Read Murder at Cape Three Points Online

Authors: Kwei Quartey

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #International Mystery & Crime, #African American, #Police Procedural

Murder at Cape Three Points (10 page)

BOOK: Murder at Cape Three Points
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Dawson’s phone rang. It was Christine.

“Hi, love,” he answered. “How’re you?”

“Good. How are things going over there?”

“Just getting started, really. How are the boys?”

She told him Sly was at school while she stayed at home with Hosiah, who was doing well. He was spending less time in bed and more time constructing his toy cars and rockets.

“There’s a little problem, though,” she said. “Sly had a nightmare last night.”

“A nightmare? About what?” But Dawson knew already instinctively. “The beheading?”


“Oh, no.” Dawson let out a long sigh. “Poor kid. I underestimated how much this was going to affect him. How is Hosiah reacting?”

“He seemed to be fine after you gave him the talk yesterday, but he heard Sly yelling out in his sleep before I did, so that has thrown him off again.”

“I’m sorry, Christine. If only I hadn’t been so careless.”

“No point crying over spilled milk,” she said briskly. “What’s done is done. Now we have to fix it. Any ideas?”

Something occurred to Dawson. “What about you and the boys coming to spend the weekend with me? Seeing me alive and well will go a long way to reassuring them, don’t you think?”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, her voice taking on new energy. “That’s a wonderful idea.”

“I’ll ask Abe if it’s okay with him for you to stay with me in the lodge. Don’t tell the kids about our idea until I confirm with him.”

“There’s not much petrol in the car, though,” she said, “and I’m low on cash until next pay day. I’ll have to borrow a little money from someone. Mama can probably give me something. Alternatively, we can go there by
to save some money.”

,” he said in alarm.
, the ubiquitous, privately owned minivans that transported the masses from point A to B, were often in a dangerous state of disrepair. Like his mother, who had had a mortal fear of
, Dawson saw them only as deathtraps. “Just get some cash, and I’ll pay back whatever money you borrow when you get here.”

Hosiah was waiting to talk to his dad. Dawson immediately detected the increased energy in his son’s voice when he came on the line, and gone was the slight underlying breathlessness he had had before.

“When are you coming back, Daddy?” he asked.

“As soon as I can. You sound much stronger, Champ.”

“Yes, I am. Soon I’ll be able to play soccer again, won’t I, Daddy?”

“Yes, I’m sure you will.” He was going to tell Hosiah that he still needed to take it easy, but he had said that enough times. The boy was intuitive about his body and knew by now how far he could push himself.

Dawson ended the call as they reached the affluent neighborhood of Beach Road. After a few minutes, the Jaguar turned in at a gated entrance. Dr. Smith-Aidoo pumped her horn once and waited for the watchman to open up. He was a wizened little fellow, early sixties, dressed in a pair of shorts and an old orange T-shirt. With his knotted knees, bowlegs, and feet as broad as planks, he would likely remain physically durable well into his eighties, doing the same work he had done for most of his life. He saluted and smiled as they drove through and parked in the circular driveway.

“Wait for me, please,” Dawson said to Baah. “I’ll be here at least one hour.”

“Yes, sir.”

Dawson alighted as the watchman hurried to open Dr. Smith-Aidoo’s door.

“Good afternoon, madam. You are welcome.”

“Afternoon, Gamal,” she said, getting out of the car. “How are you?”

“Please, I’m fine, Madam.”

“This is Inspector Darko Dawson from Accra. He is here to help with the investigation. Answer any questions he may have of you.”

“Yes, Madam. No problem.”

“We will be here for about one hour. Wash the car, eh? Let’s go inside, Inspector.”

A luxuriant lawn with bougainvillea and hibiscus bushes flanked the maroon, two-story brick home on both sides.

“This is a beautiful place,” Dawson said.

“Thank you. The garden is all Gamal’s hard work. He’s been with us for about fifteen years.”

She opened up the front door. “It took me several weeks before I was able to face coming into the house.”

“I can understand. Did your aunt and uncle have children?”

“Yes, Paul and Paula, my cousins. They’re in college in the States. They went back about a month after the funeral.”

She switched on the light in the hallway and turned on the air with a remote lying on a glass table. Polished mahogany in the hallway, marble in the sitting room with white leather armchairs and sofas, expensive paintings on the wall—for Dawson, it was both impressive and too much. A slightly recessed area held the dining room, and the kitchen was beyond that.

“I have all their papers in the study upstairs,” she said, leading him up a spiral staircase to the second floor. “I might as well tell you that he left me some money as well as his house in Accra. Paul and Paula get this house.”

“No other beneficiaries?”

“No. Nothing went to their siblings on either side.” She stopped for a moment at the banister, looking down at the sitting room. “My uncle’s mother, Granny Araba, was killed in a car crash in 1994. After the wake, I overheard Uncle Charles say something strange to Auntie Fio about a curse on the family. He said, ‘First my grandparents and now my mother.’ Later, when I asked him what had happened to his grandparents, he was evasive. Always made me wonder if there was some dark secret.”

“Maybe the aspect of the grandparents goes along with the planted pocket watch,” Dawson said.

She looked at him, puzzled. “What pocket watch?”

“I thought you knew,” he stammered.

“Knew what? What are you talking about?”

“An old-fashioned silver pocket watch with a black onyx inlay was found with your uncle. Someone had scratched the words, ‘blood runs deep’ on the inside of the cover.”

“What?” She looked baffled. “My uncle never owned anything like that. Where was the watch found?”

“In his mouth,” Dawson said quietly. She recoiled. “I’m sorry, Doctor. To have to tell you that.”

“Oh. No.” She looked away, her expression between angry and revolted. “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Why?”

He stayed quiet.

“Blood runs deep,” she repeated. “What does that mean?”

“Referring to family ties, maybe? What about your grandfather, Araba’s husband?”

“Grandpa Simon. He’s alive, but demented, poor man—lives with my aunt, Eileen Copper, who is Uncle Charles’s older sister.” Smith-Aidoo’s expression turned sardonic. “Auntie Eileen fancies herself the family researcher and genealogist and tries to come off as scholarly.”

She might be very useful
, Dawson thought. “Can I speak to her?”

Smith-Aidoo shrugged. “Sure, if you like. I’ll text you her number.”

“Thank you.” He followed her the rest of the way to the study. He was hopeful that he would be lucky and discover something that would break the case open and neatly tie it up. Of course, it never worked out that way.

Chapter 9

stifling, but the doctor switched on the AC, and the room began to cool off. Dawson saw she had been making an effort to sort out her uncle and aunt’s papers. Stacks of loose pages on the floor surrounded half-filled boxes labeled
Malgam, Personal, Legal
, and
, and the desk and file cabinet held more documents still.

“I apologize that it’s such a mess,” she said. “Superintendent Hammond and his guys looked through the paperwork, but as far as I know, they didn’t find anything useful. Maybe you’ll have better luck or a keener eye.”

“Thank you.” Dawson looked around the room, realizing something was missing. “There’s no computer. Didn’t your uncle use one?”

“He did have a laptop, which has disappeared. Hammond thinks possibly the killers stole it during the ambush.”

Dawson nodded. That would make sense, but he made a mental note to ask the superintendent about it.

“There’s something I want you to look at,” she said, sitting down on the floor in front of the STMA box with her legs folded under her. He followed her example, sitting opposite her.

She picked through the box and extracted a folder, from which she selected a typed letter. “See what you think of this.”

He read it.

15th February

Dear Madam Fiona Smith-Aidoo
I have received your letter from 5th February. I appreciate your candid thoughts and agree how unseemly that these rumors arose. Based on your assurances, I believe you are an honorable woman who had nothing to do with the accusations. Regarding the radio broadcast in which I was involved, I apologize for and retract any inflammatory statements I made.
As we move into a new year, I hope to preside as chief executive over one of the most prosperous periods for our beloved Sekondi-Takoradi, and I look forward to your support.

Yours faithfully

Kwesi DeSouza

“Is this about the allegation that DeSouza embezzled STMA money to build a house?” Dawson asked.

“Yes,” she said, looking a little surprised. “How did you know?”

“I have a cousin who has lived in Takoradi all his life and follows local politics, and I was talking to him last night.”

“Ah, I see.”

“He told me that Fiona and Kwesi DeSouza were rivals at the STMA.”

“Yes, they were.” She pulled a face. “DeSouza’s a nasty man. He was expecting to be reelected for a second term as chief executive of STMA, but Auntie Fiona beat him solidly. He was stunned. And I was glad.”

“Do you believe your aunt would have started the rumor about the embezzlement in order to discredit DeSouza?”

She shook her head vigorously. “Not her style.”

“Did he show his resentment after losing to her?”

“Yes, of course he did,” she said, as if it should have been obvious. “Things like being disruptive at meetings, coming in late, interrupting my aunt, and claiming she wasn’t following various protocols. Mean-spirited, spiteful little man who couldn’t stand the thought that a
, if you please, had beaten him.”

Dawson nodded. He knew a few men like that. “Did he ever make any threats to her?”

“Not that I know of, but there’s no doubt he hated her.”

“I understand he strongly criticized your aunt on that radio program.”

“Criticize?” Smith-Aidoo lifted her chin slightly “No, Inspector Dawson—it was a tirade.”

“Did he have animosity toward your uncle as well?”

“He did, because after the broadcast, Uncle Charles went to the STMA offices and lambasted him. DeSouza tried to hit back by saying, ‘Just you try setting up a business in this town and see how far you get.’ ” She rolled her eyes. “Empty vessels make the most noise.”

Dawson found her indignation attractive. “Do you believe that Mr. DeSouza hated your aunt and uncle enough to kill them in such a brutal way?”

“What do you think my very biased answer to that is, Inspector?” she said, a little mockingly, perhaps.

That’s a yes
, Dawson thought with a slight smile. He was eager to talk to DeSouza and find out for himself if he was as detestable as the doctor made him out to be.

“May I look through the rest of these boxes?” he asked her.

“Yes, feel free.” She stood up. “I’m going downstairs to talk to Gamal for a moment, so help yourself. I’ll be back in a little while.”

“Okay, Doc.”

He examined the other documents in the STMA box, many of them minutes of different meetings. One of them caught his eye.


Attendance Register

Meeting location: Raybow Hotel Conference Center

Date: 8th March, 2012

The attendees had signed in with their phone numbers, email addresses, and the organization each represented. Charles Smith-Aidoo had been present, with an environmental advisor from the
Malgam head office in Accra, a district finance officer, an engineer, Fiona Smith-Aidoo, Kwesi DeSouza, and Reggie Cardiman, owner of Ezile Bay Resort.

Dawson turned the page.

Mr. Reggie Cardiman (RC) stated that he was very concerned that he had yet to see a detailed plan from Malgam Oil on what specific measures they will take to protect the shoreline from destruction in the event of an oil spill. RC stated that Cape Three Points, where the Ezile Bay Resort is located, is a major nursing ground for marine turtles from August to March. Dolphins and whales also inhabit this area between October and December. Many birds feed in shallow waters at Cape Three Points, and their habitat is delicate.
In response, environmental consultant Hayford Nkrumah (HN) stated that Malgam Oil and the Ghana government were drawing up policies to delineate environmental measures and corporate responsibility in the face of oil exploration and production. Charles Smith-Aidoo (CSA), Malgam Corporate Relations Director, said he wanted to assure RC that a significant oil spill that would affect the flora and fauna of the shoreline was highly unlikely.
BOOK: Murder at Cape Three Points
4.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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