Friday, 4 April 2014

The Corpse Quartet

"I need your love!"
"That's awfully kind of you, Ellie, but you really aren't my type." I explained to the radio that Robin insisted we use.
Robin scowled at me, but I didn't pay attention- I was too busy following the Sat Nav. It was a slow news week, or a good week, as my editor calls it, as it meant there had been no murders or burglaries, and we were being sent out on a wild goose chase. That morning, I'd got a call from him saying to drive to Greenock. Because there were no murders or burglaries, we'd been asked to cover a business deal there. Some Chinese business men who were investing in the docks.
"Why do people read your 'Rathbone Investigates' columns?" Robin asked, bored from the drive.
"What do you mean?" I asked, pulling the rusty red series one land rover around the round about.
"Why do the lovely people of Glasgow want to read about people being murdered?"
"I don't know! Why do the lovely people of Scotland want to watch River City? It's as equally distressing."
"If not more." Robin muttered.

We pulled into the car park about ten minutes later, the tires screeching as I hit the breaks. Robin had a go at me for being awful at driving. We continued across the car park and entered the reception. It was empty, which was strange, apart from a man behind the desk who didn't look quite comfortable. I went over and was signing in when Robin cried, "Gabe! Come look at this!"
The guy behind the desk tried to stop me, but with four strides I was at the doors that Robin was peering through. "What have I told you about calling me Gabe?" I started, quickly stopping when I saw what was inside. It was a crime scene.
Forensic cones were dotted all over the room, blood splattered over the walls. I turned to the desk guy and found a taser pointed at me. I thought quickly and put my hands up. As he lowered the taser, I moved to the side and made an effort to punch him. I'm a very weak person though, so I ended up hurting myself more than him. Robin was much more successful, as she managed to fracture his leg and secured his arms behind his back. I confiscated his taser and prepared it for use when a pantheon of policemen came running through.
"What the hell is going on?" I cried.
"Put the taser down please, sir." One of the policemen asked.
I placed it on the floor, smiling my 'I'm just a law abiding citizen' smile.
"Can you please tell me who you are?" He demanded.
Robin answered before I could even open my mouth. "This is Gabriel Rathbone and I'm Robin Greenhouse. We're reporters for the Pavilion Post. We were invited to cover a Chinese business deal."
"I thought the Pavilion Post burnt down." The policeman replied.
"It did." I replied. "We work from home and use the Glasgow Gazettes printers."
The policeman weighed up our story in his mind, but before he could give us the verdict, another policeman came in. He seemed superior to the others.
"Can you call Inspector Lodsbury for me? He can vouch for us." I told the superior policeman. I smiled, remembering my friend had been given a promotion.
"Inspector Lodsbury is the man who recommended you for this." He said, offering his hand.
"I'm sorry," I replied, shaking his hand, "but I really don't understand."
He paused. "I'm not surprised." He gestured to the doorway beneath the sign that said 'cafeteria.' "Please follow me."
I nodded, cautiously, leading Robin across the room. I was tempted to ask her where she'd learnt to fight like that, but decided now wasn't the time for questions about her past. So I started making deductions.
Honestly, I'm not very good at deductions. When I first got this job, Amelia took me out to Glasgow Central Station to teach me how to make deductions. After about twenty minutes, I'd come to the logical conclusion that the man in the red was secretly a cat smuggler, but I think some of that was down to my imagination. Another ten minutes went by and I retreated to the safe confines of Waterstones. I never went back to attempting to deduce, as Amelia said that I was never going to get back. I think I replied with something along the lines of 'Ever the optimist, Amy.'
I sat down in the cafeteria on a seat that made me feel extremely claustrophobic. The policeman smiled at me. "I'm sorry for my men being so barbaric, but I've only just got them house trained."
I smiled at him. "That's fine, but I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me what's going on."
He grimaced. "As you know, a business conference has been taking place here."
"Yes." I replied, nodding.
"Well the conference is taking place amongst four businessmen, even if one is a woman. At four o clock in the morning, we got a call stating that a crime has taken place here. When we arrived, we found one of the four business men dead, in the room that you were looking at before my men interrupted you. Two of the business people have been found, and one is still missing. We fear he may be the killer."
"Why all the secrecy?" Robin asked, displaying the journalistic skills I'd taught her.
"Because the four business people are crucial to China's economy, owning some really quite grand companies. We don't want to report back to China until we've stopped the killer, and alone, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to. That's why I called Scotland's best detectives."
"I wouldn't go that far." I replied, before Robin cut me off and took the praise.
A few moments passed and then I said, "I'll take the case." I smiled, unsure as to whether I'd made a logical conclusion.
He nodded, gratefully. "Just one condition though."
"Sure." I replied, expecting it to be that I couldn't print the story.
"You can't leave until it's solved."

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