Following on a few months after the events chronicled in When Flies Strike, DI Baylem recounts his first, and toughest mystery whilst enjoying a drink and watching a Hawaiian sunset.
Read part one here:
“Did I ever tell you about my first case?”
Jayne McCardle, formerly detective sergeant of Fulbarton’s Police force, noted the sparkle in Baylem’s eyes. Until two months ago he had been her boss – a detective inspector no less – and things may have stayed the same had the seismic events of July not forced them to wake up and realise what really mattered.
Life was too short, and it took a near-death experience to hammer home that fact.
Leaving the constabulary and the small English town behind them, they started a relationship and set their sights on travelling the world, starting in Canada and working their way south down through the States. Currently they were in Hawaii, sitting in a quiet bar overlooking a sandy beach and a calm sea. Palm trees were in abundance and a clear blue sky was making way for dusk. Moments earlier the sun had slipped away over the edge of the world, leaving the heavens appearing red and orange.
“No, I don’t think you ever have,” replied Jayne. She leaned forward, as though eager to learn more, but in fact was just reaching for her Mai Tai, a cocktail popular on the island. The crushed ice clinked as she raised the glass to her lips. The garnishing of pineapple and lime leaf had been discarded a couple of sips earlier. She recoiled slightly from the alcohol. Kaliko, the island native working behind the bar had been generous with the rum.
“I was fresh out of Uni and passing all the entry exams top of my class and was fast-tracked from a uniformed Bobby to detective inside a year. I found myself working within Scotland Yard for a seasoned DI who was sitting on a murder case that had stumped the whole of London’s CID for six months, and pressure was on to solve it.” Baylem took a swig from a bottle of Kona lager and laughed, “It didn’t help that the victim was the wife of multi-millionaire businessman Michael O’Connell, brother of the Foreign Secretary. The press were having a field day.”
“Seriously? You were on that case?!”
“Well don’t sound too surprised! I was just a DC then; but the DI – Kendray was his name – handed me the file within a minute of my turning up in his office. He looked up at me with desperation in his tired eyes. ‘I have twenty-four hours to solve this otherwise I’m for the chop,’ he said. ‘What’s in it for me?’ I asked. I was a cocky little so-and-so back then; brazen and over-confident.”
“Not like now,” the woman interjected jokingly.
Baylem ignored her. “‘I’ll make you DS,’ he told me, ‘and give you a grand of my own money.’”
“A thousand pounds?”
“A lot of money now, but a king’s ransom back then; but that’s not all Jayne. He also said I could have one of his daughters; he had three, and none of them were bad looking. He showed me a family photograph in a frame!”
“He did, as I’m living and breathing. He was that desperate and dead serious.”
“What did you say to that?” she asked.
“I didn’t say anything,” Baylem replied. “I was gobsmacked. I shook Kendray’s hand and left, taking the file with me.”
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