever it is.”
When he’d gone, she took a deep breath and opened the door.
“What a surprise, Aunt Jennifer.  What on earth are you doing here?”

Copyright © 2016-2019

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Episode 102 - Harry talks to Felicity

Harry thought it was time to call Felicity.  Given the circumstances of her last 24 hours, she might not want to hear from him, but Harry thought it might be useful to get some facts about what had happened.
He was angry with her, but he had asked her to keep an eye on Corinne, and she had to what could be a great personal cost.  He had no ideas what it was like to shoot someone, but it couldn’t leave you in a good place.
When she answered the phone, she didn’t sound very well.
“Sykes just told me what happened.  It’s my fault, and I’m sorry I got you into this mess.”
“Don’t be.  I jumped in with both feet, and both eyes wide open.”
“What happened?”
She took several minutes to go through the events, chapter and verse, if only to get a more clear picture of what had happened in her own mind.
When she finished he said, “I should not have asked you to keep an eye on what is now obviously a very silly girl.”
“We both found it, and she did say she was not going to do anything stupid.  But, I guessed what it was she might do and followed her.  Good thing I did.”
“Well, she won’t do any more harm, I’ve told her to go to our aunt’s in Chicago.”
“You think she will?”
“If you’re there to make sure she does.  I know I have no right to ask, but I have to chase down a lead now, and would do it myself if I could.”
“Sykes is having my licence suspended pending an investigation.  But, I don’t need that to make sure a friend gets to where she’s supposed to be.  You think she will be safe?”
“Knowing my aunt as I do, yes.  Thanks.”
“This lead?  Does it involve Angela?”
“It does.  Why?”
“Be careful.  She’s an inveterate liar and she thinks she had you wrapped around her little finger.”
“I know.  It’s taken far too long to realise what’s she’s been doing.”
“Then take care.  I’ll call you when she’s on the train.”


Copyright © 2016-2019

Monday, 5 August 2019

Episode 101 - Harry and Sykes have a conversation


Harry had the file Corinne had recreated out, and open in front of him on the desk.  He’d added another page, awaiting him to write down some words of wisdom.

He didn’t have any.  Not right then.

Harry was still dealing with two discoveries that didn’t seem to be related, but that didn’t mean they weren’t.

The first, his father’s involvement with the Jones brothers, and Outtel, and it seemed to him it might have something to do with that vacant block of land that Harry had visited, and then landed him in a torture chamber and with a death sentence.

His own father.  Did he know that would happen?

Harry was hoping against hope that Corinne had not found that address and visited it.  She would not fare well in the hands of those monsters.

The second was the theory, and that’s all it was, a theory, that Al had either a body double or a twin brother who filled in for him so that he could carry out some as yet unknown agenda.  Angela was in some way connected with this scheme, but that still didn't explain how a seemingly dead body had got up and walked away.

It all pointed to the fact Al had to be still alive, somewhere.  He was missing, and nowhere to be found, but that was what he wanted; so no one would go looking for him.  Sykes had overused the phrase, presumed dead, too many times.

Then there were all of the current problems listed on another sheet of paper, also on the desk, like where was Corinne, she was supposed to call in.

Harry took out his cell phone and called her.

She answered, “What do you want?”  Harry gave a huge sigh of relief.

“Where are you?”

“On my way, via a cafe. I need coffee and a bagel.  You want one?”

“Both, please.”

“Then it comes out of petty cash.  You do have petty cash, don’t you?”

“If it wasn’t stolen, yes.”

She hung up.  Harry didn't get to tell her what sort of coffee he liked.  The way the morning was running he supposed a surprise would not go astray.

He made a note about his father, the Jones brothers, and Outtel.

He made another note about the ‘vacant lot’, calling it something else, just in case.

He then made a note to try and find out whether there was another brother, a twin to Al. No one mentioned it.  Maybe he could ask Jennifer or Edwina.

Or maybe Miriam.  She seemed to know a lot more about the people at Outtel, and particularly the Jones boys, for an ordinary office manager.

Harry made yet another note.

This might be called progress, he thought.

There was a knock on the outer door.  Harry went out and opened it.  He thought it might be Corinne with the coffee and breakfast, but it was Sykes.  He still looked like he’d slept in his clothes.

Harry stood to one side and let him pass.  Sykes looked around the room.  “Still a mess.  Are you ever going to clean it up properly?”

Harry shrugged.  “Probably not, it gives the place character.”

He walked into Harry’s office and sat in the chair opposite his desk.  Harry followed him and also sat.

“Why are you here?”

“Where’s your sister, Corinne?”

“Getting coffee.”

“Pity, I’ve already had two cups this morning.  How're all the Jones cases going?”

Should Harry tell him what he thought he knew?  Throw it out there and see what happens?

“I think Al is still alive.  Hiding.”

“From who.  His brother and the other partner are dead, there’s nothing to fear from them.  His wife, maybe.  That office manager, Miriam something-or-other?  That woman scares me.  What on earth did Al see in her?”

“According to both of them, nothing was going on.”

“You believe that?”

“No, but it’s speculative.  I need proof.  Then I had a conversation with Angela, and she came up with another theory, that Al has either a body double or a twin brother.”

“Which is unlikely, or we would have known about him from the wives.”

“You did background checks on the Jones brothers?”

“Yes.”

“Did you check to see if there were any more Jones’s?”

“Yes.  There’s just Al and Joseph.”  Sykes leaned back in the chair.

“Their parents didn’t foster any children.”

“I doubt whether it was considered, but nothing stood out.  The parents were just ordinary people.”

“Whose sons turned out to be a thug and a paedophile?  And whose activities caught up with them?  Have you got any information we can use?” Harry asked.  It felt like they were on an endless ride on the merry-go-round.

“Joseph's wife seems to think Joseph was implicated in Cathy’s death.”

Angela had intimated as much, Harry thought.  “That’s a shot in the dark.”

“She claims he was sexually involved with her, had been for some time, that the wife lied about him being with her, and that she was with Brightwater instead.”

“You believe her?”

“Brightwater can’t corroborate the fact, and unfortunately she’s lied more than once.  If it’s true, then it quite possibly changes everything we knew about that case, and we’re going over the old case notes.  It’s officially reinstated from being a cold case.

“Then you will have your hands full.  I’ll get Corinne to see what she can dig up about the Jones boys, a family tree.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t get her to do anything.  I just had a long interview with your friend Felicity.  Seems she was found skulking around a certain vacant lot that you, she claims, went to visit.  And she was there because your sister Corinne was there.”

Harry felt his heart almost stop.  The two women had gone to the one place that might guarantee them an early and very violent death.

“What happened?”

“Felicity shot a man who apparently was keeping surveillance on hat vacant block down by the docks, and reporting.  But not before he’d reported your sister’s presence.  If you want some good advice, tell her to leave the city, the country for that matter till we catch up with the person who was on the other end of the line.”

“What do you know?”

“Nothing I’m going to tell you for the simple reason, you do not want to give these people a second chance at finishing what they started.  This is a police matter, and you will leave it to us.  If I find you going there, or anything else, I will have you arrested and put into protective custody.  Am I clear?”

“Clear enough.  Don’t meddle and get Corinne to stay somewhere safe.”

He stood.  “Whilst I’ll believe it when I see it, call me when it’s done.”

He left, and not ten minutes later, Corinne let herself into the office.

The aroma of the coffee reminded Harry of how hungry he was.  He'd have to stop skipping meals.  It also reminded him that he was going to have to be more forceful in his warning for her to take a step backwards.”

He waited until she put the coffee and cake on his desk, and she had sat down in the chair recently vacated by Sykes.

“So, tell me.  Why did you go to the vacant block?”

“What vacant block.”  If Sykes hadn’t told him, her innocent act might have fooled him.

He banged the desk with a closed fist and the loud bang took her by surprise.  “Don’t you dare lie to me again.”

“Who told you?”

“Sykes.  It seems my idea that Felicity keep an eye on you served its purpose in one respect, but in another, she ended up having to kill a man to prevent a far worse tragedy happening.  What in God’s name were you thinking?”

“It seems I wasn’t.”

“Didn’t the thought cross your mind that if I had hidden such an address away, that there might be some significant reason behind it?”

“I thought...”

“No, you didn’t think at all.  As I understand it, Felicity shot the man after he reported your presence, so you are in mortal danger.  Sykes himself told me you need to disappear.  Use any excuse, but get yourself to our Aunt in Chicago, and stay there.”

“This is not fair.”

“What?  That I don’t get to go to the morgue to identify your dead body?  Go.  The next call I get from you is on the train.  And God help you if you disobey this attempt to save your life.  I will take you myself if I have.  Now, get going.  Oh, and thanks for the coffee.”


Copyright © 2016-2019

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Episode 100 – A very informative interview


Sykes sat back in his chair and looked at a visibly frightened young woman.  He was half inclined to throw the book at her, but instead, decided on a softer approach.

She was in enough troubleshooting a man that might arguably be labelled as unarmed.  That was contentious because a man like Blines would always have a weapon at his disposal, even though one was not found at the crime scene.

He was having the CSI people check Blines clothing for traces of gun oil to establish whether or not he had been carrying a gun.

But the biggest revelation from this girl was the dock location that Harry had gone to and quite possibly led to his brush with death.  He’d been to the scene, and on the first inspection, there was nothing to excite anyone’s attention, and especially his.

There were CCTV camera’s but three out of the four were not working, and the fourth was too far away and on the wrong angle to pick up any of the shooting, only the exit of the two girls and another shadowy figure which, for all intents and purposes could have been one of a few homeless people who lived in the area.  That was what the first assumption was, but once it was determined that there were two shooters, he had the likely suspect checked out.

Not that it was of much use because the shot was too far away, and the photo grainy beyond recognition.  A lead, but not a lead.

“Take me through the sequence events from the top.”

“I followed Corrine from her residence to the address.”

“What time was this?”

“We left about 10 and got there a little after 11pm.  She drives slowly.”

“Then?”

“I watched her go to the block which I assumed was the address, and she looked through the fence.  From where I was it looked like there was a small building, with two larger warehouses either side, all of which were in a poor state of repair.  She checked to see if the gate was open, it was locked.

She was there about ten minutes before she left, went back to her car, and drove off.  That’s when I caught a glimpse of a shadow retreating into a doorway on the other side of the street.”

“He was watching what she was doing?”

“Yes.”

“And that’s all he was doing?”

“Yes.”

“And after Corinne drove off?”

“I got out of my car and walked towards the place where I saw the shadow.  It was a recessed doorway, and the man was there talking on his phone.”

“What did he say?”

“I only heard the last few words.  I think he was reporting Corinne’s visit to someone.  I had my gun ready but not aimed, when I asked him to tell me who he had been speaking to.  He didn’t say anything and when he looked like he was going to come towards me, I aimed my gun at him.  He backed off a little but didn’t tell me.  Then, all of a sudden, he came at me, and the gun went off.  I was shaking before that, and perhaps he had taken that as a sign that he could disarm me.  I swear I had no intention of shooting him, and, if he hadn’t startled me, nothing would have happened.”

Sykes was not going to necessarily agree with that because aiming a gun meant that you were going to use it and was enough provocation for an attack.

“So you are saying that it was in self-defence?”

“I certainly felt afraid at that moment, but given the circumstances, yes, it was.”

Sykes sat back in his chair and gave himself a few seconds to consider the situation.  Blines dead was of no use to him, and it was clear someone else had realised that Blines might be a liability, especially if he made it to the hospital alive and told his story.  A few painkillers and he might say anything, like why he was there watching an all but empty block, and who he was working for.

He’d have someone try and find out who Blines was working for currently.  That might give a clue as to who was so interested in that block.

“Have you told Walthenson about this little escapade of yours?”

“No, not yet.”

“Good.  Don’t.  The last thing I wasn’t if for him to be going back there and getting into more trouble.  And as for you, you are in a great deal of trouble.  You are very fortunate that the bullet from your gun was not the one that killed him, and that in normal circumstances, would not have been fatal.”

“How did he die, then?”

“A close-range shot to the head.  Different gun.  I suspect he had an accomplice there, and when he learned what happened to Blines, he was under orders to contain the problem.  But, the downside is, if there was an accomplice, the chances are they know it was you who shot him first, and these are not the sort of people you want to cross.”

Which meant, he thought, that she was going to need protective custody, a safe house, or disappear for a while until he could find Blines and this accomplice’s boss.

And that wasn’t going to be easy.

As for the girl, she should be charged, but his report would reflect the fact she had been forced to defend herself, the victim in question was a known felon, also known to be armed and dangerous, and they’d be hard-pressed to get a conviction on current testimony and evidence.

“I want everything you just told me, and anything else you can think of, down on paper in your statement.  Did you see anyone else, any other vehicles, anything, in those few minutes before during and after Corinne’s visit?”

“Sadly no.  I was fixated on keeping Corinne safe and looking into the shadow I’d seen.  I was not looking for anything else, which now I think about it, I should have.  Things could have turned out a lot worse than they did.”

“Yes.  At least, hopefully, you will learn from these mistakes.”  He stood.  “I’ll get a pad for you to use, then when you’ve finished, you will be free to go, but don’t go anywhere without telling me first.  I’m sure I’ll have more questions.  And remember, very important, don’t tell Walthenson about any of this.  Is that clear?”

“Yes.  Very clear.”

“And I’ll take care of Corinne’s safety.  You’re not to speak to her about this either.”

Sykes looked at her father.  “I’m relying on you to get her to somewhere safe, and then report to me when she is.  I’ll let you know what progress we’re making in the case, and when it’s safe for her to go back to her job.  In the meantime, I’d keep her away from the gun cabinet.  I’ll keep this one,” he nodded towards the gun on the desk, “and have ballistics check it.”

Two things Sykes was sure of when he left the room.

The first, Walthenson’s treatment was not caused by the Jones brothers.  The second, he finally had a break in the Walthenson case, a break he could have had a lot sooner if Walthenson had told him everything.  There was no doubt going to be some harsh words spoken the next time he saw Harry.




© Charles Heath 2019

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Episode 99 – Sykes interviews Felicity


It was not as if Sykes hadn’t enough on his plate with a bunch of new cases handed to him by the chief, but in the stack, one stood out.

A low-level criminal by the name of Theo Blines getting shot down at the docks.  There’s been a few too many over the last few months and to Sykes, it had a more sinister feel to it, like warring factions, were using the remote and run-down location as a dumping ground.

But the Blines case seemed different.

As soon as he read the first responders report, and that of the night duty detective, both of who were taken in by the lack of any tangible evidence, and witnesses, had called it a random mugging.

Even with two shots, one to the stomach and one to the head, the headshot the cause of his death.

The ballistics report just hit his desk when a call came from the father of Felicity, a young woman who he had seen with Walthenson, and who was requesting a meeting in his office.  A rather odd request, he thought.

The ballistics report said there were two bullets, different calibres, and when he looked for the coroner’s report and couldn’t find it, made a call and discovered that it would be another day before the coroner’s report would be available.  The crime scene investigators had not come up with anything significant.

A call to the coroner’s department, and by chance getting a word with the coroner doing the autopsy, told him that it was the bullet in the head that killed him, and it was likely he’d survive the shot to the stomach. The headshot was at very close range given the gunshot residue on the surrounding skin, the other, from a distance.  It sounded like there were two shooters, one of whom had not intended to kill Blines.

This was not like the other shootings, which appeared to be executions, victims kneeling and shot through the back of the head.  Blines was done in haste.

And it was anything but a mugging, even if the wallet and mobile phone were missing.

That was as far as he got when he was told Felicity and father had arrived.  He collected them and brought them back to an interview room, asked either if they wanted coffee, a no on both counts, but he went to get one for himself.

When he returned, he gave them a minute to settle and then asked Felicity’s father, “I’m sure I’ve seen you before.”

“You have, though we haven’t personally met.  I work with another detective, Wallance, out of a different precinct.”

“Yes.  I know him.  Now, what can I do for you.”

Felicity’s father glanced at his daughter, the cue to speak.

It was not going to be easy, she thought, and wondered, briefly, once she said her piece if she would get to leave the station or be locked up.  On the face of her actions, there was every reason to charge her with an offence, and she was expecting some sort of repercussion.

Another few seconds, and then she said, quietly, “I know who shot Blines, that chap down at the docks.”

She saw an instant change in Sykes demeanour, and a look that told her he was formulating questions, so many, he was having trouble which one to ask first.

“How is this possible.  I suspect it’s not your usual haunt late at night.”

“It isn’t.  I was following a friend.  I work with my father from time to time, and lately with Harry Walthenson, as you know.”

“And this visit was connected with which investigation?”

“Harry’s.  It was a connection to what had happened to him.  You are no doubt aware he had been kidnapped and taken somewhere and nearly killed?”

“I am aware of what happened to him, yes.  What was this connection.”

“When Corinne and I were cleaning up the mess in Harry’s office, we came across a sliver of paper taped to the bottom of a drawer.  The paper had nothing on it, but it looked like it had been torn from a notepad, so we looked for a notepad, and when we found one, did the pencil scraping trick to see what had been written.  It gave an address.”

“Down by the docks, near where the unfortunate Blines was?”

“Yes.”

“And you didn’t think to come to me and let me do the investigating?  I assume you ran into Blines?”

“I was going to come to you, and I told Corinne bot to do anything stupid, like go there, but I had a suspicion she was not going to listen to reason, so I followed her.”

“To this address at the docks?”

“Yes.”

“Then what happened?”

“Nothing to Corinne.  She came, parked, walked to the address and looked through the fence, saw nothing, and then left.”

“But…”

“But in the shadows, I saw a man and went to investigate.  Probably not the wisest thing to do, but if he was reporting on her visit, then I was going to ask him to tell me who it was.”

“How?”

“I had a gun.  It’s licenced, and I know how to use it.”  She reached into her bad and pulled it out, wrapped in a cloth and then in a sealed plastic bag.  “He came at me and it went off, he startled me.  It looked bad.”

“Where did you shoot him?”

“In the stomach.”

“And the second shot?”

“There was only one.  I swear.  You can check the gun, there is only one round missing, the one I shot him with.  I called an ambulance and then left.  He was alive when I left, I know because he was cursing me.”


© Charles Heath 2019

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Episode 98 - Edwina goes to Sykes

Edwina called Sykes first, after finding his card where she had tossed it, in the top drawer of Joseph’s desk, and tried to arrange a meeting outside the precinct.  It was to no avail, Sykes was busy writing reports, and he was in a very bad mood simply because he hated writing reports.

In the end, she agreed to meet him at the precinct and was horrified at seeing some of the people being escorted in, some requiring three burly policemen.  One prisoner glared at her, another tried to spit on her and one of his handlers put him down on the floor with a misplaced elbow.  Thuggery, she thought.

Sykes had watched her expression change as the suspect was restrained, and then came over.

“Come this way.  Busy day, it must be something in the water.”

He escorted her to an interview room and asked her to sit.  “Would you like a glass of water?”

She shook her head.  If something was in their water, she wanted none of it.

“Coffee?”

“No thank you.”

“Mind if I get a cup?”

“Not at all.”

The door closed and she was alone.  It was quite warm.  There was a camera in the corner looking down on her.  The table was bare metal with a bar to attach handcuffs, yes, she had watched some of those police shows on TV.

She never thought she’d see the inside of one of those rooms.

Sykes came back, a polystyrene cup in one hand, and a notebook in the other.

He sat down, took a sip of the coffee and shuddered, then opened his notebook at a blank page.  He looked up at Edwina.  “Now, what can I do for you?”

“It’s about Joseph?”

“What about Joseph.”

“I think I might know why he was attacked and killed in the street.”

Sykes stopped writing on the page and looked up.  “Why do you think he was killed?”

“He liked young girls.”

“A lot of men do.”

“I mean ‘young’ girls.”

“Oh, underage women?”

She nodded.

“How do you know this?”

“I had a private detective follow him for a few months about six months ago.  After what happened to Cathy.”

“Do you think he had something to do with that?”

“I don't know.  I'd certainly hope not, but it was just something Angela said that set me to thinking that I should tell you about it, in case it has some bearing on his murder.”

Sykes went back to writing in his notepad.  Without looking up, he said, “It has everything to do with it.  A jealous husband, crazed father, and a possible motive for Al if he also thought Joseph had anything to do with the death of his daughter.”

He stopped writing, closed his eyes, and tried to remember what he had read about the Cathy murder case.  He had the files brought out of storage so he could familiarize himself with the Jones brothers.
All it did was give him a headache.

“As I recall," he said, finally remembering, and looking at her, “you said he was with you that night.”
“He asked me, no, forced me, to say that.  You have no idea what he was like.”

“So neither of you have alibis for this murder?”

“I do.  I was with Brightwater that night.  We were having a brief affair.  I have no idea where my husband was that night.  You should ask Angela.  She has a good idea of where he was.”

Sykes shook his head and groaned inwardly.  This case was getting more and more off track and complicated, but it seemed it did have its origins in that original murder.

“You lied to the police, Mrs Jones.  That’s a crime.”

“I know.  And I’m willing to accept the consequences if it will clear up Cathy’s murder case.”

“Fine.”  He passed her a legal pad and a pen.  Please write down the substance of what you just told me and sign it.  After that, you’re free to go, but don’t leave the city.  I may have further questions to ask you.”


© Charles Heath 2016-2019