It all started in Venice – Episode 18

Observing the enemy

“She’s not talking,” the detective who had been trying to get answers to various questions, said, after coming out of the room, looking somewhat exasperated.

I’d been watching him spar with her, and her legal representative telling her that unless the police had concrete evidence, she need not answer any questions, except with a ‘No comment’.  Not once though did she ask to leave, which she could do at any time.

That was interesting.

“I’m not surprised.  Technically she’s done nothing wrong, yet.  Perhaps we need to ask some different questions.”

He sighed.  “Then, by all means, do so.  I’ve been told you know more about her connection to Larry Fortescue, a person we are very familiar with, but this is a connection we’re not fully across yet.  You are aware we found several crates in one of her warehouses with his name on them, one of which had several blocks of C4 in it.  She claims it’s not hers and has no idea who it got there, but not the fact she knows him in passing.”

Denying as one would expect that there was more to the relationship other the acquaintances, and appropriate for so-called rival crime bosses.

“You have to admit, though, it’s not the sort of stuff your average beauty products sales person would have lying around.”

Nominally, she called herself a beautician who runs a chain of so-called health clinics which made the perfect front for other more nefarious activities, allegedly.  No one had yet proved without a doubt anything else happened there.

“These days nothing would surprise me.  Some of the chemicals we also found could very easily be ingredients for bombs, but she had the permits, and it’s all accounted for.  This is the first time we’ve been able to pull her in.”

“A routine check, or a tip?”

“Actually, someone called the hotline to say that men who looked like terrorists in a white van were unloading crates in a suspicious manner.  I kid you not, that was what we were told.”

Men who looked like terrorists.

“Now that Larry is implicated, well be happy to share what we have.  He would be a far likelier owner of the explosive, and this is a rare mistake on his part to leave his name on the crate.  This is the first lead we have on how he keeps one step ahead of us, using others to hold his stuff and why we can never find it in his possession.  He’ll deny it’s his and that it’s one of his enemies setting him up.”

“We’ve been trying to find him.”

“He’s in Sorrento Italy visiting his mother, and no doubt combining business with pleasure.  It’s no coincidence she is there, he’s looking for me.”

“Then he’ll be out of luck then.  Thanks for the info, I’ll get our people onto tracking him down.  He also has a few questions to answer.”

I looked at the screen on which I had been viewing the interview, noted the smug expression, and the body language that said she thought she was untouchable.

In a sense, she had every right to believe that.  She hadn’t been on Rodby’s radar until she took up with Larry.  Larry was Rodby’s obsession, why I never found out, and knew better than to ask.  Both she and Larry were well known to the police, and both had managed to keep out of jail because they were careful, though Larry had been far more careless in his younger days.

And for a person who was firmly entrenched, but more or less invisible in the criminal landscape, joining with Larry was her biggest mistake.

Rodby had brought a file with him and I read it in the car on the way here and it was another very thorough deep dive into a woman who for all intents and purposes was nothing like who she portrayed in real life.

A woman with secrets she believed were still intact.

Secrets I could use to gain some leverage, not that I ever liked doing so because often it involved innocents caught up in a world, not of their choice.

But she chose to be a criminal, and there were always consequences, unintended or otherwise.

Enough thinking, it was time.

© Charles Heath 2022

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