Make Them Pay, page 1part #12 of Brock and Poole Series
Table of Contents
Recent Titles by Graham Ison from Severn House
Recent Titles by Graham Ison from Severn House
The Hardcastle Series
Contemporary Police Procedurals
ALL QUIET ON ARRIVAL
BREACH OF PRIVILEGE
JACK IN THE BOX
KICKING THE AIR
LOST OR FOUND
MAKE THEM PAY
MAKE THEM PAY
A Brock and Poole Mystery
This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
First published in Great Britain 2012 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9-15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
First published in the USA 2013 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of
110 East 59th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
Copyright © 2012 by Graham Ison.
eBook edition first published in 2013 by Severn House Digital an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
The right of Graham Ison to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & patents Act 1988
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Make them pay. – (A Brock and Poole mystery)
1. Brock, Harry (Fictitious character : Ison)–Fiction. 2. Poole, Dave (Fictitious character)–Fiction. 3. Police–England–London–Fiction. 4. Murder– Investigation–Fiction. 5. Detective and mystery stories.
I. Title II. Series
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-366-2 (epub)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8238-7 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-84751-467-7 (trade paper)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This eBook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
When the man arrived in Birmingham, he stopped at the first newsagents he saw. Alighting from his Volkswagen Polo, he entered the shop and spent a few minutes browsing the shelves. Finally he found what he was looking for: a copy of a local newspaper.
Returning to his car, he sat for a few minutes perusing the columns of small ads that listed rooms to let. Selecting an address at random he set his satnav – a recent add-on extra to his old car – for a road in Sheldon.
Parking his car some distance away from the house he had decided upon, he walked the rest of the way. It was an old house with paintwork that needed some attention and brickwork that was overdue for pointing. What had once been the front garden was now overlaid with concrete to provide hard standing for an ancient Toyota saloon car and a motorcycle. He made his way towards the front door, carefully avoiding a couple of wheelie bins and several black rubbish bags. It was not the ideal sort of place at which he would have chosen to stay, even in the short term, but he had no intention of staying there at all.
‘Mrs Patel?’ the man asked, when a woman opened the door in response to his knock. He immediately detected a strong smell of curry. Not that it bothered him; in fact he enjoyed a good curry, but he would not be taking advantage of the landlady’s culinary skills.
‘Yes, I am Mrs Patel.’ She was wearing a sari and her long shiny black hair was fashioned into a plait that, when she turned, he could see reached almost to her waist.
‘I understand that you have a room to let.’ The man extended a finger to indicate the advertisement in his folded newspaper.
‘How long do you want a room for? It has to be at least a month otherwise it’s not worth my while.’ Mrs Patel looked searchingly at the man, as though assessing his ability to pay. But he was neatly dressed in a blazer and a collar and a striped tie, and that satisfied her. In fact, he appeared to be a little more respectable than most of her usual paying guests.
‘It’ll be at least a week, Mrs Patel, perhaps even a little longer.’ The man told the lie easily.
‘I’ll show you the room,’ said Mrs Patel, and led the way upstairs.
‘Oh yes, this will do nicely,’ said the man, having given the sparsely furnished bed-sitting room a cursory glance. That the accommodation comprised only a bed, a chair and a wash-hand basin didn’t matter; it would serve the purpose for which he wanted it.
He agreed the rent with Mrs Patel and paid for a week in advance from a roll of banknotes. Mrs Patel gave him a rent book in which she had entered the man’s name in block capitals together with the address. She took a large ledger from a drawer and made an entry in it. ‘For the tax people,’ she said, by way of explanation. ‘We are very particular to keep good records.’
‘Thank you, Mrs Patel.’ The man put the rent book in his pocket. ‘I just have to go to New Street station and collect my baggage. I’ll see you later.’ But he never returned.
Instead, he drove to a gun club, the address of which he’d found on the Internet.
The club secretary and the armourer were talking in the office when the man entered.
‘Can I help you?’ enquired the secretary, glancing up at the well-dressed man. The armourer particularly noticed the man’s tie; it could have been that of an army regiment, but the armourer had been in the Royal Air Force and was not able to identify it.
‘I’m considering applying for membership, if that’s possible,’ said the man.
‘Always glad to recruit a new member,’ said the secretary warmly, and took a form from a drawer in his desk. ‘Just a few particulars and a chat with the armourer-instructor, and then you’re in. Do you have anything to say who you are?’
As evidence of identity and place of abode, the man produced the rent book that Mrs Patel had given him.
The secretary recorded the applicant’s name and address and returned the book. ‘This is a very active club,’ he said. ‘We’re open for practice most weekday evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays.’
‘Have you h
‘Yes, I was in the army,’ said the man, preferring not to mention the circumstances under which he’d left.
‘Good, but I still need to see if you can handle a weapon safely,’ said the armourer. ‘Perhaps you’d come out to the range.’
‘Of course,’ said the man, and followed the armourer. Once on the range, he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.
The armourer unlocked a cabinet and handed the man a pistol.
‘What sort of weapon is this?’ asked the man, examining the pistol closely. ‘I’ve never handled one of these before.’
‘It’s a Rohm Twinmaster Action CO2-charged air pistol.’
‘Don’t you have any proper automatics? A Walther or a Beretta perhaps?’
The armourer looked at the man and shook his head in disbelief. ‘Being ex-military, I’d’ve thought you’d’ve known that the law doesn’t allow us to hold automatic pistols that fire lethal ammunition. Not since the Dunblane massacre in 1996. It was that that caused the change, and the following year every lethal sort of handgun was banned. It’s made life very difficult for anyone hoping to qualify for the Olympics.’
‘I didn’t know that. I’ve been abroad for quite a long time. Not that I’m much interested in the Olympics.’ Disappointed, the man grasped the weapon in a two-handed grip and competently fired off a few shots. ‘Thank you,’ he said, as he returned the pistol.
‘Well, you obviously know how to handle a firearm,’ said the armourer, ‘but if you want to fire automatic pistols, I’m afraid you’ll have to go abroad to do it. Germany’s a very good place, I’m told; they’ve got gun clubs all over the place. Practically every village has a club.’
‘Germany, eh?’ said the man thoughtfully. He had spent a lot of time there.
‘See you again soon,’ said the armourer, as he and the man returned to the secretary’s office.
‘Yes indeed,’ said the man, but he never came back.
As it happened, the acquisition of a firearm did not turn out to be at all difficult. The man knew Germany well and he spoke the language with a reasonable degree of fluency.
The gun club he selected, within a short distance of Essen, welcomed him and enrolled him as a member after a few desultory enquiries that consisted of little more than glancing at his passport.
He attended the club’s well-appointed range three or four times, but after that he was never seen again. It was only when the armourer checked the arsenal that he found that a point-two-two calibre High Standard Supermatic Trophy pistol was missing. The matter was reported at the local police station and details of the weapon were recorded on the national computer of the Bundeskriminalamt. But there the matter rested.
The man was slightly apprehensive when a customs officer took an interest in him at Harwich; usually they did not bother. In the event it turned out not to be a problem. The officer had asked the usual routine questions, poked about in the boot of the man’s Volkswagen Polo, and sent him on his way. His only interest was in any excessive amount of alcohol or tobacco, or any drugs that the man might have had in his possession, but he found nothing of importance. He didn’t examine the vehicle closely enough to discover that the pistol the man had stolen from the German gun club was secreted beneath the car, securely attached to the chassis.
Cyril Jefferson alighted from his car and opened the rear door. A large red setter jumped out and then stood waiting for his master.
‘Off you go, Raffles,’ said Jefferson.
The dog bounded off, tail wagging, lolloping across the grass towards a clump of trees. It was the route it followed every time that Jefferson took it to Richmond Park. Every so often the dog would stop and turn its head, waiting for Jefferson to catch up.
It was when he reached the edge of the group of trees that Jefferson heard the sound. It was a noise like a cork being removed expertly and gently from a bottle of champagne, but that much louder. There followed two more similar sounds.
He moved closer, his curiosity aroused. In the centre of the group of trees he saw a man wearing an anorak with the hood raised. And he was firing a pistol at a tree.
The dog’s sensitive hearing had heard the shots long before Jefferson, and it crouched and emitted a low growl. The man turned in panic, pocketed the pistol and ran very fast out of the cover of the trees, making his way towards the road.
‘Heel, Raffles,’ said Jefferson, fearful that the man would shoot his dog. The animal obeyed and Jefferson made his way quickly in the direction the man had run, but being careful to keep a safe distance. Nevertheless he lost sight of him. Moments later, he saw a car – he thought it was a Volkswagen Polo – driving out of the park at quite high speed. He was unable to see if it was the gunman driving it, but he did notice that one of the car’s side windows was broken and the missing glass had been replaced with cardboard.
Being one of that rare breed, a concerned citizen, Jefferson took his mobile telephone from his pocket, called Kingston police station and told the operator what he had seen.
‘Is the man still in the park, sir?’ enquired the sergeant to whom the call had been transferred.
‘I don’t think so,’ said Jefferson. ‘When he heard my dog bark, he ran off. I did see a car, a Volkswagen Polo I think, leaving the park at high speed though, but I don’t know if the driver was the man I’d seen with the pistol.’
‘Did you happen to get the car’s number, sir?’ asked the sergeant.
‘No, I’m sorry.’
‘Well, thank you, sir, we’ll make a note of the incident.’ And that, as far as the Kingston police were concerned, was the end of the matter. People were always telephoning the police to report something they thought they’d seen.
The man parked his car outside a fashionable house in a street in Pimlico and mounted the steps to the front door. He looked around furtively before pressing a button on the intercom.
‘Yes, who is it?’ asked a woman’s distorted voice.
‘It’s me,’ said the man, hoping that the girl would recognize her caller. She did.
‘Well, well, the wanderer returns, but if it’s more money you want, darling, you’re out of luck. The well’s dried up.’
‘Let me in, Lavinia, it’s important,’ said the man crouching over the intercom.
‘It’d better be,’ said Lavinia, and buzzed him in.
With a last surreptitious look around, the man entered the house and ran up the stairs.
‘This had better be good, buster.’ Lavinia stood in the doorway of her apartment. She was attired in a black jersey dress that stopped well above her knees and clung to her figure like it was glued on to every alluring curve.
‘I’m in trouble,’ said the man, following her into the seating area and flopping into a chair.
‘So, what’s new? D’you want coffee?’
‘So, what’s this big problem of yours?’
‘I was doing a bit of target practice at a tree in Richmond Park and a guy saw me.’
‘You were doing what?’ Lavinia held the cafetière in the air in an act of suspended animation, and her eyes opened wide in a combination of surprise and disbelief. ‘D’you mean you had a gun?’
‘Of course I had a gun. What d’you think I was using, a bow and arrow?’
‘What were you doing with a gun? And what the hell were you shooting at trees for? Have you got it in for trees all of a sudden?’ Lavinia skirted the kitchenette counter and joined the man in the seating area, handing him a mug of coffee. ‘Are you out of your mind?’
‘Why I was doing it doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t concern you.’
‘So, what the hell d’you want me to do about it, then?’ Lavinia leaned back on the sofa, spreading her arms along the top and crossing her long legs.
‘I could use some money,’ said the man. ‘How about a couple of hundred, Lavinia darling?’
‘Oh the hell with you!’ exclaimed Lavinia,
The man ignored that comment; he’d heard it all before. ‘D’you think I could stay here just for a few days and lie low, darling?’ he asked, swiftly pocketing the cash without a word of thanks.
‘No, you bloody well can’t, darling. You ran off once and you’re not coming back. Anyway, I’ve got a new guy in my life now. And he’s got his own money. And he drives a Ferrari.’
‘Just for a day or two.’ The man adopted a wheedling tone.
‘No way.’ Lavinia swept a hand through her long blonde hair. ‘But you can screw me if you like, just for old time’s sake.’
The man knocked at the door of 17 Clancy Street in a fashionable part of London’s Paddington.
‘Yes?’ The Nigerian who answered the door peered into the gloom outside.
‘Oh, it’s you.’ Samson Adekunle looked at his caller and smiled. ‘Have you come to take up my offer? We could certainly use you.’
‘In a manner of speaking, Samson. We have certain matters to discuss.’ The man produced a pistol and pointed it straight at Adekunle. ‘I know how to use this, so step back inside and keep your hands where I can see them.’
‘What on earth are you doing?’ asked the panic-stricken Adekunle. Although adept at using the telephone to extract money from defenceless elderly people, he was not a physically brave man. His eyes widened in terror and he began slowly to walk backwards, his hands raised in the air. He would have been even more terrified if he’d known that he had less than an hour to live. And that that hour would be filled with unspeakable agony. But the man with the gun had a score to settle.
‘We’ll start with your computer, Samson,’ said the man. ‘There are a couple of our mutual friends I want to get in touch with: Hans Eberhardt and Trudi Schmidt.’
‘I don’t know where they are,’ said Adekunle. ‘I think they’ve moved house.’ He glanced at the man’s menacing pistol and knew instinctively that his lame denial was pointless. He was in little doubt that his assailant was pursuing a personal vendetta. When they had first met, Adekunle had convinced himself that this man was possessed of an uncontrollable streak of viciousness. He remembered what had happened when he’d lost his temper with a naked Trudi Schmidt, just because she’d teased him. And that brutality had terrified him then, and now terrified him even more because he suddenly realized why the man was here.
GRAHAM ISON SERIES:
Other author's books:
- The Laundry ManUnderneath The ArchesHardcastle's QuandaryThe Taming of Tango HarrisNaked FlamesTomfooleryRough DiamondsBlue Murder
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