Tuesday 2 – Wednesday 3 May 2017
‘D’you get the feeling Mackey was – surprised – to see you?’ It was the only thing Fraser had said to Corbyn on the drive back to the station, and it had got her thinking. Her initial response was to say no, but the more she thought about it, the more Fraser was right. Mackey was shocked when Fraser said her name. It had held him momentarily speechless, and she could almost see his mind ticking over what to say next. At the very least, the mention of Corbyn’s name had caught Mackey off-guard.
She held her reply until they pulled up in the station car park.
‘I don’t know if I’d call it surprise, Jack. Shock, maybe. It wasn’t a normal reaction to someone’s name, that’s for sure. And it certainly wasn’t because he’d read any articles about Norton beating the shit out of me.’
Fraser considered her answer. ‘You could be right. Shock might better fit what I saw. I’ll have Tweedledee and Tweedledum look into Mackey’s employees.’
‘You promised you wouldn’t call them that anymore.’
‘What they can’t hear won’t hurt them.’
‘You’re a shit. You know that, don’t you?’
Fraser understood her tone to indicate it was a rhetorical question. She neither expected nor wanted a reply to her question. She was, however, pointing out what she considered to be fact.
* * * * *
Not a man to be intimidated by anyone, Norton flinched every time Roy Mackey slammed his hand down on his desk. His plans for revenge were now halted by Mackey’s desire not to be connected with anything or anyone involved with the police investigation into the Benjamin Rowe and Dave Anderson cases.
‘You touch one single hair on her head, Kevin, and I’ll cut your balls off, and shove ‘em so far down your throat, you’ll . . . you take my meaning?’
‘Yes, Mr. Mackey. I take your meaning.’
‘Now, I’m not saying that you can’t ever do whatever it is you want to do to the delightful DS Corbyn. I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that you need to wait until these investigations are over and done with. Then, then you can go for your life. Just lay off until the Rowe and Anderson cases are filed away. Just let them step away from looking at me, looking at us. Then knock yourself out.’
Norton’s attention waned from Mackey and his demands to fantasising about stringing his boss up by the knackers.
‘Are you listening to me, Kevin?’
‘Yes, Mr. Mackey. I’ll stay away from Corbyn. For now.’
‘Good. Because I’m warning you, Kevin, I will not tolerate any level of stupidity from you about this matter. Get back to work.’
With a wave of his hand, Mackey dismissed Kevin from his office.
Back in his car, Norton punched the steering wheel twice before wondering if he could deploy the airbag by doing so. He waited for the front of the steering wheel to shoot off and for the airbag to be propelled straight out at his chest. It didn’t, and he was mildly disappointed. More so, he was ropable with Mackey for stopping him from getting to Corbyn.
‘Bastard,’ he screamed. ‘Bastard, bastard, fucking bastard.’ There was no one passing by to look at him, or judge him for screaming in frustration in his car. ‘Fucking bastard.’
* * * * *
‘Okay, Guv. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?’ DC Ivan Burkett leaned against Jack Fraser’s office door.
‘I don’t care, Burkett. Just tell me what you’ve got.’ Fraser mumbled, his head resting on his arms on the desk. He was tired, and frustrated by the two cases, sure that there was a link but unable to discover what it was.
‘Medical examiner says Dave Anderson’s death was not a suicide. That’s the bad news. Good news is, Pendleton and I may have dug up a link between Anderson and Benjamin Rowe or Don Mackey, whichever one we’re calling him today.’
Fraser lifted his head from his arms, and sat upright in his chair. ‘Before you go any further, get DS Corbyn in here.’
Burkett turned his head and shouted for Corbyn. She wandered over from her desk, pushed Burkett out of the way so she could get into Fraser’s office, and then dropped into a chair.
Fraser threw a wave in Burkett’s direction. ‘Important information about our two cases. Go on, Burkett. Back to the beginning point. And for Christ’s sake, come in and sit down.’
The detective constable shuffled into Fraser’s office and took the chair next to Corbyn. He cleared his throat and began again.
‘Medical examiner says Dave Anderson’s death was not a suicide, but a deliberate act by a second, possibly third party. Looks like someone’s held him down, force fed him the pills, and then filled him full of alcohol. Forcibly. Bruising on the body, lacerations in the mouth, support this. Plus, forensics have found a partial fingerprint on both the pill box and the vodka bottle.’
Fraser looked at Corbyn. ‘Seems you were right to think there was something amiss about Anderson’s death. Well done, Marple.’
Corbyn grinned. Even after all the years working together, Fraser’s approval meant something to her.
‘But there’s more. Continue on, DC Burkett.’ Fraser nodded for him to go on.
‘Following DS Corbyn’s revelation that the building Anderson’s apartment was in was owned by Roy Mackey, Pendleton and I did a bit of digging. There seems to be a long link between Anderson and Mackey. Anderson’s father owed an enormous amount of money in gambling debts to a bookie who has strong connections to Mackey. Now, we can’t definitively say that Mackey and this bookie are partners, but they are known to each other in social circles and the like. Also, our PC Dave Anderson had also racked up a sizable debt to a second bookie with connections to Mackey. Seems some debt collectors were sent around to Dave Anderson about a month ago. Neighbours reported a disturbance at Anderson’s apartment. Uniforms attended, and what do you know, a certain Kevin Norton was cautioned along with another bloke, you’re gonna love this, a John Smith. They were sent on their way because Anderson didn’t want to press charges.’
Corbyn flinched at Norton’s name.
‘Well now, Marple, it also seems that our esteemed DC’s have made a link between your Mr. Norton and Roy Mackey that might explain his shock when he heard your name.’
Corbyn nodded. She feared if she opened her mouth to say anything, the nausea she was feeling in her gut would be forced out of her mouth as a wet projectile.
‘So, where do we go next, Guv?’ Burkett crossed and uncrossed his legs, unable to deflect his thoughts from making a connection between Anderson and the death of Benjamin Rowe.
‘We need to investigate the bookie links, first and foremost. I think those links are going to give us the evidence we need to pin the Rowe Mackey murder, and Anderson’s murder, on Roy Mackey. But we need absolute solid evidence. Then we need to look into the possibility that Anderson had something to do with Rowe’s murder. We do need to consider that perhaps, perhaps, Dave Anderson wasn’t just the first responder at the Rowe scene, but was in fact the murderer. As for who killed Anderson? I don’t know yet, but let’s look at Norton and anyone else who works for Mackey.’
‘You want Pendleton and I to hit up the bookies and that link?’
Fraser nodded. ‘Yep, and I want the two of you to compile a list of every employee, legitimate or criminal link, to Roy Mackey. Then get about questioning them. I want alibis, full accounts of movements on the days leading up to Rowe’s death, and Anderson’s death.’
Fraser turned his gaze to his quiet partner. ‘You and I will have a bit of a chat with your Mr. Norton, Corbyn. You okay with that?’
A slight hesitation, but she nodded in agreement. ‘Sure. We’ll chat with Norton. Might be able to find out if he ransacked my home too.’
‘My thoughts exactly,’ Fraser replied.
. . . To be continued . . .