Boucher was in a hurry. It was time to go. He had enough money stashed away not to worry about it. He could live comfortably for the rest of his life. But his life, he suspected, might not be long lived if he did not manage to escape. Kubric wanted his blood; he had made it clear. Boucher guessed he had maybe two hours at most.
He was throwing essentials into a cabin-sized case. Thank God the passport was still valid. He stopped for a second. Passport; should he use another one? He had plenty. Maybe that would be safer.
Meanwhile, at Brackmills, details of the operation to arrest Boucher were being discussed. He was a suspected murderer with involvement in the drugs trade. He might have guns. Giordano was not going to take any chances. It was her case, her arrest, and she was not going to let it go wrong. All necessary resources would be employed.
Boucher lived in a large house in its own grounds in Church Lane, Ecton. Giordano had a detailed map of it and the surrounding area on her desk. Next to her was Sean Shannon, head of the armed response unit. They were both leaning over the map, trying to formulate a plan.
‘It’s accessible from three sides, north, south, and west. The east is blocked by these fences.’ Shannon said, pointing to a spot on the map. ‘Not a lot of room to hide in the southern approach, and if we come in from the north, we will have to gain entry to the back garden. Could be noisy. West is full on to the front door.’ He scratched his chin and took a deep breath. ‘No way to surprise him, it’s too open. We’re going to have to move in fast, block off any means of escape.’
‘I don’t like it.’ Giordano said, ‘He might decide to make a stand. We don’t want a gunfight in the middle of a village.’
‘I agree it’s a risk. You could use us purely as back up. Go in soft, catch him unawares.’
Giordano stood up straight. ‘I have an unmarked there now, watching the house. He is inside. If your men wait in a van, we can call you in if it gets messy.’
‘What are you thinking then? Uniforms or plain clothes?’
‘I’m thinking uniforms. Make it look like we are conducting a survey. Stroll up to the front door and cuff him before he figures out what’s going on.’
‘What if he shoots first and makes a run for it? We could end up with dead officers.’ Shannon reminded her.
Giordano gave him a look. ‘I know. We must take into account he might be armed. In that case it won’t matter whether he sees you or not.’ She was massaging her chin and walking back and forth deep in thought. This was the most difficult and important decision she had had to make in her career so far. She did not want it to the last. Shannon had explained the difficulties with an armed approach, but if she allowed uniformed officers to go in unarmed, and they were killed, she would never forgive herself.
‘I think I’m going to have to ask you to go in Sean. It’s too risky for unarmed officers.’
Shannon nodded. ‘Ok, leave it to me. It’ll be fast and direct. No sense in messing about.’
‘How quickly can you get organised?’
‘Let’s say half an hour.’
‘Okay, call sign Valhalla.’
Shannon laughed. ‘Good name. Isn’t that the great hall where the Valkyries take the dead bodies from battle?’
‘It is, but let’s hope it doesn’t turn into one.’
‘Amen to that!’
Cameron had sent Foal a text asking him to meet him at a Costa along the Wellingborough Road. Foal had agreed. It was neutral ground and a public place. Safe enough. He was waiting, sitting at a table with a cappuccino when Foal sauntered in wearing pale blue faded jeans, a red T shirt and black leather jacket. He saw Cameron and bounced over to his table with his hands in his pockets. ‘Yo Cammy, how’s it hanging’ he said. ‘Wanna coffee?’
Cameron shook his head and Foal turned towards the counter and gave his order. He returned to the table and noisily dragged out a chair and sat down, hands still in his pockets, legs outstretched, crossed at the ankles.
‘So whadya want Cammy? I’m a busy man y’know.’
‘I have some bad news. Your aunt is dead.’ He said.
Foal turned white. ‘Dead, aunt Di? Whadya mean? How?’
‘Murdered, last night. I don’t have the full details. I got it from a source in the police. She was found early this morning in Foot Meadow. I’m very sorry.’ Cameron said.
‘Murdered! What the fuck’s going on?’
‘Keep your voice down! We don’t want everyone to hear. And to answer your question, I don’t know what’s going on. What I do know is Diana’s death leaves another gap in the organisation.’
‘Fuck the organisation. I wanna know who killed her. I’m gonna kill the son-of-a-bitch!’
Cameron took a deep breath. ‘Try to calm down. We’ll solve nothing by anger. Now is the time to think.’
The waitress delivered Foal’s coffee, setting it down on the table in front of him. Foal picked it up and took a sip. Cameron noticed his hand was shaking.
‘Look, I have spoken to Kubric. He wants to restructure. With McVey gone and now your aunt, he is going to make changes. He wants me to take over all the districts and you to be my number two.’
‘Huh, what about Boucher? He ain’t gonna take that lying down.’
‘Don’t worry about him. Kubric is going to talk to him.’ Cameron said.
‘Whadya mean? Why is Kubric moving him out? Did that slimy French bastard do it? Did he kill her?’ Foal said, his anger rising.
Cameron gave him a stern look. ‘Will you calm down! Of course he didn’t kill her, don’t be so stupid. What possible motive could he have?’
Cameron sat back and waited. He had set his trap, now he waited to see if Foal would be fool enough to fall into it.
Foal ran a hand back through his hair. ‘I dunno. I do know that Boucher was suspicious because someone was dealing on his patch. Maybe he thought Diana was moving in.’
‘Not to my knowledge.’
Interesting, thought Cameron. So, if Hall had been moving in on Boucher, she had not involved Foal. Would she have left Foal out of it? He doubted it.
Foal wondered why Cameron was fishing. He might be young, but he was nobody’s fool. It was obvious Cameron was angling to know if his aunt had been the one trading on Boucher’s patch. Well he wasn’t going to tell him.
‘You want me to help you. Sounds interesting.’ He said.
‘I do and so does Kubric. It’s going to be difficult, but it’s a big opportunity for both of us. Controlling the whole town is a big step up.’
‘Yeah, so when do we start?’
‘Right now. I need you to talk to the runners. Keep them calm. Tell them not to worry. Supplies will not be interrupted. It will be business as usual. Then I want you to pay a visit to a house in Hardwick. Boucher’s bookkeeper lives there. Explain she now has a new boss; you. Understand?’
Foal was sitting back with one leg crossed over the other, all business now. ‘Yeah, I think so.’
‘Okay good. Now listen carefully. I want no stupidity from you. No acts of reprisal whatever your suspicions are. We will get to the bottom of what’s going on soon enough. Leave it to me and Kubric. Understand?’
‘Yeah, course.’ Foal said, wondering how long it would take him to drive to Ecton.