فصل 05

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 05

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CHAPTER FIVE

More about Claudia Engel

Chowdury opened his mouth and closed it again.

‘Yes, it’s mine,’ he said.

‘You only have one golf club?’ asked Shepherd.

‘It’s a new one,’ answered Chowdury. ‘I bought it the day before yesterday. My other clubs are in the golf bag in the back of my car.’

‘We’ll need to look at those too,’ said Shepherd, putting out a hand. ‘Keys, please.’

Chowdury gave his car keys to Shepherd. She passed his keys and the golf club to Fox.

‘You know what to do,’ she said.

‘Yes, Shep,’ Fox replied.

Shepherd looked at her watch, then at Chowdury.

‘You can go,’ she said, ‘but don’t leave the hotel. I’ll have more questions for you later.’

Chowdury left the room.

Webb looked at Shepherd. ‘Your phone call,’ he said. ‘That’s how you know business is not good.’

‘Yes,’ replied Shepherd. ‘A friend in the music business. It’s a small world.’

‘And how did you know that Chowdury and Engel were lovers at one time?’ Webb asked.

‘I didn’t,’ said Shepherd. ‘But there was something in his voice that made me think it was a good question to ask.’

Shepherd took a pen from the table and started playing with it. ‘And DC Fox told me that Darren Fleming is here.

Get him in here next. Ask for some sandwiches for later too. And more coffee, if you want it.’

Shepherd looked at her watch. It was twelve o’clock. Time for a real drink.

And you can get me a glass of red wine from the bar,’ she said.

Webb looked at Shepherd as he stood up. She was certainly different from other police inspectors he knew.

But he just said, ‘Right, Shep.’

And this time you ask the questions,’ said Shepherd. Webb smiled.

‘Thanks.’

‘Don’t thank me yet,’ replied Shepherd, not smiling back. ‘I’ll be in here with you.’


A few minutes later, they were back in the Wells room. Shepherd and Webb were in their usual seats; Darren Fleming was opposite them. Fleming was in his late twenties, wearing jeans and a brown shirt.

‘Why am I here?’ he asked Shepherd.

‘You were in the hotel last night,’ said Webb.

‘Yes, but only for a short time,’ answered Fleming.

‘Why was that?’ asked Webb.

‘Because I saw someone…’ began Fleming. He stopped. He looked at Shepherd, then back at Webb. ‘What’s all this about?’ he asked.

‘We found a body on the beach early this morning,’ said Webb. ‘Claudia Engel’s body. She was dead.’

‘Murdered?’ asked Fleming.

‘Yes,’ said Webb.

‘Poor Claudia,’ said Fleming. ‘Poor Claudia.’

‘You knew her?’ asked Webb.

‘Yes. We were students together in London,’ said Fleming. ‘We lived in the same house. For a year. Not happy times.’

‘Why not?’ asked Webb.

‘It was an unhappy house - mainly because of Claudia,’ said Fleming. He was quiet for a moment, remembering. Then he spoke again.

‘We were studying the same thing - business - so I saw a lot of her. She wasn’t a nice person. When she said something, you never knew if it was true. She sometimes told stories about people - other students - and I knew the stories were untrue. She could be really nice if she wanted something - help with her studies, someone to cook her a meal - but you had to do what she wanted. If you didn’t, she told everyone else how terrible you were. By the end of the year I just wanted to get out of that house. There were five of us living there and everyone felt the same way.’

‘Did she know how you felt?’ asked Webb.

‘Oh yes,’ said Fleming. ‘She certainly knew how I felt. One time she wanted to borrow a piece of my work. She wanted to use it in something she was doing. I wasn’t having any of it. I told her no. She could do her own work. She said some bad things about me to other people and I found out.’

‘And?’ asked Webb.

‘I told her what I thought of her. In front of most of the students from one of our classes. I was so angry.’

Then Fleming smiled. ‘But that was ten years ago,’ he said.

And are you still angry?’ asked Webb. ‘Because you just turned round and walked out of the hotel last night.’

Fleming sat up in his chair and looked at Webb.

‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m not angry now. If anything, I feel sorry for her. She had no real friends. But yes, I walked out last night. The past is sometimes a dangerous place. I didn’t want to go there. I went back home. I was unlucky enough to see Claudia Engel for about five seconds yesterday evening. That’s all. I didn’t see her again. Now can I go?’

‘You didn’t meet her later that evening?’ asked Webb.

‘Certainly not,’ replied Fleming.

‘Was anyone with you when you were at home?’ asked Webb.

‘No,’ replied Fleming.

‘Did you phone anyone? Email anyone?’ asked Webb.

‘No,’ replied Fleming.

Webb looked at Shepherd.

‘Put all this in writing for one of my officers,’ Shepherd told Fleming. ‘Then you can go. But don’t leave Hythe.’


Ten minutes later Shepherd and Webb were standing outside the front doors of the hotel. Webb had a sandwich, Shepherd her glass of wine.

‘What a nice young woman Claudia Engel was!’ said Shepherd.

Webb smiled.

Shepherd drank some wine.

‘Good questioning in there,’ she said.

‘Thank you,’ said Webb.

‘Don’t get too pleased with yourself,’ said Shepherd. ‘We’ve still got a long way to go.’

Webb smiled to himself. ‘By the way, Shep,’ he began, ‘there’s a door at the back of the hotel where you could go out without anyone seeing you.’

‘Right,’ said Shepherd. ‘That’s good to know.’

Shepherd thought for a moment.

‘Let’s go and have a look round Engel’s room,’ she said. ‘I know DC Fox has been there already, but I want to see it for myself. Fox is a good officer, but sometimes he’s too careful. He doesn’t let his brain run free. Get the key from reception and meet me on the second floor.’


A few minutes later Webb met Shepherd outside Claudia Engel’s room.

‘Reception gave me a key, but it isn’t Engel’s,’ said Webb as he opened the door. ‘No-one can find her key and it wasn’t on the body.’

‘Oh,’ said Shepherd, ‘that’s interesting.’

Claudia Engel had a large double room looking over the sea.

‘I’ll start in the bathroom,’ said Shepherd. ‘You look round here.’

‘What are we looking for?’ asked Webb.

‘We’ll know it when we see it,’ answered Shepherd.

Shepherd took a quick look round the bathroom. There wasn’t much to see - Engel was only staying two or three nights. Shepherd saw nothing unusual. She went back into the bedroom.

Webb was looking through Engel’s clothes.

‘Anything?’ asked Shepherd.

‘No, Shep,’ answered Webb.

Shepherd looked round the room. There was a book, a clock and a music magazine on the table next to the bed. Some keys on the table too - house and car, thought Shepherd. A raincoat behind the door - nothing in the pockets.

She looked round the room again. Something was wrong. She didn’t know what. She could feel her morning headache coming back, just when she didn’t need it.

Just then she heard Webb’s phone. He answered it. Shepherd looked out of the window at the sea, not listening to Webb’s conversation, but thinking about the room. What was wrong with it? And where was Engel’s key? She heard Webb finish his conversation.

Shepherd looked at Webb.

‘Well?’ she asked.

‘Nothing important,’ replied Webb.

Shepherd looked round the room a third time.

‘You know I said, “We’ll know it when we see it,”’ she began.

‘Yes?’ said Webb questioningly.

‘Well, we’ll also know it if we don’t see it,’ said Shepherd.

‘What do you mean?’ asked Webb. Then he smiled. ‘Oh, I see. So what have we not found - other than the key?’

‘The thing that business people all around the world carry with them at all times,’ said Shepherd.

‘A laptop computer,’ replied Webb.

‘Let’s start again,’ said Shepherd.

Five minutes later they were finished. There wasn’t a laptop in the room - not in the cupboard, not under the bed, not in the bed, nowhere.

‘We need to find it,’ said Shepherd. ‘First, find out if she had one here - I can’t believe she didn’t - and find out what sort it was. Then put all our officers on it. Look all around the hotel. Have another look in the rooms of those other three jokers - McNab, Johnson and Chowdury. Send someone round to Fleming’s house. And get as many people as you can to go along the beach again.’

‘Right, Shep,’ said Webb.

‘After that, you’ll find me in the bar,’ said Shepherd.

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