Diamonds by Gwen Leader (Chapter Eight)
The Selbright Mysteries; Book One
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, character and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © Gwen Leader 2014
Gwen Leader asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. No part of this publication may be copied in any way without the express permission of the copyright owner.
Proof read and edited by Kate Pittel
Maureen turned the TV on. The local news was just starting and she stared blankly at the screen - nothing of interest really. Geoff was on night duty at the hospital so she had a rare evening to herself; she liked these evenings by herself sometimes. Nursing a mug of Ovaltine, she suddenly focused on the presenter and her name. Putting down her cup she sat bolt upright, “That’s it, that’s who it is,” she said aloud to herself. Grabbing the phone she dialled Jane’s number, Adam answered. “DI Douglas.”
“Oh sir ,I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, it’s Sergeant Phipps here. Could I possibly speak to DI Douglas please?”
Adam grinned, “This is DI Douglas, Phipps.”
Maureen was quiet for a while, “Oh yes sir, I mean the other one. No sorry sir, I mean my boss, DI Jane Douglas.” She was babbling, “Get a grip Phipps,” she told herself.
“Adam laughed, “Yes Phipps I knew who you meant, just one moment.” He held the phone out to Jane, “Phipps.”
She raised her eyebrows and took the phone, “Yes Phipps, what can I do for you?”
“Are you watching the news mam?”
“Watching the news, Phipps have you called to ask me what I’m watching on TV?”
“No gov, but the local news, Warwickshire Now?”
“No, why, should I be?” Whilst she had been talking Jane had reached for the remote and flicked the TV on, “Right it’s on, so what am I looking at?”
“The presenter, it’s her, Anneke Van der Heuvel.”
Jane watched the woman on the screen, “Phipps have you been drinking?”
“No gov, remember I said the name of the person paying money into Charlotte’s and Marlene’s accounts sounded familiar, well that’s why, I know it’s her. I mean how many people with that name can there be in this area?”
Jane mulled this over, she had a point there. “Right Phipps, well done. We have to tread carefully though – she’s well known. I agree there can’t be any more with that name here but I can’t see her mixed up in this somehow. It doesn’t make sense, but I’ll sleep on it and we’ll talk about it in the morning, good work.”
“Thanks gov, see you in the morning, goodnight.” After she had hung up Maureen hugged herself, “You did well there my girl” she told herself.
Adam looked at his wife, “Problems?”
Jane shook her head, “Not sure, Phipps thinks that the newscaster could be the person paying money into the accounts of the murder victims.”
Adam looked at her, “Well, stranger things have happened, but why does she think that?”
“The name for one - after all how many people with that name can there be here? And she’s either Dutch or South African with a name like that, so she could have the connections.”
“Contacts in South Africa or Holland for the drug smuggling, if that’s what it is.”
“Adam frowned, “You’re not making any sense. Can we start this conversation again?”
Jane sighed, “Sorry love, both the victims had a large amount of money paid regularly into their accounts, and Charlotte certainly was living way beyond her means for the salary she earned. We think they could have been involved with drug smuggling.”
Adam stared at her, “Diamonds,” he said. Now it was Jane’s turn to stare.
“What, what do you mean diamonds?”
“I’ve been working on a case involving diamonds brought into the country and then shipped out to The Netherlands. We caught a few small fry but can’t seem to find who’s behind it all. We’ve got one name, but can’t seem to locate her.”
“What name?” asked Jane.
“Marieke De Kuyper - ever come across that name in your investigations?”
Jane nearly fell off her chair, “My God, Marlene Smith.”
“Marlene Smith? Isn’t she your second victim, the one you thought murdered Charlotte?”
“Yes, but when we searched her flat we found documents, passport, birth certificate and bank statements in the name of De Kuyper, Marieke De Kuyper.”
“My God - an alias, she was using a bloody alias, no wonder we couldn’t find her.”
“Ok, are you willing to share everything you have on this case with us?”
“Of course, will you do the same?”
“Naturally - goes without saying.”
“We’ll get these bastards yet,” he said and hugged his wife.
The following morning Jane and Maureen stood outside the door of Anneke’s office. Jane knocked and a woman’s voice called, “Come in.” They entered what was obviously an outer office and behind the desk sat a small dark haired young woman of about thirty. She smiled at them as they entered. “Can I help you?” she asked - she had an accent which sounded similar to Marlene’s.
“Jane and Maureen showed her their badges and Jane said, “We’d like to speak to Ms Van der Heuvel if she’s available please.”
“Certainly. In what connection?”
“Just some routine questions,” Jane replied. The girl got up, knocked at a door to the side of her desk and went in.
Anneke didn’t bother looking up, she simply said, “Ja.” Anneke always spoke Dutch to her assistant.
“De politie zijn om met u te spreken.”
Anneke looked up at her assistant, “Wie?”
“Wat willen ze?”
Femke shrugged, “Om te spreken met u.”
Anneke sighed and snapped, “Ja ik weet dat, maar wat over?”
“Ik weet het niet, zal ik bring ze binnen?”
“Ok, laat de mensen binnen komen.”
Maureen and Jane looked at the woman in front of them. She was very striking, approximately five six with short brown hair shaped into her neck, but the one thing they both noticed about her was she had the coldest eyes they had ever seen. Maureen shivered - she gave her the creeps.Jane just stopped short of showing any emotion but she wanted this interview over as quickly as possible.
Anneke smiled at them, but the smile did not reach her eyes which remained alert and watchful. “Well Inspector, what can I do for you?” She motioned to the two officers to sit; once seated, Jane said, “I understand you are a member of the Bayview Health Club in Selbright, madam.”
“You are well informed Inspector. I am indeed. Is that a problem?”
“No, not at all. Did you know either Charlotte Dunn or Marlene Smith?” A guarded look came into her eyes. She said “Yes, or rather I knew of them. I saw in the paper that they have both been killed at the club so I presume that is why you are here?”
“Yes, how well did you know them?”
“I didn’t Inspector. I just told you, I knew of them that’s all, but of course you have to do your job and speak to everyone who was a member. I understand that, but I assure I can’t tell you anything.” She smiled again - it was not a pleasant friendly smile.
“I see. One more thing madam, have you any idea who the name Yarpie refers to?” Anger flashed now in her eyes and she snapped, “You obviously know, or at least have an idea what that word means Inspector. It is derogatory in the extreme, and no, I do not know who it refers to. May I ask where you heard it?”
“It was written in Charlotte Dunn’s diary for the morning she was killed.”
“I see. Well, I’m afraid I can’t help you, is that all?”
“Yes thank you, I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”
Once outside Maureen said, “Guilty as hell. What a nasty piece of work. I shall enjoy seeing her behind bars, knock some of the arrogance out her.”
“Yes, I didn’t like her one bit but what I’m not sure about is, did she kill Charlotte as well or just Marlene?”
“You think she did the murders as well, gov?”
Jane nodded, “Oh yes, wouldn’t be surprised but we need proof Phipps, so we will go back and interview Phillip Dunn and Mike Griffiths. I’m pretty sure they both know something, and Phillip Dunn at least will co-operate. He’s got too much to lose - he has the biggest law firm around here.”
“Well inspector - to what do I owe this visit may I ask?” Phillip Dunn surveyed the two officers and hoped this wasn’t going to get messy. Best just to come clean but he’d see what they wanted first no point in volunteering information.
“Oh just a few loose ends to tie up sir,” said Jane with a smile.
He indicated the chairs and they sat down. He sat with his elbows on the arms of his chair and his fingertips together, waiting for her to speak.
“Are you aware that Anneke Van der Heuvel is a member of the Bayview Health Club sir?”
He raised his eyebrows, “No, Is that significant in some way?”
“Not really sir no, but you do know who she is?”
“Yes of course, or at least I presume we are talking about the same person, she reads the news on the local TV station.”
“Yes sir, that’s right,”
“Well inspector, I know of her but I have never met her and I had no idea she was a member.”
She decided to try a different tack, “Your sister-in-law seemed to have had a rather lavish lifestyle considering her income. Did you ever wonder how she maintained that lifestyle at all?
“No inspector I did not, I have no interest in how other people maintain their lifestyles and I assumed, if I thought about it at all, that it had been financed by the life insurance she received on my brother’s death and her widow’s pension from the army.”
Jane and Maureen looked at him; he seemed honest enough, not rattled at all by the questions. Jane didn’t think she would get much more out of him so she decided to end the interview. “I see, well, if you think of anything more I ought to know sir please call me. In the meantime thank you for your co-operation.” She thanked him and they left.
Maureen opened the car door and asked, “What do you think gov?”
Jane shook her head, “No he doesn’t know anything or at least if he does he’s damn good at hiding it. Come on, let’s see what Mike Griffiths has to say for himself.
* Chapter Nine coming shortly!
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