Motive, means, and opportunity – Episode 10

Detective Bryson goes to Bergman’s residence

The address in 84th Avenue Jamaica, was between Jamaica Hills and Briarwood, and a little confusing because there was an 84th Avenue, 84th Drive, 84th Road.  It led Bryson to a single two-story house with a driveway up the side to a garage.  It was not wide, but long, and painted a rather odd colour, and in need of updating.  It

He parked the car in the side alley and pulled out the key ring that was found on the body, and went up to the front door.  He stepped to the side and looked through the window, where there were several cracks in the Venetian blinds.  It was too dark inside to see anything.

The seventh key he tried opened the outer glass door and the last the front door.  There was no alarm, at least not one that was set.  It was clear, once inside, that no one else was in the building.  He switched on the light and was confronted with a rather untidy room with old furniture, and few modern comforts.

He put on the gloves he had brought, and picked his way carefully through the mess, trying not to disturb anything.  After a cursory inspection, he would call in the CSI team.

It was a room that wasn’t used often, with no television, a setoff shelves with a few books tossed in, and items of clothing tossed on a settee.  The room had a musty odour, as though it was not used, nor cleaned often.  Moving towards the back there was a dining room, with a large table covered in documents, newspapers, connections for a computer, a printer, a USB hub, and leads leading to missing devices, one of which was possibly a phone.  Other than the printer, there was no other hardware.

The kitchen showed signs of recent use, with dirty dishes and cutlery tossed hastily in the sink.  A look in the refrigerator showed a few items, some looking very stale, and a block of cheese that had turned green.  He didn’t check the milk, it looked off.

The papers on the table were haphazardly tossed, perhaps as a result of Bergman looking for something and not finding it.  It didn’t have the feel of someone else looking for something.

Further on was a passage leading to the back of the house and another entrance.  Back in the middle of the house were stairs going up and down.  Visible from the outside was a basement, and Bryson shuddered, a bad experience in his childhood to do with basements came back to haunt him.  It was going to take some effort to go down there.

Upstairs there were two very large bedrooms and a bathroom, the first bedroom showing signs of use, with clothes tossed on the bed, others tossed on the floor.  The closet doors were open, and clothes were hanging, half hanging, or fallen on the floor.  It looked like Bergman was in a hurry to find something that he believed was in the closet.

There was nothing in the other bedroom, nor anything of interest in the bathroom.  Overall, Bergman was very untidy.  The upstairs rooms had faded wallpaper, and in places, it was peeling off.  The roof was stained, and the bathroom had mould.

The whole ground floor and upstairs needed repainting, and the bathrooms modernized. And the wallpaper replaced or removed.  The carpet in the upstairs rooms was both stained and very dirty.

He went back downstairs and pulled out his torch, headed down the stairs to the basement.  At the bottom, there was a door, locked, and the first time through all the keys, not one unlocked the door.  He tried again and found that a little more elbow grease was required to turn the key in the lock.

Just to be on the safe side, not knowing what to expect, Bryson pulled out his gun and was ready, just in case there was a surprise.  He opened the door and pushed it open slowly.

Darkness,  And a very bad smell, like something had died down there.

He reached inside the wall and found the light switch, then turned on the lights.

The area he could see was surprisingly clean, and sparsely furnished, with a long table with boxed neatly set out.  Along one of the walls was a set of filing cabinets.  The floor was uncovered concrete, and the odour was most likely rising damp.

When he crossed the room to the table, he could see, in the other direction, a doorway that looked like an exit, and a free-standing safe, quite large, with the door open.  He went over to look inside, but it was empty.

There was no clue as to what might have been in there, but Bryson suspected whatever there had been, Bergman had taken with him, the day he died, or before that, but recent.

The boxes on the table had power tools in them and were probably part of the stock in trade.

On one box was a folder which Bryson carefully opened and looked at the first page.

Shipping dockets.  Some in the name of Phillip McGarry, and the rest in the name of Avondale Traders, Bergman’s company.

He tried the keys on the filing cabinets but none of them opened any of the cabinets.  Each appeared to be full because Bryson tried moving them and it was very difficult.  CSI would be able to get into them, and he would have to wait.

There was the noise of a car pulling into the alley beside the house and then stopping.  A few seconds later, two doors slammed shut.

He raced up the stairs, closing the door behind him, and reached the top just as the visitors opened the front door.

© Charles Heath 2019-2023

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