Framed: A Ryan Parish PI Short Story-scene one

I spend a lot of time watching people cheat on their spouse or insurance company. Sometimes, I get involved in looking for missing persons. This assignment, though, wasn’t going to be anything like my usual cases.

Clive Richards had been charged with murder. According to the charge sheet, he’d strangled a young woman named Ellen Ford, a sex worker, after an engagement with her in a brothel in Brompton.

The police had lifted Clive’s fingerprints from the crime scene. They had a DNA sample extracted from semen left in a discarded condom found next to the body, which matched Clive’s DNA profile, and CCTV footage of him entering and leaving the brothel.

And, just to top off the case against Clive, his bank had confirmed he’d paid for services at the brothel on the night of the murder with his credit card.

It looked like a watertight case with precious little wriggle room for a jury to give Clive the benefit of the doubt.

But, Clive was protesting his innocence and insisting he’d been framed. The police weren’t buying his story, given the pile of evidence they had stacked against him.

Miranda’s friend, Maggie Clark, was defending Clive, which is why I was sitting in her office. You can probably guess how I got roped into finding out if Clive was telling her the truth or not.

‘What do you think, Maggie? Do you believe him?’

Maggie twisted her hands together and shrugged. ‘I really don’t know, Ryan. He’s an arsehole, if I’ve ever met one, but I can’t let that get in the way of his defence. I owe it to him to at least find out if there’s a possibility he’s telling the truth.’

I picked up the folder she’d asked me to read before our meeting. ‘The police case looks pretty convincing to me. We could be wasting our time,’ I said.

‘He’s got plenty of money,’ said Maggie, ‘and it would be nice to stick one up the police, especially if they haven’t done their job properly.’

That turned it into a bit of a challenge, and I liked a challenge, especially one that could expose a case based solely on the obvious. And, even if I wasn’t convinced of Clive’s innocence, I was willing to take his money.

‘What’s Clive’s story?’ I asked.

‘He’s in the import business. Fairly successful from what I can tell,’ said Maggie. ‘He’s in business with his brother, Charles.’

‘How long?’

‘They started in ninety-eight,’ said Maggie. ‘They have a warehouse on Norwood Parade.’

‘C and C Imports?’

‘That’s it.’

Small world. I’d bought stuff from them. ’What’s his version of what happened?’

Maggie looked at her notes. ‘He doesn’t deny going to the brothel. Claims he’s a regular, but he denies killing the girl. Says she was alive when he left.’

‘We know from the police report he was at the brothel the night she was killed,’ I said.

‘Yes. The CCTV confirms that.’

‘Have you seen the footage?’

‘Yes, but it only covers the area in front of the reception desk. There are no other cameras inside the brothel, according to the police,’ said Maggie.

’So, we know he went in and came out?’

‘Yes, and that he left before the girl was found dead,’ said Maggie.

‘How long before?’

Maggie looked at her notes again. ‘About twenty minutes.’

‘Doesn’t look good.’

‘But that’s enough time for someone else to act,’ said Maggie, ‘if Clive’s right about being framed.’

She had a point, but that someone either wanted Clive out of the way or was organised enough to capitalise on his presence in the brothel to terminate Ellen Ford for some other reason.

To be continued…


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West and Stella Bruno Investigates crime series.

The bottle shop job – part 3

The Grim Reaper might not have figured in Pat’s thoughts as he’d sat nursing his pint but burglara few of the Reaper’s friends had come to the pub that night. One had come in the guise of Marty Siddle, who’d appeared next to Pat at the bar. Marty was the fellow who had regaled Pat with his stories of deactivating security systems the last time Pat had been holidaying within the prison system. Continue reading “The bottle shop job – part 3”

The bottle shop job – part 2

The incremental improvement in home security that Pat had learned about the hard way burglarwas the introduction of remotely monitored, miniature cameras. These little gadgets, discretely tucked away in out of the way places, allowed a security firm to respond to a break-in without the intruders being aware they had triggered an alarm. Shortly after his thirtieth birthday, Pat had discovered that being caught on the premises, booty in hand, by a police patrol alerted to his presence by the firm monitoring the system, was a difficult charge to deny. Continue reading “The bottle shop job – part 2”

The bottle shop job – part 1

This week I’m back in writing mode, and I’ve started on the journey that will produce the third book in the Inspector West series, for release in the second half of 2015. I’m also working on a series of shorter stories with a working title of The Walsh Files and thought I’d offer you an insight into the development of some of those stories. I’m not sure how long each story will be yet but it should be fun finding out.
Continue reading “The bottle shop job – part 1”