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Authors: Rob Kitchin

The Rule Book (47 page)

BOOK: The Rule Book
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‘Maybe, maybe not,’ Roche replied, wistfully. ‘We’ve interviewed hundreds of people in the last few days, Colm. Who knows how many of them have told us a bunch of lies? Probably a couple of dozen and not all of them can be The Raven. It might have taken us months to work through them all, double checking them.’

McEvoy stayed silent and scratched at his head, fuming inside.

‘And it might not be him. Just because he knows David Hennessey and he might have been seen with Laura Schmidt does not mean he committed the murders.’

‘He committed them!’ McEvoy snapped. ‘We both know he did. He’s been leading us on a merry dance all week. He must be grinning like a Cheshire cat. He knows the investigation’s barely touched him. He probably thinks he’s home free.’

‘If he’d followed all of his rules, he would be,’ Roche said sighing. ‘And even if it was him, he’s probably got a bunch of cast iron alibis.’

‘Forensics,’ McEvoy stated. ‘We have the matching hairs from Glencree and Rathmoylan.’

There was a knock at the door.

‘Yes?’ Roche said loudly.

Simon Grainger pushed it open, looking slightly ashamed, and handed a couple of sheets of paper to Roche. ‘A bit of background information on him from his website,’ he said before exiting.

Roche read out selected highlights. ‘Undergraduate degree from Trinity in politics and sociology, masters in political science from Berkeley, and PhD from Harvard on the Politics of the Welfare State in Ireland, 1922-1992. He then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Cambridge University before taking up the lectureship in politics at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, a couple of years ago. Specialises in the political science of the welfare state and the Catholic Church and the political system in Ireland. He’s authored one book, edited two others and has published a bunch of articles. You want a look?’ He held out the sheets.

McEvoy took them and studied McCormack’s photo. He looked remarkably normal – in his early to mid thirties wearing a Red Sox cap and smiling into the camera. There was no hint of any danger or malice, nothing to suggest he might commit a series of heinous crimes. McEvoy scanned down his potted academic history. ‘How do you want to do this?’ he asked, keen to get on with things.

‘Chances are he’s either fled or he’s at work or home. We send teams to both of them and do a simultaneous raid. Inner and outer cordons at both. If he’s not there, then God knows where he is and I think we just put out a nationwide appeal for help.’

‘You don’t want to wait until he shows back up again?’

‘If he’s gone, he’s probably long gone, and we’re not going to be able to sit on the name for very long. There’s a good chance that one of our lot has already leaked it for a nice fee from one of the papers or TV stations. Once it’s out it’ll spread like wildfire. The best thing to do will be to release his name and photo and start a manhunt.’

McEvoy nodded in agreement.

‘I’ll take his house – he lives in Lucan – you take the university,’ Roche instructed. ‘Put people at all the exits and then go to his department. Make sure you’ve got plenty of backup, but when you go in act decisively, we don’t want him to take a hostage or kill himself. I want this to end cleanly and to go to trial.’



It had started to drizzle again as they passed through the main gates to Maynooth University. McEvoy parked the car under a large chestnut tree next to the wooden hut just inside the gates.

‘I’ll be back in a minute,’ he said to Barney Plunkett and Kathy Jacobs exiting the car, the confidence of an hour ago having started to drain away, his mind tumbling over the rationale of his initial certainty, trying to decide whether he was guilty of grasping at a nettle too quickly and firmly.

Martin Cleary and Tom Meaney were waiting for him in the hut, the heat turned up high, designed to take the chill and damp off bodies that had been walking around the campus grounds.

‘Martin, Tom, thanks for meeting me,’ McEvoy said, extending a hand, feeling awkward.

‘So what’s this about, Colm?’ Cleary asked with a hint of a smile.

‘We think we might have identified The Raven. We have a witness who’s positively ID’d him. He’s a lecturer in the university. He’s been interviewed before, so we’re going to take the softly, softly approach initially. Routine investigation. We’ll do it while classes are on so there are less people around.’

‘Who is it?’ Cleary asked. ‘Let me guess, someone from Hennessey’s department?’

‘How’d you know that?’ McEvoy asked suspiciously, wiping at his nose.

‘Come on, Colm, if I told you it was someone at the university that killed Hennessey, where would you start? With people who knew him well. I’m beginning to wonder if they might have been desperate to give you my old job.’ It was said as a joke, but it came out flat.

‘Maybe they were,’ McEvoy said, taking the comment at face value. ‘Jesus. We’ve ballsed this up from the start. The lecturer’s name is Dr Andrew McCormack. That ring any bells?’

‘Young chap, sideburns, bit abrasive, but friendly enough,’ Cleary said. ‘I wouldn’t have him pegged for the murders, but then again most murderers appear relatively normal until you scratch away at the surface.’

‘What do you want us to do?’ Meaney asked.

‘Nothing. I just wanted to let you know what’s happening. This might be a wild goose chase or it might be the end game. Hopefully, it will go smoothly, but if it doesn’t then we’ll probably need your help.’

‘I’m coming with you to the arts building,’ Cleary stated. ‘I know this place like the back of my hand. And I know the staff in there; it’ll just look like I’m showing you to his office.’

‘I’m not sure that’s a good idea,’ McEvoy said.

‘It wasn’t a request, Colm. I’m not having a cock-up like O’Connell Street happening here while I’m on duty.’



They swapped anxious glances, then set off towards a long, single-storey building, climbing five steps, entering through a set of automatic doors into an open foyer, the doors to two lecture theatres in front of them. They veered to the right heading down a narrow corridor along which the politics department extended. Skipping the secretary’s office they headed straight for McCormack’s door, Cleary and Plunkett taking up positions either side.

McEvoy’s chest felt as if it had been wrapped in barbed wire,  slowly being tightened. He knocked twice and tried the handle. It was locked. He knocked again.

‘Shit!’ he hissed. ‘He’s not here.’

‘He might be teaching,’ Cleary said. ‘The secretary will have a timetable, she’ll be able to tell us where he is.’ He looked at his watch. ‘We should be able to get to him before he leaves the lecture theatre.’

They backtracked to the first office on the corridor.

McEvoy knocked and pushed the door open, feeling heavy limbed and light-headed, his heart pounding in his chest.

The woman at the desk looked over at him, a look of mild annoyance on her face. ‘Yes?’

‘Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy.’ He stepped into the room. ‘I wonder if you could help me?’

‘Is this about David? I still can’t get over the fact that he’s been murdered.’ She looked like she was going to cry. ‘Terrible. Absolutely terrible.’

‘Actually, I was wondering if Andrew McCormack was in today? I wanted to follow up on something with him.’

He followed her gaze right, Martin Cleary having followed McEvoy in.

She looked back at him. ‘Andrew? No. No, he’s not. He’s not in all week. He’s at a conference in the US. Boston, I think.’

‘In the US?’ McEvoy repeated, feeling sick, his mind racing.

‘Yes, he was flying there at the weekend. Some big political science conference. He goes every year. He won’t be back until next Wednesday. Is it urgent?’

‘What? No. I mean, yes. Do you have any of his travel details? The flight bookings, the conference?’

‘No,’ she said anxiously, ‘he does all of that himself. I can ask some of the other staff, see if they know,’ she offered. ‘Professor Phelan will probably know.’

‘I’ll ask him myself, if that’s okay,’ McEvoy said, trying to control information flow. ‘Is he in?’

‘She,’ the secretary correct. ‘Professor Margaret Phelan. She’s in next door. She’s just getting ready for a lecture, she’s teaching at twelve.’

‘I’ll talk to her now, thanks for your help.’

‘Just so you know, we’ll probably let ourselves into Dr McCormack’s office and have a quick look around, okay?’ Cleary said.

‘Is … is everything, okay? Nothing’s happened to him, has it?’

‘No, no, everything’s fine,’ McEvoy said, trying to take control of the situation again. ‘We’ll let you know when we’ve finished in his office. Thanks for your time.’ He headed out of the door, followed by Cleary.

‘Jesus Christ!’ he muttered. ‘He’s left the feckin’ country.’ He took two paces down the corridor and knocked on Margaret Phelan’s door.

‘Yes, hello?’

He entered the office.

An elegantly dressed woman in her mid-to-late fifties was standing behind a desk, leaning down to peer at a flat-screen monitor. She glanced over at him. ‘What can I do for you? This will have to be quick as I need to get over to the other campus.’

‘Detective Superintendent McEvoy. I was hoping to be able to speak to Andrew McCormack; the secretary said he was at a conference in the
. You don’t happen to know which do you?’

‘Is he okay?’ she said, straightening up, brushing her shoulder-length, grey hair off her face.

‘I’ve no idea, but I need to track him down so I can follow up on something.’

‘Is this about David? It was disgraceful what happened to him,’ she said without sincerity, pulling a coy smile, holding his gaze. ‘It was a terrible shock.’

He nodded and shifted his gait, uncomfortable with her demeanor. ‘Do you know which conference he was going to?’

‘The New England Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. He’s on the Association’s committee. He goes every year – end of April, early May.’

‘Okay, thanks. One other thing. Was Dr McCormack promoted recently?’

‘Promoted? No.’ She stuffed something into her bag, hoisted it up on her shoulder and rounded the desk. ‘He applied for senior lecturer, but didn’t make it. He’s a high flyer but it’s a little early. Next year or the year after. A couple more books and a bit of research money and two or three years after that he should make professor. Fast in our system.’

‘Right. Right, okay. You’ve been most helpful.’

‘No problem. Well, if you’ll excuse me, Superintendent, I have to run.’ She opened the door and held it open for him to pass through. She closed it behind her and headed off, ignoring Cleary and Plunkett.

They watched her go, her hips swinging on low heels.

‘Phew,’ Plunkett said waving the air, ‘she must have had a bath in that perfume.’

‘What perfume?’ McEvoy asked.

‘Just be thankful you’ve got that cold. Where he is?’

‘Providence, Rhode Island.’

‘Let’s take a look at his office,’ Cleary said, pulling a huge bunch of keys from his jacket pocket heading towards McCormack’s room.



The office was neat and tidy, the desk clear. Several houseplants were arranged along a window ledge that ran the width of the room.

BOOK: The Rule Book
10.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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