Peter stood at the expansive windows of the family’s apartment taking a phone call. “Yes Papa. I understand” he said. “I will stay here in London unless you ask me to do otherwise. Ok. Thank you. Give my love to Mutti. Bye.” He put the phone in his pocket and took in the view of the city before him. This apartment was prime real estate in the city and had cost a small fortune. He was essentially a lover of the countryside and loved his rural home but the view of the river and the city as it began to be illuminated was pretty spectacular.
Cairnsy and Pink were at the station and ready to go home. They had visited Calder Hall and made some excuses to the staff about security following a nearby burglary. They had wandered around the building but found nothing that linked the hall to Lock Cottage. “What are you going to do with all those papers from Mrs Winters attic?” asked Dave. “There is a lot to go through” Pink conceded. “How about coming around to mine tonight? Bring anyone else who can help and I’ll provide wine and pizza.”
“Tom. The key is secure and indications are the cache is in the village. It clearly wasn’t in the grave with Amy-Lou. I don’t know who you’ve instructed, I don’t need to know but they seem to be making no progress. The cache needs to be found. The police are sniffing around and we cannot allow them to expose this matter. You need to get a move on.” Tom pushed a button on the steering wheel to terminate the call. The traffic on the M4 was heavy and congested. He despised things that slowed down his plans and was becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of results. His disaffection with his father was well known and he had attempted on numerous occasions to persuade him back to conservative traditions but had failed. The cache was reportedly a huge collection of jewellery that Edward had bestowed upon Miss Renners. The value was believed to be quite exceptional and his father had agreed to release it to him if found. In order to protect family honour though they had to be disposed of discreetly. The alleged value would negate any further need for Tom to rely on his fathers wealth. He would be self sufficient and could pursue his labour dreams to the full.
Dinner had been lovely and Kate had just settled on the sofa. She snuggled up close to her partner as the opening credits began to roll. Her moment was stolen moments later when her phone rang. “Hello Kate Harney” she answered. “Hello Kate. It’s Sgt Doll at custody. CID will be doing searches tonight and tomorrow but want to do an initial account interview with Mr Beattie. Can you be here for about 9.30pm?” Kate glanced at her watch. “Yes. I’ll be there.” She put the phone back on the coffee table and looked apologetically at her partner Gene. He knew and just shrugged. This sort of disruption came with the territory. Kate snuggled back close. “I wouldn’t mind so much but it’s a bloody first account which is likely to be no comment anyway.”
Max Blain sat in a quiet corner of The Bull. He scanned the document in his hand over and over again. It was a copy of the last will and testament of Edward Charles Scholes. It was a complex document and covered all aspects of the estate and family wealth. With no children the peerage was to pass to his younger brother. The final paragraph was out of context to the rest of the document and seemed to be the sentimental ramblings of an old man. He read the final sentences;
My life has been a combination of great joy and overwhelming sadness that has intensified as I grew older. In the absence of my own children I entrust the great traditions of this family to my younger brother and now lie alongside that which is of the greatest value to me.
This sentence could be read in many ways but Max knew that without a wife and family Edward was very close to his parents. His sentence made sense as he was laid to rest alongside his parents who were in the mausoleum in the graveyard. This was the only angle he came up with. Royston had called him earlier and pretty much told him to pull his finger out but he was becoming increasingly frustrated. He had nothing to go on. The cache could be anywhere. “Looks like you’ve a lot on your mind.” Max looked up into the face of an attractive and well dressed lady. She smiled and extended her hand toward him “I’m Jane Hamilton. Can I join you?”
Dave had rounded up a few friends to assist in looking through the papers at Pinks. Free wine and pizza was enough to get a positive response from most of his friends. Sallie, Fran, Charlie, Rose and Lee had all come and as a team they were making their way through the mountain of documents. Many were very old and dusty and seemed to have little relevance to the estate or the cottage. They had found one document that proved Pinks earlier theory. It detailed the reordering of the southern boundary wall to make way for the new road into the village. Lock Cottage had been in the grounds but was cut off when the road was constructed. Charlie held up another document. “Anyone read French?” Rose had a basic knowledge and took the document from her. It appeared to be a letterhead or a blank invoice. There was no wording other than the heading. “Les Trois Cles”. “What does it say” asked Pink. “The title is “The Three Keys” but there is nothing else on it other than a small logo with a key.” The last words grabbed Pinks attention and she moved closer to Rose and looked over her shoulder. Emblazoned on the form below the wording was a printed key within a rectangle. “Dave. This is the same image as on the cottage.” Dave agreed. “Doesn’t exactly get us any further on though does it.”
Jane Hamilton was a slick operator. Her parents had always said she was very persuasive and could have sold ice cubes to Eskimos. Max Blain was interesting. She had seen him loitering around the village and he seemed out of place. As he had been sat on his own she seized her opportunity. She engaged him in gentle conversation and they bought one another drinks. She played him beautifully and he was clearly taken by her good looks. She could drink till her boots were full and still stand up so it wasn’t long before Max was showing signs of being drunk. Tongues loosened as people got drunk and that was her plan. She gently turned the conversation as to why he was in the village and what the paperwork was that he’d been pouring over. “Oh its nothing. Just a job I’m struggling with.” She reached over the table and touched his hand gently “Tell me Max. I may be able to help.” He looked up at her and held her gaze for a moment and then laughed briefly. Jane knew she was close to him caving in. It came quicker than expected though as he began to relay the puzzle of a hidden cache and a will like a riddle. It felt good to talk to someone about his frustrations but the minute he had uttered the words he regretted it. “I’m sorry. I should say no more. Please ignore me.” At that he tucked his document into his jacket pocket, stood and left the bar. Jane congratulated herself on a good nights work.
Kate attended at custody for 9.30. As is usual the officers had said 9.30 but weren’t ready. Sgt Doll was still on duty and invited her in to wait instead of loitering in reception. DS Bruce finally arrived and gave, as she was expecting, minimal disclosure. She spoke to her client and advised that he should make no comment for now. DS Bruce and DC Darling conducted the interview which was short and in Kate’s view pretty much pointless. Further interviews would be done tomorrow. She left custody and rang Gene to say she was heading home.
The streets were dark now but the evening was pleasant enough so she decided to take the pretty way home. Besides it would take her through the village where the body had been stolen from. She headed out onto the by-pass and and after a few miles turned into the village. As she drove down the High Street she was suddenly aware of a car to her nearside. It was pulling out of a pub car park but it was going way too quick. The car didn’t stop. It shot out of the car park at a fast speed and right across the front of her. She swerved hard to the left and braked heavily. Her Mini came to a stop unscathed but her attention was then drawn to a huge crashing sound. The other car was a Mondeo and it was embedded into a huge oak tree on the opposite side of the road. She grabbed her phone and called for an ambulance and the police.
Jane heard the crash from inside the pub. She grabbed her bag and dashed outside to see the carnage of the accident. A lady in a Mini was getting out and running over to a car crashed into a tree. She ran over to join her. The lady was on her phone and panicking a little. Jane glanced into the car. She was shocked to see that Max was the driver. Blood was all over his face and he seemed to be unconscious. “Are you getting an ambulance?” she asked the other driver. Kate confirmed she was but hated blood. She stood back from the car a little. People were spilling out of the pub and nearby houses but Jane had one opportunity and whilst it was there she reached into the car and retrieved the document from Max’s jacket pocket.
Within a short space of time a paramedic arrived in an RRV. Just another night shift for an Insomniac Medic. He assessed the situation. The casualty was breathing and unconscious and would need a full ambulance. Shortly after the police arrived followed by the ambulance staffed by his colleagues Ambo Girl and Jon.
After 30 mins the scene was in control and most people had returned to their evening. Kate gave her account to an officer and headed home. She needed that glass of wine now. Jane lingered at the scene for a short while, spoke to the officers and explained she had been talking to him in the pub and he was quite drunk. She then retired to her room to study the document more carefully.
To be continued….
This post is fiction but the characters are people I follow on Twitter and by referencing to them I recommend (#FF) them to you. The story is just a different way of #FF’ing that gives me some pleasure. The personalities of my Twitter characters portrayed in this tale are hypothetical and in no way reflect their true professionalism and personal qualities.. it’s meant to be fun.