Inspector Hawley looked up from the paperwork on his desk. Catching Billy Bones
with the gun that had killed a mass of his fellow countrymen, and foreigners touring
the city, had been a stroke of luck.
The case had been sent over to the Crown as part of business. Bones refused to finger
who had hired him.
There was no doubt that Mick Brown had ordered some of the hits he had carried out.
The victims had been rival mobsters getting in Brown’s way.
His phone rang. He wondered who was going to rain on his parade now.
“Hawley,” he said into the receiver.
“Hello, Inspector,” said the voice of his latest pain in the neck.
“What do you want?,” said the inspector.
“I have a lead,” said James Rafferty. “I need your help with it.”
“Go ahead,” said Hawley. He pulled a notebook close and picked up his pen.
“The man that I am chasing is driving Litner’s auto,” said Rafferty. “I was able to
look inside the glove box for a moment.”
“Are you sure?,” asked Hawley. He made a note to call down to the records bureau
and get the license number.
“Yes,” said Rafferty. “Also whomever it is, he doesn’t work for Brown. He tried to
kill Brown as well as me.”
“So we have a third party on this,” said Hawley. He shook his head. “And the
connection is the failed murder case against Brown.”
“I would say so,” said Rafferty. “Where was the car kept? I don’t remember a car at
“I don’t either,” said Hawley. He looked at the files on his desk and pulled out the
relevant one. “There was no mention of Litner owning a car from the file.”
“So no one we talked to knew he owned one,” said Rafferty. He paused for a second.
“And he had no family, or close friends?”
“That’s what the interviews said,” said Hawley. “Obviously he had one true friend
that wants to get back at the people who killed him. Good on you for that.”
“I know,” said Rafferty. He paused as if considering something for the first time.
“Wasn’t Litner in the Army?”
“Yes,” said Hawley. “But you know his record will be guarded from outside
“I know somebody I can call,” said Rafferty. “Maybe he can get a look at the record
and give me somewhere to go.”
“If you’re wrong?,” said Hawley.
“Then we’ve lost nothing since we have nothing,” said Rafferty.
“That seems about right,” said Hawley. He scanned the file. He noted that there were
bills for a storage company not far from the victim’s place of residence. “Try the Sure
Lock Storage Company.”
Hawley gave the address that went with the bill.
“There were two receipts found for the place,” said Hawley. “It might be big enough
for a car.”
“Thanks,” said Rafferty. “I’ll check it out.”
“All right,” said Hawley. “Let me know if you find anything. I have to talk to Billy
Bones and then try to find more evidence to close his case on the docket.”
“Talk to the girlfriend,” said Rafferty. “Maybe she will help you.”
“Doubt it,” said Hawley. He looked at the file one more time before he closed it. “Be
careful at this storage place. If the car is still being stored there, then the shooter is
“Don’t worry,” said Rafferty. “I can take care of myself.”
The line went dead. Hawley hung up the phone. He had nothing better to do. He could
talk to Bones’s girlfriend and see if there was something to it.
First, he had to talk to Bones. Maybe the man would give him something he could
use. It couldn’t be a coincidence that his gun had been used to kill targets speaking
out against the Jerries.
Bones wasn’t political, so someone had paid him to operate on the side while he was
still working for Brown. Did Brown know that? Would he care? More importantly,
would he get rid of Bones just to erase a loose end when it had nothing to do with
Hawley felt that Bones was as good as dead as soon as he entered a prison.
He found a lack of concern a problem, but it was something he would have to deal
with like he dealt with all of his problems. He would have a pint and play some darts
until he felt better, or took everyone else’s money.
That should put him right as rain so he could chase the next rabbit that came his way.
Hawley walked down to the desk. He asked for the sergeant on duty to have the
prisoner escorted to the interrogation room. He needed a talk with the man before he
asked the lady in his life some questions.
If he could prove the connection to the German Intelligence machine, he could export
his problem to the Counterintelligence office at MI-5. They could share Bones
with their fellow services.
And maybe they would be able to crack Brown with their extralegality.
He hoped their reasoning would follow his own, but there was no way to tell. Brown
was a local problem. It was doubtful he would be a national security threat
except under the most narrow of circumstances.
Hawley walked down to the block that included the cells for people of interest
and the interrogation room. He hoped he could wring some kind of clue from the
prisoner so he could figure out what was going on.
Rafferty’s ouster might have been a blessing in disguise. He could do things that the
police couldn’t. If he kept pushing for answers on the outside, that might make it
easier for Hawley to push from inside.
He had been chasing Mick Brown for a long time. The man was as slippery as an eel.
This latest trial where Corklin had stepped in and offered testimony to impugn
Rafferty was just another in a line of dirty tricks.
The problem was they couldn’t break the frame fast enough to clear Rafferty. And the
higher ups didn’t want the frame broken at all.
He wondered about that, but with Corklin dead, he had no way to fix things. Rafferty
was considered just as guilty as if the charges had been proven beyond a doubt.
He arrived at the interrogation room. He pushed open the door. Bones and his guards
were already present. The two constables stood in the corners of the room. Bones sat
the table. They had fitted him with manacles so he couldn’t attack any of them.
Hawley thought that was a wise precaution.
He sat down opposite the gunman. He leaned back in his chair. What could he say to
get anything out of this man?
Could he say anything?
“What do you want?,” Bones demanded.
“Nothing,” said Hawley.
“I don’t believe that for a minute,” said Bones. “Why bring down the hall then?”
“Maybe to see if you can still walk,” said Hawley. “Who shot you, Billy? Let’s start
“It was some masked man,” said Bones. He tried to wave his hands but the manacles
prevented wide movements. “He was wearing a uniform from the Great War and a
union jack over his face. I thought I had him, but he shoots me in the leg, and takes
off. The next thing I know this toff is handing me over to the peelers.”
“You think this toff and the masked man could be the same man?,” asked Hawley.
“No,” said Bones. “He was taller and he had a different car. I saw it when he left. The
first car I shot at was gone.”
“Your gun was tied to some killings, Billy,” said Hawley. “We’re in the middle of
asking our counterparts across the channel how they want to handle this. We’re going
to reserve the right to try you. That should take care of extradition.”
“It was the masked man’s gun,” said Bones.
“Really?,” said Hawley.
“Yes,” said Bones. “He must have dropped it when he fled.”
Hawley scratched his eyebrow. He frowned at the gunman.
“So the masked man shoots you with the pistol we found you with, and drops it on
you,” said Hawley. “Then he flees before the patrolmen can arrive.”
“That’s right,” said Bones.
“That’s stupid,” said Hawley. He leaned forward. “The bullet in your leg came from
an old .38, the gun dropped was a .45, and your fingerprints are all over it and on the
bullets. I think the masked man is a figment of your imagination. I think you tried to
shoot some victim who decided that he would rather fight back, perhaps someone
attached to Mick Brown, and you got shot. I think that’s a better explanation than
some masked man, don’t you?”
“That’s not what happened,” said Bones. “I told you the truth.”
“Except about where the gun came from,” said Hawley. “Does Mick know you’re
doing work on the side?”
“No,” said Bones. “Why would I tell him that? He would want a cut.”
“What do you think he’ll do now that you’re going away?,” said Hawley.
“He’ll get another bully boy until I get out,” said Bones. “You don’t have a case
except for that gun, and any explanation can be given for that with the right barrister.”
“I’m going back to my office,” said Hawley. “I’m going to decide whether to cut you
loose and pick up Mick Brown on your testimony, or see what the Crown prosecutor
wants to do. They might second you over to Intelligence to see if our brothers can
squeeze something out of you.”
“You can’t do that,” said Bones. “I have rights.”
“You killed twenty six people according to your gun,” said Hawley. “It will be my
pleasure to turn you into a target and let whomever wants you have you. That would
be a certain amount of justice in my opinion.”
“What do you want from me?,” asked Bones.
“Everything,” said Hawley. “I want to know who paid you, who got killed and why,
how many more are in it with you, and everything else. If you got paper, I want that
“You can’t be serious,” said Bones.
“I want it all, Billy,” said Hawley. “I want enough that if you die, I don’t have to
dig up another pigeon.”
“This could get me killed,” said Bones.
“Don’t give me anything, and I will hang a noose around your neck and see who I can
flush out with you as the bait,” said Hawley.
Bones looked up with a hand over his face.
“Don’t cry,” said Hawley. “It will go over a lot smoother.”
“I hate you,” said Bones.
“That’s no way to talk to your new best friend,” said Hawley.
“I hate you even more,” said Bones.
“Get Mr. Bones some paper, Constable Packard,” said Hawley. “As soon as we get
something we can check and prove, we can talk about reducing the charges.”
Constable Packard left the room. He returned with a pad and pen.
“I would rather plead guilty and take my sentencing,” said Bones.
“If it makes you feel better, you probably won’t get a trial,” said Hawley. He gestured
for the other man to start writing. “Everything depends on what you tell us.”
“No trial?,” said Bones. He started writing. “What does that get me?”
“A bunch of nameless men talking to you about what you’ve done,” said Hawley.
“Then a bullet in the back of the head when they don’t need you anymore.”
“I would rather take my chances in prison,” said Bones. He frowned as he put down
Hawley knew the prisoner had to get his assignments from somewhere. If Bones
betrayed his handler, that would be another link in the chain.
And once they picked that man up, they could see if he would tell them who he
worked for until they reached the end of the line.
It wasn’t perfect, but it gave him something to do while he waited on Rafferty to give
him something else to chase.
He didn’t like a masked man showing up while Rafferty was trying to gather enough
evidence to stop a murderer. The timing was suspect in his mind.
He would deal with Rafferty about it when this was over and done.