Chapter Three

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I woke late the following morning, showered later, and finally ate breakfast at a quarter to midday. I rolled into work with the Edge case tucked under my arm and was met with a look from Joan that would have fried eggs in their shells.

"Joan..." I began cheerily

"Satchmo, your report is now overdue, I would like it in the next half hour as you are costing this company money." 

Ahh yes, the report. I heard satisfaction in Joan's voice, a certain 'I told you so' element that grated on me.

"Good morning to you too, Joan," I cast in her direction as I breezed into my office and swung the door shut behind me.

I dropped the Edge folder onto the mountain of newspapers that had taken up residence on the far corner of my desk and stifled a cough as the resultant dust mushroom cloud shot up my nostrils.

It was time to swing into action now; the great private detective at work, tackling dastardly paperwork with the fervour of the Just and a steely glint in the eye.

Actually, I just needed to give myself some breathing space as far as Joan was concerned. There were only so many disapproving looks I could take in a short period of time.

With a breezy wave of my forearm, I swept a clutter of papers, files and folded newspapers off my desk and into the corner of the room to join a growing pile. It was an elephants' graveyard of failed lines of enquiry, tedious jobs and half-done cryptic crosswords.

I reached into my drawer and took out a bumper A4 refill pad; the spawning ground of failed ideas and successful paper planes.

Finding missing people could be easy or very hard depending on the exact way in which they were missing. People who decide to go AWOL are usually easy enough to find, as most people can't do without the trappings of modern life.

Credit cards, mobile phones, utility bills, the deed poll and even access to doctors or dentists can lead to locating someone who tries to stay hidden, if you know how to use them.

Finding missing people becomes truly difficult when the person concerned has had no part in their disappearance. If the Fates conspire to pluck you from your established and comfy existence and wipe you from the slate, then you become exceptionally hard to find.

Luckily it seemed that in the case of Tyrone Edge I was dealing with the former.

Tyrone Edge was described in the file left by his uncle as a loner; fiercely independent and entirely self-sufficient. Old Morgan Edge even suggested a mild sociophobia in his nephew. His inclination to suggest that Tyrone would need to be found suggests that his disappearance had more to do with Tyrone himself than with any external foul play.

I wrote TYRONE EDGE at the top of my pad, under which I added the words CLASSIC HERMIT and underlined them three times. I chewed the end of my Biro for a second, then wrote EXPECTED TO BE HARD TO FIND and joined my headings with a line. Then, in a spider fashion, I circled my last entry with a cluster of possible leads; birth/death records, hospitals, land registry, credit/mortgage, utilities, doctors. It was my usual list and formed according to my own personal contacts and preferred methods.

My father had been a respected policeman and had made many friends in many industries during his time on the force; a few were still in their positions and would help me out if and when I asked. Some helped less out of respect for my father and more for the fee that I offered.

The first call I made was to Walker. 

Walker Pelc was a solicitor of sorts. He was the product of a fiery union between a Second World War Polish fighter ace and an English shop worker, and he closely resembles a stoat in a charity shop suit. 

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