This is the 55th Novella in the series detailing the life and times of Detective Grade Four, Joseph Lind and his Partner, Detective Grade Three, Shelley Anne Shields.
A man’s body is tossed like garbage from a moving car. With his dying breath, the dead man walking manages to crawl to the nearest house to knock feebly before dying. The Deceased stabbed seven times with the same knife by seven unknown Assailants. With no identification and his disappearance never included in the Missing Persons Register, the Case slips down that greasy pole of inactivity to become a Cold Case.
Our two Murder Dees are given the Case to ‘fill out their day’. It would appear that from the highest echelons of Government, there is a noticeable effort for the two to dismiss the Case and have it returned to just another Cold Case that cannot proceed through lack of witnesses and evidence.
Who is this man and who are these persons ‘On High Street’ who do not want the Case to proceed?
What are they hiding?
Three deaths in one night at a Nursing Home for the Aged piques the interest of our two Detectives. While there are those who are suspicious of the coincidence, others are willing to accept these deaths as just another night’s consequence of such a place.
A different perspective is held by those in charge of the Establishment as death walks silently down the corridors of most Homes for the Aged.
I settled back in my chair happy that it still curled around my body. Glad to be back at work. It was the end of January and I had begun these holidays at the end of the School Term before Christmas. Over six weeks … mingling so it seemed, with half the population of Australia who were taking their Annual Holidays at the same time!
And heading to the area in the south-east of Queensland which apparently, is the Australian way …
“Good to have you back, Joe. Did you enjoy your break?” Shelley had taken two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period. With the number of Public Holidays, her break was just on three weeks. That was enough for her.
Her question I had to think about … sure, the time I spent with Tellie and the two girls was pure joy, but after six weeks with them living in my pocket, I was ready to come back to work. You would never hear me repeat that out loud, especially within ear-shot of Tellie, but … I let out a deep sigh to be sitting at my familiar desk again. Even though those still working had made my desk the easy repository for any and all files not required by them at that moment. There was even a pile of telephone message chits with someone waiting patiently for my return to get the ball rolling once again. How silly is that? Something of prime importance may have been lost by the hiatus.
‘Yes, Detective Lind will be back on deck in two weeks … ’ And that was all! No can I help? Is it important? Does it concern any Homicide Murder Cases I might have been involved in … perhaps a missed appearance in Court that would ensure the guilty party is let loose again … maybe that is a bit over the top, but you get my concern … the matter should be dealt with by whomever has taken the call, not just a telephone chit filled out as the Detective will be back on deck next week … or the week after … you get my drift!
“Anything exciting happen while I was off? When did you come back on deck, Shells?”
“Three weeks ago … and no! It has been a rather quiet period. Not up to the normal scrap at this time of year … I’d say less alcohol was consumed … very few family spats … there is no other reason … perhaps we haven’t had a full moon over the period … who’s to know … ”
I had to smile as my intake was just about zero and my caffeine fix was also well below my average. It was as if Tellie and I had signed a pact to kill the alcohol and caffeine daily fix we had become so use to … so the extended Holiday appeared to be of some use!
I took a mighty gulp of my extra-large container of coffee … it was heaven, though my head spun for a bit …
“You go away, girl?”
“Nah … oh, I flew up to Brisbane for a couple of days off to stay at my friend’s place … Brenda O’Bourne’s place. You remember her, don’t you? Did a heap of painting though … we have now just about finished our house reno project … it’s taken us almost three years … glad it is almost over … but we have plans for more extensions partly to give Brin a Man’s Shed … he deserves it. We’ll enlarge the garage to do it … ”
Shelley and her partner Brin, who was a Uniformed Constable out of the Liverpool Station, had been on this mammoth project of extending their house for … jeez … about the last ten years or so, so it seemed. I amazed that more renovations were in the pipe-line!
“What are you going to do with your every waking moment now?”
She shrugged her shoulders, gave a little giggle.
I didn’t know how to interpret that and for a brief moment pregnancy flashed in my brain. I almost audibly groaned. I doubted whether I could train up another partner similar to either Marge Hendricks or Shelley. They were both above the usual Dee grade expertise. Both were the type to constantly think outside the square. It was my luck to have been partnered to them. A decision by Abbey that turned out to be more than luck …
I couldn’t be so darn lucky a third time … that’s really pushing my share of luck!
I had to pull myself up again as I had gone almost mental when my first partner of note had announced she was pregnant and she didn’t know whether she would be back after the mandatory maternity leave. She had triplets and was under greater pressure than any day at work … but she was loving it. The triplets were now going to School with Marge never wishing it any other way … a shiver went through me. That partnership lasted close to ten years and I reckon, made in heaven. To be given another female partner who slipped easily into the partnership was really, too much to expect … but we had been a successful duo for some time now, Shelley and I.
‘No, please God, don’t let her be pregnant … ’ You can tell how mixed up I was when I revert to asking God to help out this crazy atheist!
Typical me, always just thinking of how it may affect me and failing to look at the bigger picture. The happiness that it would bring Shelley. She’d make a fantastic Mum just like Marjory Hendricks before her. I had to look at it selflessly. I knew she wanted kids and the old biological clock was a-ticking … she was running out of time.
The question of what would I do when the dreams became a reality and the search would be on for her replacement to partner me. I doubted that our new Boss, Denny Turner would be as astute as DS Church aka Abbey who hand selected both Marge and Shells as my partner. Slotting in beautifully with this awkward, aging Mammoth! Besides, two correct decisions diminishes the chances it could occur again … don’t you think?