Detective Inspector Roland Eliot was sitting in his office. He looked at his watch. It was 6:30.
It was time to leave his office and go to The Queen's head Pub across the road.
But just when he was leaving the office, the phone rang. It was Detective Constable Jamie Bowen.
Bowen told Eliot that they've just had a report of a death. That was the last thing Eliot wanted to hear. Because it was weekend and then he could spend time with his wife and his son, Micky.
But it didn't matter because they were at the house of Mickys grandparents.
Then he asked Bowen where it was. He said that it was in Blackheath. Only six kilometres from
New Cross police station. But on Friday evening were a lot of queues. So it could take over an hour to come there. He phoned to Sally and Micky. The father of Sally picked up. Sally went out for a walk with Micky. So Eliot said that he was pleased that they arrived safely. Then he hang up and went downstairs.
Bowen was driving. It took really long to get to Blackheath. Eliot asked to Bowen if he knew anything about the death. But the only thing he knew was that it was a white man in his thirties.
They stopped and got out of the car. They saw a beautiful 18th century house. They rang the doorbell and a young policeman opened the door. He looked pale. His name was Drewitt. He told Eliot and Bowen that the dead body was inside the living room. Eliot looked down at the chair. And he quickly looked away again. It was a man. He had small long fingers with a thick gold ring on the third finger from the right hand. Bowen took out his notebook. And he started to ask Drewitt some questions. Drewitt said it was Mr Alex Forley. The neighbours called the police when he didn't come to them. Which was usual on Fridays.
Eliot walked around the house. The windows of the sitting room were French windows.
The windows were open. Eliot thought that Drewitt got in the house there. He went back into the house and looked in every room. The bathroom told him that Forley lived alone. There was only one toothbrush and one towel. He went downstairs and asked to the pathologist if he knew anything already. He said Eliot had to wait until Monday. Because he had to make a report about it.
He went to Bowen and asked if he found anything out. He didn't. Almost all the people were out.
They went to the neighbors. Mr Crowther opened the door. He asked what did happen to Alex. Eliot told him that he didn't know it. Mr Crowther introduced his wife, Catherine. He asked some routine questions and they answered it. He asked when Forley would come to them. She said that it was mostly like 4 o'clock. She said that she coudn't speak about Alex in the past tense. Then she started to cry quietly.
Mr Crowther said that Blackheath isn't a violent place. Eliot asked if they could tell anything about Mr Forley's job. He had an antique shop in Greenwich. And he didn't spend much time in his shop.
He only had to choose the furniture. She was talking in the present tense again. Mr Crowther didn't hear the gun shot because he was out. And Mrs Crowther was painting and she didn't payed attention to it. Because of all the firework. He told them that someone had to identify the body. To be shore if it is Mr Forley. Mrs Crowther told him that he didn't had a wife. But he had a girlfriend.
Her name was Amanda Grant. She gave Eliot the address of Amanda. Then Bowen and eliot left the house.
The way back to New Cross was easier. But a lot of questions filled Eliot's mind. And he had to wait with answering them because the case just had begun. Bowen had to break to avoid a crash.
A silver Mercedes had been left on the road with no lights and the engine still running. Children stole it. Last week Eliot had caught two young boys in a stolen car. Their father was watching television. And after getting home they had gone straight out to steal another one. When they came back home Eliot bought a take-away meal and he watched television.
Eliot woke op at 7:45 with the sun on his face. He had to work this weekend. After a quick bath he went downstairs and had breakfast. He wanted to call Sally and Micky. To hear their voices.
But it was to early. So he went to work. He heard that several people's fingerprints were found in the house of Alex Forley. But on the gun, only the ones of the dead man.
Amanda Grant lived in Greenwich. Eliot wanted to start early to avoid all the crowds as much as possible. They went to Amanda. She opened the door. She was pale and looked tired. She asked them to come in. She asked if she had to identify the body to see if it is Alex. And Eliot had to say yes. She put her coat on and she turned off the radio. She was quite calm when she got into the car.
They arrived and they got into the building. Then the plastic sheet was taken off. The head was still covered. She nodded at Eliot. It was Alex. Then she started to cry.
They got back to Amanda's house. Then Eliot started with asking questions. Bowen started to make a cup of tea. People felt better after drinking it. Because it was sweat and strong.
She is a journalist and she worked for the Women in the World magazine. She knew Alex for almost four years and she visited him a few times a week. Eliot saw a picture of Alex and he asked if they could borrow it. She gave it to him. Alex thought that he had health problems so he went to a doctor. Eliot wanted to know the name and address of the doctor. She said his name was Philip Wilver and that he lives at 54 Pepys Road, in New Cross. Then they said goodbye and went out.
Eliot and Bowen were silent for a long time, affected by the sadness of Amanda.
They were going to search the house of Alex Forley. Eliot listened to the messages on the answerphone. Two of Amanda Grant. And there was one of Philip.
It was almost half past one when they finished with searching the house. They took a diary, an address book and £2200 in cash. So if it was a murder. Then it wouldn't have been for the money.
Bowen had to ring the bell twice before Catherine Crowther opened the door. She didn't like to see Eliot and Bowen again. Ronald Crowther was reading the newspaper in the sittingroom. Eliot decided to question them in different rooms. To see if their stories were the same. Eliot went upstairs with Catherine Crowther. He saw Drewitt standing outside Forleys house with a cigarette.
He asked some questions. And she answered all the questions really calm. Then he asked her about the relationship between Alex and Amanda. It was quiet for a moment. The she said that Alex wanted to marry Amanda but Amanda wanted to make him more interested in business. But now it's to late to change anything, she said. And she started to cry.
Unlike many men, Eliot did not feel uncomfortable when women cried. In his job he was quite used to it. When they walked out of the room he asked why her new painting was so different to the others. She turned her head away. But not after Eliot saw her face was starting to burn.
Bowen and Ronald were waiting for them in the hall. Ronald opened the door and let them out.
In the car they compared Crowthers' stories. Then Bowen asked what their next move would be.
Eliot said that Bowen and he were going to Philip Wilver the next day. But first they went to Forleys shop. It was closed. He knocked on the door twice. Then a woman came to open the door.
Her name was Linda Scott. She is the manager in the shop. They asked some questions. Then they left the shop. Bowen liked her.
In the afternoon Eliot is going home. He took off his tie and called Sally. She picked up and she sounded pleased to hear him. She asked where he was been all day. He said that he was in Blackheath and Greenwich most of the day. Eliot asked if he could have a word with him for a moment. He smiled while his son was talking about the beach and the sea. And the firework. After he hang up he felt tired. He turned on the news and tried to listen to it trough the sound of firework outside. He fell asleep in the middle of Saturday night hospital drama. But the shouting football fans woke him up after two hours. He turned off the television and went to bed.
The next day:
Eliot arrives at the office. Bowen was already there. Bowen said that Forleys diary could help them. Because it is written in Greek and Latin mixed together. Then they went to Philip Wilver.
Bowen rang the doorbell and a tall dark-haired woman with a cigarette in her hand opened the door.
Eliot said that he'd like to speak to Philip Wilver. The woman walked away and a few seconds later Philip came. He invited them to come in. Philip asked if they knew what happened. But they didn't.
Then Eliot asked Philip when the results of the test arrived. He said that they arrived a few days ago. And that they didn't show anything. He turned his head away and said: “poor Alex.”
No-one spoke for a few seconds. Then Eliot started to ask some questions. He said he phoned him to give him the test results. Eliot also asked about what Philip thought of Alex. Philip said that Alex was often really serious but he could be very funny, too. Then his son came in to play football with his father. When Eliot and Bowen were back in the car Eliot said that he thinks that this case isn't going to be as easy as he first thought.
Eliot sat at his computer and looked at the report he had started on Friday. But questions about the case filled his mind, and he could not push them away. When he went home and opened the door Micky and Sally were already home. He sat down at the kitchen table and he relaxed. The case interested him but his family was more important. He smiled when Micky was talking about last nights firework show.
Eliot woke up and went to the police station. Of course Bowen arrived before he did. Eliot asked if he had the report of the pathologists already. He did. They've just arrived. They also got a report on the gun. It was a gun from the Second World War. They're not very common now. It's almost a collectors piece. And Alex had been killed between 3:15 and 3:45. He died immediately and there was a lot of alcohol in his blood and stomach. There were no other signs of violence. Eliot worked trough the lunch hour and finished the reports. Then he went to The Queens head. The pub was empty except for a noisy group of students. Then Bowen came in.
Bowen said that he had news that Eliot maybe would wanted to hear. Alex had a cleaning lady, a Mrs Brook. She worked for Alex on Mondays and Thursdays. And on Wednesdays for the Crowthers. And she said that Forley visited Catherine Crowther on Wednesday afternoon. When Mr Crowther was out. He was there for about an hour. And the sitting room door was closed so she couldn't hear anything of what they said. But when they cam out Catherine looked very pale and Alex looked very uncomfortable. And she said that Crowther had an old gun. Bowen said that he also looked at a few more pages of Forley's diary. And that he had a secret love affair. But all the names were changed so he didn't know with who. They went to the Crowthers and rang the bell.
But nobody opened the door. So Eliot looked up. And he didn't know if it was his imagination but he tought that he saw someone quickly moving away from the window. Then they went back to the pub were they've been on Saturday. When Eliot looked out of the window he saw a tall man. He thought it was Ronald Crowther. Then the barman came and he said that the man was Ronald.
And that he always comes at 3 o'clock and leaves at 4 o'clock. So that means that Ronald couldn't have been the murderer. Because he is in this pub every day. Eliot looked at his watch and it was 4 o'clock. Then Ronald left the pub.
Eliot went to the Crowthers. They opened the door and smiled. But he didn't return them. They have been played games with him since the beginning. Eliot asked Ronald Crowther if he had a gun.
Ronald said yes. He kept it as a remember for his father. He also kept one bullet. A few weeks ago some friends came to dinner with the Crowthers. Ronald drunk rather a lot and he told them about the gun. Alex said that it might be worth a lot of money. So he asked if he could borrow it to ghave it valued. Ronald told him that there was a bullet inside. Eliot asked what other people there were at the dinner. It were the Crowthers, the Wilvers and Amanda Grant. Then he took Mr and Mrs Crowther to the police station.
At the police station, they were taken to separate rooms. Eliot told Mrs Crowther that he heard of Alex visiting her Wednesday. Mrs Crowther said it was true. And that they were talking about private things. Alex had a secret relationship with Lisa Wilver. The wife of Philip Wilver.
Lisa liked Alex because of his money. Now she told the truth. But Eliot still doesn't know how he died. Because Mr and Mrs Crowther didn't kill him.So it could be Philip Wilver, if he knew about the secret relationship. Or Lisa Wilver, if Forley wanted to end their relationship.
Eliot and Bowen went to Amanda Grant. She looked surprised when she saw them. But she asked them to come in. They asked a few routine questions. He asked if she haves a mobile phone. She has but she called Alex with the telephone in her house. Eliot was happy with this information. He could check everything by calling her phone company. Back at the station it took only twenty minutes to check the information. And she told the truth. Eliot was thinking Alex killed himself after all. When he came home he put a lot of effort in listening to one of Micky's long stories about school. But suddenly Eliot picked up his son and was dancing with him. Because he missed something in the case. And Micky just told him. He would ask Bowen if he can finish reading the diary.
Eliot took Dr. Wilver to the police station in an interview room. There he started to ask questions. He said it was routine. And everybody needs to do that. So Dr. Wilver started to relax. He smiled.
But the smile began to disappear after Eliot's next question: “Dr Wilver, when did you give Mr Forley the test results?” He said that it was on Thursday. But he got the results on Monday already.
A line of sweat appeared on his forehead. Dr. Wilver gave him the wrong test results. He didn't want to lose his wife. So he said that he had a brain tumour. And Alex said that he couldn't live with a brain tumour. And now he shot himself. Lisa left Dr. Wilver anyway.
Eliot was really happy because they've finished the case. Now he wondered when Bowen would call Linda Scott.