The Major Crimes Team - Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry

BOOK: The Major Crimes Team - Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry
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Caffeine Nights Publishing

 

 

The Major Crimes Team

 

Volume 1

 

Lines of Enquiry

 

Graham Smith

 

 

 

Fiction aimed at the heart and the head...

 

 

Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing 2015

 

Copyright © Graham Smith 2015

 

Graham Smith has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998 to be identified as the author of this work

 

 

CONDITIONS OF SALE

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher

 

This book has been sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental

 

Published in Great Britain by Caffeine Nights Publishing

 

 

www.caffeine-nights.com

 

 

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

 

ISBN: 978-1-910720-31-8

 

Cover design by

Mark (Wills) Williams

 

Everything else by

Default, Luck and Accident

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Helen and Daniel. I could never have achieved this without your support.

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

Without delivering an Oscar style speech, there are an awful lot of people who have helped me to get to this point. From the early writing classes I’ve attended, the friends I’ve made both online and in person, the whole community of crime fiction writers have been supportive and have welcomed me into their ranks. Special mentions of course must include Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights who has shown great faith in me, the team behind him, Chris Simmons at Crimesquad.com and Matt Hilton, Michael Malone, Sheila Quigley, Col Bury, David Barber and the whole Crime and Publishment gang for their friendship, advice and unconditional support. My sincerest thanks to you all, I just wish I could find the right words to say how deep my gratitude is.

 

Graham Smith 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lines of Enquiry

 

 

 

             
Home Wreckers - 9

              Manhunters - 29

              Dealing with Drugs - 47

              Washed Up - 73

              Final Days - 92

 

 

 

 

Home Wreckers

 

Detective Inspector Harry Evans took the call as he was passing Carlisle Crematorium. With practiced dexterity he spun his BMW M3 in a tight circle and raced towards Levein Grove.

No other crime got his blood pumping the way a murder did. While he never wanted one human being to kill another, it was always exciting when it happened.

Haring between the rows of terraced ex-council houses, he weaved between parked cars only slowing for the ever present speed humps. Ahead of him he could see a patrol car heading the same way, it’s strobe lights reflecting off the roughcast walls and up into the night sky.

Determined to arrive before the woodentops had time to trample over any evidence left by the killer, he pressed his right foot hard against the accelerator and rocketed along the concrete street.

It wasn’t just a murder case making his blood thrust its way through his veins; it was the name of the victim, a name he’d encountered many times.

Jimmy Watson was a professional miscreant with links to the Leighton family who oversaw most of the organised crime in Cumbria.

His latest task had been orchestrating a series of disturbances which ended up with home-owners selling their houses at way below market value to the Leighton family. Once a whole terrace had been purchased, the unsavoury occupants would be moved on to another terrace in a different part of town and the Leightons would find new, more respectable tenants for their houses.

To the best of Evans’ knowledge the Leighton family now owned around forty houses in six different terraces. Their own brand of compulsory purchase was effective in making sure they obtained good houses at rock bottom prices.

It was no secret who was behind the chaos, but the Leightons were savvy enough to distance themselves from the trouble. All purchases were done through intermediaries and they had Jimmy Watson acting as their housing manager.

Standing nearer seven feet than six and blessed with the kind of looks a gargoyle would be ashamed of; few homeowners were brave enough to confront him about the tenants he sited next to their homes.

Catching up with the squad car as it pulled up outside number Watson’s home, Evans hauled on the handbrake and opened his door before the car had fully stopped.

‘Get the woodentops to do crowd control then join me in the house. You do the tea and sympathy, I’ll do the investigating.’

‘Yes Guv.’ DC Lauren Phillips set off to do his bidding, blonde hair floating behind her.

Before Evans had chance to knock on the door, it opened to reveal a spotty teenager whose eyes were red with more than tears. ‘You a copper?’

Evans raised his warrant card to the lad’s eye level. ‘DI Evans.’ He knew the teen to be Watson’s son, Michael “Mikey” Watson.

While the grief or substances in his veins clouded Mikey’s memory, Evans remembered hauling the youth in for petty dealing.

Mikey turned and wandered into the house, so Evans followed him. He could hear the sound of Lauren’s heels clacking on the path as she hurried after him.

Entering the house, it was just as he’d expected. Modern décor with traditional flourishes as both Watson and his wife Kate had their input. Piles of boxes littered much of the available floor space where the Watson boys stored their latest wares.

Trailing Mikey into the lounge he found a wet haired Kate sitting in the middle of a leather sofa. Mikey’s elder brothers Dylan and James sat at either side of their mother with comforting arms and shocked faces.

Mikey’s arm extended towards another room, his voice a flat monotone as he spoke. ‘Dad’s in there. Once we realised he was dead we kept out.’

Evans shot a glance at Lauren and opened the door while she stayed with the family.

The prone frame of Jimmy Watson was face down on the kitchen floor. The blood-stained fingers of his left hand reached up the fitted cupboards where he’d been trying to raise himself.

A kitchen knife stuck from his back, the pool of blood beneath him large enough to suggest it had punctured something vital.

Following procedure Evans stepped forward and tested for a pulse. As expected he didn’t find one.

Pulling his phone from his pocket, he called Control and in a low voice asked for a CSI team to be sent out.

Once the call was made, he stood and looked around the kitchen, taking in the scene with eyes, ears and nose. The oven hummed a quiet whirr beneath the three pans of vegetables resting on the cooker’s unlit hobs. A radio tuned to BBC Cumbria gave a muted weather report as the washing machine pressed a pink bra against the transparent window in its door. The smell of fresh blood mixed with the aroma from whatever was in the oven.

Looking around the kitchen, Evans followed the arc of arterial blood which had sprayed from the wound in Watson’s back. There was a break in the droplets where his attacker must have blocked its path.

It was a confusing mix for the senses as domestic normality ran headlong into brutal violence. Despite the levels of domesticity, this was no ordinary family. The Watson’s were petty criminals who lived a comfortable life, financed by the misfortune of others.

Their castle being invaded and the slaying of their king was a surprise to Evans. He knew Watson possessed numerous enemies and his passing would be a cause for celebration in many households. Yet these enemies were not the kind of people who dealt in violence. They were the kind of citizens to dial treble nine, write letters to councillors or sell up and move away.

Confrontation and violence was Watson’s domain, yet he was smart enough to never get caught making threats or trading blows on CCTV or anyone’s mobile.

Casting his eyes around the room a final time, Evans stepped out of the kitchen back into the lounge.

A tumbler of amber liquid was held by each of the Watson family. The air in the room carrying hints of brandy over the cigarette smoke, the mixed smells almost strong enough to mask the underlying sweet aroma of dope.

Lauren was perched on a stool, making comforting noises underscored with sympathetic questions. Evans saw Mikey’s eyes were fixed on Lauren’s legs where her skirt had ridden to mid-thigh. He could tell she was aware of his attention but was happy to use his distraction to her advantage. The questions she put to him were accompanied with a tender smile.

Evans was pleased at Lauren’s progress but less happy with her tactics. The way she used her femininity to ensnare attention worked but would one day lead her into trouble either with superiors or defence solicitors. Mikey would tell Lauren anything she wanted to know as long as he was under the impression he had a chance with her. The fact she was asking about his father and who may have murdered him didn’t seem to have registered with Mikey.

The thought was a distracting one as Evans considered the dynamics of the Watson family.

Mikey was the youngest of Watson’s sons and the least likely to stay out of jail. Not blessed with his brothers’ sly cunning or his father’s imposing bulk, Mikey was the proud owner of two ASBO’s and one ankle tag. While initially upset at his father’s death, the grief had been parked so he could pursue the attentions of a woman far out of his league, his desperate attempts to please Lauren suggesting a lack of experience with the fairer sex.

‘Shut the fuck up Mikey.’ Dylan shot his brother a fierce look. ‘Dad didn’t have any real enemies. Sure he had a few disagreements with some of the neighbours of the houses he manages. But none of them were ever angry enough to take him on.’

‘Are you sure?’

Uncertainty clouded Dylan’s eyes as he considered Evans’ question.

‘There’s no one I can think of. But you might want to speak to some of the tenants of the houses he manages … sorry managed.’

A howl of grief came from Kate when she heard her son change tenses. The correction hammering home the realisation her husband was dead.

A knock at the door interrupted the awkward silence.

Evans rose to his feet. ‘I’ll get it. It’s probably the CSI team.’

Opening the door he found a woman. Standing a little under five foot with spiky brown hair and a hard face, the woman was the double of Kate Watson.

Evans stood aside and let her pass. Parked behind his car was a CSI van whose occupants were loading busy unloading equipment.

Greeting the leader of the team with familiarity, he shared his suspicions and made a few suggestions as to what the CSI team should both expect and look for. A trained Family Liason Officer followed the CSI team in so Evans went to retrieve Lauren.

With Watson’s family offering forward no suspects, the basis of this investigation would fall into the hands of the CSI geeks. What he had to do now was work his contacts and see who they pointed the finger at while waiting to see if the CSI team’s evidence backed up his hunch.

 

*    *    *    *

 

Twenty minutes later Evans was holding the door of The Green Man open for Lauren. There was no better source of information about Jimmy Watson’s enemies than the family who’d helped him create them. The Green Man was the stronghold of the Leighton family and the place where they held court.

The Green Man was the kind of place where you could buy or sell anything you wanted as long as you had the good sense not to ask questions. Prostitutes, small-time drug dealers and petty thieves all plied their trade from here. Yet whenever a raid was organised the Leightons and their customers were always found to be above the law. Evans knew someone must be tipping them off, but he hadn’t yet managed to identify their informant.

Adjusting his eyes to the brightly lit interior, Evans clocked Maureen Leighton sitting between her brothers, dressed as ever in a velour tracksuit, she exuded a quiet confidence while her brothers scowled at the sight of two coppers walking into their territory.

‘Here.’ Evans held out a twenty pound note to Lauren. ‘Get us a drink and get whatever the Leightons are having.’

As she turned for the bar he walked across to the Leighton’s table aware of the furtive glances shooting his way. Every one of the patrons eager to see what was happening. One or two made their way towards the door as if late for an important appointment.

Evans made a mental note of the early-leavers. These were the ones who had something to hide. A team of woodentops could round them up later and try their luck at getting a conviction or two.

‘You got a warrant copper?’ Maureen’s restraining hand did little to hold back her brother’s ire.

‘No Tony I haven’t. I don’t need a warrant to have a conversation.’

‘Whatever you want to talk about we’re not saying owt without a brief present.’

‘Will you pair keep your gobs shut long enough to see what the bloody hell he wants.’ Maureen’s frostbitten tone silenced both Dennis and Tony but didn’t erase the antagonism from their faces or body language.

Maureen took a drink from her wine glass and looked at Evans. ‘You’re here about Jimmy Watson aren’t you?’

‘That’s right…’

‘Well you can forget it copper. We’ve been here all day and have plenty of witnesses to prove it.’

‘Dennis will you either shut up and listen or fuck off.’ Maureen glared at her brother. ‘If DI Evans was here to arrest us he’d have come mob handed. He’s here with one female DC so it stands to reason that all he wants to do is ask a few questions. Harry?’

‘You’ve heard he was found lying on the kitchen floor with a carving knife sticking out of his back haven’t you?’

Maureen nodded. ‘I take it you want to know whose hand held the knife?’

‘It’d be a help.’

Lauren arrived with the drinks on a dirty plastic tray. As she passed them out, she got a grudged nod thanks from both of Maureen’s brothers.

Evans accepted his pint with a smile and pocketed the change without looking at it. Both the Leighton men were looking at Lauren with undisguised longing despite being old enough to be her father.

Immune to Lauren’s charms himself, Evans couldn’t help but wonder why she paraded herself with such abandon. Where most female officers went to great lengths to hide their femininity she used hers as a weapon. Her clothes were always just the right side of decent but she wasn’t averse to using her body to distract suspects and solicitors in interview rooms. He’d witnessed many people get caught out by her piercing questions when distracted by a rising hem or a low neckline.

Tony sprang to his feet and pointed at the door. ‘You think we’re gonna grass someone up? Fuck off pig.’

Before Maureen could reprimand her brother, Evans was on his feet looking up at the bigger man. ‘Sit down you imbecile or I’ll sit you down.’

The steel in Evans’ voice combined with the fire in his eyes was too much for Tony. Evans’ reputation as a fighter was hard earned and even with his brother to back him up he wasn’t prepared to take him on. Yet he would feel the eyes of every customer in The Green Man on him, waiting to see if he was prepared to back down when confronted by a man much smaller than himself.

‘I’ll sit down when I get back from the bog. Your patter is so shite I’m in danger of pissing me pants.’

Evans stepped aside and then looked back at Maureen as he took his seat. A look of apology decorated her lined face.

BOOK: The Major Crimes Team - Vol 1: Lines of Enquiry
8.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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