First Death In Dublin City (Thomas Bishop Book 1)

BOOK: First Death In Dublin City (Thomas Bishop Book 1)
4.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

First Death In Dublin City


Colm-Christopher Collins

Text Copyright © CC Collins 2016

All Rights Reserved

For Lisa,

I would have liked to know you, but I was just a kid..





John Ryan called home to say that he’d been held back late in work, and that his wife didn’t need to wait up for him. He of course has forgotten that it’s their eight year wedding anniversary; not exactly monumental as a figure, but still pretty shitty to forget and definitely a one way ticket to divorceville. Elizabeth Ryan, otherwise known as the distraught wife, well she decides to call over her toy boy; a hunky fourteen year old who usually mows her grass, he’s got the abs and toned body of a kid afraid of his own shadow, the libido born from years of internet porn, and is just stupid enough be manipulated – perfect little piece of meat. It just really isn’t Elizabeth’s day however, because fourteen year old has decided that he’s had enough of Mrs Robinson, and instead of refusing to come over like most sensible men would, he decides instead to bring over his father’s shot gun and blow his lover to pieces in front of the Risotto; when the husband eventually comes home, he finds that his wife’s entrails mix beautifully with the grey rice.

As he glanced down at the wife’s body, Detective Inspector Thomas Bishop was reminded of a fabulous statistic, that when a woman is found in half a lace dress, dead in front of risotto, statistics would show that it is whoever she was sleeping with that did it.

The air in the room was heavy, with a Michael Buble album sounding out over the conversation of forensic staff: no one had gotten around to turning it off. The death had been recent enough so that the only smells in the room were blood and cordite, like an abattoir that had recently been on fire; but soon the early signs of the stench would come. From his pocket Tommy took three mints and put all of them in his mouth; if he got the taste of death into his mouth he wouldn’t get it out for days.

Taking a q tip from the kit beside the body, Tommy dipped the head of it in alcohol and then touched it lightly upon a small spot on the victim’s exposed leg: it removed the last layer of tan, and beneath the skin was pale.
The last layer was applied recently.

The victim’s blood spatter was sprayed towards the front door, away from the back of the house. The angle was only marginal, but that meant that the shot had been fired from the opposite side of the house to the front door. The alleged toy boy had his own key for the front door, but only the front door, so that would have meant that he had entered; walked past his ‘abuser’ to the other side of the open plan house, and then would have shot her in a rage. Such calm precipitating such rage was rare among humans, and if this was the crime of passion it was panned out to be, then there were several other key factors the Sergeant who had investigated it first had missed.

Breaking up the mints between his teeth, Tommy explained all the anomalies to himself as best he could.

He left the body, and taking one of the forensics officers with him, he strolled out to the frosty December evening;
the Dublin cold can’t be good for my chest
. In the empty driveway the Sergeant in the case was complaining to the Superintendent about Tommy being brought in. Tommy kneeled down at the square of grass in front of the house and examined it carefully.

The frost, which had fell hours ago, meant that any footprints would be obvious from just looking, and from just looking Tommy could tell that no one had walked on the grass. There, however, were several clear indentations where a regular walker had impeded upon the plant’s growth. So, though tonight it lay untouched, someone walked through this grass regularly.

Tommy next walked over to the front gate, which was opened to allow policemen in and out, but the fact that the ground was marked more where the gate was closed than at the hook to keep it open told Tommy that it usually was closed: in this house the cars were kept parked on the street.

The gate was old, and the briefest touch of it extracted a loud shriek from its hinges as snowy crystals fell off and onto the ground. An intruder couldn’t have used the gate, and he didn’t use the grass so that left..

Tommy turned next away from the gate to face the garden wall, and followed it painstakingly, step by step, until he found what he was looking for. The ice was rubbed away at a patch on the wall, and there were the tiniest black fibres, probably from a suit.

‘Take those.’ Tommy said to the forensics guy, pointing to the patch where the ice was removed. Then he looked up, and hit the jackpot. Straight across from the mark on the wall was a side-door into the house, hidden from view; unnoticed to the police milling about.

Tommy pointed to the direct path from the mark to the door. ‘Check for footprints.’

Next, he tried the door, and found it was locked.

Tommy strove over to the Sergeant and the Superintendent slugging it out in the driveway.

‘I’ve two questions, first, where did the husband work?’

‘Insurance.’ The Sergeant answered.

‘And did the kid who you’ve arrested have a history of violence or mental illness?’

‘Yes, diagnosed with bipolar two years ago, has a habit of doing reckless things when in a mania.’

Tommy nodded. ‘Good, you have the wrong guy, the husband did it.’

The Sergeant’s face turned red. ‘Talking from your arse.’

Tommy yawned. ‘This is a Macbeth murder.’

‘Completely from your arse.’ Said the Sergeant.

‘Wait, let him talk.’ The Super said. ‘Macbeth murder?’

‘Macbeth murders Duncan.’ Tommy said. ‘The characters get together to figure out whodunit. Who has the immediate motive? Duncan’s sons. Now they inherit the throne. Duncan’s sons, suspected of parricide, flee the country and the throne then passes to Macbeth. A Macbeth murder therefore is when the person with the second most likely motive commits a murder solely because he knows that he won’t be suspected. Here, the disturbed teenager in a relationship with a middle aged victim, and it really was a relationship because she fucked him for months with no tan on, may make an obvious primary suspect; and with a few added touches a husband can successfully make the murder seem to be just so. He of course has plenty of motive, primary among them being that his wife is fucking a fourteen year old boy.’

‘But the husband has an alibi!’ Sergeant said.

‘And were you to push it at all, I’m sure you’d find he’s a fur coat with no drawers. Doing a bit of detective work would help too.’ Tommy said.

‘Fuck you Bishop.’ Sergeant said.

‘So anyways.’ Tommy said. ‘The size of a shotgun means that whoever did it couldn’t have gone inside without her noticing. Now your theory is that the toy boy used a key to open the front door, went inside, and blasted. That makes sense. Except the spray pattern shows that someone used the side door, went inside and blasted. Now, the gate is creaky, so anyone who wanted to sneak up, as they so clearly did, would have had to have hopped one of the walls. As you can see by the indentations in the grass, someone obviously crossed the grass regularly, probably after hopping that wall there. Why would they do that? Coming home late and drunk probably, indicative of both a bad marriage and an experience on sneaking into the house. You will however see that there are no footprints in the grass from tonight, and that’s because the person who snuck in didn’t want to come in the front door, they wanted to enter through the side entrance. So, they hopped the wall by the side of the house, where I found the ice broken and fibres from a suit: a teenager doesn’t wear a suit, an insurance worker does. Then, there are a row of footprints leading to a door which forensics will no doubt confirm was opened relatively recently – around about the time our victim was shot actually. Your current suspect doesn’t have a key for the locked side door, but do you know who does? The husband. Macbeth stole a shotgun from loverboy’s house, came over, shot his wife, and framed it on Duncan’s sons. QED.’ Tommy said.

‘Hey, I still have my doubts.’ The Sergeant said.

Tommy peeled the rubber gloves off his hands and threw them in the industrial waste bin.

‘I really couldn’t give a shit what you doubt, I’m off home to bed. This cold is bad for my chest.’ Tommy said with a wheeze.

And he left through the squeaky gate to his car out on the road.






The old church was probably white but in the early evening rains it was a litany of streaky walls and weeping statues; reflecting perfectly the pallor of its host city. The car park of pebble dash and dust was beginning to fill up with those mass goers here for the half seven sermon, who were arriving earlier to settle those loose ends with the man above. Beneath the building however, Father John Molloy, the middle aged priest who would be giving the sermon was preparing, and he wasn’t alone. Across from him, sitting in a wooden rocking chair almost as old as the building was Tommy Bishop, resting at his feet was a broad shouldered pit bull panting in the pantry air.

Tommy had wintered poorly. He couldn’t exactly pin point whether it was the night he had solved the grey risotto murder that he had contracted his first chest infection, but soon after that night the infections had come anyway. They were of a tough breed this year and he had been forced to take a whole three months off; therefore it was no surprise to Fr John that his good friend looked so shit in front of him.

Tommy was emaciated, having lost two stone over the months of hacking into a sink, and the toxic lack of an outside air meant his skin had taken on a grey tinge. His hair was dry, his eyes greasy and bloodshot.

‘You should come, it will be a lovely sermon if I may say so myself. Wine?’ John asked.

‘No, I’m in tomorrow at eleven, so I had better stay sober.’ Tommy said.

‘First day back, how’re the nerves?’ John said.

‘The nerves are fine, it’s my chest that I’m worried about.’ Tommy said.

‘Hmm, well physical maladies are outside my realm of expertise. So if you haven’t been at mass or visiting old friends, then what is it you’ve been doing with your time away from solving crimes?’ John asked.

‘Meh, a lot of playing Xbox, watching TV. Yeah.’ Tommy said.

‘So you have had almost four months off and have done nothing productive with them at all?’ John asked.

‘I was sick! And I made it to court to put in a stellar performance too!’ Tommy said

Father John handed over two cups, one plain blue and the other a Father Ted novelty. Each had tea up to the lip. Tommy took the plain blue into his hands.

‘Did you make a fool of yourself again?’ John asked,

‘No, defence didn’t really have much to cross me on. The did however try to make out like I had a vendetta against the defendant.’ Tommy said.

‘And do you?’ John said.

‘Of course, he choked his wife to death.’ Tommy said.

John was reclining in an old armchair in a room so messy it was hard to tell where the walls began and the books ended. There were, along with books, rugby jerseys and maps lining the room; so much so that even to sit down one had to clear five things from the lap of any chair. It was the main reason Tommy hated visiting John in his place of work; his office truly was a pigsty. Most people would find it unbearable but for Tommy, who in work was as compulsive as can be, the clutter drove him demented.

‘So, how is it you think they will rule?’ John asked.

‘I’ve seen juries release men before; none as guilty as this cunt.’ John said

Father John grimaced. ‘Tommy this is a church.’

‘Sorry Father.’ Tommy said.

‘And there’s no way you might be wrong, and the guys innocent?’ John said.

‘I spent so long on that case that I don’t really care anymore.’ Tommy said.

‘Now that’s not a very Christian outlook.’ John said.

‘But a true one, nonetheless.’ Tommy said.

‘A man like me tends to view people as they should be, through the eyes of God.’ John said.

‘And a man like me tends to view people as they are, just two emotional distresses away from leaving someone dead.’ Tommy said.

‘Such cynicism.’ John said, shaking his head. ‘You know when last we spoke I don’t remember you being anywhere as bitter as you are now, you sure you’re alright?’

‘Just fine man, I’m just fine.’ Tommy said.

‘You still seeing that girl of yours?’ John asked.

‘It’s an on and off thing – chest infections aren’t conductive to a good relationship.’ Tommy said.

‘She must be very special if you haven’t even told me anything about her.’ John said.

‘That, or not special at all.’ Tommy said.

‘So prickly. Tell me a little about her then, is she nice?’ John asked.

Tommy laughed. ‘Nice? Father, you know I don’t like to be around nice people; she has to be like the thistle, because unless she makes me feel like shit how else am I to get the confirmation poor old me needs of my pretty worthlessness.’

‘Jesus Tommy, you’d give an aspirin a headache. What did the doctors say about your chest this time? Is there really nothing that can be done?’ John asked.

‘Nothing – the damage has already been done. These poor old lungs has taken too much of a beating to be ok today.’ Tommy said

‘But you’re thirty-five Tommy, bit early to be confined to the sick bed?’ John asked.

‘That’s my lot in this fucking life.’ Tommy said.

‘Well poor fucking you.’ John said.

‘Fuck you.’ Tommy said.

John checked his watch. ‘It was lovely of you to pop in, but I have a sermon to give. You coming?’

‘Nope, I’m heading home now.’ Tommy said.

John looked actually disappointed. ‘Why, what’s wrong?’

‘I swallow enough pills every morning to want to take another in bread form.’ Tommy said.

And it was true, his morning always began with five separate inhalers and three different tablets.

‘Hey! And what happened to your faith?’ John said.

‘Oh, and now you get concerned? Gotta keep those mass attendances up John?’ Tommy said.

John said. ‘No, not like that; but your faith is an important part of your program, no?’

‘Taking my inventory John?’ Tommy said

‘No! Nothing of the sort. But I hope you’re ok; I’m worried is all.’ John said.

Tommy smiled. ‘Don’t be, I’m fine. Sober as a whistle.’

‘This development is slightly concerning to me.’ John said.

‘Are whistles particularly sober? What a strange expression.’ Tommy said.

‘Your renouncing God, seems to be just another step on a very cynical road on which you’re travelling.’ John said.

‘Fucking leave it John.’ Tommy said

‘Well, good luck tomorrow.’ John said

‘First day back’s a charm.’ Tommy said with a smile.

‘See you Tommy.’

‘See you John.’

And Tommy snuck out the back of the church before an elderly churchgoer could ask him a question of the type reserved for the neighbourhood policeman.





Tommy’s desk in Harcourt Street, which last he had seen four months ago, had been cleaned; the papers taken and shoved into one of his drawers, the pens placed beside his keyboard, his computer turned off and put into the corner. All this of course would be remedied, but first Tommy had to check in with the Super.

Detective Superintendent Michael Penny was as old as the elite National Bureau of Criminal Investigation he helped run; a trim ex-army man, he carried his scars from the Congo as well as a tongue sharp enough to cut the balls off even the hardest of men. To make it to the heavy office, Tommy had to walk his way through a number of desks, most of which had colleagues he recognised, but few indeed that wanted to welcome him back – Tommy really couldn’t blame them.

The door to Mick’s office (he was nicknamed Mousey, which had been given to him long before Tommy’s time and for reasons long lost to his peers) was made of a thick metal, and only could be opened by Mousey himself. In an office where all the officers carry guns, the boss working in a bulletproof room seemed to be a necessity.

‘Cmon in Tommy.’ Mousey said when he’d pulled open the door.

‘You’re being given a new partner and new stock, I had to move stuff around while you were gone.’ Mousey said.

‘Sure, who’s the partner?’ Tommy said.

‘Anne O’Mahony – new girl, moved from Cork City.’ Mousey said.

Tommy shrugged.

‘I’d have her meet you, but she’s currently out on a raid. But today you won’t be going out in the field, she has plenty of paperwork to catch up on and I want you to steer her through it.’ Mousey said.

Tommy again shrugged.

‘She’ll be back soon enough, do you wanna wait for her or head down now and register for your stock?’ Mousey said.

‘I’ll handle my stock.’ Tommy said.

‘Well go on then; oh and Tommy, John Ryan has been calling, he wants to talk to you and you only, concerning some information he claims to have.’ Mousey said.

‘The same John Ryan who shot his wife last December?’ Tommy asked.

‘The very same, his trial is on in a month or two.’ Mousey said.

Tommy nodded and left. The walk down from NBCI to the stock rooms took Tommy past a quiet canteen, a full bullpen and the raucous holding cells – the sound of a prison was like nothing Tommy had ever heard before, and like nothing he’d ever hear again.

He made it to the stock room, which was right in the basement of the building, behind which a tubby officer was staring at Tommy walk up to him. He took Tommy’s ID and nodded at the NBCI designation. This was perhaps the only entertaining part of the officer’s job, because the NBCI was one of the only armed units in the entirety of the force. Ireland may pride itself on its unarmed police force, but as Tommy looked down on the stock lists, he couldn’t help but think that when it did arm its force, they really went in for overkill.

He signed, and the tubby officer brought over a giant box, which he passed to Tommy under a metal grille. It landed at Tommy’s feet, and he kneeled downed and flicked it open. First he glanced over the Steyr SSG and the Heckler & Koch HK33; a NATO grade sniper and assault rifle which Tommy had yet to take from its packaging except for training exercises – in fact the only reasonable instance in which Tommy could envision himself using it was when the aliens landed.

The rest of the weapons however, Tommy did assign himself from the stock, because though he had yet to use them (in fact he was distinctly uncomfortable with guns), Mousey seemed unhappy with unarmed Detectives running around the city. So, he in fact checked his Benellie M3, a shotgun powerful enough to go straight through most walls, and his MP7, the machine gun used by the Navy SEALS. Each however, he placed back into the box. The only two he took out were both pistols: a SIG Sauer and a Walther P99. The P99 being a personal preference. As well as that, he took out two clips for each, and began to check the functioning of each.

On the radio behind the officer’s grille RTE 1 was droning on with the same debate Tommy had been listening to since he himself had been a law student.

‘Today we’re asking, are Ireland’s sentencing laws too harsh?’

Usually this debate arose when some notorious criminal was being released, and today was no different, with one of the Blackrock six being slated for release this coming Friday.
To be fair, he has already gotten fifteen years.
Which considering some of the scum Tommy met on some version of suspended sentence and left free to roam the streets was in fact fairly heavy.

‘Do you remember when that happened?’ The man behind the grille said.

Tommy nodded his agreement, because he remembered it well. The nation had seethed when outside the Palace Nightclub on Campden Street on Leaving Cert Results night, six elitist boys from Blackrock College decided a regular kid was talking too loudly in the queue, so they grabbed him, dragged him into the middle of the road and beat him to death. After a highly public trial in which evidence was publicised which showed how vicious the beating in fact has, the country had rejoiced at the thoughts of the six boys rotting away life sentences in the ‘Joy.

The Sig Sauer shook in Tommy’s hand as he lined up the sight to ensure all still worked.

‘They tell me you’re quite a shot?’ Said a female voice from behind Tommy’s shoulder.

The lady who spoke placed an M7 onto the desk in front of her, and took one of the stock sheets next to her.

Tommy shrugged.

‘Best in the country I had heard?’ The girl said.

‘Anne?’ Tommy asked.

‘Tommy?’ She said, and she extended her hand; Tommy shook – her palm was drenched in sweat.
Good, a partner as uncomfortable with heavy weaponry as I am.

‘You know you’re meant to take off your bulletproof vest before coming down to the stockroom.’ Tommy said.

‘I know, but Mousey told me you were down here.’ Said Anne.

Tommy looked at his future partner.

‘You know, I expected someone considerably..’ He said.

‘Older?’ Suggested Anne.

‘Yeah, to be honest. Aren’t you very young to be in this unit?’ Tommy asked.

‘I thought you were a hotshot too? Still are, who becomes a DI at thirty?’ Anne said.

BOOK: First Death In Dublin City (Thomas Bishop Book 1)
4.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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