Chapter 2

When Martin arrived at Michael Shelly’s house the police were finishing their questioning. Mrs Jenkins who they had sent for from the village. sniffed into her handkerchief and tut tutted about the mess that she would inevitably have to clear up.

Julia sat quietly on a chair near the door, stroking Barney and restraining him from disturbing the mess around the cottage.

“Are you alright?” Martin asked, worry lines written all over his face.

Julia nodded. “I think something awful has happened to Michael. There’s blood on the floor over there, and I found his phone behind that chair” she pointed to the corner “I was the last person he spoke to”

The sergeant came over to them. “You can go home now and leave everything to us. We’ll be in contact with you if anything crops up. I understand you are taking the dog away.”

“Michael asked me to take him, that’s why I came.” replied Julia. “I’ll take him home with me until further notice”

She picked up Barney’s basket which had been torn apart by the intruders, then put it back on the floor and left it there. She would find Barney one of her own baskets. Taking Barney’s food and leads she took Martin’s hand and they went out to the cars.

Martin squeezed Julia’s hand. “You take Barney and I’ll call in for fish and chips and see you back home”

Julia nodded glad to be away from the cottage. She settled Barney into her car and still feeling emotionally drained, she waved to Martin and drove away.


James Warriner picked up his phone and with sharp movements dialled a number. A tall slim man in his early forties and recently divorced, he worked as a barrister in Carmarthen. He was used to being in charge of his life and he radiated an air of authority. Tapping his desk with his pen he waited impatiently for a reply to his call. The news he had just heard had affected him badly. He had phoned Michael that afternoon asking him to do an errand for him so the police were bound to find his number on Michael’s phone. The last thing he wanted was the police round asking awkward questions.

“Alan Roberts speaking” a voice answered.

Without waiting for any niceties James came quickly to the point.

“Have you heard that Michael Shelly has gone missing?” he barked. “The police have been at his cottage all afternoon, apparently the place has been ransacked. I don’t know if the intruders found anything.”

Alan was silent for a moment.

“Did you hear me” James shouted down the phone.

“Easy old chap, Michael kept nothing at home, and as far as I’m concerned we have done nothing illegal”

“Well somebody did, they found blood on the floor. I want a meeting of the Consortium tonight. Will you see to it?”

“I’ll phone round the group, but you know that Christine is away.”

“The usual place then. 10 o-clock” James ordered before banging the receiver down.

He swivelled backwards and forwards in his chair, his quick brain making plans.


Julia and Martin finished their supper and cleared away the dishes. Julia was feeling more relaxed now that she was back at home. One of her many cats came and sat on her lap and was now purring loudly.

“I’ll take the dogs out tonight” Martin offered “You just take it easy.”

“No. I’ll come with you, the fresh air will do me good and I need company.”

They fetched their coats and picking up the dog’s leads Martin made for the door.

Dylan, a little Jack Russell, who was their own dog, and Barney wagged their tails in anticipation, and both dogs pushed Martin aside to be the first out of the door.

“Leads on boys” Martin said grabbing Barney first, and passing him over to Julia, then putting Dylan on his lead they started off.

The rain had passed over and the air felt fresh with just a slight breeze. They always walked Dylan at this time of the evening and they decided to take the dogs to the old race track, which was nearby, so that they could let the dogs off the leads and they could run about at will.

“I’m worried about Michael.” Julia spoke anxiously. “What do you think could have happened to him.? ”Julia shuddered. “He’s such a nice guy.”

“ I don’t know. Let’s just see what tomorrow brings. I don’t want you upset about this, after all it’s not our business”

“Michael was part of my business. He introduced me to quite a few of his friends.” Julia said.

She walked along swinging Barney’s lead then dropped it on the floor and trod on it.

“This lead is always too heavy to be comfortable.” She said. “I prefer just the ordinary lead.”

Picking up the lead she noticed a gap in the retractable handle and tried to push it back together.

“Ouch!” she exclaimed as the metal dug into her hand.

“Give me that and I’ll look at it when we get home. Is your hand alright?” Julia nodded and they continued their walk until the dogs, tired and with their tongues hanging out and tails wagging, trotted up, ready for home.

Back at the house Martin examined the dog’s lead while Julia got them a whisky each. She sat on the settee next to Martin and a cat immediately jumped on her lap.

“It looks as if there’s something in this handle.” Martin looked at the retractable handle as he tinkered with it with a knife. Suddenly the side of the handle shot off and a key with a red top fell out on to the floor.

“Funny place to keep a key” he mused.

“It must be the front door key” Julia replied. “The back door key, which is the one I use, is the large type key. Strange looking key though.”

Julia took the key and put it into her purse for safe keeping.


James, calmer now sat in an easy chair, with the consortium group sitting around him.

The consortium had been formed amongst a few friends a couple of years ago with an eye to buying and selling shares on the stock market.

The group comprised of James Warriner himself, who always chaired the meetings, James’s ex- wife Jenny Warriner who owned an estate agents in the town, air line pilot Alan Roberts, solicitor Christine Hughes who was the owner of White Cottage, and Michael Shelly who served as the accountant for the group.

Christine was away in Cardiff for the weekend to watch the Rugby, and so was absent.

“You all know why we’re here.” James boomed. “Michael has got himself into a spot of bother and I want to know the reason.”

“I didn’t think we had bought or sold anything for a few months now, with the recession and everything.” Jenny ventured.

“Well you know, Michael did a few things on the side.” drawled Alan. “He got me a painting from France a few months back.”

James looked thoughtful.

“Did anybody else have any dealings of this kind?” asked James.

“Can’t speak for Christine.” came Alan.

“Oh! I thought perhaps you could.” countered Jenny spitefully.

“Darling! Long time ago.” replied Alan.

“He did a job for me”

Startled the group looked at James.

“It was nothing illegal so it won’t affect anybody here. I asked him to purchase a statuette from Greece while he was over there recently.”

“Expensive?” asked Alan.

“Very.” replied James. “I want to know if anyone else knew about this.”

They all shook their heads.

“Michael was not one to talk about his business, so as far as I know no one else knew about it.” said James.

“Pillow talk do you think?” asked Alan looking at Jenny.

“Wait a minute. Don’t try implicating me, it’s more likely to be Christine. She’s the one who has been seen with him recently.” spat Jenny.

“Jealous darling.” from James.

Jenny threw a look of pure hatred at her ex-husband.

“Look, we’ll get nowhere by bitching with each other, and it’s not fair to implicate Christine in anything while she’s not here to answer. Anyway, we don’t know that it was the statuette that the intruders were after, we don’t know all Michael’s transactions” James got up. “Just keep alert, and I’d appreciate any information that comes to light.”

Alan stayed behind after the others had left. Lighting up a cigarette which annoyed James he said. “Michael had an airport security box you know.”

“Yes! I did know” replied James thoughtfully.

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