To find the head of the snake he followed the money trail back to the chief beneficiaries if anything happened to the directors. In Al's case, it was Jennifer Jones, his wife, and in Joseph's case, it was also his wife Edwina Morrison, a rather odd state of affairs for a woman married to Jones and keeping her own surname, and not exactly on very good terms with her husband.
Brightwater died without a will and apparently he had no one special, except at that one interview Sykes had with him, Jennifer Jones was there and she looked very comfortable in his presence. Something is going on, or had been going on, between those two, had written down in the margin of his notebook.
Miriam was just a little too good to be true and he got the impression she had fingers in a number of pies, not just Al's, or in the company. But her interest in the company had been very difficult to ascertain so he sent the documents he'd found in the Company Accountant's safe to one his friends, a forensic accountant.
Outtel's accountant, a weedy little man named Bernard Dillingham, had a record when Sykes checked his credentials, undoubtedly the reason why he had insisted on a search warrant the first time Sykes called, and which suggested he had something to hide. Or shred.
When Sykes returned the next day, they discovered a large bag of shredded material out the back and he had taken it in as evidence but he doubted it would yield any secrets. It was done by one of those cross shredders and nearly all of the documents had been completely destroyed.
What was left barely filled a manila folder, documents couched in legal speak designed for laymen to give up trying to understand after the first paragraph?
After cutting away the red herrings and verbal padding, both he and the forensic accountant came to the same conclusion.
Miriam was better off if all three partners were dead. A small clause in the company's operating guidelines was that in the event of the demise of all three partners, the company's business was to be sold and the funds from the liquidation of the company divided among the shareholders according to their shareholding. With them alive, her shareholding was just a fancy piece of paper, a promise that would never be kept.
He had followed the money, and it led to a very interesting discovery.
Miriam had a shelf company that apparently Al had set up for her that owned 25 percent of the business, as did Al, Joseph, and Brightwater. Why he did this was anyone's guess, but it provided a motive, not only for Miriam but the other two spouses who were set to become reasonable wealthy. With Brightwater gone, it was down to a split three ways, not four.
It yielded three more suspects, but apparently without motive means or opportunity. Or the knowhow.
But there was a lot more to it, and Miriam was next in the interview room to explain her hand in the original financial arrangements. And what was more interesting was that neither of the two widows were aware of the clause or Miriam's interest.
That was going to be an interesting meeting when all three women got together in the same room. If it happened. The Captain was far from interested in interviewing any of the three women and had made it plain Sykes had to find more substantial evidence before he could interview any of them.
The case was stalling like an airliner flying at the wrong speed and about to crash land
The last thing Sykes wanted to do was go back to listening to whiny old dowagers complaining about strange noises next door, or that their foreign maid had stolen some of their jewelry when in fact they had sold it off to keep up appearances, and used the police as a means of getting an insurance payout as well.
It was remarkable to him; no one cared about the truth. Just fill out the paperwork and move on.
No, he would retire before going back down that rabbit hole.
Or got to work with someone like Walthenson, and become a private detective. It was odd he hadn't thought of it before.