With the new year, I resume my blog with an EXTRACT FROM ILLUSIONOF DEATH, book seven in my Belinda Lawrence cosy mystery series. Read and enjoy. 😈
Harry’s car pulled to a stop outside one of these apartments. Hazel slowed and parked some distance behind. A few minutes passed before the door of the building opened and a woman emerged. It was Charmaine.
Hazel watched in surprise and amusement as she tottered to the car, five-inch heel sandals (with a glitter garnish) clattering on the footpath. When she had been safely entrenched within, the grey car moved off towards a freeway, with Hazel following at a discreet distance.
Once on the freeway it was difficult to keep an eye on Harry; he drove erratically and changed lanes many time, but eventually he got into the left lane and onto an exit ramp. Hazel followed suit and found herself facing a large hospital. Harry parked in the only space available, and both he and Charmaine got out and entered through the main admissions entrance.
With nowhere to park Hazel was forced to continue and circle around the building by side streets until she was back at the entrance. Curiosity was killing Hazel; why the hospital? Was Charmaine ill? Were they visiting a patient? If so, who? A member of the group? As she approached, she was startled to see Harry and Charmaine were accompanied by a slight figure dressed in black. It was Jake – the Turk.
Hazel was forced to drive past them and stopped a little ahead. She was taking a chance they hadn’t been aware they were being followed. In the rear vision mirror she saw them bundle Jake into their car. They joined him and set off passing Hazel on the way. Again she followed at a distance. Back via the freeway to an inner suburb lined with street cafes and fashion boutiques. In a small quiet street, Harry brought the car to a halt, and all three hurried into a neglected, two storied Art Deco apartment block which had a large garden area with well-established trees and shrubs. Hazel continued on a little, parked further up the street, and made her way on foot back to the apartments.
Why Harry and Charmaine had picked Jake up from the hospital and brought him here was the question uppermost in Hazel’s mind. Good Samaritans? She didn’t think either one fitted comfortably into that category. The fact that the Jake was the police’s number one suspect put a different slant on things. If he was the murderer or knew something about the murder, they possibly wanted information from him. After all, they were also suspects.
The problem now was, into which apartment had they taken Jake? If it was upstairs that would be difficult. An elderly woman emerged and made her way through the garden to the street. Hazel approached her.
“Excuse me. Can you tell me which apartment Jake lives in?”
The woman stopped short, looked Hazel up and down, and brushed past her, lips frosted with solid bad-will.
Affronted, Hazel realised she would have to rely on her own initiative and proceeded into the garden. Overgrown bushes made progress difficult, and it was with luck that she avoided stepping into a large fish pond, void of fish now but lots of green algae and slimy water. Skirting this she got closer to the ground floor. She could hear raised voices and recognised Charmian’s shrill tones. They seemed to come from a ground floor room.
Edging along the building to a side window, Hazel parted some foliage and tentatively peered in. Ragged, soiled net curtains impeded her view but through some chinks she could see Harry grasping Jake by the collar and shaking him. Charmaine was screaming obscenities into his ear. Jake looked pale and frightened. What Harry was saying was difficult to hear but one remark was clear, “The negative! Where is it?” With that, Harry slapped Jake across the face. Hard.
A movement in the bushes beside Hazel, accompanied by a low growl, froze Hazel solid and she turned to be confronted by a display of teeth... (TO BE CONTINUED)
© 2017 Brian Kavanagh