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Authors: KC Acton

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BOOK: WHYTE LIES
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25

“I think we have something, boss,” said Byrne, bursting into Faith’s office.

Faith jumped.

“Sorry, boss, but this might be the breakthrough we need. As we already know, the track beyond the crime scene is intended only for hikers and forestry workers.”

“Yes, get to the point.”

“Kevin Johnson is the only permanent resident who lives in the mountain pass overlooking the Black Valley. He’s just given Kelly and our artist a description of the motorcyclist’s face. I brought it straight to you.”

Faith reached for the police artist’s impression of the man on the motorbike. “How reliable is Mr Johnson’s information?”

“Very. The motorbike passed him a few kilometres from the crime scene. Mr Johnson waved him down and told him that motor vehicles weren’t allowed up that way. He lifted his helmet to talk to Mr. Johnson, who said he had an English accent.”

Faith studied the artist’s black and white sketch of an angular-jawed man with a black moustache and thick dark eyebrows. Her grip tightened on the piece of paper as she took in the cold, dead eyes staring back at her.

“Is everything okay, boss?” asked Byrne, noticing Faith’s incredulous expression.

“I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” Faith shook her head. “Tell Kelly good work.” She forced a smile.

“I’ll go ahead and issue a statement to the press. It should make the evening editions.”

“Great. Hopefully we’ll get some leads on an ID soon.” Faith watched as Byrne left her office and headed back to her desk.

She turned her attention back to the sketch. She would have recognised that face anywhere.

 

26

“When did you start spending time with that jackass?” demanded Angela, glancing over her shoulder at Kelly’s car that was parked in the drive.

“Hello to you too,” said Faith. “Who says I’m spending time with him? How did you know that was Kelly’s car?”

“There’s not much around here that gets past me. Besides, he’s been driving that knackered old banger for years; something you two have in common.” Faith stepped back as her friend brushed past her into the hall, and upstairs to the living room. “Don’t think I’m sharing this wine with him.” She slammed the bottle down on the kitchen counter, and grabbed a crystal glass from the cupboard. “Well, are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“I thought there wasn’t much around here that gets past you,” teased Faith, as she helped herself to a Coke.

“Where is the old bastard?” asked Angela, ignoring her jibe.

“He’s renting the flat over the garage. He’s fallen out with the wife. Apparently, she’s found herself a ‘fancy man’ as Kelly puts it.”

“I don’t blame the woman; she’s been putting up with his crap for too long.”

“He’s not that bad.”

Angela almost choked on her wine. “Not that bad? No, he’s worse; he works every hour that God sends, and when he’s not working he’s off down the pub with the lads or at some football match, leaving his poor wife home alone. She and I are in the same book club, so I know all about it. She’s terrified of him, especially when he’s been drinking.”

“I didn’t know it was like that,” said Faith. “I think he’s cut back on the drinking recently; I noticed he refused several offers to go to the pub with the team. Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?”

“Not everyone.”

“He misses her, y’know. Maybe you could have a word with her? She’s refusing to answer any of his calls.”

“No way. He’s a big boy; he can fight his own battles. Anyway, just to clarify, she hasn’t moved a fancy man into the house. For your information, Kelly moved out; she didn’t kick him out.”

“Kelly claims she kicked him out. He was sleeping at the Station until I rescued him.”

“I don’t care where he was sleeping. I don’t like that man. Never have. Never will.”

“Hey, calm down, lady. I have enough problems of my own without being berated over Kelly’s domestic situation.” Faith took her drink and sat on the couch, leaving Angela standing alone in the kitchen.

“Here, have a refill,” Angela said a few minutes later, breaking the awkward silence between them. “Sorry. I got a bit carried away. I’m stressed out with work and the kids, and Charles has just been made redundant. He’s drowning his sorrows at the pub.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Faith, softening at the worry she saw on her friend’s face. “He’ll get another job soon. The world will always need IT guys.”

“They’re closing the entire IT department, outsourcing it to India. Finding another job won’t be easy in this economy, and I’m barely making enough money at the newspaper to pay the bills.” She flung herself down on the couch, sloshing the wine in her glass. “Enough about me and my moaning, how’s life treating you? It seems like ages since we’ve had a proper catch-up.”

“Life’s okay, I suppose. This case is exhausting; it’s like a mystery within a mystery. I’ve never come up against so many false leads.”

“Well, maybe I can help shed some light on the matter.”

“You know I can’t talk about the case in any detail.”

“You misunderstand, my friend. As you know, I am a news reporter
extraordinaire
.” Faith rolled her eyes at Angela’s attempt to speak in a French accent. “A source has given me some information on Daniel Gleeson.”

“Really?” Faith sat up straight in her chair. “Who?”

“You know I can’t disclose my source.”

“Spit it out already!”

“Okay, okay. Keep your hair on.” Angela took a slow sip of her wine, savouring the attention. “I happened to be at Daniel Gleeson’s local pub, chit-chatting at the bar, when someone mentioned the case.”

“How convenient.”

“Apparently, good old Daniel had an eye for the ladies. How’s that for a crack in his perfect family man facade?”

“In all fairness, having an eye for the ladies and having an affair are two different things. No one has come forward.”

“They wouldn’t, would they? Who wants to be known as the mistress of a murdered man? Of course she wants to keep it quiet.”

“I suppose.” Faith shrugged.

“Daniel used to enjoy a few drinks at his local now and then–a few too many, according to my source. About a month before the murders, he told my source that he was in trouble, the kind of trouble that could end his marriage, or worse. My source didn’t pay much attention at the time; he thought it was the drink talking.”

“This is the first suggestion I’ve had that Daniel may have been killed by a jealous husband or partner,” said Faith.

“It could have been a crime of passion. Who knows, maybe the mistress got tired of being the mistress, and took matters into her own hands.”

“Something else to add to my ever-increasing list of possible motives.” Faith sighed. “Can any of this be substantiated? We’ve examined Daniel’s life from every possible angle, and we’ve found nothing that could explain why anyone would want to hurt him. Would someone want to wipe out his entire family because of an affair?”

“Stranger things have happened,” said Angela. “It’s amazing what jealousy and anger can do. Maybe it’s someone from his past, someone who bided their time.”

“Whoever killed them knew about guns,” said Faith.

“That doesn’t narrow it down much, considering the number of hitmen for hire.”

“Anyone I’ve spoken to claims that Daniel was a quiet-living, charming man, with no enemies. Most people think it’s a simple case of the Gleesons being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“That’s always a possibility, I suppose,” said Angela. “But I can’t help thinking it’s more complicated than that.”

“Did you speak with his parents?”

“They’ve refused all requests for an interview. I visited their home in Clontarf but the door was slammed in my face as soon as I introduced myself. They’ve already sent a solicitor’s letter to a journalist who wrote a column speculating on why the Gleesons were killed.”

“You can’t blame them for guarding their privacy,” said Faith. “They want to make sure that nothing derogatory is printed about their son or daughter-in-law. In fairness, they’re probably thinking about their granddaughters who’ll read those newspapers when they’re older. They’ve been co-operative with us, so I can’t complain.”

The front door slammed, making them jump. “Who’s that?” asked Angela. “Are you expecting company?”

“No.” Faith headed for the stairs and peered over the bannister.

“Don’t shoot! It’s only me,” said Kelly, taking the stairs two at a time.

“You frightened the living daylights out of us,” said Faith.

“Sorry.”

“Besides, how did you open the door? I don’t recall giving you a key.”

“I should hope not,” said Angela, eyeballing him disdainfully.

“Hello to you too,” retorted Kelly. “How’s my favourite redhead this evening?”

“Drop dead,” said Angela, retreating to the kitchen.

“Well?” Faith stood with her hands on her hips. “Would you like to explain yourself?”

“Actually, I did knock, but I suppose you were too busy gasbagging to hear me. I decided to try the key to the flat, and it worked.”

“Do you randomly go around letting yourself into people’s houses?”

“Not randomly, just yours.” He roared with laughter.

Faith wasn’t impressed. “I could have had anyone in here.”

“You could have been naked,” Angela piped up.

Kelly sniggered. “I should be so lucky.”

“Don’t make me give you your marching orders, Kelly.”

“I’m sorry.” He held his hands up. “It won’t happen again.”

“Make sure it doesn’t.” Faith resumed her seat on the couch. “Anyway, what do you want?”

“I was bored in the flat on my own. I wondered if you fancied some company.” He looked a little embarrassed.

“She’s got company — me. Thanks for the thought,” said Angela, flouncing in from the kitchen.

“You’re here now, so you may as well have a seat. There’s beer in the fridge if you want it,” said Faith.

Tentatively, Kelly sat in the recliner by the fire. “Cheers.” He raised his bottle.

“How’s your wife?” asked Angela.

“I haven’t heard much from her. She’s probably too busy with her fancy man.”

“For your information, she doesn’t have a fancy man,” said Angela.

“That’s not what I heard.”

“Well, you heard wrong. Why don’t you pick up the phone and try talking to her?”

“I tried that, but she doesn’t want to listen.”

“Maybe you should start by saying you’re sorry.”

“That’s the problem; I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. Not really. She said she was sick of my ways; whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

“Let me translate.” Angela leaned forward. “Stop spending so much time at the pub with your buddies. Stop spending every spare minute you have on the golf course, and start spending some quality time with your wife. She’s not a glorified servant who’s there to cook your meals and take care of the house. She’s a person too. Take her out on a date. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it.”

“We haven’t been on a date in years. We’re way past that nonsense.”

“It’s not nonsense. Take her out to dinner. Go to the cinema. Do something for her for a change. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Make an effort.”

“I’m willing to try, but she has to start talking to me.”

“Look, I’ll have a word with her if you like.” Angela relented.

“Would you? I’d be ever so grateful.” Kelly beamed.

“Enough of the marriage counselling for one evening, people,” Faith sighed. “It’s at times like this that I’m glad I’m single.”

“Don’t you get lonely?” asked Kelly.

“Not really. I’m still waiting for my knight in shining armour.” She thought back to her last relationship and shuddered. “Saved by the bell,” she said, for once grateful at the sound of her phone ringing. “We’ll be right there.”

“Kelly, you’re coming with me. That was Byrne. Police at the port have just arrested a man who meets our e-fit description.”

As Faith drove, Kelly checked the iPad for the photo of the arrested man that Byrne had emailed.

“Let’s have a look,” said Faith. She glanced at the picture.

“He looks like he could be our guy; he has the same hair and same eyes as the guy in the artist’s sketch,” said Kelly.

Faith nodded, already dreading who she would come face-to face with. She prayed she was wrong.

 

27

“Everything’s set up in the interview room, boss,” said Byrne, handing Faith a much-needed coffee.

“Thanks.” Faith gratefully accepted the coffee, pausing for a moment outside the interview room. She took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders and opened the door. Kelly was right behind her.

“What’s this all about?” demanded the man. “Who do you people think you are, bursting into my house and arresting me in front of my wife and child? I’ll sue your sorry asses. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Faith took a seat at the table opposite him. Relief flooded through her when she realised that he wasn’t the man she had expected to confront. Kelly started the tape recorder. He glanced at his watch. “It’s 9.02p.m. on Saturday, October 4th 2014. Detective Inspector Greg Kelly and Detective Chief Inspector Faith Whyte in attendance. Please state your name for the record.”

“Mark Lyons.” He mumbled. “Now will someone tell me what the hell I’m doing here?”

“Did the arresting officer not inform you?” asked Faith.

“He said something about a murder.”

“You’ve been arrested in connection with the murder of Daniel Gleeson and his wife Amira Gleeson, in the Black Valley on August 31st last.”

“On what grounds?” Mark demanded. “I wasn’t there. I didn’t even know those people. I’ve never heard of them in my life! This is insane.”

“Would you like to have a solicitor present?” asked Kelly.

“No. Someone already offered, but I have nothing to hide, so let’s get this over with as quickly as possible. My poor wife is probably worried sick.”

Faith took a moment to review her notes. “I see that you previously worked for the Dublin Metropolitan Police.”

“Yes. And? What does that have to do with anything?”

“Why did you leave?”

“A difference of opinion.”

“Or might it have had something to do with your fraudulent claim for expenses?” Faith goaded. “I also see that you had some issues adjusting to new members of your team, especially foreign nationals. Are you a racist, Mr. Lyons?”

“I’ll sue you for slander.” Mark leaned across the table. “No, I’m not a racist, but I’m sick and tired of people coming over here and taking our jobs.”

“Steady on.” Kelly raised a warning hand. “Hit a nerve have we?”

“I don’t appreciate being slandered.”

“It’s not slander; I was merely asking a question.” Faith smiled coldly at him. “But we’ll let the police in Dublin handle that issue. Moving on, how long have you been living in Killarney?”

“I moved here a few months ago. My wife’s from Killarney, and she’s always wanted to move back. She wasn’t a fan of Dublin; it was too big and anonymous for her liking.”

“How are you finding life here in Killarney?” asked Kelly. “Far cry from the Big Smoke and all the action, eh?”

“I’ve had more than enough action to last a lifetime,” Mark retorted.

“Officers found a large collection of guns at your house,” said Faith.

“I collect guns, so what? I inherited most of the collection from my father.” Mark shrugged. “Every gun is licensed, so you can’t have a problem with that.”

“Good for you,” said Faith. “Can you tell us where you were on the afternoon of August 31st last?”

“I can’t recall off the top of my head. Can I get my secretary to check my diary and get back to you?” He sniggered, leaned back in his chair, and folded his arms.

“Don’t be a smart-arse, Mark. It won’t get you anywhere other than a night locked up in the cells. Would you like that?”

He shook his head, turning pale.

“Good. Now start talking. I’ll ask you again, where were you on the afternoon of August 31st?”

“As far as I can recall, I was with my daughters. It was the summer holidays, and since I lost my job, I’m the designated babysitter while my wife goes out to work.” He sighed.

“Are you a kept man now?” mocked Kelly. “It’s well for some.”

Mark’s face flushed, but he swallowed his temper.

“Your phone signal puts you in the area around the time of the murders,” said Faith. “Can you explain that?”

“I live in the area.” He rolled his eyes.

Faith stood up. She checked her watch. “It’s 9.30 p.m. Interview ended.”

“At last.” Mark stood up as if to leave.

“You’re not going anywhere, sunshine,” said Faith over her shoulder as she headed towards the door. “We’re holding you for at least twenty-four hours.”

BOOK: WHYTE LIES
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