Sunday 16 April 2017
‘Call came in just after half two this morning, Guv.’ Burkett scratched the stubble on his left cheek.
‘Right. And who was first responder?’ Fraser asked. His face carried as many wrinkles as his crumpled dark blue suit.
‘He’s over there. Mark’s – DC Pendleton – is interviewing him now.’
‘Okay, good. What else do we know about the scene, DC Burkett?’
‘Looks like a suicide. Pills on the bedside table, couple of vodka bottles on the floor by the bed, scrappy suicide note in the kitchen, on the table.’
DS Ali Corbyn scrunched up her nose, an indication that she was puzzled about something. Fraser noticed her nose as she scrunched.
‘What’re you thinking, Miss Marple?’ With no subtlety at all, Fraser dragged his partner into the conversation.
‘He, Anderson, didn’t seem the sort of bloke to top himself.’
‘Is that your instinct talking, or do you have tangible evidence of that?’
‘Only spoke to him a few times. But I never got the impression from him that he was . . .’
‘Me either,’ added Burkett.
‘Nor me,’ Fraser concluded.
DC Pendleton finished interviewing the first officer on the scene, and swaggered over to join his partner, Fraser, and Corbyn.
‘What’ve you got for me, Pendleton?’
‘Not a lot, Guv. PC Alan Turton was the first on scene. He’s pretty switched on, so he didn’t go blundering about the scene. He was very careful about where he stepped and what he touched. He said the door was unlocked, so he went straight in after initially knocking and identifying himself. His partner, PC Heather Gomez, entered after him, stayed until he discovered Anderson. She then went door to door but was unable to ascertain anything other than the neighbour on one side of Anderson’s apartment heard a scuffle so she called three nines.’
‘So, nothing that stands out as particularly unusual,’ Fraser said.
‘Except the scuffle.’
‘Yes, except the scuffle, Marple. Is that what we should focus on, do you think?’ He waited for her to reply, but she was taking longer than he wanted. ‘Come on, Ali. What does your intuition tell you about the scuffle? Is it important?’
‘Yes. Yes. A scuffle before an alleged suicide doesn’t fit.’
Burkett scratched the same cheek again. ‘He could’ve been stumbling around, blind drunk, and off his head on the pills.’
‘True,’ replied Fraser.
Pendleton joined the speculation. ‘Changed his mind? Decided he couldn’t go through with it, makes a bit of noise in the hope one of the neighbours hears and comes to assist.’
‘Another fair point. Ali? Your turn.’
Corbyn looked at her colleagues, then turned her attention to the building where forensics were in and out of Anderson’s fourth floor apartment. Tension released from her scrunched nose, and a grin began to spread across her lips.
‘What?’ asked Pendleton and Burkett simultaneously. Neither could see a link between Anderson’s death and the gangster.
‘Explain, Marple.’ Fraser took two steps closer to his partner.
‘Don’t any of you know?’
Confusion was the consensus expression on the detectives’ faces.
‘Roy Mackey owns this apartment building. Along with eight or nine other buildings on this street. And a total of sixteen, I think, in this neighbourhood. Not to mention the possibly hundreds of buildings across the city, ranging from housing to shopfronts and offices, and every type of building in between.’
Fraser caught his breath. ‘How did we not know about this? Pendleton? Burkett? How did we not know about this?
* * * * *
Roy Mackey put his feet up on his desk, and took a casual sip of scotch from the crystal glass he’d been holding for the last forty minutes. A knock on his office door was followed by the entrance of two of his minders.
‘Is it done?’
Both men nodded.
‘It’s done, Mr. Mackey.’
‘Good, Kev, good.’
Kevin stepped forward, closer to Mackey’s desk, and cleared his throat.
‘What is it, Kevin?’
‘I was wondering, Mr. Mackey . . .’
‘That copper, the detective, DS Corbyn.’
Mackey nodded. He had an idea where Kevin Norton was heading. A promise was a promise.
‘Have you made a decision? About when I can –’
‘Finish her off?’ Mackey smiled.
‘Yeah,’ Norton nodded as he spoke.
‘Like Anderson, I don’t want anyone to be able to trace it back to me. Alright, Kev?’
A nod from Kevin indicated he understood that if he were to be caught for inflicting any injury on DS Ali Corbyn, he would be hung out to dry. Mackey would offer no assistance, but if Norton opened his mouth about his ties with Roy, Norton would end up the same way as PC Anderson.
‘Enjoy yourself, Kevin. You’ve earned it.’
. . . To be continued . . .