Diamonds by Gwen Leader (Chapter Ten)
Book One of The Selbright Mysteries.
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
A few days later Sarah was opening the mail as usual. There was a hand written one in a plain white envelope with no postmark or stamp. “Funny,” she thought as she opened it and read. “Oh blimey gov I think you should take a look at this.” Jane looked up.
“What have you got there Churchill?”
“It’s a letter gov.” She handed the envelope and letter to Jane, she read through it and dropped it like a hot potato. “Damn, fingerprints Churchill.” She searched in her drawer for a pair of gloves and picked up the envelope and letter again, “Right, come with me we’re going to see if there are any fingerprints on this and you and I will need to be finger printed to eliminate us.”
“Oh I’ve never been finger printed before,” said Sarah
“Well there’s a first time for everything - now come on.” Half an hour later they were back in the office, “So what did the letter say gov?” Maureen asked. Jane handed her the letter; now it had been finger printed there was no reason not to handle it. Maureen read it through. It had been made up out of cut out pieces of newspaper, and it read; “Don’t believe anything Anneke Van der Heuvel tells you. She is an accomplished liar and manipulator, she is not to be trusted and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.” It wasn’t signed of course but they had managed to get a couple of prints from it which they had run through the database, however they were not on file. Maureen whistled, “Blimey, what do you make of it gov. If this is true then all those people were lying, but why?”
“I have no idea, but we need to speak to her about this and see what she has to say for herself.”
Once seated in Anneke’s office Jane handed the plastic wallet with the letter and envelope in it to Anneke. “Can you tell me what you make of this please madam?” Anneke read through the letter, her face paled and she looked up at Jane and Maureen. “I don’t understand, is this why you came to me in the first place? I wondered why you connected me with this case, but it’s absurd. I told you I do not know those women other than in passing, and I was in meetings at the time of the murders, this is ridiculous.”
“I’m sorry but I have to follow up all lines of enquiry.”
“Yes, yes of course you do, but I am at a loss to understand this. Why would I murder two women who were practically strangers to me. What possible motive do you imagine I had?”
“Drug smuggling or possibly diamond smuggling,” said Maureen.
Anneke stared at her, “Drugs? Diamonds? This is insane! Firstly I totally disapprove of drugs - the only drugs I take are for a headache, and as for diamonds the only diamonds I own are a pair of earrings which were a twenty-first birthday present.”
“I’m sorry but I will need to take you to the station for more questioning and we will need to finger print you, I’m afraid.”
Anneke sighed heavily; this was a nightmare, “Right, yes of course, I want this cleared up as quickly as possible.” Femke was shocked when Anneke told her she was going to the station and asked her to call her lawyer.
Fiona Rutherford, Anneke’s solicitor looked at the letter Jane proffered. “This is not conclusive evidence Inspector as you well know. These are the rantings of someone who clearly has a grudge, someone whom my client has probably disagreed with.”
“I’m aware of that councillor but as you well know I have my job to do and I need to be seen to be doing it. If your client is innocent then she will be released without charge, but first I have to ascertain that.” These two had butted heads before over cases. They did not like each other. The solicitor knew she was on a losing streak. She knew only too well that Jane had to get to the facts and go on the evidence in front of her, but she sure as hell wasn’t going to make it easy for her. “But you have statements from my client’s colleagues stating categorically that she was in meetings for the time specified and did not leave those meetings. How do you suppose she murdered anyone with the overwhelming evidence you have there, hmm?” Damn the woman, she had a bloody good point there. Jane looked at Anneke, she looked pale and worn out. “Ms Van der Heuvel, can you think of anyone who might have a grudge against you enough to send that letter?”
Anneke shook her head, “No inspector I can’t. I have disagreed with several people over the years, but I can’t think any of them would bear a grudge enough to do this.”
“Admit it you have nothing on my client, I think we’re done here.” said Fiona, Jane had to concur and let her go after her finger prints had been taken.
After being dropped off at her house by Fiona, Anneke sat nursing a large glass of red wine and thinking about the day’s events. How could this have happened? She didn’t know these women and who the hell hated her enough to give the police the impression that she could have done those murders. Hell she had a foolproof alibi for the time of both those murders, she had witnesses for God’s sake. This was serious. Never had she felt so frightened or vulnerable as she did at this moment. Someone out there hated her so much they were willing to lie to the police, but who? And what had brought the police to her door in the first place? She passed a hand over her face and tried to think. She’d upset a lot of people in her life, she didn’t suffer fools gladly and she never took prisoners, so yes, she was willing to accept that she had brought this on herself to a degree, but who? That was the question, who? And until she had the answer to that question she would never feel safe again.
Jane and Maureen sat drinking their tea after Anneke and Fiona had left, “Any luck on the prints gov?” asked Maureen,
Jane sighed and shook her head, “No nothing, no joy with the letter or with Anneke’s. This is a nightmare.”
Maureen had an idea. “What about South Africa?”
Jane looked at her. “What about South Africa? You’re not making any sense Phipps.”
“The letter. We don’t have the prints on file but maybe they do.”
“My God, the girl’s a genius. Why didn’t I think of that?” thought Jane. “But who do we know over there that we can ask?”
Maureen shrugged, “Ah, hadn’t thought of that one.” Then Jane had a brainwave and lifting the phone she dialled a number and when the voice at the other end answered, “DI Douglas,” she said, “What contacts do you have in South Africa? I need some information and I don’t know who to call.”
Adam smiled, “Hang on, I have it here.” He shuffled through some papers on his desk then said “Right, DI Hans Van der Beeck. He’s our Liaison Officer over there.” He gave her the number, then said, “Do you think you have something?”
“I’m not sure but I want some finger prints checked. They’re not on our database but I thought they might be on theirs.”
“Great, see you later.” He hung up.
“Churchill - can you get me the time difference between us and Johannesburg please?” Jane asked.
“Yes Churchill. Johannesburg.”
After several minutes Sarah said, “Same time as us according to the website I found gov.”
Jane breathed a sigh of relief; she’d had visions of being here all night. She lifted the phone and dialled the number Adam had given her, the phone was answered almost immediately.
“Met Van der Beeck. Goedemorgen.”
Jane froze, “Oh Hell. He spoke Dutch.” Once again the voice said.
Finally Jane found her voice, “Sorry do you speak English?”
A slight laugh, “Yes of course. What can I do for you?”
Jane breathed a sigh of relief, “This is Detective Inspector Douglas here from the UK.” Silence, then, “But surely that is a man. I know him, we have had a lot of communication.”
“Oh, no, sorry I am his wife. I am also a Detective Inspector, but in another station.”
“I see, my word, how very interesting. So what can I do for you Inspector?”
“I have some prints that I’d like checked if that is at all possible. We’ve drawn a blank but as there is a South African connection to the case I’m working on, I thought it possible that you might have a match.”
“Certainly. I am always willing to help our UK colleagues. If you let me have them I will see what we can come up with.”
“Thank you I appreciate it.” After getting his email and giving him her number she rang off. Three hours later she had a match but it was far from what she expected.
Anneke had been dozing, she hadn’t really slept at all. Suddenly she shot upright in the bed and gasped, “Oh my God surely it can’t be, it isn’t possible. Not here.” She finally knew who had pointed the finger at her and why the police had come to her in the first place, but she would need to clarify it with the Inspector in the morning. Nevertheless she was certain in her own mind who it was. God, will this nightmare never end?
* Chapter Eleven coming shortly!
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