Lapponia

The blood drained out of Chief Inspector Hilary Jones’ face and had she not been sat down when Inspector Rigsby told her the awful news, she would surely have fainted. Robert Daley was an old friend.

More than that in fact, they once had an affair, which ended in her divorce and his estrangement from his wife. Not that there was a scandal or anything, it’s just that they were both too honest to conduct a dalliance while pretending to be faithful to their respective partners. In Hilary’s case, she and her husband were already drifting apart before she allowed herself to get involved with Rob. On the other hand, Rob was happily married with three teenage children when he fell in love with Hilary.

The emotional strain of separating from their spouses was such that it put their relationship under so much pressure that Hilary, the stronger willed of the two put an end to their relationship and Rob reluctantly accepted her decision. For a while he felt cheated as he ended up without a family or the woman whom fell for in his middle age. The trauma was such, Robert Daley left the police force to make a clean start and set up a private security consultancy and investigation business.

Even three years after they ended their affair, it was only recently that Rob was able to speak to Hilary without making references to possible reconciliation but, Hilary being Hilary, she always kept that particular door firmly shut, determined to remain independent and focused on her career.

Now that Robert Daley is dead, she realised she never stopped loving him and this hammer blow news affected her more deeply than losing the man she admired and loved more than any other in her life; her father. Chief Inspector Jones felt lonely and alone.

Finally, the Chief Inspector gathered her wits and spoke. “Get that bloody woman Sam Conway here straight away”. With eyebrows raised, Inspector Rigsby began to say something about “what is the connection between Rob Daley’s murder and a woman who claimed her husband committed suicide while skyping with her?” He too knew Rob Daley for a long time and he was more concerned about mounting a crime investigation to find Rob’s killer or killers. But C.I Jones gave him a withering look that told him not to argue with her on this occasion so he left her office to do as was instructed.

*****

Jones: Mrs Conway, where were you earlier this morning?

Sam: Apart from being at home, I went to see the investigator you recommended

Jones: Rob Daley?

Sam: Yes. Then after that I returned home after picking a few things from the supermarket. Is that why you drag me back to the station? I thought you had…

Jones: How did your interview with Rob Daley go?

Sam: It was fine. I explained to him the situation and he put me right on my way of analysing the situation. I don’t understand why you are asking these questions, he hardly had time to consider my case never mind come up with results

Jones: He won’t have time to consider your case in the future either Mrs Conway. What else did you discuss with Rob Daley?

Sam: I am getting confused now, what do you mean he won’t have time, have you arrested him or something?

Jones: Please answer my question Mrs Conway. What else did you discuss with Rob Daley?

Sam: Only the events that took place and the fact that I had a missed call from David while I was in your office yesterday

Jones: I am sorry? Did you say you had a missed call from your allegedly dead husband?

Sam: Well, I had a call from his phone but there was no message or anything like this

Jones: So, what did Rob Daley make of your case?

Sam: He told me the story was not easy to believe and then put forward a crazy theory that David did not shoot himself but the actual phone he was using to skype with me

Jones: What else Mrs Conway?

Sam: I dismissed his idea by saying that I had a missed call from David since then. So, he asked me for David’s number and called him to confirm my claim

Jones: He called your husband’s phone? Did anyone reply?

Sam: Of course not!

Jones: Anything else?

Sam: No, I don’t think so

Jones: Think Mrs Conway, did he ask you anything else?

Sam: Not really. Oh wait a minute, he asked me who was our mobile phone provider and I said Vodafone

Jones: And how did you leave things?

Sam: He said to leave the matter with him for a day or so and he would get back to me

Jones: One more question Mrs Conway, when Rob Daley called your husband’s phone what did he use?

Sam: His phone, of course

Jones: The office phone or his mobile phone?

Sam: I can’t remember

Jones: Think Mrs Conway, it is important

Sam: I cannot remember! What is this? Look Chief Inspector, I have been very patient answering your questions, without getting any explanations. Anyway, I thought this is a private matter you couldn’t help with and this is why you referred me to him. So, what’s this sudden interest?

Jones: It is not a private matter any more Mrs Conway. Robert Daley was found dead with a bullet in his head not long after you left him this morning!

Sam: What the fuck are you talking about? Are you suggesting I killed him now?

Jones: No I am not suggesting that. But doesn’t it strike you as strange that men seem to be either disappearing or dying around you Mrs Conway?

*****

Chief Inspector Jones didn’t have to rely on Sam Conway remembering which phone Rob used to call her husband. What was interesting to her is his seemingly simple question about the service provider Vodafone. She knew Rob and his style of investigation. He was a shrewd analyst who believed the most basic questions produced the best information. She wondered why he would ask a question like this. She felt sure he had a thought in mind, but what?

Hilary Jones called Inspector Rigsby and asked him to firstly get a record of the last 3 days of calls Rob Daley made out of his land line and to see if he can get hold of his mobile phone which would have been gathered for evidence by the investigating team.

Rigsby: I hope you don’t mind me asking Chief Inspector, but what is the connection between Rob and the Conway woman?

Jones: Well Inspector Rigsby, I referred her to Rob yesterday, as I wasn’t seeing any point in us wasting time on her unfounded case. I feel horrible now; I effectively put him in harms way

Rigsby: Oh I see. Well, if she had no case, how could you have put Rob in harms Way?

Jones: The fact that I thought her case was non-existent doesn’t mean it was. Maybe there is something more sinister going on here

Rigsby: But the other possibility is Rob was working on something else that got him in to trouble and his murder just coincided with Mrs Conway going to see him

Jones: True but, we need to find out which of the two theories is the right one

Rigsby: Indeed. Chief Inspector, I know Rob was my friend and it may appear that I am emotional about the whole thing but; I would really like to work on this case with you. Please!

Jones: Alright Rigsby, I know you can handle it and thank you for volunteering to help, he was my friend too and I am determined to get the bastards who killed him

*****

Sam returned home and the moment she stepped inside the apartment and before turning on the light switch she sensed there was something unusual inside. She hesitated for a few seconds before finally turning on the lights. She put her handbag on the table by the front door and as was her habit when David was away, she locked the door from the inside. Her head was swimming with a thousand thoughts. Her husband is missing, presumed dead, a man she never had anything to do with before dies soon after she met him. What the hell was happening to her world?

She walked to the kitchen and the sense of unease if anything grew inside her. She turned the kitchen lights on and went round the apartment turning on every light. She sensed someone was with her in the apartment and not being the nervous or timid type, she looked for the “someone” in all the possible places they could be hiding, including closets, behind shower curtains, under beds, even on the two balconies.

Satisfied there was no one inside the apartment, she finally allowed herself to return to the kitchen to make a green tea. She took the tea and headed to the bedroom to prepare for a shower. Before undressing, she took her white gold Lapponia necklace David bought her for their 5 year wedding anniversary to return it to her jewellery box inside the small fireproof safe she and David decided to purchase and imbed in the wall to keep all their important documents and expensive items. She pressed the six-digit code and opened the safe, took out her jewellery box, and placed the necklace inside it and returned it to the safe. She was about to close the safe when something inside her told her to look at some of the papers inside. She took out the pile of papers and sat on the edge of the bed and spread the documents on top of her silk covered duvet.

There were certificates of births, marriage, universities and shares, passports, apartment deeds, and finally David’s and her wills they drew up a couple of years earlier. She gathered the papers again and then two thoughts hit her: firstly, David’s expired passport was there but not his current passport and secondly, amongst the various certificates, one stood out as different from the others. She pulled that one out and examined it more closely. She could not remember seeing it before. It was a Global Software shares certificate to the value of 75,000 shares.

David never takes his passport out of the safe unless he plans to travel abroad. Also, how did David come to own seventy five thousand shares in Global Software? The company recently fired him, so why would they give him a huge block of shares? How come he never mentioned anything about these shares?

Sam fetched her laptop and went straight to Global Software website and began to search for the tab that would lead her to the company’s latest share price. She finally found it under “Shareholder Relations” tab.

Her eyes almost popped out of her head, each share was valued at £255.75, She and David had almost £20 million worth of shares she had no idea they owned!

Then she felt that sensation again, there was a presence in the apartment. It suddenly hit her; she could smell David in the apartment, not his aftershave but his own natural body odour!

Sam was now truly scared.

To be continued…