Motive, means, and opportunity – Episode 9

Detectives Bryson and Worthy visit Bergman’s Lawyer

Stuart, Stewart, and Barnes, Attorneys-At-Law, had upmarket offices in Queen’s brownstone, the sort of place that upstairs was a residence, and downstairs, offices, for what might be a family business.

There was a girl at a desk inside the front door, which was backed by a glass wall that showed several offices with doors open and a central breakout space that also doubled as a waiting area.

Worthy and Bryson had to push a button beside the front door and announce themselves before the door was opened.  Bryson assumed there was a CCTV camera above the door which showed who they were.

In the time they took to get in and front up to the desk, the girl had called Ray Stuart, Bergman’s legal representative, and he was coming down the stairs to greet them.

“I’ve been expecting you,” he said, approaching the two, then, “Follow me.”

They went inside and into the office on the left.  Once inside, Stuart closed the door, directed the two to seats opposite a large table, and then sat himself.

“I assume you are aware Alex Bergman is dead?”

“Yes.  Otherwise, why would you be here?”

“Are you surprised?  It seems others we have seen are not,” Bryson said.

“He was just a client, one of many.  Not particularly important, but problematic.”

“How so?”

“His financial affairs, and a difficult divorce.”

“Why difficult?”

“His business was bankrupt, he was personally bankrupt, and had he not died, you would be here for entirely different reasons.  The last time I saw him, two days ago, my only advice to him was to disappear.  I jokingly said, in parting, that the best thing that could happen was his death.  I read he died from a gunshot wound to the head.  Was it self-inflicted?”

“We don’t believe so.  No,” Bryson said.  “Rather brutal advice on your part though?”

“He was facing three civil lawsuits over business dealings, each of which had compelling evidence against him.  His wife had ample evidence of his infidelity and her claims would have bene taken seriously, and three other women had sworn complaints of blackmail.  Like I said, if he hadn’t died, you’d be here to arrest him for any one of a dozen other reasons.”

“You have documentation of these complaints?”

“Yes.  I’ll have copies of the relevant documents sent to you”.

Worthey handed him his card.  “Send them to that address, to me, thanks.”

“Did he have a will?” Bryson asked.


“Can you tell me what was in it?”

“The company goes to Richard Hollingsworth, not that it has any value, or assets, other than working funds and current stock.  What there is will just cover the expenses and current debt.  All that will be left is the company name.  His personal assets go to his daughter, Sandra, from an earlier marriage, but that will not amount to very much.  His current wife, Stacey, gets nothing.  He had transferred all of the assets she currently possesses to her a while back, so they are not her responsibility.  His current residence was not owned but rented, and I’ll be arranging the end of the lease, after, I assume, you do an inspection.”

Stuart scribbled the address down on a piece of note paper and handed it to Worthey.

“Did he have anyone who would want to kill him?”

“I’m sure his PA back at the office could tell you that better than I could.”


“No.  She hated him because of his infidelity, but not enough to kill him.  Her idea of punishment was humiliation.”

Bryson stood.  He’d heard enough.  “If there’s anything else you can think of, please call Worthey.  Thank you for your time.”

© Charles Heath 2019-2023

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