Death and Disclosure - a London Mystery

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10

After the shower Paul dismissed last night’s encounter as a dream, induced by his long stint at researching this Carter person.

The morning was extremely unpleasant, not the least because Yvonne came to the Yard. Lynd’s new girlfriend turned out to be a bottle-blonde tall stylish, and very extroverted French woman, who went into hysterics when told about Lynd’s murder, couldn’t be calmed down, wouldn’t have them phone anyone to be with her, and kept pleading to keep her name out of the public eye for fear of her husband finding out about the affair. To make matters worse she was clinging to Paul like an octopus most of the time. Other than that she turned out to be a dead end.

The enquiry to the former Prime Minister’s archive about material Lynd might have borrowed and taken home with him came to nothing. The secretary who phoned them back was extremely arrogant and made clear that the police obviously had no idea of the kind of important affairs he was concerned with or the discretion necessary to perform his duties. Dr. Lynd had had access to the papers relevant for his task, and everything had been done according to protocol.

Could he now go back to work?

“And what does that mean?” Paul asked, and it took him a while to realise that the phone had been hung up on him. Speechless at the impertinence he wrote a memo on the conversation and filed it with the rest of their evidence – a documentation of futility and failure so far, with a few dead ends thrown in.

Paul went to the pub and talked to the owner again, asking whether maybe there had been someone watching Lynd that night, but was told again that pubs tended to get crowded on that particular evening of the week, so what did the police expect?

No sign of Clive Lynd either – he seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.

It looked as if the whole case was going cold.

At 2 PM he was just about to go to his superior and suggest that they close the file, when he screeched to a halt in the middle of the corridor, turned and raced for King’s College and Tom Clark’s office in a hurry.

He caught his friend on the way to a late lunch in the Senior Common Room and took hold of his elbow. “Good that I met you, Mr Clark. I’m afraid I have some more questions for you.” With that he pulled him away from other chattering college people and led him outside.

“Can you tell me what all this is about, pal?” Clark was frowning.

“Absolutely, as soon as we’re safely away from here.”

“Aha. You gonna buy me lunch?”

“Yep!” Paul steered his car through the midday traffic towards Temple. There he parked, dashed into a newsagent for two packed sandwiches and led the way to Temple gardens.

“You call this lunch?” Clark frowned at an egg salad sandwich that had seen better days in the faraway past.

“Take mine!” Paul handed over his slightly less sorry-looking cheese and tomato. “But talk! And no nonsense this time, please!”

“Care to enlighten me on the subject?”

“You were watching Lynd at the college, so you would have someone watching him at home.”

Clark looked clueless.

“Where he was murdered,“ Paul elaborated. “We would very much appreciate a witness who can describe the murderer.”

“Ah, I see”, Clark started, and Paul’s mood rose only to drop again when he continued. “Sorry, can’t help you there, pal, that was the job of your boys and…”

“They’re not sharing?” Paul was already thinking up ways to get information out of Clark’s British colleagues.

“No, that’s not it – though it might be, the way they tick over here, but, the point is, there was no one there any longer.”

“Come again?”

“Well, they are on a budget, same as we are, and as Lynd had already taken the bait…”

Paul rubbed his face between his hands. “Are you telling me that you had Lynd under surveillance… ok, MI whatever had him under surveillance but not on the day of his murder?”

“That about covers it.”

“I don’t believe it, you’ve been here for almost a year, and our guys disappear as soon as it gets interesting? What are you on about anyway?” He stopped. “What bait?”

“Sorry, Paul, I can’t tell…” Clark started, but Paul’s mind was already engaged elsewhere.

“You were setting him up for something. He got that job for the former PM not in spite of his sketchy finances and his son’s bad connections but because of it. You wanted him approachable by… no, that doesn’t make sense…” He looked up suddenly. “You wanted him to approach someone for money. Those papers that he found, that was the bait, right?”

Clark was shaking his head. “You are in the wrong job, Paul, but I’ve told you that before.”

“Yes, yes, now spill!”

“All right, I’m already talking. Do you remember Francis Sutton-Barr?”

“The banker who is about to be sent to the IMF post in your place?”

“That’s the one. He used to be a close friend to the PM, his economic adviser too, for a while. Well, the boys over here have been suspecting that he was… not only working for the PM at the time.”

“Aha?”

“We knew that they suspected that, so when the opportunity to get him presented itself in the form of those memoirs, we suggested a scheme.” Clark noticed Paul’s expectant look and continued. “The idea was to plant a letter in the PM’s papers that the ghost would find. We suggested using someone with money problems who would not be averse to a spot of blackmail, and it worked.”

Paul nodded ironically. “Yes, brilliantly, your ghost was killed.”

“Ok, well, that was not as planned, actually they said they would even grant Lynd some form of immunity.” When he saw Paul’s sceptical expression, he nodded. “Yeah. Anyway, he took the bait, I have him on tape trying to blackmail Sutton-Barr and setting the terms, and your guys were quite happy to do their home-movie of the exchange.”

“So you’re telling me that all this was over when Lynd was murdered?”

“Yes, that’s why we had no surveillance on the flat anymore. Sutton-Barr actually was in talks with your lot when the murder happened.”

“So, is he going to jail then?”

Clark smiled enigmatically, and Paul shook his head. “See, that is why I never wanted to do that kind of work. Now you have him working for you, don’t you?”

Clark blinked innocently.

“Great. He could have someone else killing Lynd though, couldn’t he?” Paul asked.

“I know”, Clark answered a touch of guilt in his voice. “I didn’t understand why they pulled back so quickly.”

Paul sat and thought for a bit. “I guess you’re not going to tell me anymore about this, are you?” When Clark shook his head, he said. “Thought so. Secrets and more secrets. Would you happen to know who else could be interested in the paper you planted?”

“Only someone connected with Sutton-Barr.”

“I take it he was not working for the Salvation Army or Mother Theresa’s heirs, right? Excellent.”

“I can try to get something from him myself”, Clark offered.

Paul scoffed. “Oh yeah, like our people would let you in on that. Well, it might interest you to know that whoever murdered Lynd was interested in more than your planted paper.”

“There’s more?” Clark looked surprised.

“Seems so, apparently you would not have needed to plant anything to get a reaction… or the PM had more than one dirty little secret. In other words, I’m back at square one.” Paul balled up the sandwich packing furiously and propelled it toward the nearest bin. “Damn it!”

“Cheer up, Paul, I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks, Tom.” Paul got the American back to his office and left deeply frustrated. His hopes of anyone pressuring Sutton-Barr into admitting anything more than they could prove were minimal at best: Everybody had what they wanted, in other words they had the man exactly where they wanted him, no need to make an enemy of him now.

Back at the Yard he tried researching Sutton-Barr himself in order to get a clue about the people behind him, but only found the whole thing a waste of time.



All in all it was after six again when Paul was finally clearing his desk and taking care of the last of the telephone messages etc. he found a mail from one of his friends.

Paul,

You asked for a photo of the Marcus Trevelyan-Carter who died in 1924. He’s the son of the last Duke of Clarendon, by the way, so if you need more information on him, I’d suggest you talk to Trevor Muns, the journalist who did the feature on the whole scandal five years ago and is said to be the authority on the subject. Anyway, I’ve found you one photo and attached it to this mail. Why are you interested in dead aristocrats? J.

When Paul opened the attachment, he was wide awake at once. Looking at him from the picture of 1923 was the same intense face he had seen in his car the day before. Also, the same face he had on his snapshot of Naomi’s stalker.

Ok, let’s take this slowly, he told himself and went looking for a contact to the journalist. When he googled him though, he met with an unwelcome surprise: Muns had been killed in a car accident shortly after his feature had aired on ITV. He was mourned by lots of competitive colleagues who – Paul could read between the lines – had been wanting to tramp the dirt down on his grave. He phoned around in the hope of finding someone who could tell him about the sources he’d used for the feature, only to be told that Muns never shared anything. He called ITV to ask for a copy of the feature and was told they would send one to him as soon as they got round to it. After he hung up he realised they had probably not been taking him seriously.

Dead end – surprise!

Paul sighed and phone Joan at the British Library. He only just reached his friend.

“Hi, thanks for answering so quickly.”

“No problem. How are you, Paul?”

“Fine, just busy.” Paul liked the elderly lady working in the rare book collection who had been a mature student with him at St Andrew’s.

“I would expect you to be, if you’re trying to solve 80 year old crimes.” He could hear her smile down the line.

“Come again? Crimes?”

“Well, the man you wanted me to research, he was murdered. But that happened in 1924.”

“That can’t be, must be a younger relative.”

“Not from the right side of the sheet.” Smirking.

“Now you’ve lost me completely.”

“Well, as I wrote, he was the son of the last Duke, and as he is the mystery one…”

“The what? I didn’t see that feature and the journalist can’t be got hold of. Can you start at the beginning?”

“You sound grumpy. Try sleeping once in a while, why don’t you? Ok, here goes: The young man – full of promise and all that – was killed in a robbery at their stately home, and his father disappeared at the same time, was never seen again. The feature however made some strange allegations, completely spurious, if you as me…”

“Hold on, you’re saying this guy’s dead, no scions?”

“Yes, the title reverted to the Crown after a decent interval when the father didn’t turn up again.”

“No close relatives then. And who is my man who’s using the name?”

Joan cleared her throat. “There always was talk about the Duke being a Lady’s man… And if he looked anything like his son, I can understand the ladies.”

Paul shrugged his shoulders. “That must be it then, talk about strong genes. Well, he’s definitely mad enough to come from that background. Thanks for your time, Joan.”

“You’re welcome. See me for lunch sometime, you’ve got my number.”

“Will do. Bye.” He left his office.



He tried calling Naomi on the way out, but only managed to get through to her answer-phone. Apparently she was out, which didn’t make him any easier. Should he tell her about this impostor? Did she already know him? Was she having an affair with him? He dismissed that thought. No, he might be good-looking, but he was obviously mad as a hatter. Besides, it didn’t look as if she was into younger men.

After running around his flat six times, having cleared away the laundry that had amassed in the last days, watered all his plants – twice – and put out all the rubbish including paper, he gave up and set out for Tarlington Mews once more. After all, there was a strangely deranged stalker hanging around there.

I really must stop obsessing like this, he thought while trying to find a parking space close to Naomi’s house. Finally he found one next to an ancient car, a black and white Hispano Suiza K6 in mint condition, he noticed with longing. He wouldn’t have thought there were many of those still around. What he wouldn’t give for a ride in that!

He didn’t have to wait long. Soon he saw Naomi, accompanied by a tall man walking toward her house.

Paul felt a stab of jealousy that he didn’t want to acknowledge. He tried to justify his quick exit from the car with professional reasons: obviously it was interesting who Naomi was going out with, she was still close to the murder investigation.

However, when he saw who was politely saying good-bye to her at the door, his steps slowed. Carter again. Or at least someone remarkably like Marcus Trevelyan-Carter and using his name.

Against his initial inclination of storming toward the door and demanding an explanation – and probably making a jealous exhibition of himself at the same time – Paul waited for Carter to turn, and then waved at him. To his surprise – nothing so far had gone as planned – the man was actually walking towards him now. Paul secretly checked he was still awake and braced himself for another strange meeting.


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