Tuesday 2:00pm

Bill Slade was sitting in the living room of his former boss, and close friend, David White. White had been a Chief Superintendent and had retired from the force a couple of years earlier. The two men exchanged some pleasantries, while Dave poured out two cups of tea.

"OK, Bill, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit? I don't see you for weeks and then you come knocking on my door. What's up?"

"I know, I know. It's been really hectic lately — and it's getting worse! I'm always glad to see you, Dave, but you're right, this is business. I'll get straight to the point. Jonathan Broadbent has been murdered. Stabbed last night, in his house."

White was visibly shocked. When he recovered his composure he said, “Murdered! Do you know who did it? The motive?"

"We only know that it's linked to an identical murder of a young solicitor," said Bill. “We saw on Broadbent’s calendar that he was going to meet with you next week. That’s why I’m here.”

White took a deep breath, stroked the grey stubble on his chin and waited a minute or so before replying. 

"It's tricky, Bill." He paused again and let out a long sigh. "I know Broadbent through the Masons. We are in the same lodge. I really don't know him that well. I can't say much more, you know I've sworn an oath of secrecy." 

"Come on, we're talking about two murders," said Bill.

"Who was the solicitor? How was he connected to Broadbent?" said White, trying to change the subject. 

"The only connection at the moment is that the MO of the murders was exactly the same. The solicitor’s name was Nicholas Styles," said Bill.

"Christ! I don't believe it." White took off his eyeglasses and rubbed his eyes.

"O.K., Here’s what I know. Styles and Broadbent were friends down at the lodge, even though Broadbent was old enough to be his grandfather. The Grand Master...take that smirk off your face, Bill...the Grand Master asked me to meet with Broadbent, because some of the brothers were worried about the old boy, he seemed to be having memory lapses, and that's not a good thing for the Governor of the Bank of England. He’s due to retire in a couple of months and I’ve heard that the Deputy has been covering up for him lately — he gets the Governor's job when he retires.

Some were also worried about his relationship with Styles — seemed a bit fishy. On the other hand, real world status means nothing to Freemasons when meetings are held, and the only status that matters is one's level of achievement within Freemasonry."

"Thanks, Dave, that's going to help a lot," said Bill as he stood up to leave.

"Just don't let on it was me that tipped you off," said Dave.

Bill grabbed a biscuit, and as he walked towards the door, he said, “Don’t worry, and I’ll keep you up-to-date.”


Tuesday 2:05pm

While Bill was learning about Broadbent’s Masonic connections, Hawkins went to the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street to interview the Bank’s Deputy. He took with him Scott Barrington, a new recruit who had joined the team that day; more to show off his interviewing skills than to give the youngster a teaching moment.

“We have an appointment to see the Deputy Governor…,” Hawkins looked down at his notes and continued, “…Chris Burrows.” 

They both flashed their warrant cards. The receptionist smiled and picked up the phone.

“Sergeant Hawkins and Constable Barrington are in reception,” she said.

She replaced the phone and told them that Sandra, the deputy's assistant, would be right down.

When she arrived, they followed Sandra, a tall, attractive young woman, into the lift. Everyone was silent as the lift ascended to the top floor. 

This way,” said Sandra. They followed her to a door marked “Governor.”

“Sergeant Hawkins and Constable Barrington,” she said, as she opened the door and indicated that they should enter.

Hawkins could not disguise his surprise when he saw an attractive middle-aged woman sitting behind the desk.

“Yes, a woman! I’m Chris Burrows,” she said. “I usually ignore reactions like yours, but I must say I would have expected a police sergeant to have done his research! It seems your young constable was not surprised.”

Barrington thought it was diplomatic to say nothing. He just nodded to affirm her supposition.

Hawkins was aware, from the way she emphasized the word “sergeant,” that she was not impressed that they had sent such a lowly police officer. 

He was quick to say, “Firstly, Chief Inspector Slade sends his apologies that he could not be here himself, he had another appointment that he could not reschedule. He didn’t want to waste any time, so sent us to prepare a preliminary report. He will follow up in person with you tomorrow. I’d also like to express our condolences on the loss of your colleague.”

“Okay, sergeant, I can give you only twenty minutes, so let’s get started,” said Burrows. "Angela here will takes notes, if that's okay."

"Of course," Hawkins continued. “As you know, Sir Jonathan’s house was broken into last night and it seems the murderer didn’t have much problem getting in. There were no cameras and no alarm system at his house. We found it very unusual that the home of a very prominent man has such weak security. Isn’t it normal procedure to perform routine security checks?”

“Yes it is, sergeant, but Sir J wanted none of it. He felt very secure in the house as he’d lived there all his life. You see, his great-grandfather was one of the architects involved in the garden suburb project in 1875 and he bought the house new. Sir J was actually born there. He didn’t want any fuss and while security checks were performed, Sir J didn’t agree to any changes. He made the excuse that the house is Grade 2 listed and he wasn’t allowed to make any changes. Not really true, but it was his house. We couldn’t force him.”

Barrington thought he should justify his presence by asking a question.
“We also wondered why he took the tube, surely the bank could have arranged a driver for him?”

“Again, he was a man of routine and disliked change where his personal life was concerned. He had always caught the tube from the time he was an entry level clerk in the early 1960s. He enjoyed the tube journey, and it was quicker than driving. Turnham Green Station is only five minutes walk from his house. These questions are rather like telling me to close the barn door after the horse has gone. They are not going to help you find his killer,” said Burrows.

She continued, “I would be remiss in not mentioning that some of us, who worked closely with Sir J, had noticed him being more forgetful lately. Not enough for real concern, and we didn’t want to draw it to anyone’s attention as he would have been retiring in two months. We didn’t want to jeopardise his chance of being made a Lord and also complicate my takeover as Governor. He wasn’t making any major decisions anyway. His last meeting was four months ago with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.”

“Did you notice anything unusual about Sir Jonathan lately, besides the memory lapses?” Asked Hawkins.

“Actually, yes. He was insistent that a member of the public be approved to pick up a large quantity of gold bars from the bank, a privilege usually only offered to banks. I was very much against it as it would create a precedent. The Governor was insistent, and I had to agree as all the paperwork was in order. I double-checked it.”

“When was the gold picked up?" Asked Barrington.

“It was collected first thing this morning. Everything went smoothly, thank goodness,” said Burrows.

“Anything else unusual?” Asked Hawkins.

“No, nothing. In the past few months, he kept to himself in his office — reading or dozing. He was just hanging on until retirement day, we thought. I have another meeting to prepare for. Please tell Chief Inspector Slade I’d be glad to speak to him, but I really have nothing to add.”

Hawkins stood up, ready to leave, when Barrington said, “what were you doing between six o’clock and eight o’clock last night?”

“What! I’m not considered a suspect am I?”

“Oh, no. It’s just a routine question that we are obliged to ask,” said Barrington.

Hawkins quickly jumped in, “You don’t have to answer that, Ma’am. It’s Barrington’s first day on the job. He thinks he’s still at Hendon College.”

“It’s okay. If you need it for your report, I left the office at six-thirty and met a friend for dinner at Sushisamba on Liverpool Street. We left the restaurant at about eight,” she answered.  

She opened a file on her desk and without looking up said, “Goodbye gentlemen, I hope you’ll swiftly bring Jonathan’s murderer to justice.”

Sandra was waiting outside the door to accompany them to reception. As they descended, Hawkins didn’t notice Sandra passing a note to Barrington. The young detective nodded and discreetly put the note into his trouser pocket. 

3 thoughts on “Chapter 11”

  1. Saturday, 12 February 2022 04:53

    There is a comma missing in "I can't say much more, Bill". Or just leave out the name, people don't usually use a name so much when in conversation with only one other person.

    I am a bit uncomfortable with Chris Burrows' response to the men's reaction to finding a woman in a top job. Neither I nor any of my colleagues would ever make any allusion to it, in fact we would completely ignore it. 

  2. Saturday, 12 February 2022 05:00

    There is a comma missing in "I can't say much more, Bill". Or just leave out the name, people don't usually use a name so much when in conversation with only one other person.

    I am a bit uncomfortable with Chris Burrows' response to the men's reaction to finding a woman in a top job. Neither I nor any of my colleagues would ever make any allusion to it, in fact we would completely ignore it. 

  3. Monday, 14 February 2022 11:17

    Thanks again, Carrie. A good point about names in conversations. We've omitted a few.

    We've made a slight change to Burrow's response to Hawkins reaction. It's more to show Hawkin's ineptitude in not realizing that Chris could be a woman's name. I get the same thing, in reverse sometimes, with my name "Francis." It also shows a beginning of an antagonism between Hawkins and Barrington.