Chapter 51

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Captain Varga was not happy to discover Martinez had already visited her prime suspect. She was only slightly pacified by the information he was able to provide to her about the contract killer who preferred to garrotte his victims. Once he looked, he had found another two cases since those on Burra ten years ago. One on Mayia and the other on Capella itself.

"I'm thinking the assassin was the one who came in through the skylight. The second person was the one who stunned the guards and came in through the kitchen window, then proceeded to sabotage the console unit." Martinez faced Varga across her desk, at their temporary headquarters on King's Island.

"I agree," she frowned at him. "I still think Lang is our prime suspect for that. I know he let my officers search his cabin without a warrant, but he had plenty of time to dispose of any evidence."

Martinez smiled, apologetically. "He's not the only man on Moonta who is on that blackmail list we found in Rossi's apartment."

"What do you mean?" queried Captain Varga uneasily. She didn't like that look on Martinez' face.

"Lars Muller, your Lieutenant. He's on the list too."


Muller was surprised and alarmed to see Captain Varga and another officer at his door on Paradise Island.

"This is Captain Martinez, from Capella," she introduced them. "Lars Muller. Can we come in?"

"Of course, Captain, sir," he ushered them inside, keeping an inquiring smile on his face. What had they found?

"We're investigating the death of Ron Pearce four nights ago," she informed him. "Can you tell us what you were doing that night?"

He allowed a puzzled look to cross his face. "Of course, Captain, but can I ask why? Why you're asking me, I mean?"

The stranger, Martinez, answered smoothly, "Your name has come up in the course of our investigations."

Muller waited but the officer didn't say anything more. "I was here, with my wife. Actually, I had a stomach virus and I was up and down to the bathroom, that night and the night before. I assure you I could barely get to the bathroom, let alone find my way to King's Island."

At that opportune moment Sheila came back from the pool, a bright yellow robe draped around her damp shoulders.

"Darling," Muller called, "Can you tell these officers where I was four nights ago?"

She looked at them in surprise, "Why hullo, Captain Varga. Here of course. We've been here for six days, on our vacation."

"It was the second night I had that stomach virus," he reminded her. He drew her affectionately to his side and turned to Varga. "Sheila was such a help. Although we were in separate rooms, she got up at least three times each night to make sure I was all right, bringing me glasses of water, cleaning me up."

"Is that right, Serra Easton?" Varga sought confirmation.

Sheila nodded. Lars had been so grateful, so affectionate the next day, telling her how wonderful she had been, she hardly liked to confess she didn't actually remember getting up at all that second night. In fact, she thought she had slept rather heavily and felt a bit guilty as a result, but apparently she had acted on autopilot.


Bari Fanshaw smiled as he poured himself a glass of copper liqueur, and put his feet up on a small embroidered stool. The liqueur was expensive, but he deserved it.

Only four days since Pearce had died and his subordinates were already fighting over who would take over. Personally, he couldn't care less. Whoever came out on top would continue to need his expertise, criminals could come and go but accountants carried on.

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