Ten million dollars.
A hefty incentive for anyone to commit murder.
I think I realized then why I’d been selected for the case. New, naive, and easily manipulated. Not necessarily by Angela, but by two very experienced women who had no doubt been planning how to escape their husbands for a long time. Now I knew who the other woman in the car was, that first time I met Jennifer.
Retribution for Cathy, and ten million dollars as a bonus, only it didn’t look like Angela was invited to the celebration. I wondered just how close she had come to joining Al on the floor.
If, as she claimed, Jennifer did not shoot Al, it left only one other person. It was the reason why Angela was tied up, Al was dead, and Jennifer ‘found’ the gun when she arrived. And, of course, why the door was open and she just walked in. Was Jennifer here to ‘clean up’?
It was then a question of how Al was shot, and Angela was injured, both bullets fired from the same gun, the one Jennifer had a tight grip on. I stretched, and turned in my seat, just enough to see the window behind Angela. No broken glass, but a speck of light showing through the curtain beside her.
Both Al and Angela had been shot from outside.
A memory fragment came back to me, something Corinne had mentioned when researching the Jones’ family history. Edwina had once tried out for pistol shooting for the Olympics but wasn’t good enough.
Then. Now, I suspect, it was a different story.
I looked at Edwina. “I’m surprised you would want to kill your own daughter.”
She frowned at me, most likely seeing the astonished expression on Angela’s face.
“I couldn’t, and wouldn’t. It was for show so Sykes wouldn’t be able to pin Al’s murder on her.”
“You did it, didn’t you. From outside. It’s not much of a shot to make given the short distance, not for someone with your experience is using guns.”
“You shot me?” Angela said, in anger and with a tinge of fear.
“It’s for your own good. But after meddling in affairs that don’t concern you, I almost changed my mind.” Edwina switched her attention to Jennifer. “Did you find the computer?”
She nodded. “Yes. Got it, and we’re good to go.”
I had another question for Edwina. “Did you also kill Miriam?”
“No, she committed suicide. It took a little persuasion, but she finally did the right thing.”
“After giving you the banking details where a sizable retirement fund was residing?”
“She tried to use it as leverage but I wasn’t in a forgiving mood. What can I say, her conscience got the better of her.”
I could see Edwina stuffing the pills down her throat.
My gaze turned to Jennifer, “Al told you what he suspected.”
“You were right when you said Al was a blunt instrument. He had no idea what was going on, except money was going missing. He suspected Joe was behind it, but after Joe died, and money was still going missing, I think he started to suspect it was more than just Miriam he had to worry about, and that was probably why he staged his death. So he could continue his investigation in peace”
I turned to look at Edwina, “Did you kill Joe?”
“No. That was Al.” She looked at her daughter. “I suspect you were there when he did it. I said once an eye for an eye would never give you closure.”
So perhaps Angela had been lying about that, and her involvement.
Angela said nothing, but I think her mother was right. I had seen her leaving in the car registered to Outtel, so either she or Al had been driving it away from the scene of the crime. Once again I had become a witness and almost a patsy.
Whatever sympathy I may have had for Angela was diminishing rapidly. Retribution like that only made you as bad as the person you seek retribution against.
Now I was at the scene of another crime, the real killing of Al, and I doubted Angela would be creating a smokescreen this time. “What now?” I asked.
“We leave. I’m sorry, but we will have to tie you up.”
“Are you going to kill us too?”
“No, of course not. There’s no reason to kill either of you. Not now.”
“But we can tell the police everything, and especially what you two have done.”
“We’ll be long gone by the time the police get here.”
Jennifer picked up the gun and pointed it at me. Edwina took some twine out of her handbag and used it to bind my hands and legs to the chair.
“Where are you going?” It was worth asking, even if they didn’t tell me.
“Somewhere far away, with no extradition treaty,” Jennifer said.
Edwina replaced Angela’s gag, then put one on me.
For a moment Edwina disappeared behind us, checking the ropes, but then I felt a pin pricking my neck. It was either the end, or the women needed us unconscious long enough for them to getaway. I was hoping it was the latter.
The last words I heard before the darkness came was Jennifer saying, “Sorry, but we have a plane to catch.”
© Charles Heath 2016 - 2019