Kill Chase

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The Commissioner’s Office

New Scotland Yard

Jeremy Chambers paced the room. Guy stood beside Henrietta Fox who exuded an invincibility that bordered on the immortal. Chambers addressed the group of ten detectives before him.

“The inquiry I am about to assign you is unbelievable. It’s got everything: showbiz, the murder of a Prime Minister’s consort, drugs and kidnapping.”

Guy suppressed a grimace. He’s in his Poirot Mood. He’ll be telling us the butler did it in the library.

The Commissioner pointed out the paparazzo. “Miss Fox here nearly died today at the hands of vicious criminals. Men who would stop at nothing – including murder. She’s lucky to be alive but we need the bigger picture.”

He resumed pacing, tightening his strides in the packed room. “So, what do we know?”

Henrietta held up her laptop. “They wanted the pictures. I knew I still had them on here. Special Forces hit them and they went to hell, where they belong. I hope there are hounds in hell.”

Chambers nodded. “Quite so. So what else?”

Guy added. “We know Marie Montague got herself married to Jack Holborne who moves Tolman’s Three Sisters Fund profits through Holborne Formula One.”

Chambers nodded. “When did they divorce? What year?”

Guy shook his head. “They never did, boss. They’re still married to this day. She could not marry the PM.”

Henrietta added. “Marie begged Tolman to release her sister. He didn’t tell her Nikki was already dead. On the boat Carlos told me Tolman didn’t have Marie killed.”

Chambers said. “That private eye was Sol Coniff’s man. Maybe a hired gun? He was in London at the time.”

Guy disagreed. “I don’t think so. Sappiano runs his own detective agency in LA. He’s not a hit man for hire.”

“A mad stalker, then?” Chambers urged him.

“No evidence of a stalker. No heavy-breathing phone calls, nothing. Not even her knickers missing off the washing line.”

“Why change the venue of the photo-shoot for Hiya! magazine? We know Lord Irewood supplied his suite at Claridge’s for it. Lady Elizabeth took all the frocks there for the shoot. Marie doesn’t turn up, even for a million. Why?”

Guy said. “She was already dead in the little house in Chelsea.”

Chambers nodded. “Go on.”

Henrietta stood shocked. “What! You’re saying she was killed in the night? When I took my picture of her, dead on the floor in her kitchen, the fluorescent ceiling light was on, even though it was daylight. She couldn’t go to Claridge’s the next day because she was already dead?”

Guy nodded. “Pathologist says time of death was one am. I was first to tell Elizabeth Irewood of Marie’s death. She said something very odd. That Marie was controlled by her men. Evil men, she said.”

Guy turned to the paparazzo. “Henri, what did Carlos say at your flat? Why did he want the pictures so badly?”

She pulled her hair back with a sweep of her hand, exposing the red weal on her wrist.

“He wanted my pictures of Tolman and Marie.”

“Why? The Graphic had already used that picture. It doesn’t make sense.”

Henrietta blanched. “My God, Guy! What if they weren’t a couple that night? Was there somebody else in the picture he was trying to protect?”

Her fingers flew on her laptop. On screen was Marie in the crowd. “Here’s my picture.” She flicked the mouse. “This is the un-cropped original, as I took it. There are eleven people around them in the crowd.” She pulled up the frame.

Guy cried out, running his fingers through his hair. “It’s him. A lot older but it’s the groom in the wedding picture!”

Jack Holborne sat on Marie’s left in the crowd, Ibrahim Tolman on her right. Guy said somberly. “That’s why he wanted you dead, Henri. You’re the only one who knew Holborne was also in London when Marie Montague died.”

Henrietta said. “If Marie died the previous night then there was a witness, although he might not know it. A paparazzo called Chaz. He door-stepped Marie’s house overnight for the Express and the Telegraph. Twenty-four-hour watch. He would have seen anybody who came or went. Show him pictures of Holborne, Sappiano and Tolman. See if he identifies them.”

Chambers’ eyes darted around the faces. “What else, what else?”

Guy cleared his throat. “The Spanish Grand Prix is this afternoon at Catalunya. Holborne Formula One have a two-car entry. That’s if Jack Holborne can find the money to pay off his creditors. He’s always in the cack financially, been close to the edge many times.”

The Commissioner ordered. “Royce, get the next plane to Barcelona. Track down Holborne and confront him.”

Henrietta stamped the floor, shaking her head. “This is my story. Jack Holborne is mine.”

Chambers faltered. “I think maybe you’ve been through enough, Miss Fox. Let’s leave it at that.”

“You confront him, you need me! I’m the one with the evidence. I was on the boat, remember?”

Chambers sighed. “Pictorial evidence would be useful. Take some pictures. Don’t get in the way!”

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