Tuesday 6 April 2021

Case 2 - Episode 27 - Felicity deals with Corinne's stalker

As Felicity expected, Sykes did not follow up with her, with any information on the boy that was following Corinne.  She had, for a few moments thought he might, but knowing his views on her involvement in matters concerning such people as the Blines and Florenz, perhaps he considered he was protecting her.

And if she took a step back and see things in the same light, she might have believed that.

But Felicity was not one to take a backward step in anything, perhaps one of her least admirable qualities in that it might get her into serious trouble one day.

She glared at her phone and considered calling Sykes, but, in the end, didn’t.  Her training had reached the point of disembarkation and she had to get off.

Ahead of her, Corinne and her friend Daisy were strolling as they had nowhere else to be, and for Felicity, it was frustrating because if anyone looked closely, they would see that she was following them.

Which she was.

And, at the same time, keeping an eye out for the boy who had been following her, the one who had been carrying her photograph in his back pocket.

It gave Felicity enough time to profile Daisy, her friend, and to note from the outset, it was an odd pairing.  Daisy was the complete opposite to Corinne who was at best prim and proper where Daisy looked, to put it bluntly, like a prostitute.  Perhaps that was her form of rebellion because Felicity had checked her out, and her parents were as wealthy as Corinne's, without the attached scandal.

Perhaps Corinne lived her vicarious side through Daisy.

It wasn’t until they were on the University grounds that Felicity finally saw the boy, and it looked like he hadn’t seen Corinne, possibly because he was with a classmate because there didn’t seem to be that air of friends about them.

The two girls headed for the cafeteria and that’s when the boy noticed her, spoke briefly to another boy, and then moved quickly towards the cafĂ© too.  Felicity hastened her pace too, managing to get to the door the same time Corinne and Daisy were walking away from the counter with cups of coffee.

They sat at a nearby table, and the boy decided against getting a coffee, sat further away, but close enough to keep an eye on them.

Felicity wandered over to his table and stood looking down at him.  “Mind if I sit down here?”

“There are other places.”

“You’re a rude fellow, aren’t you?”  She ignored him and sat down opposite him, putting herself between him and Corinne.

“Don’t you understand plain English?”

He went to stand when she said, “Sit down or I’ll scream, and then you’ll have to deal with the campus police.”

Half out of his seat, “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Try me.  Think you can handle a charge of sexual assault?”

He sat down.

“What’s your problem.  What did I do to you?”

“It’s what you’re doing to a friend of mine, that one you’ve been following.”  She took the photograph he had dropped and put it on the table in front of him.  “What did she do to you?”

“Who are you, her sister?”

“I work with her brother, who is a private detective.  I’ve already alerted the police to your interest in Corinne, so if you don’t want me to call the detective in charge of the case, you want to tell me what your interest is, and be damn quick about it.”

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

“You’re following her.  I’m willing to be she doesn’t know you, that’s stalking, and an offense.”

“She’s in one of my classes.  I asked around and she comes from the upper west side, a girl far out of my league.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what.  I don’t believe you; I think you’re working for someone who wants to cause her trouble.  So, I’m going to be hereabouts watching you, some days you’ll see me, some says you won’t.  But if I see you doing anything, or anything untoward happens to her, you’re the first person the police are coming after.  As I said, I’ve told the appropriate people and they know who you are, so you want to hope nothing happens to her.”

She stood, and noticed Corinne and Daisy also leaving.

“You try and have a nice day.”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Case 2 - Episode 26 - Dancing with the devil, sorry, Harry's mother

Harry opened the front door, and his mother was standing in front of it, key in hand ready to put in the lock.

A look of astonishment crossed her face when she saw him.  “What are you doing here?”  It was a question that was quite blunt, the result of her unwanted surprise.

“You asked me to investigate the disappearance of your husband, and this is one of the logical steps in that investigation.”

She glared at him, then brushed her way past, yelling out to Maria in much the same manner someone would call a dog.

Maria came out of the rear just in time to collect the fur coat just before it hit the ground.

“Tea?” Maria asked?

“For two, in the morning room.”

She swiveled around as Maria left the room and glared at Harry.  “We need to talk.”  Equally abruptly, she headed towards the morning room, and Harry followed like a hapless puppy.

The morning room was his favorite in the apartment, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park, and for many years, the breakfast room when sustenance was taken on before heading to school.

Those years seemed carefree, though he had never realized the importance of them at the time.  Only when he had finished school and moved out had he realized what he was missing.  Now he was lucky to get breakfast or see Central Park in summer or winter.

“Sit,“ his mother barked.  They sat at either end of the long table.

She gave him several minutes to take in the view and consider his answers, even though he didn’t know the questions.  At times it was difficult to know who scared him the most, his mother or his father.

“What progress have you made?”

A simple question with no double meanings.  They would come later.

“Who is Emile Florenz?”  A dangerous start to the briefing, particularly if he meant something to her.

“Why do you want to know about him?  He’s just a golfing partner of your father's.  I assume you have spoken to him.”

“Not yet.  You have though.”  He looked up, and she was looking straight at him, eyes blazing.

“Have I?  How could you know who I talk to?”

“You might want to reconsider the notion that if you were thinking you’d put a fool in charge of the investigation because you don’t really want to know, or care, where he is, you’d better think again.”

A statement he never thought he’d have the courage to say, and was, in a sense, almost blurted out.  Perhaps he knew that the only way he’d get answers was to come straight for her.

“I don’t think of you as incompetent if that’s what you think.”

“I do.”

“Why would I hire you then?”

Why indeed.  It was something he’d thought about on the way over, and the only reason was that she didn’t want him to succeed.  The idea of her and Florenz together, that surprised him, despite the fact he knew she was as good at having affairs as his father.

Perhaps it angered him.  But it was a bit hypocritical because he could sanction those of his father and not of his mother.  Neither was setting a good example for their children.

“Don’t start answering questions with questions.  Florenz was your flame at University.  I’m going to be digging deeper, are there any other surprises I might find?”

“It depends on how deep you dig.”

“Either of you put a contract on him?”

Maria arrived with a tray with the tea and shortbread biscuits.  The tea service was 18th-century bone china, which I would have locked away in a safe rather than be drinking out of, and I would have to be careful not to drop my cup.

She poured the tea, passed me a cup, and waited until Maria left the room, pulling the double doors closed behind her.

“No.  I am married to your father, that’s non-negotiable.  I fuck Emile because it makes me feel good and it’s none of your business.  There are others, I don’t expect you to understand, nor do I care.  We have an arrangement.  It works.  I’m careful, he isn’t.  How did you find out?”

“I’m a private investigator.  If you have any secrets, I’ll discover them.”

“There’s nothing to find out that’s useful in finding him.  There are two other golf partners, and no, I don’t fuck them, there’s some law society he goes on conferences with, they’re just booze and prostitutes, and he intermittently plays poker with some more salubrious types.  Find his phone, or tap into it, it might give you some leads.”

All good information, he thought and would be on his list had he thought of it.  He took out his notebook and made some notes.

“Now that’s done, who the hell was the girl in your office that said she was your girlfriend?”


© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Case 2 - Episode 25 - Harry investigates the study

 The door was closed.  It was always closed, the one room in the apartment where it was forbidden to go, which is why Harry had ignored common-sense, and his father's specific orders.  He was a 'curiosity killed the cat' sort of person, always had been.

He tried the door.  Locked.  Of course, it explained why Maria was not overly worried about him going on.  She knew that it was locked.

But not an obstacle for the intrepid private investigator.  If his father ever asked him how he was so adroit at opening locked doors Harry would have told him, it was all the practice he got opening this door in front of him.

And before a minute had passed, he was inside, and the door closed and relocked behind him.

The Harry stood, just inside the door, soaking up the aroma of old leather, carpet cleaner, and air freshener, slightly on the must side because there were no windows or access to fresh air.  And when there was no air conditioning, it was stiflingly hot.

The desk was a turn of the century, that is eighteenth century, oak creation that was a family heirloom, though given the little mountains of wood dust, it was probably being eaten by white ants and one day crumble before his father's eyes.

Harry had found the dust when hiding under it one time when his father came home early and nearly caught him.  It would have been discovered if Maria was allowed to clean in there, but she wasn't, so nothing had been done about the problem.

The desktop was clear, the same as it was at work.  If there was anything to be found it would be in the drawers, and from experience he knew they too would be locked.

Enough with the memories, Harry thought, time to get to work, before Maria realized, he was missing.

He sat in the chair behind the desk, and shuddered, a bad feeling coming over him.  It was like his father's ghost was in the room.  

There were four drawers on either side, three narrow, one, the bottom, much larger.  He tried each of the drawers and discovered the bottom two were open, one on the left empty, and on the right, a bottle and three glasses.  He picked the bottle up and found it to be a very old scotch whiskey, the sort his grandfather drank.

Another secret; Harry used to sneak into his grandfather’s study, and have a drink of the whiskey, not hidden from view, and read some of the old books his grandfather kept in glass-doored shelves.  No doubt the black witch had sold them off the moment the old man died.  That, and everything else worth anything.

His grandfather would be rolling in his grave if he knew just how mercenary all of his family had become.

He passed over the opportunity to have a drink and worked on the first draw, top left.  It took two minutes, longer than he expected.

Inside?  Nothing of consequence, a few papers relating to the apartment, and a sheaf of accounts held together with a paper clip.  Harry shuffled through them and, near the bottom, he found one stamped 'overdue'.  A closer look at some others above and below it showed they were also overdue but spared the garish red stamp of disapproval.

Apparently, the family was experiencing cash flow problems, something, Harry suspected, his mother knew nothing about.  She had, he knew, made a point of letting him manage the family's finances so there'd never be arguments about money.

So, it raised a question, where was all the family fortune.  Last he was told, the Walthenson’s were worth in excess of 250 million dollars, excluding the property portfolio which included the apartment, and a weekender in the Hamptons.

He put the papers back in the drawer and relocked it.

Next was the top drawer on the right, a little easier to open, but sticking when he pulled on it.  The wood had warped, and it took some gentle coaxing to open it halfway, enough to discover the only item in it was a diary.

Harry shuffled through the pages to the date when his father disappeared.

'Lunch with EF and BA'

Going backward from that date, there were a number of similar entries only the initials changing.  It might help to write down the initials and try to marry them back to real people.  If possible.

He then spent five minutes going through cupboards, looking for some paper and a pen, neither of which were in the top drawers, where one would expect to find them.

None.  Five minutes wasted.  He opened the next drawer of the left.   Of course, that's where the stationery would be.   He quickly wrote down as many of the initials and the dates as he could then replace it.  No notes on where he was meeting them, just who and when.

Perhaps his work diary might be more forthcoming.

The other drawers had nothing of consequence, and certainly, nothing to help find him, just more evidence that he was in some financial difficulty.  Harry wondered if his mother knew, or the two brothers.  Or was personal and business separate? 

Another question to ask at the office.

Done, leaving the room as he'd found it, he took a last look around the room, took a moment to guess where a safe might be, and looking, proved he was wrong, then left.

Maria was nowhere in sight when he came out, so rather than see her, and answer any difficult questions, he headed to the front door to pet himself out.

Pity, then, it was exactly the same time his mother chose to return.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Monday 22 February 2021

Case 2 - Episode 24 - Harry goes home

 Standing outside the front door of the apartment he used to call home, there were mixed emotions running through his mind.  The rather strange childhood, well, compared to other children of his age at junior school, leaving home to go to college, and then the argument that made it impossible to stay.

His father's expectations were not the same as Harry's even though he'd done as he promised, going to law school, and working in his father's practice.  But law just wasn't Harry's thing, well, that side of the law, which he discovered was more about defending the criminals, not prosecuting them.

It was a lucrative occupation, proof of what was just beyond that door held ajar for those who wanted to pass through it, to the multi-million-dollar apartments and the trappings that come with it, that life his family called home.

Would his mother be home?  At that hour of the day, he suspected not, though he never really knew, nor had he ever known, what she did with her day.  

As far back as he could remember, neither of his parents had ever spoken about their day over dinner, in fact, dinner was always a somber affair and none of the five children could wait to leave the oppressive atmosphere at the table.

Yes, Harry thought, it was surprising how quickly the bad memories came flooding back the moment he outside that front door.

Not having a key, forced to surrender it after the conflagration with his father, he was reduced to pushing the button for the chime that would summon the maid.

The door opened.  Maria.  She was not a live-in maid, but one that came early and left late, what Harry always believed to be a thankless job.  Even so, it was one she had been doing since he was about five.

"Master Harry."

He was the only one of the four boys she referred to as master for some reason.

"Maria.  How are you?"

"I am well.  Your parents are not here."

"I'm not here to see them.  May I come in?"

She hesitated for a few seconds, most likely wrestling with a command from either of his parents not to let him cross the threshold, the pariah of the family to be viewed with suspicion.

Then, with a shake of her head, she stepped to one side, saying, "Of course."

He was, after all, still a Walthenson.

He passed by her and waited until she closed the door.  Just crossing the threshold, he felt like he had been transported to a different world, one where opulence was everywhere, the mainstay, the ten-million-dollar painting on the foyer wall, setting the gold plate standard.

Notwithstanding the fact, it had a gold-plated frame.  Harry hated it, mainly because it was garish, but also because he didn’t understand what it represented.  No one did.  A needless trinket, his mother had said when she first saw it, but a good investment.  

To her, everything had a monetary value.  Everything.

"Why are you here, Master Harry?  It is not something I will get into trouble for, is it?"

She had every reason to ask because it would not be the first time she had suffered because of his actions.  A regret he could not make up for

"No.  My mother has asked me to find Mr. Walthenson.  Apparently, he's gone missing, well, in her eyes he's missing, but he could be just on another of his, er, you know what I mean."

By the expression on her face, she didn’t know what he meant.  She had always been grateful for the job he had given her and would brook no bad words about him.  "No one has told me anything.  The Mistress never tells me anything.  For my own protection, she says."

"And probably the best course of action for her.  I suspect she has secrets of her own, which, I emphasize, I don't want to know about. Do you have any idea where my father has gone?"

"Me.  No.  I know better than to ask either of them anything.  I just do as I'm told."

"Ok.  Then I'll just go and have a look in the study, just in case he left a clue to his whereabouts, or what he was working on."

"So long as it does not cause trouble.  And leave it the way you found it.  Both are very particular about that room.  No dusting, no cleaning, no entry."  She shook her head, walking towards the kitchen at the rear.  "I don't want to know."

Harry didn't blame her.  His father's wrath was not something you wanted raining down on you, a fate Harry was well acquainted with.

And it was a room he tried extremely hard to keep out of, as indeed had his brothers and sister.  A summons to the study was like standing in court waiting for the death sentence.

It took a moment to collect his courage, then walk towards the double door entrance.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Thursday 11 February 2021

Case 2 - Episode 23 - Felicity drops in on Harry

 Harry ordered in.  Felicity was coming and he knew she liked either pizza or Chinese.  They had Chinese the last time, and she had made him feel bad when she displayed her dexterity with chopsticks, so this time it would be pizza.

He had made the acquaintance of the pizzeria owner just up the road very early on, mainly because he had a passion for authentic Italian pizzas, like those he had eaten on one of several holidays his mother had taken him and his brothers on.

The owner was Italian, and his pizzas were almost authentic.

He was musing on the idea of going back to Italy, and if she would go with him, he’d take Felicity.  She had yet to experience the charms of Italy herself, and there was a relative who lived in the heart of Tuscany who had recently issued an invitation.

After this case.

The front door rattled as Felicity closed it and flipped the lock.  There would be no more leaving the door open or unlocked in the wake of his previous experience.

Felicity had the pizza boxes in her hand.  “The delivery boy was outside the door when I got there.  These the famous Italian specials?”

“Salami, Cabanossi, pepperoni, mozzarella, chili, peppers, olives, and I forget the rest.  You’ll love it.”

The aroma had followed her into the room.  She dropped the boxes on his desk and pulled up a chair.  A plastic carry bag she had put beside the desk on the floor had a six-pack of Peroni beer, and she took two out and handed him one/

“Italian beer, we’re going all out,” he said, taking the bottle opener out of the top drawer and passing to her.”

“If we do this, we have to set the mood.”

“Wouldn’t we need a full moon?  You know, the moon in the sky is like a big pizza pie, etcetera, etcetera.”

“Is this your version of a romantic night in?”

“It could be.”  Harry hadn’t quite thought of it that way, but it was a possibility.

In fact, he hadn’t been thinking of her in a romantic sense because he was not quite sure what her feelings were on the subject.  It was not something they’d discussed lately.

She lifted the lid on both boxes and took in the aroma.  Having not eaten for hours, her stomach was rumbling.

They ate.

It was not a dish that could foster dialog while eating, and both wanted to get a few slices down before it got cold.  Not that there was anything wrong with cold pizza, it was just he preferred it hot.

Then, when one bottle of beer was gone, and another appeared on the table, it was time to talk.

“I got your cryptic message.  Evidently, my mother is a flirt?”

“She’s more than that with Florenz.  In my research, I found a picture of them together, back in University days, and they were a hot item.  I might be misreading the signs, but they still are.  Perhaps he bumped your father off.”

“I don’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think he would.  He’s never been a match for my mother, he just does as he’s told, so she’d just screw Florenz and forget to tell him.”

“If he found out?”

“I doubt they’d break up the gold foursome, though I could imagine some crackling conversations on the golf course.”

“You don’t sound surprised your mother is having an affair.”

“I doubt it’s one.  But no.  She’s rich, smart, and more sophisticated than he is.  I always believed she married him because he got her pregnant and was probably honorable once.  I don’t think we should discuss this in from of Corinne.”

“No.  I’m going to visit her again in the next day or so, and make sure she’s safe.”  She didn’t mention the boy who was tailing her, or that she had discussed it with Sykes.  “I just visited a lowlife Willy Blines brother of equally lowlife Theo, the guy I shot.  Seems they’re still mixed up with that plot at the docks.  At the moment the plot is the least of our problems.  How are you going with the missing father?”

“Slowly.  I’m going home to do some snooping, a task that can only be performed when my mother is not there.  But if she turns up later, I will ask her about Florenz.”

“Be careful with that.”

“I will.  I do know how to conduct interrogations.”

“She’s your mother, Harry.  Interrogation indeed.”

Yes, he thought, the thought of interrogating his mother was a little daunting, that was if he got her co-operation.

A change of subject, after another slice.  It was, she thought, excellent pizza, but, then, she had been starving.  “What do you know about Shawville and Argeter?”

“They are familiar names.  Dad’s golf partners, the other two of the four, with Florenz.  WE need to talk to them too, I guess.”

“I’ll find out who they are and where they are.  Now, no more work talk.  Let’s finish the pizza, have some more beer, and talk about where you’re going to take me for our anniversary?”

Anniversary?  What anniversary?  Like most men he hadn’t kept track of women might consider important dates, like when they first me, when they started working together, anything really.  It was the casual nature of their relationship.  Best to act as if he knew what she was talking about.  “Of course.”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Case 2 - Episode 22 - Harry and Ellen in the office

It was a surprise for Harry to see Ellen back in the office.

When he’d disappeared, she had correctly made the call to close the office, and maintain her distance until he’d reappeared, if, of course, he’d reappeared.  Now that Harry knew Giselle had a hand in her employment, she would have kept Ellen informed of developments, and, finally, of his recovery and return to work.

The last advice he had was that she had joined her grandmother on a world cruise, or as it happened, her grandmother had bought a permanent cabin on some luxury liner and spent most of her life at sea, and Ellen had become her traveling companion.

To be honest, he’d not expected to see her again.  The idea of traveling the world held more appeal than working for a dreary Private Detective who nearly got himself killed.

But she was back, sitting in her seat, as though she had never been away.

The door was unlocked and open, and Harry had been expecting to see Felicity.

“So, not all beer and skittles on the Liner?”

“Since I don’t drink beer, or play skittles, hardly an apt analogy.  How are you?”


“I was going to visit you in the hospital, but the ship got stuck in a weather front.”

“I could think of worse places to be.”

Harry hung up his coat and sat in the chair opposite her desk.  As a chair for clients, it was not comfortable.  Harry preferred they stay, not leave as soon as they could get away.

“Aunt Giselle told me you twigged to the great secret.”

“That she got you the job?”

“Suggested, Harry, suggested.  She is of the Grandmothers who have awkward grandchildren society, and I am an awkward child.”

“So am I, I’m guessing.”

She smiled.  “Less than me.  I do not play well with others in the sandpit.  This was ideal.  Still is.”

“And being the faithful companion?”

“Not all it’s cracked up to be.  Old women can be so demanding.  Ellen, will you do this, Ellen, will you do that, Ellen, that man is highly unsuitable.”

“Was he?”

“The second officer with good prospects of becoming a captain, I thought so.  Pity, he already had a wife.”

“In every port?”

“Not quite.  But I’m done with boats, ships, and seafarers.  And grandmothers.  Did Sykes find who did for you?”

“No.  Still an ongoing mystery.  Felicity has a lead, but we have a case and that takes priority.”

“Felicity?  Oh, the girl whom you met at the conference.  Aunt Giselle said she was working here now her father has, well, the equivalent of sending her to Coventry.   Aunt Giselle thinks she has gumption whatever that means.”

“The ability to get into trouble mostly.  You’ll like her.”

“And the current case, a missing father?”

“So mother thinks.  We have a note, but I don’t think that truly describes the situation he’s in.  I think it has something to do with what happened to be, and over the same plot of land.”

“Down at the old wharves?”

“Yes.  We have to be careful how we investigate that lead in the future.”

“I’ve opened a new file for both your father and the block.  I see you have a new filing system.”

“The place was trashed.  Corinne came looking for me and found it a mess.  Another surprise, she thinks she’s working for me in her spare time.  Just another ball you’ll have to juggle, trying to keep her out of trouble.”

“Is it too soon to ask for a raise?”

“Good try.  Ask me again in a few weeks.”

He was glad Ellen was back.  She was old enough to know how to handle Corinne and firm enough to handle Felicity.  Harry was not sure why he thought that would be necessary, only that he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle her.

As either a boss or a boyfriend.

But she was like a dog with a bone, and not let up until she got to the truth.  She would just have to be careful.

And something else that made him feel slightly better.  That he had at least one family member treating him seriously, Aunty Giselle.  So much better calling her that than Granny Giselle.

Harry just got to sit down behind his desk when his cell phone buzzed telling him there was a new message.

From Felicity.  “Your mother just met up with Florenz.  Something going on between them, as once old lovers perhaps.  Will discuss this when I see you.  F.”

And here he was thinking his mother was just a boring housewife.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

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

Friday 15 January 2021

Case 2 - Episode 20 - Sykes and Felicity chat to Willy Blines

Both Sykes and Felicity waited by the elevator door watching the progress of the lift coming down to street level until they heard the ding forewarning the arrival of the elevator car.

The doors opened and Willy was standing back leaving room for them to join him 

"Detective Sykes is it now?" Willy said as the doors closed.

There was a slight lurch before the elevator started its upward journey.  Felicity thought it was straining considering the combined weight of her two traveling companions.  Sykes could afford to lose 20 or 30 pounds before he had a heart attack, and the other man, Willy, well he was past the point of no return.

The car stopped at the fourth floor and they all got out.  Willy headed for the bar at the other end of the room, while the other two follow more slowly, looking in the rooms they passed, till they came out into a large dining/living space.

She had expected an office but instead, it was a newly renovated apartment.

Sykes stopped not far from Willy, who had turned to look in his direction.  "Drink?"

Sykes surveyed the array of bottles on the countertop, just about every type of alcohol there was, he thought, and, for a moment considered asking for a gin and tonic.

He was working, so no.  He shook his head to indicate he didn't.

Willy swiveled to look in Felicity’s direction, on the opposite side of the room, beside a large, rather gloomy-looking painting of the Brooklyn Bridge almost lost in the fog.

It was an odd depiction of such a famous landmark.


"No thanks."

Willy shrugged.  "Suit yourselves."  He turned back to the counter, and poured himself a generous serve of Scotch whiskey, then went to the refrigerator and loaded over from the door ice maker.

Satisfied his drink was right, he turned to face them.  "Now what can I do for you, Detective?"

"Did Ned call you?  I was there earlier it would be a shock if he didn't."

"No point saying, he didn't.  But he's not doing anything wrong, Detective.'

"Who is employing him as a security guard and why?"

Willy took a sip of his drink and winced, perhaps the raw liquid not as smooth as he thought it would be.  He turned back to the ice maker and this time added some cold water before turning his attention back to Sykes.

"I am.  You know as well as I and a lot of others how unsafe it is down there.  He's more or less doing the public service."

"Unsafe is right, Willy.  Theo is a testament to that.  Who would want to kill him?"

Willy's eyes strayed from Sykes to Felicity, then back to Sykes.  "I heard it was a girl who done for him."

He nodded in Felicity's direction.  "Wouldn't be her would it?"

"She didn't kill him, no, but if your brother had not startled her, it might have saved himself the indignity of getting a harmless flesh wound.  Self-defence, against someone like Theo, is not a crime Willy.  No, your brother was killed by a professional hitman, three to the heart one to the head.  So the question remains, who did Theo insult so bad they wanted to make a point."

Sykes pulled an envelope out of his inside coat pocket, took it to the bench, and pushed it across towards Willy.  

"Just in case you think that I'm lying, that's the medical examiner’s report on Theo's death.  It means that if you are going after this young lady," Sykes nodded in her direction, "or any other woman you might think is connected, then I suggest you don't."

Willy glanced at the envelope, then Felicity, then back Sykes.  "Why should I believe you?"

"Simply this.  If you want to make trouble, that's fine, if you do then I'll come after you, and the first item on my agenda will be that so-called vacant block of dockland.  I'll have it searched from top to bottom, on the ground and under it, and I'll make sure the media makes it very clear you're the reason we're doing it.  I imagine that won't make your employer happy."

Willy's expression told Sykes all he needed to know.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Case 2 - Episode 19 – The building on Broadway

Losing Florenz wasn’t quite what happened.

When the moment of panic wore off, thinking that she had lost him, a short walk from the corner of Canal Street up Broadway led her to a building that had an inset elevator entrance., and since she had not seen him enter the building by the proper doorway, it was the only place he could have gone, quite literally walking through a wall if viewed side-on.

A quick check of the bank and stores on that side of the street showed he was not in any of them.

Nor, she suspected, had he come this far just to get on the subway at Canal Street.  There was ample opportunity to do that during his walking odyssey to this particular spot.

Of course, she could be wrong, but she was prepared to wait, perhaps for a half hour or so, and see if he materialized.

She crossed the street, dodging cars and a bus, and leaned against the column outside the building opposite, pretending to consult her phone, and have a fictitious phone call, keeping a continuous eye on that elevator entrance.

She’d been there about ten minutes when a voice beside her said, “I should arrest you for loitering.”

She turned to see Detective Sykes, a familiar voice, and one belonging to the last person she wanted to see or find her there.

“Are you on a job?”  We waited for her to answer, then guessed it was not one he wanted her to know about.

“Sort of.”

“That’s not much of an answer, is it.  I’m guessing you’re working for Harry, and not taking my advice to keep out of danger’s way.”

“This is me avoiding trouble.  Harry asked me to do some surveillance on his mother.”

“Why would he want his mother followed?”

“You’ve met the Walthenson’s, and I’m sure you think them as odd as I do.  But just the same I wasn’t following her, but Alicia Wentworth.”

“One of the partners at Walthenson’s practice.”

“Married to Harry’s father’s father.  It’s a convoluted arrangement, but Harry suspects she has something to do with his disappearance.  Anyway, she brought me into the city where she met Emile Florenz, one of his dad’s golfing friends.”

“Florenz?  You want to keep well away from him.”

“Perhaps someone should tell Harry’s mother that, because that was who he met next, and they had an intimate discussion downtown.”

“So, you’re telling me Florenz and the Walthenson’s are friends.”

“One I suspect more than the other.  I did a little digging and the mother and he used to be an item at University.”

“And you’re here now because?”

“I think Florenz is in the building opposite, and I’m waiting to see where he goes next.”

She could sense a reprimand in the wind, Sykes’ manner having changed markedly the moment he heard the name Florenz.  Sykes definitely knew more about Florenz than she did, but knew he wasn’t going to share it.  Just the same, she had to ask, “Is he dangerous?”

“He might very week have had something to do with Harry’s kidnapping.  A little advice, it might be time for you to walk away from this right now before he finds out about you.”

Too late.  If Blines had spoken to anyone before he died, and it was Florenz, a fact becoming more likely by the minute, then she was already in his sights.

“By the way,” she added, thinking it was better to tell him than not, “when I shot Blines, just after he gave me a name.  Florenz.  That made me think that he had something to do with that dockland property.”

She saw Sykes shaking his head.  Not a good sign.

“Your curiosity is going to get you the same treatment Harry got if you’re not careful.  This is not the place to be.”

“Why?  And why are you here?  It can’t be a coincidence.”

“It could.  But another piece of information, not for following up, but just to add to your notebook when you write your memoirs if you live that long, Blines brother lives over the road, and I’m going to drop in and have a chat.  Since Florenz is there too…”

“Maybe not a good idea.”

“You can use it as leverage on Blines.  He doesn’t know we know he knows Florenz.”  She almost confused herself with that statement, but the notion was valid.  Knowing something the interrogated didn’t know the interrogator knew gave them a distinct advantage.

Interrogation 101.

Sykes shook his head again, but for different reasons.

“Looks like we won’t have to wait long to see Ned.”

He followed her look across the street where Ned had just finished his meeting with Florenz and just as a car pulled up in front of them, blocking their view, Florenz hastily crossed to it, and got in.

When it was clear again, Ned had gone.

That’s when Sykes pulled out his phone and called Ned.  “Five minutes, outside the elevator.”

She didn’t hear what New said, but it didn’t sound friendly.

“Oh, there’s one other matter, there’s some chap following Corinne to school and back.  I took a photo of him.”

“Send it and I’ll see if he’s anyone of interest.  You sure it’s not an old boyfriend?”

“No.  He’s definitely following her.  He had a photo that fell out of his back pocket.”

“OK.  Now you’d better leave.”

“I don’t think so.  He needs to be told to stop targeting Harry’s sister.  I’m sure he thinks she’s the one who killed her brother, and he needs to know the truth.”

“You do realise these people don’t take much notice of the truth.”

“Even so, I should be there.  You can tell him I did it, and then tell him that seeking retribution will just see him buried in the same grave as his brother.”

Sykes glared at her incredulously.  “Do you have any idea what these people are like?”

“I’m sure you’ll sort it out.  Let’s not keep him waiting.”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Thursday 7 January 2021

Case 2 - Episode 18 - Felicity follows Florenz to a building on Broadway (Revised)

 When Florenz didn’t stop at City Hall, what Felicity thought was the most likely destination, she thought that perhaps Florenz had discovered she was following him, and this would end up a wild goose chase.

But, when he continued walking slowly up Broadway towards Times Square, she began to think perhaps he was just out for a morning walk to his next appointment.  In the short distance past the entrance to the park, he had stopped to look at his watch, then his cell phone, as if he was checking one against the other.

Then, as he started walking again, he bumped into a man who was walking quickly, making the collision more than it might have been.  Florenz dropped his phone, the other man, who had staggered a few steps before regaining control, turned and told Florenz to watch where he was going, then continued on his way at the same breakneck speed.

Florenz turned to watch him leave, then started scanning the path behind him, and then his eyes coming back up the other side of the road where Felicity, thinking quickly on her feet, moved into a doorway that made her look as if she was going into the building.

That action lost her a valuable minute, and when she came back out onto the street, immediately looking where he was last standing, he’d gone.  Then, she looked further up the street and saw him, just, crossing the next intersection at Reade Street.

It looked to her like he had almost run to get that far in such a short time. 

Or he considered he was late for that appointment, and just walked fast.

She took the calculated risk of almost running herself to catch up, stopping still some distance from him, having to wait for traffic lights at both Duane and Thomas Streets, and by the time she crossed Thomas Street, Florenz had stopped at the Worth Street intersection and was checking his phone.

At least it was a good morning for a walk.  Rain had been predicted, the clouds were scudding by overhead, getting darker by the minute, and she was hot from the continuous exercise of walking fast, then slow.

By the time Florenz checked his phone, she had caught up and was now seriously considering a sandwich, or coffee.  Had she more time she might have, but she had to cross and then dodged some scaffolding almost walking into it her attention so intent on where Florenz was.

It was a moment where losing concentration, by the time she looked up, he was gone again.

Damn, this fellow is slippery.  Or, he knew he was being followed.

But a few seconds later she realized he had crossed the road, dodging several cars and taxis, a lot more dangerous than if he crossed at the lights.  Or had he just realized he was on the wrong side of the road?

At the intersection, Franklin Street, the scaffolding ended, and the next building would provide no cover.  She was maintaining about 20 yards distance between them, and she stopped when he did at the lights.

When they turned green, he didn’t immediately cross, but turned around and looked directly back towards her.  She almost missed his movement and, in her haste, to backtrack to the start of the scaffolding and a store she had seen there, she ran into a woman who was coming out of the store.

It caused the woman to drop a package.

All Florenz would have seen if he was looking in her direction was her back and a red-faced woman accepting a package.

He would not have heard her say abruptly to Felicity, “You should watch where you’re going, young lady.”

And heard her apology, in her meekest tone, “So sorry.”

The woman continued on her way, and Felicity followed behind her slowly, scanning ahead to see if she could see Florenz.  

For the moment he was missing.

Felicity caught up with him at Canal Street, once again the traffic lights her friend in need, the lights just changing and there he was, at the head of several others crossing the street.

She kept back until the lights just changed, then walked quickly across, and then stopped.  

She just managed to get a fleeting look of a man, not necessarily Florenz, disappearing into what looked like the side of a wall.

© Charles Heath 2020-2021