Tuesday 3 – Friday 6 September 2013
‘What do you think, Trav? Jean Pettiford got anything to do with this, or do we just consider her to be opportunistic in stumbling across the right time to blackmail Audrey?’ Knight asked. The sudden twists and turns in this case had made it more complicated than he’d initially thought it would be, and he was long past his days when complicated and exciting were words he liked using to describe a current case. These days, DC Russell Knight was fonder of simple and boring cases.
DCI Travis Foley stared out of the office window, across the staff car park, and sighed. He shrugged his shoulders and considered how he might answer Knight. What did he think?
‘I honestly don’t know, Russ. Could be like you say, she’s opportunistically in the right place, at the right time. But then again, it’s not unheard of that these old biddies concoct elaborate plans to keep their positions in their social groups safe and secure. I really don’t know though, Russ,’ he sighed. ‘We’ll have to wait and see what this Connor Ryan has to say for himself.’
‘Well, he should be here in about half an hour, so we’ve not got long to wait,’ Knight replied.
From the reception area, a forlorn constable approached Foley and Knight. He held a small piece of paper in his left hand, and when he was close to Foley, he stretched out his arm, and offered the paper to the DCI. Foley thanked the constable and looked at the note. A grim expression came over him.
‘Shit,’ he said.
‘Trav, what’s up?’ Knight asked.
‘The Connor Ryan that we’re supposed to be meeting in thirty minutes has been involved in a car crash. Seems Eva will be autopsying a second Connor Ryan.’
‘He’s dead? Wait . . . what the hell happened?’
‘Not sure, Russ, but we’re about to head over to the scene and find out,’ replied Foley.
* * * * *
The crash scene was five miles out of the village, on a tree-lined bend at the bottom of a steep decline. The locals travelled that particular stretch of road carefully, and still it had claimed a number of them over the years. Eva Noland was already on site and examining the body in situ. She saw Foley and Knight arrive, and waited for them to join her before she spoke.
‘What have you got for us, Eva?’ Foley called out as he stumbled down to the mangled wreck. Eva laughed at his clumsy attempt to appear in control as he stumbled.
‘He’s a mess, Foley. I won’t know exactly what killed him, but I’d hazard a guess and say that he died on impact with this rather large oak tree. Looks like both his legs are broken, possibly one of his arms, and judging by the position of his head, I think he has a broken neck. And then there’s his face . . . or what’s left of it. The airbag didn’t deploy and his face met the steering wheel with considerable force. I’ll need to take fingerprints and test DNA in order to make an official I.D. Dental records will be of no use given the state of his face.’
Without missing a beat, Foley instructed his partner to get Audrey Boyd into the station.
‘I want to know what she knows about this. And if she doesn’t know about this yet, I want to gauge her reaction to see if she had something to do with it.’
Russell Knight fished around in his jacket pocket, found his phone, and called the station with Foley’s orders.
‘Got a couple of pandas on the way to Audrey’s house,’ he said as he returned the phone to his pocket.
‘You sent two cars and four officers for one woman? For one woman?’
‘Yeah, just in case she . . . I dunno, just in case she does a runner or something.’
* * * * *
Audrey Boyd was sick to death of seeing the inside of police interview rooms. She was frustrated and angry when Foley and Knight finally arrived to question her.
‘Enough is enough, Detective Chief Inspector Foley. This is bordering on police harassment, and if it continues, I’ll go to your superiors and then I’ll go to the press. Do you understand?’ she snarled.
‘That’s all well and good, Miss Boyd, but DC Knight and I are in the middle of a murder investigation, two possibly, so your point about police harassment is irrelevant when you’re the prime suspect.’
She gasped, shocked by Foley’s comment. ‘What the hell do you mean I’m the prime suspect?’
‘Exactly what I said. And you probably haven’t heard yet, but your Connor Ryan, the one who was on his way here today . . . he died in a car crash just outside of the village. So that makes two suspicious deaths that have links to you.’
. . . To be continued . . .