Diamonds by Gwen Leader (Chapter Five)
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
“So Churchill knew what it meant the whole time?” said Adam after Jane had told him.
“Yes, but to be fair to the girl neither Phipps nor I had mentioned the name in front of her.” “Unbelievable right there in your office, but this woman pretended she didn’t know the name?”
Jane nodded, “Yes, she seems on the surface of it like a chatty rather dizzy person, but I don’t know, something doesn’t ring true. I think there’s more to her than meets the eye.”
“You think she’s guilty?”
Jane shrugged, “I’m not sure, but she knows something and she’s involved somehow.” Jane sighed. “Here drink this.” Adam handed her a glass of wine, she sipped at it gratefully. “Thanks love, just what I need.”
Maureen and Geoff were also discussing the case, Geoff had found it funny and was laughing. “It’s not funny you know,” said Maureen as she flipped him with the tea towel. “Sorry love, but to think that Churchill knew all this time and you and Inspector Douglas were running around like headless chickens asking everyone what it meant. You’ve got to agree it is funny.”
Maureen grinned at him, “The inspector didn’t find it funny I can assure you, I thought she was going to throttle her.”
“Yes but be fair, after all if nobody had mentioned it to her, how could she know?”
“I know that’s what I said,” said Maureen. She had a soft spot for Churchill - she was a nice kid.
“So this woman is South African, and yet she denied having heard the name Yarpie before. Bit suspect don’t you think?” asked Geoff.
“Very. She knows something even if she didn’t do it; to be honest I had her pegged as a harmless chatterbox, just a bit dotty but now, well I’m not so sure.” She sighed heavily and placed the dishes in the dishwasher. “So will you arrest her?”
“On what charge, lying? We can bring her in and question her but we can’t charge her with anything, not really.”
“But surely it’s illegal to lie to or mislead the police in a murder enquiry?” said Geoff. He was leaning on the worktop in the kitchen with his arms folded; they had been doing the dishes whilst discussing the case. “Well yes, about something really important but we’re not sure just how important this is. I mean, does it mean she had an appointment with the victim or did she just write it in her diary for another reason?”
“Mmm, see what you mean, difficult one.”
“Anyway if we arrest her and then have to let her go, she’ll be on her guard and we may scupper our chances of getting her for it. She could shout police harassment. God, we have to be so bloody careful these days.” She folded the tea towel and laid it on the worktop. Geoff held out a glass of wine to her. “Never mind love – here, have another glass of wine. It’ll help relax you.”
Maureen took the wine, “Are you trying to get me tiddly?” she asked laughing. He wiggled his eyebrows at her, “Absolutely, then I can have my wicked way with you, wench.”
“You’re a nutcase, do you know that?”
“Ah but that’s why you love me.” They both giggled; yes she did, she loved him very much.
Mike Griffith’s phone rang, and he looked at the caller ID. Marlene Smith - what the hell did she want? “Hello.” Mike said into the phone.
“Can we meet? I think we need to talk.”
“Red Bull - half an hour.”
“Is it important?”
Marlene sighed, “Yes it’s important. Do you think I’d call if it wasn’t?”
“No need to lose your rag, ok, I’ll be there,” Half an hour later they sat sipping their drinks, “So what’s all this about? I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be seen together,” said Mike.
“You know there’s a shipment coming in tomorrow night?”
Mike stared at her, “What, you must be joking with all this going on, there are cops crawling all over this.”
Marlene shrugged, “I know but what can we do?”
“We’ve got to stop it.”
“And how the hell do you suggest we do that? It’s already on its way, anyway are you going to make the call to stop it?”
Mike passed his hand over his eyes. God what a mess. “What time does it get in?”
“Ten , usual place.”
“Will you be there?”
She shrugged again. “Not sure - the cops have been to see me twice. I’m not sure if I’m being tailed.”
Mike nearly exploded, “What, you think you’re being tailed and you got me here! We can’t afford to be seen together.” She stared at him - God men, they always went into panic overdrive. “Keep your hair on, I took a different route. There was no-one behind me, but I can’t afford to take any risks tomorrow.”
“Anyway how come I haven’t been told about tomorrow night’s shipment. You two had better not be holding out on me.” Marlene looked at him, Yes he could turn nasty if pushed, she’d always known that, but then so could she. “Nobody’s holding out on you, what with all that’s gone on over the last few days I guess we just haven’t got around to telling you. Anyway you always get your share so stop whingeing.” “Yes I know, I nearly died when the police asked me about Yarpie, which reminds me, how did they hear about that?”
Marlene grimaced, “Stupid woman had it written in her diary, that’s what she called us.”
“Damn woman was a bloody liability, what with her catting around but there must have been an easier way to deal with her; after all she didn’t have to die for God’s sake.”
Marlene looked at him through narrowed eyes. “You think I did it?”
Mike lifted one shoulder, “Don’t know - did you?”
She smiled at him, “She could have been killed for any number of reasons, a jealous wife, a discarded lover.” Mike let it go. Best not upset her just in case it was her. “Anyway, how do I know it wasn’t you?”
“Don’t be stupid. Why would I kill her?”
“For the same reason I might have,” said Marlene.
“So do you know how much this shipment is worth?”
“About two million give or take.” Mike whistled.
“Right come on Phipps, let’s go.”
Maureen looked up at her boss, “Where are we going gov?”
“To check out Charlotte Dunn’s place. It should have been done by now but better late than never and we might find some clues.”
“What about our tea break, it’s nearly ten.” Sarah giggled, the Sarge and her tea break. Jane looked at her, “Phipps you are unbelievable, you and your flaming tea break! One of these days you’ll end up looking like a teabag, now come on.”
They stood looking at the house, “Blimey how did she afford this on her salary?” “Good question Phipps, and look at that car that’s a Lamborghini, they cost thousands,” said Jane.
Maureen stood and stared, “This house cost a bit too, several hundred thousand I’d say. Puts my little two bed semi to shame.” They went in through the huge glass door of the house. It was a six bedroom detached house set in its own grounds; this was the smarter end of town where all the lawyers and senior consultants lived, bank managers and the like, hell, even the local MP lived here. “When I saw the address I thought maybe she’d got a little flat in a big house or rented rooms or something, but this, her sister must earn more than she does and yet she lives in a modest one bed starter home. She didn’t get this working in an estate agent’s - at best she’d be on minimum wage with maybe a bonus or commission. Ok, I want uniform here and we need to go through this place like a plague of locusts - bank statements, anything and everything, understand?”
“I’m on it gov.”
“We’d better have another chat with her sister. Find out what she knows and why she didn’t tell us her sister was living the life of Riley.”
Jackie Thorpe looked at the officers, “I’m sorry I didn’t think about it. It was a shock to be told she had been murdered, it never occurred to me, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to mislead you.” Jane felt sorry for her - she seemed genuine and after all, she wasn’t responsible for whatever her sister had been mixed up in. “So how did she get all that money, Ms Thorpe?” “Well, I know she had a big insurance pay out when Michael was killed, and she gets a widow’s pension from the Army. She also gets a commission on houses she sells. Mr White’s very generous like that - he rewards hard work; I just thought that was how she paid for it.”
“I see, but her car and the house, they didn’t come cheap. Surely insurance and widow’s pension, even commission wouldn’t cover it?”
Jackie shook her head. “I’m sorry inspector, I can’t help you, I don’t know anything about Charlotte’s finances.” The two officers looked at her.
“I see, and who inherits do you know?”
Jackie looked sheepish, “I’m afraid I do,” She said, “Mum and dad were comfortable and she wanted me to have a good life if anything happened to her, she wanted to take care of her little sister she said.” Tears sprang to her eyes. They felt sorry for her; she must feel so alone with her parents on the other side of the world.
Jane asked her, “Are your parents coming over for the funeral?”
Jackie nodded, “Yes, poor mum was beside herself and dad just went very quiet when I rang, It was the middle of the night. I woke them up, it was awful.” She started to cry with great racking sobs. Maureen and Jane looked at one another.
“Would you like me to make you cup of tea?” Maureen asked.
Jane looked at her, “Blimey, more flaming tea. Is that all that girl can think about?”
“It’s good for shock or upset gov, hot sweet tea. I saw it on a programme.” Jane shook her head at her and rolled her eyes. By this time Jackie had pulled herself together. She smiled tearfully “No thank you, I’m all right now, sorry about that.” “That’s ok,” said Jane. They left soon after.
* Chapter Six coming shortly!
To purchase the whole book now click below: