Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals are © Mark-1 Productions Ltd
and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.


Family Business

          The buzzer still went unanswered, even though Doyle kept his finger hard on it this time. He'd already checked; Bodie's Capri stood at the kerb, so unless his partner had taken a taxi somewhere the night before he should be at home.
          Doyle fished out his keyring, then paused. They had an agreement about entering each other's flats - frequently broken, it was true - but Bodie didn't sleep that deeply...
          His foreboding grew as he realised that Bodie's security locks weren't engaged; inside the flat was still shrouded by closed curtains. Twitching them open, Doyle called out: "Bodie?"
          No reply. Now the light was better, Doyle could see Bodie's jacket discarded on the sofa; his shoes kicked off under the coffee table. If Bodie weren't here, he'd left in his socks...

          Thinking of what he was going to tell Cowley, Doyle made cursory checks of the kitchen and bathroom before he swung into the darkened bedroom, anticipating that it would also be empty. He was brought up short at the relieving sight of his partner - still deeply asleep.
          That wasn't like Bodie... Two glasses stood on the bedside cabinet; one empty, one nearly full. It would take more than wine to knock Bodie out.
          Alarmed, Doyle checked the pulse in Bodie's neck. Strong, beating regularly; he was just asleep. He considered the glasses again; it had to be a drug of some sort.
          Gripping his partner's shoulders, Doyle shook him hard. "Bodie!"
          Rewarded with a groan and grumble, he shook again. "Come on, mate. Snap out of it."
          Deciding that whatever Bodie had been drugged with, coffee would help, Doyle left him and headed for the kitchen.
          Before he reached it, something caught his eye on the floor behind the sofa. Bodie's wallet; lying open.
          Rifling quickly through it, as far as Doyle could see the only thing missing was the cash; Bodie's impressive array of credit cards all looked as though they were still there. He tossed it onto the table; that provided the final piece of evidence as far as he was concerned. Bodie had brought back some bird last night and been turned over.

          Half an hour and two cups of strong black coffee later, Bodie was finally making some sense.
          "All I can remember is her name," he told Doyle for the fourth time, trying to think through the headache. "Holly. She never told me her last name. I met her in the pub; she was coming on strong and we came back here."
          "And it never occurred to you to wonder why she was coming on strong?" Doyle sighed; it wouldn't. Bodie believed that girls just couldn't resist tall, dark and handsome.
          "The usual, I assumed. And after the day we'd had I just wanted to relax." Bodie glowered as well as he could. It was typical of Doyle to be so sanctimonious, trying to give the impression that he never picked up girls in pubs. "Anyway, it doesn't matter. She got a bit of cash, that's all. There couldn't have been more than twenty quid in my wallet and nothing else is missing."
          "More luck than anything else." For once Bodie had been unarmed and the tools of the trade had been safely tucked away in the wardrobe. "Can you imagine if she'd stolen your ID, or worse, your gun? Cowley'd have you counting the pencils in the stock cupboard for the next ten years."
          "Well she didn't. Nothing's missing; everything's fine."
          "You'll have to report it."
          "Not likely!" Bodie was alarmed. "I'm not having the whole squad laughing at me. There's no harm done so no need to tell anyone anything. It's not like she knew who I was."
          "Are you sure?"
          Bodie rolled his eyes. "Oh, come on, Ray. You'll be shouting 'conspiracy theory' next. She was just a girl in a pub. She picked me at random and I fell for it, OK? I feel stupid enough without being a laughing stock."
          He reached for the pot of coffee again; another cup and maybe a couple of aspirin and he might feel halfway human. "Look, if I promise to steer clear of girls in pubs in future will you let it drop?"
          Doyle grunted. He knew that sort of promise would only last as long as the next girl who fluttered her eyelashes at Bodie. Maybe he was over-reacting though; whoever she was, the girl had only nicked Bodie's cash. Even though she'd probably had time to ransack the place with Bodie lying drugged only a few drawers had been opened, and nothing else appeared to be missing.
          "OK, I won't say anything. I just hope you don't regret it." Doyle consulted his watch. "You'd better get dressed - we've got that briefing with the Cow in twenty minutes."
 

          "So what's he implying?"
          The briefing over, Cowley had disappeared with Anson and Murphy in tow and the mood amongst the operatives left in the VIP Lounge was dark.
          Bodie stared belligerently at his colleagues. "Is the Cow accusing us?"
          Doyle shrugged. "He's not accusing anyone, Bodie. But you've got to admit it's suspicious. Only the nine of us knew about that op yesterday, yet the birds had flown." He glanced round at the others: Jax, Ruth, Lucas and McCabe. "It could be a leak. But it might be nothing to do with us."
          "Of course it's not!"
          Bodie could be too trusting, Doyle reflected; it wouldn't be the first time someone on their team had been working for the other side. Although he couldn't believe that any of his colleagues currently in the room could be responsible.
          There weren't a lot of other possibilities though. No doubt several other parties would be interested in arresting Arthur Solomon but Cowley's operation had been kept strictly under wraps so it was unlikely that anyone could even have known about it, let alone leak that info.
          The uncomfortable fact was that until three days ago only Cowley, Anson and Murphy had known anything about the case.

          "We know from Anson's last contact with them just the day before that everything seemed fine; no suggestion that they were onto him, or us." McCabe's words were devoid of inference, but Bodie rounded on him angrily.
          "So you agree with the Cow? You think one of us is on Solomon's payroll?"
          "That's what it looks like! You can't blame Cowley for thinking it - frankly I think we're lucky we're not all suspended at this moment. Solomon's crew found out about the swoop in some way - maybe we should be looking into how."
          "He's right." Jax had been pacing the room. "We have to assume that it didn't come from Anson or Murphy, otherwise it wouldn't have been a last-minute vanishing act. That leaves the six of us."
          There was a silent moment as they all contemplated that and came to a simultaneous conclusion, voiced by Ruth. "None of us would leak anything deliberately. So, what about accidentally?"
          She looked at them in turn. "Who have we talked to? Who might have overheard? Anyone written anything down?"
          Getting negatives, Ruth shrugged. "What about the files here? Do we have any new cleaners, for instance?"
          "Cowley's kept this case so quiet he's probably been sleeping with the file." Doyle conceded Ruth had a point. If none of them were to blame for the leak the most likely suspect had to be someone with access to the building. "But it's probably a good place to start. Anyone new who's been anywhere near Cowley's office."
          Ruth headed for the door. "We should check the security records for official visitors as well; it doesn't have to be someone working here. I'll talk to Betty and see if anyone has been acting suspiciously."
          "We'll check the security logs." Lucas was quick to follow, McCabe at his side. Jax was at their heels. "I'll take Facilities; check the new staff records."

          Left alone as the door closed behind Jax, the partners looked at each other. Bodie was exasperated. "Do they really think we're going to find anything?"
          "What's your explanation then, Bodie? If you rule out any leak from ourselves, who could it be?"
          "I dunno. But it's not impossible that something made them suspicious of Anson; he's hardly the best actor on the squad. Cowley told us he had Anson undercover for five weeks. That's a long time not to give anything away."
          "Maybe..." Doyle knew Bodie was right; they'd both done undercover stints. In some ways, the longer it went on made it easier to maintain a false identity, but in other ways it got harder as you tried to retain a grip on your own identity. He thought back to the briefing two days before. "But why would they string him along? Solomon's not known for his subtlety. If they knew who he was Anson would have ended up in a back alley with knife in his ribs."
          "Maybe they didn't know all along. Maybe it was that final meeting; something in his attitude gave him away? I just can't believe any one of us would give something away, even accidentally."
          "Neither can I." Bodie could be a persuasive talker, especially when his arguments concurred with Doyle's own thoughts. If the others didn't find any suspects they might never know the truth. "Wonder what Cowley will do now? Anson's cover is obviously blown, and Solomon's gang will be doubly cautious of any outsiders from now on."
          "File him away for later, I suppose." Bodie wasn't too concerned; it was just a name on a list to him, but Doyle had come across the Solomon family business before.

          He'd been working with Maurice Richards at the time; must've been in 72 or 73. Simeon Solomon was a perpetual thorn in the side; known to be responsible for much of the organised crime and with fingers in the majority of crooked deals on the manor.
          He was always well away from any of the action, of course. His organisation was extensive; there were so many levels and sub-levels the people at the bottom didn't even know who they worked for and couldn't give him away. They'd got quite a way up the chain a few times but never close enough to pin anything on Solomon.
          Bodie's words about someone being on Solomon's payroll had struck him forcibly. The Yard had been keen to weed out corrupt officers so everyone had come under scrutiny after Preston and Montgomery were jailed for being on the take, but Doyle had always believed there was someone left who was tipping Solomon off whenever the team got close. But there wasn't enough proof, and with Solomon's small-fry being convicted there wasn't much to raise suspicions. Whoever it was, they were clever enough not to get caught, at a time when corruption was tainting all sorts of careers.
          Although in his sixties Solomon was still holding the reins of his empire, his territory a no-go zone for other villains where nothing happened without his knowledge or sanction, but everyone knew that his son Arthur was amongst his raft of lieutenants and would inherit the family business one day.
          The change-over happened just before Doyle transferred to the drugs squad, with the new kid on the block making his presence felt with a bang. Within weeks the crime rate had shot up in the area, they had a sudden influx of drug dealers and a spate of armed robberies.
          It didn't take anyone long to figure out what had changed; resolving the situation was going to take a lot longer.
          With his transfer imminent, Doyle had no part to play in trying to topple the empire. Maurice had continued the fight and Doyle's operations with the drug squad would cross Arthur Solomon's path, but he was still out there.
          Doyle knew Maurice had always regretted their inability to bring Solomon in; it would have been a nice tribute to his old friend if Cowley's operation had succeeded.
 

          Doyle sank the last of his pint and nudged Bodie. "Any sign?"
          His partner scanned around the pub and once again shook his head. "Nope. Hardly likely we'll see her anyway. Would you work the same pub two nights running if you were turning people over?"
          "It was worth a try."
          The rest of the day had been frustrating. Betty had confirmed that if the file wasn't physically in Cowley's hands it had been in the safe, which pretty much ruled out a leak from anyone just happening across it. No one had turned up any suspects, and they had dispersed reluctantly on various tasks, all of them no doubt wondering whether any of their colleagues could be responsible.
          It had been Doyle's suggestion that they have a drink at the pub where Bodie had met Holly. He didn't have any great expectation that she would turn up, but stranger things had happened. And it was better than brooding over who had leaked the information.
          Bodie signalled to the barmaid for another round. "Maybe we should try again in a week or so. Or some different pubs in this area?" He brightened with another idea. "We could check the records; see if anyone else has reported being robbed?"
          "Just like you reported it, you mean?" Doyle chuckled as Bodie's face fell. "But it might be worth checking. Not everyone will have been too embarrassed."
          "Not everyone has my reputation to keep up."
          Doyle grinned. "True. It's hardly a CI5 matter though; we'll have to think of something to avoid raising any suspicions."
          "Don't you know someone at the local nick you could ask? I thought you had sources everywhere."
          "Contrary to popular opinion, I don't know every copper in London, Bodie." Doyle knocked back the scotch Bodie had ordered for him. It was getting late and they were due on stakeout early the next morning. "She's not going to turn up now. Let's call it a night."
          Exchanging glances with the barmaid, Bodie nodded vaguely. "Just going to finish my drink. I'll pick you up in the morning."
          "What happened to steering clear of girls in pubs? That promise didn't last long."
          "That doesn't count; she works here."
          Doyle sighed. "Just remember to set the alarm. We have to stay in the Cow's good books..."

           


 

          "Well?"
          "I don't know, sir." Bodie shifted uncomfortably, getting a feeling of déja vu. "I don't understand it. The contact wasn't suspicious of me, I'm sure."
          Cowley's accent sharpened, a sure sign that he was angry. "There's a damn great leak in this department somewhere."
          "It's not me, sir." Bodie resisted the urge to plead his case. Cowley had to have some faith in him, surely...
          "Go home, Bodie. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
          "Sir." Summarily dismissed, Bodie closed the door behind him, and leant back against the wall. This was ridiculous. He knew he hadn't given anything away.
          But maybe someone had. Several ops had gone down the pan in the last few months but that happened occasionally. He'd been involved with the Solomon case, and now today...
          The meet about illegal arms, that he'd only arranged by phone this morning. No one else had known about it, and he'd only filled Cowley in just before he got there.
          "Bodie?" Doyle stood at the top of the stairwell, and Bodie shrugged at his partner. "I'm in the doghouse again."
          Doyle nodded. "So I heard."
          Bodie was sure everyone had heard by now. Posing as a buyer he'd been working alone but when he and his contact had come under sudden fire he'd been forced to blow his cover and call in for backup. Bodie had emerged unscathed but the dealer had vanished and they were no closer to knowing where the stash of arms was hidden.
          "What happened?"
          "My cover was blown." Bodie brushed past his partner and started down the stairs. He needed a drink.
          "Hang on a minute." Doyle was at his heels, trying to stop him. "Where are you going?"
          "Pub." Emerging into the fresh air, Bodie turned right; only to find his partner hanging onto his sleeve and dragging him left towards the car. "What are you doing?"
          "We'll get a drink at your place. C'mon."
          "Ray..." Protesting only half-heartedly, Bodie let himself be dragged. It didn't make much difference where he got a drink, just at that moment.

          Mind busy with the question of how his cover had been blown, Bodie wasn't in the mood for conversation, heading straight for the bottle of whisky when they got into his flat.
          Doyle was acting strangely, peering behind picture frames and lifting up the phone and so on... almost as though he were searching for something.
          Frowning, Bodie opened his mouth to question his partner, just as Doyle pulled the curtain forward, exposing the lining.
          Nestled in the folds, just above head height, was something they both recognised instantly.
          Bodie set down the bottle. "I forgot I'd run out. We'll have to go down to the pub after all."

          They didn't speak again until they were outside. "A bloody bug."
          "I can't believe we didn't think of it before." Doyle was as incredulous as Bodie. "It all makes sense now."
          "Not quite." It didn't all add up; that bug couldn't have been responsible for all the leaked operations, no matter how long it had been in place. Bodie hadn't known the details of the operation on Solomon's gang early enough to have given anything away; in fact, he hadn't even been back to his flat between the briefing and the pickup. "I can't have given everything away - I didn't even know the details of some of the ops..."
          "I know." Doyle was heading for the car, and resigned, Bodie followed. "Where now?"
          His partner merely grinned infuriatingly, concentration focused on turning the Escort away from the kerb.
          Bodie didn't recognise the route Doyle was taking. "Are we going on a magical mystery tour? Give me a clue, at least."
          Doyle grinned again. "My money's on McCabe."
          "Eh?"
          "Think about it. How did that bug get there? I reckon it was that girl who drugged you. So, suppose it wasn't random and she's targeting CI5? Today has to be down to your bug. But the leak on the Solomon case has to be down to Ruth, Jax, Lucas or McCabe."
          "And your money's on McCabe?"
          "Well, it could hardly be Ruth."
          "Are you sure about that?" Bodie grinned. "She keeps turning me down, maybe -"
          Doyle smiled, a maddening secretive smile. "Yes Bodie, I'm sure..."

          It was a surprised Lucas who answered their tap on the door. "You're not down to relieve us, are you? You're early, if you are."
          "Nah. Got something to ask you." The partners followed Lucas up the narrow, dingy flight of stairs to the room they were using to keep watch on the warehouse opposite.
          McCabe was retrieving a copy of Mayfair from behind his chair. "Thought it might be the Cow. What are you two doing here?"
          "Just following our noses." Doyle propped himself on the arm of McCabe's chair. "Tell me, Mac, picked up any nice girls lately?"
          "Not lately..."
          "What about ones that pretend they're going to spend the night, then drug you and run off with your money...?"
          It got a reaction from McCabe - but he looked at Lucas; who in turn was looking embarrassed.
          Bodie was grinning. "Told you. That's a fiver you owe me."
          Lucas ignored him. "How do you know about her?"
          "Lucky guess. And the fact that she caught Bodie out too." Doyle's revenge was complete as McCabe roared with laughter. "Right couple of patsies!"
          It was Bodie's turn to look embarrassed. "Yeah, well. Anyway, she was targeting us. You searched your place, Phil?"
          "What for?"
          "Bugs," Doyle told him succinctly. "She wasn't after your money; she's after information."
          He grinned at the equally discomfited pair. "I'm glad I won't be in your shoes, when you report this to Cowley..."

          "And you two needn't think you're getting off lightly!" Cowley's scowl made both Doyle and McCabe snap upright, from their slouched positions behind their partners.
          "If either of you'd had the gumption to report these incidents - as you should have done - we could have saved several operations!"
          "Sir."
          "Yes sir."
          There was a moment's quiet while Cowley's glower encompassed them all, before he grunted. "Well, what about her? Was it the same girl?"
          "We've compared notes, sir." Bodie ventured to speak since Cowley's wrath seemed to be diminishing. "They were both blonde, late twenties, brown eyes. The girl Lucas met was called Heather; mine was called Holly. We think it's the same girl, she seems to like flowery names."
          "You're starting to sound like a horticultural catalogue, Bodie. Whatever she's called, we need to find her."
          "If I could suggest, sir -" Doyle hesitated in the face of Cowley's still-obvious tetchiness. "We didn't touch the bug in Bodie's flat. If we leave them in place, we could drop false information into them, see where it leads us...?"
          "First sensible thing you've said. I'll look at setting something up. Meantime, Doyle, you can partner McCabe out at the warehouse. Bodie and Lucas, you go through the files; see if you can find this girl."
          Bodie hastily wiped the grimace off his face as he caught Cowley's eye. "Right away, sir..."

          The files came up blank, a fact which didn't really surprise any of them. No one else on the squad admitted to an encounter with the girl, and a swiftly-organised sweep of all operatives' flats hadn't yielded any more bugs.
          When after several days the surveillance on Bodie's flat hadn't detected anyone watching or listening to the bug, and the baited trap wasn't sprung, rather than waste any more time or resources Cowley ordered the bug to be removed.
          Not that it was 'case closed'; Cowley rarely admitted defeat. However, if the cases waiting on his desk were less important, they were also more immediate, and a new round of assignments were handed out.

           


 

          "Come on, Doyle." Bodie tapped impatiently on the steering wheel while he waited for Doyle to answer the call Control had patched through for him.
          "Doyle."
          "Listen, Ray, I've just followed Hermann into that new casino off Sussex Square."
          "I thought a night in a casino on expenses would be right up your street, Bodie. That's why you angled for that obbo in the first place."
          "Normally it would. Look, I need you to get Lucas and McCabe and get over here to join me." He interrupted as Doyle started to question him. "Don't argue, just do it. I'm going back to keep an eye on the door. Hermann and Bulmer have bought themselves a whole briefcase load of chips so with any luck they won't be leaving soon, but Cowley'll have my hide if I lose Hermann."
          Cancelling the connection, Bodie slid back out of the car and sauntered towards the casino entrance. He couldn't go back in until the others got there; the doorman had already given him a strange look when he'd made his rapid exit. It occurred to him - far too late - that he should have told Doyle to smarten up; he needed someone else to take over the obbo, but there was no way Doyle's normal attire would get him into that building. Maybe Lucas or McCabe would be more presentable.
          He registered the arrival of Doyle's Escort with relief and was just heading towards it when McCabe tucked his pool car in behind. Signalling for Doyle to join them, he hopped into the back seat of the Granada.
          "What's going on?" Lucas and McCabe had just come off their own surveillance, and it showed. Scanning his partner as Doyle slid into the back of the car with them, Bodie was delighted to see he'd had the foresight to change into a suit. "Yeah, Bodie. What's so urgent you had to drag us all over here? Hermann is a strictly watch-only job."
          "It's not Hermann." At three mystified looks, Bodie clarified. "I mean, it's not about Hermann. I picked him up at the hotel and he's in there with Bulmer as we expected. No, the problem is I've seen someone else in there - at least, I think I have."
          Lucas sighed. "Bodie, it's been a long day. Cut to the chase, will you?"
          "I've seen Holly. Or Heather, if you prefer. She's dyed her hair or something but I'm sure it's her."
          "Playing the tables? Who was she with?"
          "No, she's working them. I spotted her by one of the roulette wheels; wearing that neat little uniform they have in there."
          "You would spot that." Doyle grinned. Bodie had already been to check out this particular casino and it had nothing to do with work. "So, what do we do?"
          "I got out quickly but can't go back in there in case she recognises me; someone has to take over the obbo on Hermann. At least you had the sense to come dressed for it, Ray."
          "Dressed for it, nothing. I was on my way out for the evening when I got your call."
          Belatedly, Bodie remembered Doyle's dinner date with Sian. "Sorry, mate."
          "You'll make up for it," Doyle promised him. "OK, so I take over on Hermann. What about the girl? Do you want to try and pick her up?"
          "We need to make sure it's really her first. I need Lucas to see her."
          McCabe groaned. "Please tell me you don't want us to sit here until she finishes work..."
          "Sorry, Mac. That's exactly what I do mean. At least, I need Phil; you don't have to stay. But if it is her, we can't let her slip through our fingers."
          "Not if we want to stay on the right side of Cowley." Lucas nodded. "I'm staying. I'd rather like to pick her up. Again."

          "3.7."
          Half asleep in his own car, Bodie jerked to wakefulness to answer the R/T. "Mac?"
          "Several girls just left from the staff entrance. Lucas is following them out."
          Bodie hurried towards the only road into the yard. They'd been fortunate that the yard had enough room for McCabe's car so they could watch the staff entrance while he kept an eye on the front.
          The girls turned towards him, and Bodie hesitated. The road wasn't that well lit, but he could pick her out and Holly might recognise him. Fortunately, they crossed the street and headed away from him, and Bodie met up with Lucas. "Well?"
          "It was her. Hair's darker, but definitely her."
          "Good."
          "So what's the next move? Should we follow her?"
          McCabe rolled the Granada quietly up beside them. "I dunno about you two, but my next move's home to bed. It'll be getting light soon."
          "Mac's right. We know she's working here, we can follow her tomorrow night, if Cowley gives us the go-ahead."
          Not without relief, Lucas scrambled into the seat next to his partner. "We'll see you in the morning."
          "In the meantime," McCabe added with an evil grin, "you can be thinking about how you're going to compensate Ray for the loss of his evening."

          Thoughtfully, Bodie returned to his own car. Mac was displaying an irritating habit of being right; he'd have to come up with something good to placate Doyle.
          Hermann and his contact had left the casino a couple of hours ago; Doyle in tow. Hoping not to get an answer, he lifted the R/T. "4.5? You about, Ray?"
          "Yes, Bodie. I am."
          "Hermann didn't go back to his hotel, then."
          "Well, he did. Then he and Bulmer came straight out again, and got in a taxi for our current location of Curzon Street." Doyle sounded thoroughly pissed off. "They're in a high-class knocking shop, no doubt having a great time, while I sit here and wait for them..."
          And he didn't need to add that had his date gone ahead, Doyle would no doubt have been having his own great time. He had a wonderful knack of making Bodie feel guilty. "Want me to take over?"
          "Hardly worth it." Doyle yawned, deliberately and loudly. "But you're on your own with them tomorrow night."
          "Might be picking the girl up instead," Bodie told him.
          "It was her then?" Doyle sounded more interested. "You were both sure?"
          "Definitely. We'll see Cowley in the morning; find out how he wants to play it."
          "It's nearly morning now. Dunno where these guys get their stamina from... hang on... they're leaving, Bodie. I'll track them back to the hotel - and hope they stay there this time. See you tomorrow."
          "Good luck." Bodie signed off, and turned his Capri in the direction of home. Bed was looking very appealing right now, even if he didn't get to spend very long there...
 

          Doyle was back at the Cleveland Casino the following night, trying not to lose too much of the department's money. He was no stranger to casinos but rarely played the tables, preferring to leave the risk-taking to his partner's extraordinary luck. Holly/Heather was working the roulette wheel for a couple of punters, and joining them Doyle watched the play for a while before placing a cautious bet on red.
          The ball landed in 2, black. Shrugging mentally Doyle played black, and the ball landed in 14, red. He grinned at the girl, taking the opportunity to read the small brass namebadge she wore. Hazel. Nature seemed to be her thing. "Looks like I'm on a losing streak. Maybe I'd better quit while I'm still ahead."
          "Your luck has to change soon. Try again." Giving him a bright professional smile she turned to pay out to the other punters.
          Well, much as it annoyed Doyle to lose money, Cowley's instructions had been to get to know the girl and he could hardly do that without playing. Although the others had moved away and he was alone at the table, she set up for the next play, and he waited until she had launched the ball before appealing to her. "Give me a lucky number, Hazel. Where's it going to stop?"
          Her smile was a little more personal this time, and she decided to humour him. "22."
          "22 it is." Although it carried a good payout, the chances of picking the right single number were pretty slim so Doyle played a corner instead covering 22, 23, 25 and 26, still not expecting to win.
          "26, black." The girl's amusement was obvious as the ball dropped neatly into the slot, and she couldn't prevent a soft giggle at his amazement. "Good guess. You wanted a lucky number."
          "I didn't expect it to come up. You're not fixing the table?"
          She frowned and glanced around. "You don't want to say that too loud. It's all straight play and the managers don't like people who accuse them otherwise."
          "Only joking." Doyle accepted his winning chips and turned on his winning smile. "What number next?"
          "I can only guess, the same as you." Hazel set the wheel turning and paused before launching the ball. "31."
          Doyle obediently placed another corner bet covering 31 - and the ball dropped into slot 13. "You were thinking in reverse."
          She laughed along with him while scooping up his losing bet, but as her head came back up she lost her smile, and Doyle followed her look over his shoulder.
          The heavy approaching was dressed smartly enough but the suit didn't conceal the muscles, and Doyle recognised one of the bouncers he'd spotted the previous night. "Everything all right here, sir?"
          "Yes thanks. You win some, you lose some."
          The heavy nodded. "You were in last night, sir. You weren't playing the tables then."
          Damn. He had a few brains along with the muscles. "Only got paid today. I shouldn't think the management likes people trying to play on credit."
          "Indeed not, sir." His tone and expression were at odds with his respectful words, and Doyle got an itchy feeling down the middle of his back. "Enjoy your evening."
          "I didn't see you last night." Hazel seemed more suspicious of that than the heavy had.
          "As I said, I didn't have enough money last night to make it worth playing. I was waiting around for a couple of friends - I didn't come much past the lobby." Doyle glanced round for the waitress as he drained his glass, but since she was busy on the other side of the room and he was hardly likely to lose his place at the table, he decided to go to the bar. "I'll get a refill. Can I buy you a drink?"
          She glanced past him. "Jarvis doesn't like us to drink with clients."
          "If you carry on working, you're not drinking with me. They must allow you some refreshment."
          She nodded. "OK. Mineral water."
          By the time Doyle had returned from the bar, there were several other punters playing the table again, and he quietly set the glass beside her and returned to his hit and miss gambling technique. There was plenty of the evening left yet.

          By 1 a.m. the place had quietened down, and Doyle was able talk to Hazel alone, while still maintaining the facade of betting. He was aware that they were being watched, but no one was close enough to hear him as he stepped up the charm and asked her out.
          Hazel looked doubtful. "I told you. We're not supposed to fraternise with the clients."
          Doyle watched gloomily as yet another bet was lost as his choice of number failed to come up. "That won't be a problem. I can't afford to continue being a client here. In fact, I'd better call it a night before I have to walk home. So what do you say? Will you go out with me on your next night off?"
          "That's not for a while."
          "Well, what about a drink at lunchtime tomorrow? I know a pub that does a terrific sandwich."
          She succumbed with a smile. "All right."

          Arrangements made, Doyle scooped up the last of his chips and went to cash them in. The bouncer was hovering. "Have you done well, sir?"
          Checking the money handed back to him, Doyle shrugged. He'd probably lost more than Cowley would be happy with, but less than he could have done. "Not bad. I think the house has done better - be a few weeks before I can play again."
          "We'll look forward to seeing you then, sir." Worryingly, the words were once again at odds with the expression. Doyle didn't recognise the heavy, but it wasn't impossible that the heavy had recognised him...
 

          Hazel hadn't wanted to give Doyle her address and had insisted on meeting him instead. Doyle had agreed to meet her at the tube station, not wanting to give her the name of the pub in case she refused to come; and sure enough, as soon as she saw where they were headed she tried to change his mind.
          "Why here? Isn't there another place to eat?"
          "The food's good here. Are you trying to avoid someone?" Leading her through the doorway of the pub where she'd picked up Bodie, Doyle watched closely for her reaction.
          "Not exactly..." She obviously wasn't going to tell him the truth. "I was in here a few weeks ago and there was a man who wouldn't leave me alone. I had to threaten him with the police before he backed off; I'd just prefer not to see him again."
          "You're with me today; I'll look after you. What are you having?"
          "He doesn't seem to be here." Scanning the bar for Bodie and not finding him, Hazel relaxed and slid along the benchseat into one of the booths. "I'll have a G and T."
          Bodie was in fact sitting in the Capri outside, waiting for a signal from Doyle. They'd felt that Doyle stood more chance of getting information out of Hazel while she didn't know who he was, and they would only take her in for questioning if he wasn't getting anywhere.
          Doyle slid the drink in front of her. "I ordered us steak sandwiches with all the trimmings. Hope you're not vegetarian."
          "No, that's fine." Hazel sipped at the drink, still glancing around. "So Ray, what do you do?"
          "I'm a civil servant." Hazel had every right to look disbelieving; Doyle wasn't exactly dressed for the office. "I have a day off," he added. "That's why I asked you to meet me today. Although I will have to phone someone in a bit. What about you? Have you been doing casino work long?"
          "A couple of years now. The Cleveland hasn't been open long, but is a step-up from where I used to be. The hours are long but the pay's pretty good."
          "Makes it worthwhile then."
          The sandwiches arrived, and by the time they were finished and they'd had another drink, Doyle was ready to call Bodie. He'd learnt quite a lot about Hazel: where she'd grown up, her family and so on, but nothing she'd said had given him any clue as to why she'd set up Bodie and Lucas.
          He glanced at his watch. "I must make that phone call. Be right back." He'd deliberately manoeuvred them to seats towards the rear of the pub so that Hazel wouldn't be able to get past him, and he kept a surreptitious eye on her as he lifted the phone to report in to Cowley.
          "4.5, sir. I've not managed to find out anything more about Hazel - do you want us to bring her in?"
          "Aye, I do. I've been looking into the background of that casino. Someone named Randall is the manager, but the owner is Arthur Solomon. It seems he could be responsible for those bugs."
          Hanging up, Doyle reached into his jacket and flicked the switch on his R/T three times in the agreed signal: 'come and join the party', before making his way back to the table.
          Hazel was sitting between him and the side of the booth when Bodie loomed over them a couple of minutes later, and Doyle saw the fear on her face as she recognised him. "Ray -"
          "This is the man who was bothering you, right?" He didn't bother to look up. "I know, Hazel."
          "Or do you prefer Holly?" Bodie asked.
          Panicking now, realising that the two men knew each other and she'd been set up, Hazel looked around wildly for help. Doyle stood up; both of them effectively blocking any means of escape. "We're going to leave here nice and quietly, and go somewhere to talk."
          "You can't make me!" She looked terrified now. "I'll scream and tell people you're kidnapping me!"
          Her raised voice was already attracting attention, and Doyle caught her wrist to pull her to her feet. "I didn't think you'd want the police involved, not after what you did."
          "I don't care! I'd rather be locked up than..."
          "Than what?" Doyle suddenly realised that her fear was genuine; she had no idea who they were. He hooked out his ID to show her. "We're not going to hurt you."
          "You're police?" It obviously hadn't occurred to her, but she actually seemed relieved. "I thought..."
          "We'll discuss it later." The landlord knew them and wouldn't interfere, but Bodie was conscious of the rest of the clientele taking an interest. "Let's go."

          Doyle set a coffee in front of her. Bodie had left him to it, and although Hazel had been quiet in the car he had no doubt he'd get the details out of her pretty quickly. "You know why you're here; tell me why you drugged Bodie and Lucas."
          She stuttered out a reply to his harsh question. "I didn't know who they were. I mean, I didn't know you were police."
          "The 'who' is a bit immaterial, Hazel. I want to know why. I've heard of girls who make a habit of turning over men -"
          "I don't do that, Ray!"
          "You picked up Bodie and Lucas in pubs, drugged them and stole money. Sounds like it to me."
          "It's not like that." She'd had time to consider the situation she found herself in; telling the truth was probably her best option and Hazel knew it. "It was just them. Just those two. And it wasn't so I could steal from them."
          "No. That was just an excuse to plant the bugs."
          She nodded, nervously. "I had to make it look like robbery."
          "So, the 64 thousand dollar question - why?"
          "I had to." She stopped to sip at the coffee, but knew that wouldn't be enough.
          Doyle prompted her. "Why did you 'have to'? Who were you doing it for?"
          "Jarvis. From the casino." She stopped again, and Doyle sighed. This was going to be like pulling teeth.
          "Come on, Hazel. Just tell me. It'll be a lot easier if you just get it over with. Did he pay you well? Or are you in love with him?"
          "Not likely! He's a sleazy git... And he didn't pay me. It was that or -" She paused again, and caught Doyle's exasperated expression. "I got behind with the rent on my flat. He caught me with my hands in the till."
          "Do it or he'd call the police?"
          "Jarvis wouldn't bother calling the police. He deals with everything personally..." She flicked a nervous glance at Doyle. "I've seen how they deal with people who can't meet their debts at the casino. It's not pretty."
          "So Jarvis threatened you."
          "He didn't need to. I'd've done anything he told me. I might not be Miss World but I don't want to be Frankenstein's monster either."
          "So what did he tell you?"
          Suddenly the import of what she was doing sunk in. "Look, you're going to have to give me some protection. If Jarvis finds out I've talked to you..."
          "We'll sort something out, Hazel. Jarvis won't have a chance to get to you. Now, what did he tell you?"
          "It was just instructions. Phil was pointed out to me. I had to get him to take me home, use the drug they'd given me and plant the bug as close as I could to the phone. Then I had to make it look like a robbery but only steal money, nothing that could be traced. I didn't know who he was and I didn't want to know. Then about a week later, Jarvis pointed me at Bodie for a repeat performance."
          "And it was just Jarvis? No one else?"
          "Not that I know of. Of course I wondered why he was setting them up and what for, but I wasn't about to ask."
          "Does the name Arthur Solomon mean anything to you?"
          She was surprised at the change of topic, but knew who Doyle meant. "He owns the casino. I don't like him; he seems to think owning the casino means he owns the girls. He's never propositioned me, but if he wants to sleep with you you don't refuse, and he's apparently very generous when you do."
          "But you still thought stealing from the casino was a better option?"
          "Yes. You can think what you like, but I've never resorted to prostitution. Even picking up your friends... If I hadn't managed to drug them I'd have made some excuse to leave before I had to sleep with them."
          So much for Bodie's assertion that no girl could resist him; Doyle hid a smile. Hazel had probably told him all she could; he should report to Cowley.

          "I believe Hazel's story. She was just a convenient way for Solomon to place the bugs - if we'd picked her up at the time, she doesn't know anything about him to give away, and would be too frightened to give us Jarvis' name."
          "So we're no closer to Solomon." Bodie was disappointed. "We can charge Hazel, but that's it."
          Cowley had listened to Doyle without interruptions. "There might be something else. Doyle, how scared is this girl? If we give her a chance will she help us?"
          "I don't know. She's pretty scared. But we can try."
          "Get her up here. I'll talk to her."

          "I can't believe you talked me into this." Doyle stopped outside Marble Arch tube; Hazel had insisted he didn't take her any further. "Your Mr Cowley better be right about taking care of me."
          "He will, Hazel." Conscious of blocking the traffic, Doyle hastily reminded her of the plan. "But we can't watch you all the time, so stay in touch with me as we agreed. Don't try so hard to discover anything that Jarvis gets suspicious. We want your help, but we don't want to put you at risk."
          "I reckon you're already doing that, just by asking me. I have to go; I'll be late." Hazel scooped up her bag and scrambled from the car. "I'll call you in the morning."
          Doyle watched her go into the tube station. Cowley was clutching at straws with Hazel; it wasn't likely much at the casino would get them to Solomon. They couldn't even be sure she wouldn't go straight to Jarvis and tell him everything, although that was unlikely to happen. From what she'd said, Jarvis would take direct action, and the one thing Hazel wanted to protect was her own skin.
          Maybe she believed she didn't have a choice: help them or go to jail. Cowley hadn't said that, but Hazel wasn't stupid. She had almost leapt at Cowley's proposition, but he couldn't help wishing she'd turned Cowley down.

           


 

          "Ray? We need to meet."
          "What's happened?" So far everything had been quiet. Hazel had stayed in almost daily touch for the last three weeks but to Doyle's relief clearly had self-preservation firmly at the top of her priorities; although she'd done some snooping she hadn't found anything to help them.
          "I want to talk to you. Meet me at the pub." Doyle hastened to the car and headed out. It didn't sound like an emergency, but Hazel hadn't wanted to meet him before, so it had to be important.

          She'd got there before him but was hovering outside. Greeting him with relief, she was also glancing around nervously. "I thought I saw someone following me, but I can't see him now..."
          Doyle's own glance showed him nothing out of the ordinary, but it didn't mean there hadn't been someone. He hurried her into the bar. "Why did you want to meet?"
          "I didn't want to take the chance of anyone listening to me on the phone."
          It was still early and the pub nearly empty; picking up their drinks Doyle led her to a quiet corner table. "I've been talking to Kirstie. She's the manager's girlfriend and she's got the run of the place; Randall's office and everything, so I've been cultivating a friendship."
          "Were you friendly before? She's not going to be suspicious?"
          "Shouldn't think so. I mean, we've not been best mates but we've always got on okay. She likes to think Randall will settle down with her so I've been sympathetic and managed to get some things out of her."
          "Does she know where the skeletons are buried?"
          Doyle was only joking, but Hazel glanced around worriedly, lowering her voice. "She probably does. She says she loves him, but I think part of why she stays with Randall because she's too scared to leave him."
          "Have you found out anything about Solomon?"
          "He's a nutter." Hazel took a large swallow of her drink. "Kirstie says Solomon is a complete pervert."
          "Yeah?"
          "He's married, but apparently that doesn't stop him picking up any girl that'll go with him; his wife won't put up with his perversions. I hadn't realised why the turnover of girls was so high."
          This wasn't telling Doyle much he didn't know, and wasn't the sort of information he needed. "Does Kirstie know anything about his businesses?"
          "Randall likes his drink and he lets things slip while he's under the influence. He's said some things about Solomon, but she couldn't remember much - at least, she said she couldn't. I suppose she might just not be telling."
          "You can't blame her."
          "No. Oh, one thing she did tell me, not all the casino's money goes through the bank. A lot of the takings are packed away into a briefcase each night, and Jarvis takes it off somewhere. He brings back another briefcase each day. Old notes out, new notes in."
          That was more like the sort of thing they were looking for. "Money laundering."
          "I'm surprised you didn't realise the other night."
          "I got a mixture of notes - I don't think even the new notes had consecutive numbers. They're probably careful."
          Hazel grinned at him. "You lot haven't caught them so far - they must be."
          It was impossible for Doyle not to grin back. "Don't get cheeky. We need some proof, you know."
          "So let me help you get it. What am I looking for? It'd probably help if you give me a clue."
          Doyle took a mouthful of beer as a delaying tactic. She already knew more than she should, but ignorance could leave her open to more danger. "Solomon is mixed up in all sorts of criminal activities, but is one of the biggest drug dealers in London and that's what we want him for. Anything you can find out will help, but you have to remember he's dangerous."
          "I'm not going to forget it. I'll work on Kirstie again later." She drained her glass. "I'd better go. I'll phone you."
          Doyle let her leave, following a minute later, and shadowing her to the tube station. He couldn't see any sign of someone else tailing her - it had probably been her imagination.

           


 

          "I hope you're not planning to spend all night in there." Bodie had agreed to come along as backup but sitting outside a casino wasn't his idea of a fun evening.
          "No longer than I need to." Doyle wished he could carry his gun, just in case, but the suit didn't allow for it. "I just want to make Hazel is in there, and is okay. It's three days since she phoned."
          "Remember you'll be gambling with your own money, rather than Cowley's," Bodie added with a grin. "Don't lose too much."
          "I'm not going to play, Bodie. I'll just get a drink at the bar." Cowley didn't pay them well enough for him to risk losing. "No more than an hour - probably less."
          Bodie settled back to wait. Doyle would have done the same for him.

          Doyle waited until Hazel took a break from spinning the roulette wheel and drifted up to join her at the bar. "You haven't called. Everything OK?"
          She turned away from him, holding her glass to her lips as though thoughtful, and murmured a reply. "Nothing definite to tell you. But I keep getting the feeling I'm being watched, so thought I'd better stay away from the phone. I think it's Jarvis watching me. He's looking over here now."
          Reflected in the mirrored bar Doyle could see the heavy he'd seen previously, apparently in conversation with someone but his attention was focused on Hazel. "Does he work for Randall?"
          "Supposed to be his right-hand man. Except he seems to issue orders a lot of the time..."
          "Why do you think he's watching you?"
          "No idea. Been keeping my head down. Maybe Kirstie's said something..."
          Jarvis suddenly moved, and Doyle followed his reflection across the room, turning at the last moment to see the bouncer greeting a newcomer to the casino. "Shit."
          "That's Solomon..."
          "I know. And I can't take the chance that he'll recognise me. Stay in touch, Hazel." Casually, Doyle wandered to the far end of the bar, hoping that Solomon was too occupied with the blonde on his arm to look across the room.
          He reached the door without anyone apparently noticing, and carried on back to the car.
          Bodie hadn't even dozed off. "You were quick! Is she OK?"
          "Fine. She's keeping her head down; thinks that bouncer is watching her. Solomon just turned up, I didn't want to run any risk of him seeing me."
          "You think he'd know you?"
          "Maurice and I worked hard to put him away. Can't take the chance."
          Bodie grinned at him. "Just as well Cowley doesn't know about you putting everything in jeopardy for this girl..."

           


 

          "Ray, it's me." Hazel was in a phonebox, and cut off his greeting. "I haven't got much change. I need to meet you."
          "Has something happened? Where are you?" It was nearly a week since he'd seen Hazel; Doyle had avoided the casino since then, but had been growing increasingly worried about her.
          "I'm in a call box on Norfolk Square. I've just left Solomon at the casino; he was talking about someone..."
          The phone began the series of bleeps indicating the money was running out, and Doyle spoke into the final available seconds of the call. "I'm coming over. Wait for me there."

          "Dammit!" Doyle banged the steering wheel in frustration at the 'No Entry' sign in front of him. The one-way streets around Norfolk Square were being further complicated by the council digging holes, and he realised that his present heading was taking him further away from his destination. He'd be quicker on foot...
          Leaving the car in a meter bay, he jogged to reach Norfolk Place and turning into the square was relieved to see Hazel waiting outside the phonebox about 50 yards ahead.
          Waving, she started towards him. Doyle slowed his pace, glancing behind as he heard a car engine, waiting for it to pass before he crossed...
          The car's headlights were suddenly blazing; flinging his arm up to shield his eyes Doyle had barely a second to realise that it was accelerating before it was over the kerb and heading down the pavement straight for him... He leapt forward, reaching the low garden wall a split second before the car reached him and throwing himself over it, landing badly and jarring his arms and legs but rolling, instinct propelling him back to his feet.
          The vehicle was still moving, back towards the other kerb... Even as Doyle shouted, there was the shrill screech of metal against brickwork and Hazel's terrified scream, abruptly cut-off; the engine still roaring as the car sped away...
          "Hazel..." Ignoring a sharp pain from his ankle, Doyle ran towards the motionless shape. Pulse faint under his fingertips, she was still alive, but her body was twisted and bloodied. He fumbled for his R/T to call the help she desperately needed but would almost certainly be too late...

          "Ray...?" Bodie had been alerted immediately but his arrival at the hospital had been delayed while he went to check out the car which the locals had found just a few streets from the accident. He'd been told Doyle wasn't hurt but Bodie could see that wasn't true; a bandage around one arm and the ripped leg of his jeans told a different story, even if the blood on his clothes was mostly Hazel's.
          His partner acknowledged him with a glance. He nodded towards the casualty area. "They're trying to stabilise her before taking her up for surgery..."
          "Still got a chance then." Bodie took a seat beside his partner to wait; there would be no point in trying to persuade him to go home until he knew one way or the other about Hazel. "We've got the car. It was stolen; doesn't look like there's much to go on."
          "They blinded me with the headlights; I could only see there were two of them."
          "And you couldn't have done anything to stop them." Bodie let that sink in. "Did Hazel tell you anything on the phone? Why she wanted to meet?"
          "Not enough... If only I'd let her tell me more."
          They stood up as they were approached by a doctor, his green hospital overalls blood-spattered. "Mr Doyle, I understand you came in with Hazel Buchanan? I'm sorry, she died a few minutes ago... her injuries were severe."
          "I know," Doyle nodded. He'd seen the car slam her against the wall, crush her and drag her four feet along it. It would have taken a miracle, and even if she'd survived she would have been crippled. "Thanks for trying."
          He started along the corridor. Alongside him, Bodie eyed his uneven gait. "Is that serious?"
          "Not serious enough to stop me getting out there to look for Hazel's killers."
          That went without saying, Bodie thought. But it could wait until morning; until they'd reported in to Cowley. Even if they believed Jarvis or Solomon were responsible, they had no evidence or even any leads. Doyle would be more realistic in the morning.
          Bodie paused at the main door. "I left the car up on the road. No sense in you limping all the way up; why not wait here while I fetch it?"
          It was a clear sign that Doyle's ankle was worse than he was letting on in that he agreed, and Bodie trotted up to the Capri, radioing in to Cowley before he started the engine.
          "Bodie? What's the status?"
          "Hazel's just died, sir."
          "And Doyle?"
          "Cuts and bruises. Not enough to take him off the case." Cowley would make his own judgment on that in the morning, but they both knew Ray Doyle. "I'll take him home and put a few drinks down him; stop him brooding."
          Because brood he would, Bodie knew. He hadn't been happy about using Hazel; but the last thing they needed was Doyle on a guilt-driven vendetta. He swung the Capri to a halt at the hospital door. "Taxi, guv'nor?" he enquired, in his best cockney.
          Doyle managed a grin as he slid stiffly into the seat. "Got no money for a fare, mind you."
          "This one's on me."

          Doyle made no demur as Bodie followed him upstairs, merely pointing him at the bottles. "Get us a drink. I'm going to change." His first drink went down without touching the sides and Bodie wordlessly refilled his glass. "So what happened?"
          "She called me. Said she needed to meet to tell me what she'd overheard tonight. I was having trouble round the one-way system so I left the car and walked. I'd just spotted her when I heard this car behind me - they stuck the headlights on to blind me and next thing I know, they're heading straight for me..."
          "How did they miss you?"
          "There was a low wall just in front of me - I managed to throw myself over it." Doyle gestured to the bandage on his arm. "I landed in the bloody rockery though; ripped open my arm and wrenched my ankle. I'm sure they'd have been happy to hit me, but they weren't really after me, just Hazel."
          He closed his eyes against the memory. "They smashed her against the wall with the car and dragged her along it... I'm just surprised she lived long enough to get her to the hospital."
          In spite of all that Doyle had seen over the years, Bodie could see he was in shock. "It would have been quick."
          "Suppose." Doyle tiredly focused on his partner, yawning. "She wouldn't have wanted to live smashed up like that..."
          "No one would. You going to be OK?"
          Doyle nodded. "Yeah. You get off; I'll see you in the morning."
          "OK. I'll call in; get someone to collect your car before it gets towed away and you have to explain the release charges to the Cow..."
 

          "You're not taking me off the case, sir!"
          As Bodie had anticipated, the injury to Doyle's ankle was causing Cowley some concern. "You can't run, Doyle."
          "I can still shoot straight."
          "Aye, and if we had someone who was promising not to run away for you to shoot at, then you'd be my first choice for the job. As it is, you'd be a liability, to yourself as well as Bodie. I'm not taking you off the case, but I don't want you out on the streets."
          "He's right, mate," Bodie put in. "You need a couple of days."
          "It's not as though you have any leads to be chasing up anyway. Yes, Hazel overheard something and needed to tell you, but that's all we know. It could have been completely unimportant as far as we're concerned -"
          "It was important enough for them to kill her."
          "And it could be exactly what we're looking for. But we don't know what it was, or when it's happening. We need more to go on."
          "That's what I need to find, sir. I thought I could go to the casino and talk to this girl Kirstie -"
          "Absolutely not, Doyle. CI5 can't be officially involved in a simple hit and run; we have to leave it to the locals." Cowley forestalled further arguments. "What you can do, however, is talk to the officer on the case. We can't be directly involved but we can still handle the enquiry."

          The inspector had been on the scene the previous night and already knew Doyle. "I've been round to the casino this morning; broken the news to them. Randall acted shocked; made noises about her being one of his best girls."
          "Did he give anything away?"
          "Your Mr Cowley told me you believed he was involved, but I couldn't see any sign of it. He was shocked, but he's only her employer. Just because he didn't collapse with grief doesn't mean he did it."
          Bodie could see Doyle wasn't too pleased with that answer. "Who else did you see? Any of the other girls?"
          "Randall and an assistant, Jarvis. I told them it was being treated as a suspicious death and I'd be back later to question other members of staff. It would help if I knew what I was looking for."
          That did make sense to Doyle. "We've been watching the casino because it's owned by Arthur Solomon. Solomon is -"
          "On our books in more than one place," the inspector interrupted. "I know him."
          "Hazel told me about some of the things going on there - money laundering for one."
          "And we know Solomon is mixed up in drugs," Bodie added. "We nearly had the drop on him a couple of months back with an undercover op, but something went wrong."
          "Oh, there's plenty you could find to charge Solomon with. Problem is making those charges stick. What questions do you want me to ask?"
          "There's a girl called Kirstie; supposed to be Randall's girlfriend. She was friends with Hazel and might be worth working on. Also -" Doyle glanced at Bodie; he hadn't discussed his idea with his partner, "I want you to let drop that Hazel talked before she died."
          "Ray..."
          "You don't need to tell them what she's supposed to have said. Just that it sounded suspicious and you'll be investigating further."
          "You're hoping to flush them out?"
          "Hazel needed to speak to me urgently. Whatever she heard, it must be something important."
          Bodie shrugged. "Worth a try. As long as they don't come after you again."
          "I'll risk it. Besides, Cowley wants me tucked up safe at HQ; there's not much going to happen to me there."
          "I wouldn't be too sure, when Cowley finds out about this idea of yours..."

          Having confessed Doyle's plan to Cowley, Bodie had been despatched to the casino to see if anyone jumped when the Inspector paid his next visit.
          In his car in the yard, he'd watched the Inspector arrive but it was still early and a lot of the girls hadn't arrived yet. He shook out his newspaper, keeping one eye on the door...
          Several girls went in over the next half hour, then one came out; a brunette, slightly older than the others and even at the distance Bodie sat he could see she was upset. Someone followed her down the steps, catching her arm none too gently and pulling her back towards the building. The man was Randall - so was that Kirstie?
          She went back inside, but seemed unwilling. Maybe Doyle was right, and Kirstie would be their weak link. He carried on waiting; another half an hour before the Inspector left. Now he might get some action...
          "3.7, patch-through from Inspector Sullivan."
          "Go ahead." This could be interesting.
          "Bodie? I talked to all the girls. Most were pretty upset; that one you told me to look out for especially, Kirstie, she was horrified. Really shaken. Her reaction worried them, I could see. She rushed out at one point."
          "Yeah, I saw her. Randall came after her. Do you think she'll give us anything?"
          "Your best bet, I'd've thought. None of the others seemed to know Hazel that well. I did as your partner asked; let drop that Hazel had said something before she died. If they were worried, they didn't show it."
          "OK, thanks for that. I'll keep an eye on things at this end - can you relay that to Doyle at Headquarters?"
          "Will do."
          Bodie settled back into his seat. This could be a long wait...
 

          Doyle stuck his head into the VIP Lounge expecting to find Bodie, but the room was empty and he headed for the Control room. "What's the last word from Bodie?"
          Julie flicked back the record sheet. "23.32 last night. Checked in to say he was following a suspect from the Cleveland Casino. Nothing since."
          "Nothing since? Has anyone tried to raise him?"
          "Not yet."
          Doyle tried the radio. "Control to 3.7. Come in."
          Nothing. "I'm going to see Cowley. Keep trying, Julie."
          He hobbled swiftly into Cowley's office without knocking. "Sir, we can't raise Bodie on the radio."
          "Och, he'll call in when he's ready. This is more important; I've just had your Inspector Sullivan on the phone. He's had a call from Kirstie, she wants to talk to him - I think you should be there. Take Ruth with you."

          Something had pushed her into wanting to talk, but the girl was a mess. Sullivan had willingly left them to it, and Doyle was glad he had Ruth along.
          "I just can't believe what happened to Hazel," she sobbed for the fourth time. "She was there at the casino just before..."
          Doyle was happy to let Ruth do the questioning. "Kirstie, just calm down. We know Hazel was at the casino - who else was there?"
          "Sylvia... and Jess..."
          "Who else? Was your boss there? Randall?"
          After a few more sniffs, Kirstie managed to answer her. "Yes, Alex was there, and Tom; Tom Jarvis. The casino had closed for the night, we were just having a few drinks..." she trailed off into more tears.
          Doyle pushed the box of tissues closer to her. "Anyone else there?"
          "Mr Solomon..." Kirstie gave up the name reluctantly, as though vocalising it would bring disaster on her.
          "OK, so did something happen while you were having your drinks?" Keen as he was to find out, Doyle could see he was going to have to be patient and asked the question gently.
          "No, not really... I mean, we were all just chatting and joking as usual... It was the first time Hazel had stayed back - the first time Tom had asked her to stay. It usually meant Mr Solomon had asked for the girl..."
          '...if he wants to sleep with you you don't refuse'. Hazel's words came back to Doyle, and he wondered now if the reason Hazel had run from the casino and called him was simply to escape spending the night with Solomon.
          In spite of how carefully he was treading Kirstie was regarding Doyle fearfully, and catching a glance from Ruth he backed off, leaving her to continue the questions. "Tell us about the evening, Kirstie. Describe what happened after the doors were locked."
          "Tom locked up. He always goes through the takings then they're put in the safe in Alex's office. I went to get changed... Alex was talking to Mr Solomon when I came back, and Hazel was already getting drinks for them. Then Alex came over to me, and was talking to me and Sylvia. Jess is Tom's girl, so she was hanging around him..." Kirstie reached for another tissue. "Hazel was talking to Mr Solomon. I was worried about her; she's not - she didn't..."
          "She wasn't that sort of girl?" Doyle suggested.
          Kirstie nodded. "She wasn't easy, not like Sylvia and Jess. And him - he's a pig," she added in a burst of vehement honesty. "I'd tried to tell her not to stay..."
          "What happened then?"
          "There was a phone call, and Tom answered it."
          "That was unusual?" Doyle asked.
          "For that time of night, yes. And it wasn't for Alex, it was someone calling for Tom. I don't think it was bad news or anything, I mean, Tom said something to Mr Solomon and they both seemed pleased; Mr Solomon was nodding and smiling."
          "And Hazel heard what he said?" Doyle got another irritated glance from Ruth, but he needed to get at the facts...
          "Probably... she was sitting right next to Solomon..."
          "Did you hear what was said?"
          "Yes... but I can't remember..." Kirstie shook her head, bewildered. Whatever she wanted to tell them, it wasn't about the phone call. "It didn't sound important, just that something was fixed..."
          This was getting them nowhere fast. Doyle glanced at his watch and decided to leave Ruth to it and find out where Bodie was; he had to have checked in by now.
 

          After Jarvis had hurried from the casino Bodie had trailed him; first to Solomon's imposing property in St John's Wood, then to a succession of smaller and dingier properties.
          Since Jarvis had jumped after the inspector had dropped the information that Hazel might have talked Bodie had been hoping to be led to something which might help them, but so far Jarvis' movements hadn't been suspicious - at least, he hadn't witnessed anything that he could arrest the man for.
          They'd finally arrived at their current location in Rotherhithe just after eight this morning, and after a second night without proper sleep Bodie was shattered. Driving past and parking further down the street Bodie watched Jarvis head into the warehouse. Jarvis had only stayed five or ten minutes at each location and Bodie waited in the car, assuming Jarvis would soon be on the move again. Although this wasn't the sort of property Jarvis had been visiting, and he'd hate to miss Jarvis leaving by another exit. Just because he was watching the Granada Jarvis had been using all night didn't mean there wasn't another vehicle on the other side of the warehouse.
          The A to Z confirmed that the road around the warehouse was for access only; even if there was another car, Jarvis would have to leave by the exit Bodie could see. He waited, glancing at his watch frequently.
          When Jarvis hadn't emerged after fifteen minutes Bodie slid from the car to get closer to the building, and shinning up a decidedly dodgy fire escape which would probably be lethal in the event of a fire, he found himself a vantage point to look into the warehouse.
          Not that there was much to see; just some crates over to one side and Jarvis with one other man. They were clearly waiting for someone else, unconcernedly reading newspapers.
          Settling himself to wait also, Bodie reached for his R/T to check in - only to realise that he must have left it in the car. Well, no matter. Quiet as the scene was below, Bodie was sensing trouble and didn't want to miss anything by abandoning his post now...

          An hour later, Bodie was even more tired and cold and still nothing had happened, other than Jarvis and the other man sharing a flask of what looked like steaming hot coffee, which had done nothing to improve his mood.
          Instinct was still telling him something would be happening, but at this rate he could be waiting for hours. He needed to check in; much longer out of contact and they'd be sending out the search party...
 

          "Julie, it's me. Any word from Bodie yet?"
          "He called in about fifteen minutes ago, Ray. He's watching a warehouse in Rotherhithe - he's not requested backup as yet."
          "Keep me posted, eh? I know Cowley wanted me confined to headquarters but I'm out here now."
          Hanging up the phone, Doyle could hear Kirstie still sniffling and Ruth's patient questions, and deciding a cuppa wouldn't go amiss for any of them he went in search of the coffee machine.
          As he got back, balancing three paper cups and trying hard to not spill anything since he still couldn't walk properly, Ruth was just closing the door to the interview room behind her, looking grave.
          "What is it?" Managing to set the cups onto a windowsill, Doyle faced her.
          "Kirstie thinks she caused Hazel's attack." Ruth took one of the cups and sipped at the rapidly cooling liquid.
          "How come?"
          "Apparently after a few more drinks Sylvia and Jess left, and Solomon started to come on to Hazel. She rebuffed him a few times, which he seemed OK with, although Kirstie says he won't take that for long. Anyway, Hazel made some excuse and left, and Kirstie could see Solomon wasn't pleased so she tried to smooth things over, in case Solomon made Randall sack her or something. She told them Hazel was probably meeting her boyfriend."
          "I bet that didn't go down well."
          "It didn't. Solomon apparently got shirty and demanded to know who this boyfriend was. Kirstie told him."
          "Told him? Christ... Hazel hadn't told her my name?"
          "Apparently. Solomon made some comment about dealing with this Ray Doyle, and suddenly Jarvis is looking very worried and whispering to Solomon, and the pair of them rushed out..."
          Doyle groaned. "Jarvis was suspicious of me first time I saw him, almost as if he recognised me then. Hearing my name must have given me away..."
          "It sounds like it, Ray. After they'd gone, Randall was puzzled but didn't leave the casino, so he's in the clear with regard to the murder."
          "But it puts Jarvis and Solomon right in the frame. Whatever it was Hazel heard, they couldn't risk her telling me."
          "Obviously not. I'll question Kirstie some more, see if she can remember anything more about the phone call."
          "Keep at her, Ruth. I'm going back to headquarters to report to Cowley and find out if Bodie's come up with anything else..."
 

          Yawning, Bodie stretched, eased his muscles and peered again through the small filthy window. He had his R/T with him this time, but it wasn't looking much like he was going to need it.
          Jarvis had finished reading his paper and had been wandering, opening one or two of the crates and exchanging a few words with his colleague, but it was too far away for Bodie to make out what was in the crates.
          This was bloody boring. Maybe he should have asked for backup; then he could've gone home to bed. Of course, he still could. But he didn't want to miss out on the showdown.
          Bodie felt the adrenaline surge as he heard a car door bang below him; then another. The new arrivals appeared in the warehouse and within another five minutes, four more men appeared. This was more like it...
          Despite their prompt arrival, there was no sense of urgency amongst the men. They were alert and focused; Bodie could see that much, but whatever was on, there was some time to go yet. He watched their various discussions. It seemed this was just a final run-through of an already outlined plan between them all, as they nodded and agreed with Jarvis.
          His attention sharpened as Jarvis consulted his watch; then all the men were moving to the crates and opening them, and this time Bodie had no trouble identifying the contents as they were handed around.
          Guns; SMGs mainly, although he saw handguns going into a few pockets. Shit. Whatever this gang were up to, he was definitely going to need backup; there were far too many of them for him to tackle them alone. He thumbed the R/T.
          "3.7 to Control. I've got a situation developing. Eight men armed with SMGs at least. I'm heading back down to my car; get me some backup and I'll keep you posted on my location..."
          "Acknowledged, 3.7."

          Bodie slid awkwardly down the fire escape, jumping the last few feet and running before he hit the ground. He could already hear car doors slamming; he had no registrations, no vehicle descriptions and nothing to go on, dammit. He had to be in the Capri in time to follow something...
          Jarvis' Granada stood in the same place; if Jarvis was going along he was in another vehicle. Bodie spun the Capri and realised with relief that the cars were coming out of the side street ahead of him - Jarvis was a passenger in a grey Transit, last out of the alley and following two other vehicles.
          He coasted the Capri up to the rear of the dirty van, and reached for the car radio to fix the switch. "3.7... I'm fixing my radio on transmit; I can't risk someone seeing me use the handset."
          Cowley's voice responded immediately. "The channel will be kept clear for you, Bodie. What's your location?"
          "Turning out of Albion Street... they're heading for the tunnel, sir."
          "How many? Numbers, vehicles?"
          "Eight men that I've seen. Jarvis is with them. Three vehicles; I'm behind a grey Transit, licence Oscar Charlie Victor five three six Hotel. Can't see the plates on the other two, but there's a green mark three Cortina, and a white Marina. All travelling in convoy."
          "Got that. We've got backup teams headed your way now; any idea what's planned?"
          "Could be world war three. They've got the firepower."
          Bodie missed Cowley's reply as he entered the tunnel; it would take a few minutes to reach the other side and he hoped by the time he got there Cowley would have some help for him...
 

          Doyle had arrived back at HQ just as Bodie called in, and had been first into Cowley's office with the news. On learning Bodie's exact location, he would have been first out of the building as well, but for Cowley's sharp restraining order.
          "Bodie needs help!"
          "We already have four teams heading for Bodie's location. Unless you think your colleagues aren't sufficient?" Cowley turned back to the radio and Doyle fumed silently. His ankle was better today; he was hardly going to get in anyone else's way...
          "3.7, we're leaving the tunnel now... turning east on Commercial Road."
          "How close are the other teams?" Cowley asked Julie.
          "They're just approaching Holborn, sir. The traffic's heavy."
          "They're splitting up... the two cars have taken the spur road to the right, the Transit gone straight on along East India Dock Road; I'm sticking with the Transit." Before Cowley could respond, Bodie spoke again. "They're indicating right, turning... No, they're not turning - they're pulling across to the other side of the road. Shit!!"
          "Bodie, what's happening?!"
 

          Bodie hauled the Capri to a stop just past the Transit on his side of the road and continued his commentary, whilst checking his Browning. "They've pulled up outside the Midland; three men out of the van wearing stocking masks and into the bank. Jarvis is still in the van..."
          Over his shoulder, Bodie saw other men running from the side turning into the bank; their guns clearly visible. "Where the hell's the backup?!"
          "It's coming! Stay in your car, Bodie. Don't move on your own!"
 

          Doyle had had enough and turning, snapped open the door. "Doyle!"
          "I'm going, sir." Doyle paused briefly to look at his boss. "You're not stopping me."
          "Indeed I'm not. Get my car started, I'll be down as soon as possible."
          Blinking in surprise, Doyle scurried down the stairs as fast as his ankle would carry him...

          ...and brought Cowley's Granada to a screeching halt at the police cordon. It had taken all his skill and knowledge of the back streets to get them there that quickly, but to all intents and purposes the drama was over.
          He and Cowley were waved through the cordon and towards the bank where Lucas, McCabe and Anson could be seen still subduing several men. Murphy was directing police officers but broke off to report. "We got here just as they came bursting out of the bank, sir. We had to take out two of them." He gestured to two blanket-shrouded mounds. "They were threatening to shoot hostages; a couple of the bank staff were injured in the cross-fire but not seriously."
          "Where's Bodie?" His partner's absence was the first thing to strike Doyle.
          "I don't know..." Murphy recoiled from Doyle's glare. "He was in his Capri, just over there, when we arrived. There were guns going off all over; at least one of the robbers made it into the Transit and it took off. I guess Bodie followed it..."
          Doyle was already turning back to Cowley's car. If Bodie were on the trail, he'd still be on air...
          "Bodie? Come in."
          Cowley had followed him back to the Granada. "Well? Where is he?"
          Doyle shrugged, worried. He switched channels. "Julie, have you heard anything from Bodie? Is he still transmitting?"
          "It sounds like the channel is still open. We heard gunfire and glass breaking, just a couple of minutes ago. Bodie isn't responding."
          Doyle glanced sharply at Cowley and issued an instruction to Julie. "Get an all units alert out on the Capri. It can't be far from here."
          "Already done. I've renewed the alert on the Transit, as well."
          "Thanks Julie." Doyle glanced up at Cowley. "Sir?"
          Cowley nodded. "Take the car. See if you can find him - but stay in touch!"

          His knowledge of the back streets once again stood Doyle in good stead as he threaded his way through to get past the police cordon and back onto East India Dock Road. He drove slowly; there were a lot of side turnings and there was no telling whether Bodie had taken off down any of them. He could drive around for hours and not find the Capri - but at least he was mobile, and doing something; hanging about with Cowley would have driven him mad.
          Reaching the large flyover junction for the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, the impossibility of knowing which direction Bodie had taken swamped Doyle. A few hundred yards further on, and making a sudden decision, Doyle switched direction, heading back towards the approach road for the tunnel. The gang had come from south of the river... How likely was it they were going back there?
          Well, he could only be wrong. Moments later he was in the tunnel; emerging into illogically brighter sunshine on the southern side of the river. Greenwich itself was dotted with as many small streets as he'd already left - but his immediate surroundings were docks and factory units; maybe somewhere here?
          He peeled off the main road into Blackwall Lane, and pulled over to fish out the A to Z. Finding the right page, Doyle stared in despair at the maze of small streets. This was hopeless...
          "4.5..."
          "I'm here, Julie. What have you got?"
          "The Met have just reported Bodie's car, Ray. Abandoned in Banning Street SE10 - it's just off Trafalgar Road."
          "What?" His eyes sought, and found the street. "That's just down the road - I'm on my way." Doyle threw down the mapbook and handset and set off with a screech of tyres; the fact that his instinct had led him in the right direction small consolation. If the Capri was abandoned, where the hell was Bodie?

          Straightening up, Doyle headed back to the Granada to report in. "3.7's car is missing the windscreen - by the look of the seats someone emptied a magazine through it. There's no sign of any injuries, but Bodie is missing. Let Cowley know - I'm going to check around the area."
          There was no sign of the Transit Bodie had been following...
          Doyle grabbed the mapbook, tracing Trafalgar Road west and following the route of the Thames. Creek Road, Evelyn Street... He picked up the handset again. "Julie, what was the name of that street Bodie called from in Rotherhithe?"
          "Albion Street, Ray. Just adjacent to the tunnel entrance."
          Evelyn Street led into Lower Road, and there was Albion Street. Jarvis had left his car in Albion Street: he'd been in the Transit. "I'm headed there now. Get me some backup, will you?"
 

          Bodie crashed back into the wall yet again; trying to take the force with his shoulder and not quite succeeding. Having his hands tied behind him was hampering any efforts he might have made to retaliate or avoid the blows.
          "That's enough for now, Selby." Waving his accomplice back, Jarvis stooped over Bodie and hauled him upwards by the front of his jacket. "You're going to tell me what you know, one way or another. Think it over."
          Think. Bodie sank gratefully back to the floor; yes, he'd be doing that. Wasn't in a fit state for much else.
          It was only his reflexes that had saved him from having his head blown off. He'd been following the Transit and rounded the corner to find it stopped dead, man in the middle of the road aiming one of those machine guns right at him...
          They'd dragged him out from under the remains of the windscreen and thrown him into the back of the van, clocking him one for good measure. He'd come round in his current location, wherever that was, and as soon as he was conscious the thug with Jarvis had been set on him...
          He'd murder Doyle. This was his fault; pretending that Hazel had given them a tip-off. Jarvis wanted to know what she'd said to give them away and whatever Bodie came up with it was likely to get him killed...
 

          "Stop pacing, Doyle." Cowley was getting tetchy. "It's wearing out my carpet and won't get Bodie back."
          "Well, we should be doing something!"
          Not that Doyle knew what. He'd been right in his guess that Jarvis and the other robber would return to Albion Street; they'd found the Transit there. But there was no sign of the robbers or Bodie - although that was something of a relief, because it wasn't likely they'd have left Bodie alive. At least while he was still missing there was hope.
          But from there the trail had gone cold. Jarvis had gone to ground; they had an alert out on his car but it was a slim hope that he'd still be using it. The casino had been turned over and Randall was being questioned, without results so far.
          The watch on Solomon had reported him to be at home, apparently entertaining guests at a garden party. Doyle wanted to arrest Solomon, and if anyone had been willing to go with him he wouldn't have waited but Cowley's orders still held the rest of the team.
          "We're doing what we can but we have nothing on Solomon and you know it." Cowley was just as frustrated. "Witnesses put Jarvis at the scene of the robbery; we need to find him. If there's any way we can tie him into Solomon so much the better, but we can't touch Solomon yet."

          Growling under his breath, Doyle took himself off, forcing himself not to limp. It was holding up well, but he'd been putting a lot of pressure on his ankle since early that morning and he didn't want Cowley to notice and remember his injury.
          Ruth was making coffee in the VIP Lounge when Doyle joined her. "Anything from the interview?" he asked.
          The task of questioning Randall had fallen to her while the rest of the team were busy with the bank robbers. "Not much. He's been managing Solomon's casinos and working the money laundering for several years; he admits that. He knows Solomon is mixed up in 'other things' but doesn't get involved, so he says."
          "Did you ask him about Hazel?"
          "His story matches Kirstie's for that night. He says he wasn't aware of anything significant in what Jarvis said - but he can't remember what that was, exactly."
          "Sounds like he's still covering to me. Want me to have a go?"
          "Let's save the heavy routine for later - I think I can get more out of him yet." She took her mug and disappeared, and Doyle slumped into an armchair. He hated sitting around; maybe he should go and join the team on watch at Solomon's place - then at least he'd be on the spot if anything happened.
          All he had to do was get out of the building without Cowley seeing him...

          An hour or so later, Doyle was wishing he hadn't bothered. Due to Anson being in there the atmosphere in the Buggy-boo was intolerable, so he had ended up sitting in his car and it was damned chilly.
          "4.5... Solomon's just had a phone call - I think you'll be interested in it."
          Doyle was out of his car and along to the van in seconds, and Anson flicked switches on the tape recorder to play back the call. The conversation was guarded on both sides:
          "It's me."
          "I heard what happened. I thought it was fixed?"
          "It was, but CI5 got involved. Anyway, I need to get out of the country."
          "You've made arrangements?"
          "Tonight; Selby is fixing a few things and we're both getting out. I've put the backup plan into operation."
          "Good. Stay in touch and we'll clear things for your return."

          Both hung up. "That sounded like Jarvis..." Doyle began.
          "But it's not enough for us to touch Solomon, even if it was," Anson pointed out.
          "Selby... If we could trace him, whoever he is, we could grab Jarvis. I'm heading back to HQ to check on the files. Keep me posted."

          At last, something was going right. It had taken very little time to turn up a likely Selby on the files: Andrew Selby had served time for armed robbery on a job thought to have been organised by Solomon. Trusting to instinct, Cowley had sent Doyle with Murphy, Lucas and McCabe to his last known address, and they'd got there just in time to see Selby loading his car with a suitcase.
          "The one that got away," Murphy said with satisfaction. "That's the man that escaped from the bank earlier."
          "Figures. Now all we have to do is not lose him." It would be too much to hope for that Bodie would be at the end of the journey as well as Jarvis; but one of those men knew where his partner was, and Doyle was going to find out...
          Selby obviously thought he was in the clear, not watching for a tail and taking a direct route south into Greenwich again. Turning into Maze Hill they followed him up beside Greenwich Park until Selby pulled into the kerb outside the gates.
          Lucas overtook and came to a halt in front of Selby's vehicle, and scanning the park Doyle spotted Jarvis immediately. "There he is. Pull over..."
          Leaving Lucas and McCabe to deal with Selby, Doyle leapt from the car and drawing his gun shouted a warning to Jarvis, hoping that he'd be sensible and give himself up. Cowley's fear about him not being able to keep up with suspects looked like coming true as Jarvis hesitated, considering whether to take off across the park. But Murphy was already closing on him, and with Doyle aiming straight at him he dropped the bag he was carrying and raised his arms in surrender.
          Murphy motioned him to the ground, searching him and handing a pistol to Doyle as he reached them. Doyle was only interested in one thing. "Where's Bodie?"
          "Find out." Jarvis smirked as best he could from his prone position, and pushing Murphy to one side Doyle hauled him to his feet. "Oh, we will."
          
 

          "Ray..." Betty's voice reached him through a jumble of distorted images and startled into wakefulness Doyle sat bolt upright. "Any word on Bodie? What time is it?"
          "Not yet." Betty handed him a mug of coffee. "It's nearly ten, Mr Cowley said you were to be left to get some sleep."
          He took a gulp of hot liquid; head still whirling with dream images. He and Murphy had been working at Jarvis until gone four; questioning him about the bank raid, the casino, Hazel, Solomon - they'd gone round in circles several times. Jarvis had said nothing they could use; wearing the same smug expression he'd shown Doyle earlier.
          Lucas and McCabe reported a similar lack of success with Selby and Cowley had called a halt to the interviews.

          Carrying his mug, Doyle went in search of Cowley. "Sir? Any developments?"
          "Depends what you're looking for." Cowley waved him to a seat. "We can charge Jarvis and Selby with the bank robbery; but we have no evidence of anything else."
          "But what about the phone call to Solomon?"
          "There's nothing in it that couldn't be explained away, and our phone tap is illegal, Doyle." Cowley held up his hand to pre-empt Doyle's argument. "You don't need to remind me about our small print - if we had any evidence then I'd be quoting it myself. But as things stand his lawyers would have a field day and there's no point in making waves if we can't back it up with hard evidence."
          Ruth appeared around the door, file in hand. "We've just got the forensics report on the car that killed Hazel, sir."
          Cowley held out his hand for the file. "Anything interesting?"
          Ruth nodded. "Fingerprints. The owner and his family have been eliminated, leaving us with two other sets. One belongs to whoever broke into the vehicle; they're all around the driver's door and under the dash, but they've been overlaid on the steering wheel by the second."
          "Whose fingerprints?"
          "Jarvis broke in, but he wasn't driving. We don't have the second set on record; they don't belong to Selby or Randall."
          "Solomon. It has to be: he left the club with Jarvis." Doyle was heading for the door when Cowley stopped him.
          "We still need evidence, Doyle." Cowley stood up. "We'll interview Jarvis again - now we have him for murder he might be more cooperative."

          He wasn't.
          "So, you can prove I was in the car. So what? I wasn't driving, and you know it. Best charge you'll get is accessory to murder." Jarvis smirked at them. "I know nothing about this other person you say is missing, and you can't prove anything else."
          "We don't need to prove anything else," Cowley told him. "Accessory carries a high penalty of its own particularly when you won't give up the name of the murderer. Add that charge to the bank robbery and we'll throw away the key anyway."
          It failed to rattle Jarvis. "I'll be OK. I've got friends."
          "I'll bet." Doyle and Murphy had used all their tactics for hours previously, and Jarvis still hadn't talked. Much as he would have liked to, something told Doyle that he could beat Jarvis to a pulp and still not get the information they wanted.
          And in the meantime, Bodie was still missing. Unable to take Jarvis' smirking any longer, Doyle stalked outside.
          Cowley joined him after a few minutes. "We'll get nothing from him." He bounced the file thoughtfully in his palm. "What about the other one?"
          "Selby? We can place him at the robbery..."
          "What about the murder?"
          "But he wasn't at the casino. And those aren't his fingerprints."
          "If it's just a little matter of evidence, Doyle, I'm sure we can arrange something..."
          Doyle stared at Cowley. "Are you suggesting we fit him up?"
          Cowley held his stare for a few seconds. "Och, no. But he doesn't know that..."
          Doyle suddenly grinned. Selby hadn't been as cool under questioning as Jarvis; Lucas and McCabe hadn't managed to break him but it might not take much more.
          "Take Murphy in with you; good cop, bad cop. Imply he'll go down for Hazel's murder, guilty or not."

          Selby kept glancing over his shoulder at Doyle; standing silently against the wall behind him. "I told you. I was along on the bank robbery, that's all. Jarvis recruited me. I don't know anything about any casino, or some girl getting killed."
          Murphy had been doing the same quiet persistent questioning for the last half hour. "So you keep telling us. Shame we don't believe you."
          Doyle decided he'd been standing there long enough to strike terror into Selby, and moved forward. "I'm getting tired of this," he growled.
          Murphy waved him back. "We've got fingerprints from the car that killed the girl. All over the steering wheel."
          "Not mine," Selby insisted, with another worried glance at Doyle. "You can't make out it was me."
          "We can if we want."
          Selby's voice shook. "What? You can't..."
          Murphy sat back in his seat, and Doyle moved in. "We can do what we want. Someone killed that girl. We have evidence of Jarvis being in the car, you're associates. You work it out. Someone's going down for her murder..."
          "No..." Selby appealed to Murphy, as the reasonable one. "Look, I don't know anything about the girl, honest."
          Doyle shot his next question in while Selby was unsettled. "What about Bodie? What about the man you grabbed who followed you from the bank?"
          The change in tack caught Selby off guard and he negated his previous denials of knowing anything about Bodie. "He was all right when we left him..." he blurted out.
          Doyle leaned heavily on the table in front of Selby. "And where was that?"

          The building was empty. Doyle kicked again at the door where they'd broken in. "Where the hell's Bodie? Do you think Selby's sold us a pup?"
          "I doubt it." Poking around in the dust, Murphy came up with a slim black wallet and flipped it open. "Bodie was here, at least."
          He held it out to Doyle: Bodie's CI5 ID. "There's no blood and no body. Someone moved him."
          "Yeah. And that someone has to be Solomon. Selby said he and Jarvis were coming back here if we hadn't grabbed them. So who else would know about Bodie? Who else would move him?"
          "You don't know that, Ray."
          Doyle snapped the wallet shut. "I can feel it. This has Solomon all over it."
 

          They returned to headquarters, Doyle ready to have another go at persuading Cowley to let them lift Solomon.
          Ruth was in Cowley's office as he reached the door; Doyle was just in time to hear what she had to say. "Randall has finally come up with something useful."
          "Well, what was it?" Doyle shot out impatiently. It couldn't be as important as getting Solomon.
          "He remembered what Jarvis said at the casino: 'Waverley's fixed it - the team will be out of the way'."
          "Waverley?" Where did Doyle know that name from?
          "Chief Inspector Waverley? Head of Robbery Squad?" Ruth handed Cowley a file. "On the morning of the robbery, the squad were all out in West London staking out a building society. They'd had a tip-off about a raid; the information was supplied by Waverley. While they were out there, the raid happens in East London."
          Cowley was flicking through the file. "Impressive record. After a slow start, Waverley suddenly started bringing in good information and making arrests, and hasn't looked back since."
          "I remember him now. He was a DC on the Robbery Squad. Star of the bloody show; he'd barely been there three weeks and he landed a very big fish." Doyle frowned. "What are you saying, Ruth? That Waverley is on Solomon's payroll?"
          "Think about it, Ray. We were onto Solomon, remember, and suddenly the job was blown. If it was none of us, then someone told Solomon CI5 was after him."
          "So he used Hazel to set some bugs to find out what we knew about him..."
          "And took advantage when he heard about the guns Bodie was trying to buy. He probably wanted them to use on the bank raid."
          "Waverley isn't a common name but it might not be him," Cowley cautioned. "However, I think we probably have sufficient grounds to request a chat..."
          Before he could get any further, Doyle interrupted him. "Sir, Bodie wasn't at the address Selby gave us. At least, he'd been there but -"
          "I know. Murphy called it in." Cowley paused on his way to the door. "We will find him, Doyle."
          "Let me bring Solomon in. He's behind it all; at least we can question him..."
          Cowley hesitated, and Doyle leapt in. "We have Randall's statement now that Jarvis and Solomon left the casino together; it's circumstantial but it must give us reasonable grounds to question Solomon. Once we've got his fingerprints it'll remove all doubt."
          "All right. Take a team and bring him in. But use kid gloves - he can afford the best brief in the business, remember..."
 

          They hadn't needed the kid gloves: they could have used boxing gloves and not made any waves. Cowley had given the team on surveillance a rocket, but it didn't help. Solomon had slipped the net, and was gone, probably already out of the country.
          The VIP Lounge was deserted; Doyle sat alone with a cold cup of coffee. There was really no point in sitting there but leaving would feel like he was abandoning Bodie...
          Murphy appeared, car keys in hand. "Come on Ray, I'm taking you home."
          "I'd rather stay here..."
          Betty had followed Murphy into the room. "Mr Cowley's orders. You haven't slept properly and he wants you fit for tomorrow. I'll be here and I'll phone you if we hear anything."
          Another night on the sofa wasn't appealing. Doyle surrendered. "You promise to phone me?"
          "I promise, Ray. Go..."

          As Murphy's tail-lights disappeared round the corner, Doyle headed for the front door. The car outside his place was a large limo and the driver's door swung open as he approached.
          "Mr Doyle?"
          "Who wants to know?" This had all the hallmarks of a kidnap attempt and Doyle glanced behind him, ready to go for his gun should things turn nasty.
          The driver opened the rear door of the limo. "Mr Solomon would like a word with you, sir. Mr Simeon Solomon," he added, as Doyle reached under his jacket.
          Doyle nodded, keeping his hand where it was, and having no intention of being slugged from behind. "You get back into the cab and shut your door first."
          The driver obeyed his instruction and once his door was clicked shut, Doyle moved warily forward to peer into the back. The interior light revealed just the old man, and he relaxed slightly - but only slightly. He might not have been in the same league as the Krays, but in his heyday Simeon Solomon had been dangerous.
          "Is it true what I hear? You have evidence to charge my son with murder?"
          "It's true." Doyle wondered what was coming next - an offer of a bribe to 'lose' the evidence?
          The old man seemed to know better than to try it, shrugging. "He's left the country."
          As they suspected. "Well, you can pass on a message from me, personally. Tell him not to bother coming back because I'll be waiting for him; after what he did to Hazel I'm ready to wait a long time."
          Figuring that was all that needed to be said Doyle began to back out of the vehicle, but Solomon put out a hand to delay him. "He won't be back. I will take care of his family and the business from now on."
          "It won't stop us coming after you."
          "I don't expect it will. But his family have suffered enough."
          Doyle thought back to that afternoon. Finding their quarry gone, the arrest team hadn't been particularly careful in their search of Solomon's place, keen to find any evidence of his whereabouts but also searching for something which might find Bodie. They'd tried to persuade his wife to leave and take the kids with her but she'd been too scared - Arthur had told her to stay put. She was sporting a large recent bruise over one eye and Doyle had no doubt where she'd got it. "If they're innocent we don't need to harass them."
          "I'm glad we understand each other, Mr Doyle."
          "I wouldn't say that." Doyle waited, but there didn't seem to be any more, and he got back out onto the pavement.
          The driver got out to shut the back door of the limo. "Please wait here, sir." With those few cryptic words he slid back into the limo and shut the door before Doyle could question him.
          Wait? What the hell for? Doyle grasped the butt of his gun again. As the limo moved slowly away, a car parked down the street started up and moved slowly forward, rolling to a stop just in front of him.
          The rear door opened - and Doyle threw caution to the winds, rushing forward to help his obviously-groggy partner...

          "I don't know who moved me from the warehouse. Jarvis and that other thug left me and I thought they'd be back, but they didn't reappear, at least while I was conscious." Safely installed on Doyle's sofa Bodie was sipping coffee, and nursing a sore head if not a concussion. "I lost track of a lot of time, and when I did wake up I was in a nice comfy bedroom with all mod cons. Only problem was the door was locked, and I wasn't in much of a state to object. When they did open the door, this old boy comes in and asks me a few questions about CI5 and you; wanted to know if you would keep your word. It's all a bit hazy really."
          "That 'old boy' was Simeon Solomon." Checking out whether Doyle could be trusted to leave Arthur's family alone. Doyle wondered what would have been the outcome, if he hadn't given Solomon the right answer, then decided he really didn't want to know.
          "Yeah, kinda figured that out. When these other two men came back a bit later and took me out to the car, I thought I might be on my way for a fitting with some concrete boots. Then we fetched up outside here and I thought you might be joining me..."
          "Nah. Solomon's one of the biggest criminals going, but he's no murderer. Unlike Arthur. He skipped the country before we could grab him."
          "He'll be back. We'll get him one day." Bodie stretched out on the sofa. "So, what are you cooking for me? Been days since I ate properly..."
 


© Carol Good - July 2004