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South Bank Blue

South Bank Blue

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South Bank Blue

Lunghezza:
215 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 30, 2012
ISBN:
9781465810625
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Charlie saw the tyre kicker come down the Old Kent Road swinging her Jimmy Choo Saba bag, the sun turning her blonde hair into a golden halo which picked her out from the usual street scene south of the river...........
"Can I help you"
"Maybe..I'm looking for a car"
"Well you came to the right place"
"What's the story on this one...."
"I don't see you in the beamer," Charlie put on his best smile: "How about the MR2 over there....more your style, don't you think?"
"No, not me at all....I don't do sports cars."
"Well how about an RV? Nice Shogun, safe as houses for the school run, trip down the shops."
"Chelsea tractor?" She laughed, "No thanks."
"Well maybe if you told me what you have in mind...."
She looked him in the eye. "I was thinking more of a get-away car"
"Get away?"
"You know, like....from the scene of the crime."
Charlie laughed: "You're having me on."...........
"Impreza?"
Charlie smiled "And guess what....it so happens I've got one around the back."
"How did I know you were going to say that."
"Seriously, just been serviced and valeted ready to come out here on the lot, nice clean motor."
Charlie took her down the aisle between the rows and showed her the powder blue Subaru: "See....straight out of a rally stable, so it's got the pedigree. This one's a bargain, just shy of ten-k with a three month warranty thrown in. You could race the Dakar in this baby."
"Well good....now you've got my attention....you'd better show me what it'll do."
"You want to try it out?"
"That's the general idea....can't take your word for it now can I?"
"Hang on here....I'll get the keys."
When Charlie returned to the office Smokey was in deep conversation with a bling dipped cousin.
"Lady wants a test drive....the blue Subaru."
Smokey looked out of the window. "Tyre kicker?"
"Maybe....maybe not. Could be a butterfly."
"You'd better charm the pants off her Charlie," Smokey said. "You need a sale unless you aim to live off your fat and I don't see much of that!"
Charlie took the keys from his desk and went back to the lot........
She smiled and nodded:" I'm getting the picture. What's your name?"
"Charlie," he said, "Charlie Gittings."
He swung off the lot and turned into the traffic on The Old Kent Road.
She said: "Let's go up to the Elephant, Charlie Gittings, show me what she'll do."
"Not much chance in this traffic." Charlie braked for the speed cameras: "Why don't I pull over and you can have a go, see what you think."
"No....you drive....you probably know all the rat runs around here."
They were passing between the grey concrete cliffs of the Heygate estate with the Elephant and Castle interchange coming up ahead when she said: "Pull over there for a minute....just past the crossing."
"It's a red route....no stopping."
"Be OK, keep the engine running....I'll only be a sec."
Come on..come on............
.......................The burst of gunfire spun him around. His first thought was a news clip from Iraq coming from the TV turned up loud..only there was no TV. The hairs rose on Charlie's neck: "What the hell!"
She came across the pavement fast and jumped into the passenger's seat, the stubby Kalashnikov in her lap. Her eyes locked into his, delivering the challenge
"You choose, Charlie, floor it or get nicked."
"What?" His head spun.
"We just robbed the man."
"Jesus!" He stared at the gun, bug eyed
"Hit it.Charlie!..show me the getaway."
Charlie swallowed hard, gunned the motor and the Impreza hunched down and leaped into the traffic. He hit the Heygate, racing through the estate, taking the corners fast but without squealing the tyres. Driving like he meant it.
Beside him the tyre-kicker started to laugh; reached into her zebra striped Saba, pulled out a fistful of money and threw it into the air. Banknotes swirled around inside the car like c

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 30, 2012
ISBN:
9781465810625
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

BUSBY, Roger (Charles). British. Born in Leicester, 24 July 1941. Educated at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School for Boys; Aston University, Birmingham, Certificate in Journalism, 1968. Married Maureen-Jeanette Busby in 1968. Journalist, Caters News Agency, Birmingham, 1959-66, and Birmingham Evening Mail, Force Information Officer, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Exeter, 1973-1996. Lieutenant Commander RNR Marine Society and Sea Cadets, London, 1997-2012.

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South Bank Blue - Roger Busby

South Bank Blue

The Reckoning

Roger Busby

Published by

Roger Busby at Smashwords

South Bank Blue: The Reckoning

Copyright 2012 by Roger Busby

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy; recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now know or to be invented, without the permission in writing for the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Other Titles

Biography

Prologue

When down on his luck used car salesman Charlie Gittings takes a lady for a test drive he's swept away for a roller coaster crime ride through the streets of South London.

Then there's old time Met detective Mitch Morgan hunting the brutal killer of a girl washed up from the Thames in a case dubbed by the media the mermaid murder.

Down river, a veteran robber is tooling up for one last spectacular job.

And deeper into the badlands, an inmate is on the run from Belmarsh high security prison, bent on revenge.

As their paths cross, shocking secrets from the past come back to haunt them. And suddenly the Southbank explodes in a whirlwind of treachery, murder and mayhem. It's time for The Reckoning!!

Award winning crime writer Roger Busby, best known for his drugs war trilogy The Hunter, Snowman and Crackshot, is back on the beat with a sizzling cops and robbers thriller. His policemen are as real as your next door neighbours, H R F Keating, The Times

For Karl my e-book guru who made it all happen!

Chapter One

Charlie saw the tyre kicker come down the Old Kent Road swinging her Jimmy Choo Saba bag, the sun turning her blonde hair into a golden halo which picked her out from the usual street scene south of the river. He’d happened to look out of the window of the office on Smokey Motors lot where he worked as a commission only used car salesman when he first caught sight of her. The next time he glanced up from the litter of paperwork on his desk she was coming onto the lot, inspecting the orange sunbursts in the windscreens like they were something special. Just another tyre kicker, he told himself, desperate housewife killing time between the school runs. All the same Charlie put on his jacket and stepped out of the office. Smokey insisted on greeting the punters, even the tyre kickers. Called it his chrysalis into butterfly theory… you could never tell when a tyre kicker would suddenly turn into a genuine sale, just one of the mysteries of the motor trade. He caught up with her beside a silver BMW coupe that had seen better days

Can I help you

Maybe..I’m looking for a car

Well you came to the right place

What’s the story on this one…

I don’t see you in the beamer, Charlie put on his best smile: How about the MR2 over there…more your style, don’t you think?

No, not me at all…I don’t do sports cars.

Well how about an RV? Nice Shogun, safe as houses for the school run, trip down the shops.

Chelsea tractor? She laughed, No thanks.

Well maybe if you told me what you have in mind…

She looked him in the eye. I was thinking more of a get-away car

Get away?

You know, like…from the scene of the crime.

Charlie laughed: You’re having me on.

She pursed her lips. Something that’d do say…nought to sixty in six… seven seconds, thereabouts.

Charlie looked around the lot, going along with it.  Well lets see…how about that nine-eleven over there.

Too flash

Oh..yeah?

"Ought to be nondescript…kind of car nobody would remember, but would deliver the goods.

So what would you go for?  Impress me?"

Impress her? That would be about it..Impreza, he said, Subaru Impreza…WRX every time, that’d be my choice, don’t look like much but quick enough off the blocks to outrun most everything except maybe the exotics.

Impreza?

Charlie smiled And guess what…it so happens I’ve got one around the back.

How did I know you were going to say that.

Seriously, just been serviced and valeted ready to come out here on the lot, nice clean motor.

Charlie took her down the aisle between the rows and showed her the powder blue Subaru: See…straight out of a rally stable, so it’s got the pedigree.  This one’s a bargain, just shy of ten-k with a three month warranty thrown in.  You could race the Dakar in this baby.

Well good…now you’ve got my attention…you’d better show me what it’ll do.

You want to try it out?

That’s the general idea…can’t take your word for it now can I?

Hang on here…I’ll get the keys.

When Charlie returned to the office Smokey was in deep conversation with a bling dipped cousin.

Lady wants a test drive…the blue Subaru.

Smokey looked out of the window. Tyre kicker?

Maybe…maybe not.  Could be a butterfly.

You’d better charm the pants off her Charlie, Smokey said. You need a sale unless you aim to live off your fat and I don’t see much of that!

Charlie took the keys from his desk and went back to the lot.  She was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the Impreza waiting for him, Saba bag on her lap.  A jumbo on finals into Heathrow passed overhead with a jet-whine of braking thrust.  Charlie got in behind the wheel.  Close up, in the confines of the car her scent caught him by surprise, snagged in his throat, made his heart pump.  He’d already subconsciously put her at forty-something, nearly old enough to be his mother.  Told himself: Get a grip Charlie.

He turned the key in the ignition and the deep burble of the exhaust brought him back to reality as he began to reel off the Impreza’s vital statistics in his best patter.  Like Smokey said, he needed a sale to eat and pay the rent on his bedsit, not a spin around the block with a tyre-kicker.

She smiled and nodded: I’m getting the picture.  What’s your name?

Charlie, he said, Charlie Gittings.

He swung off the lot and turned into the traffic on The Old Kent Road.

She said: Let’s go up to the Elephant, Charlie Gittings, show me what she’ll do.

Not much chance in this traffic.  Charlie braked for the speed cameras: Why don’t I pull over and you can have a go, see what you think.

No…you drive…you probably know all the rat runs around here.

They were passing between the grey concrete cliffs of the Heygate estate with the Elephant and Castle interchange coming up ahead when she said: Pull over there for a minute…just past the crossing.

It’s a red route…no stopping.

Be OK, keep the engine running…I’ll only be a sec.

I get a ticket, my boss’ll skin me alive.

Trust me…it’ll be all right.

Charlie angled the Impreza into the kerb, pulled up and let the engine idle.  A black cab sidling down the bus lane gave him a disapproving toot.

She got out of the passenger’s side, reaching into her bag, and ducking down Charlie watched her cross the pavement to a shop front over which a playing card shaped sign said Jack-of-Diamonds.  Looked like one of those chunky chain and flash rock jewellers beloved by the denizens of the neighbourhood.  She disappeared inside and Charlie scouted the street for wardens.  Be just my bad luck, time wasting  tyre-kicker and a red-route parking ticket both on the same day. His mind wandered to the possible deal, working out the numbers in his head.  Like Smokey said, you never really knew.

Charlie looked around again; boy and girl about his own age coming down the pavement arm in arm, a woman pushing a buggy, couple of older women lugging shopping bags, youth in a baseball cap; couple of hoodies.  No wardens, touch wood.  Ducked down again and looked over to Jack-of-Diamonds.  Come on..come on…

The burst of gunfire spun him around.  His first thought was a news clip from Iraq coming from the TV turned up loud..only there was no TV.  The hairs rose on Charlie’s neck: What the hell!

She came across the pavement fast and jumped into the passenger’s seat, the stubby Kalashnikov in her lap.  Her eyes locked into his, delivering the challenge

You choose, Charlie, floor it or get nicked.

What? His head spun.

We just robbed the man.

Jesus!  He stared at the gun, bug eyed

Hit it.Charlie!..show me the getaway.

Charlie swallowed hard, gunned the motor and the Impreza hunched down and leaped into the traffic.  He hit the Heygate, racing through the estate, taking the corners fast but without squealing the tyres.  Driving like he meant it.

Beside him the tyre-kicker started to laugh; reached into her zebra striped Saba, pulled out a fistful of money and threw it into the air.  Banknotes swirled around inside the car like confetti.

Chapter Two

Half a dozen community support officers bulked up in their yellow jackets were keeping the rubberneckers back from the taped off area on the south side of Vauxhall Bridge under the lee of the MI6 building.  Time was when PCs would have mounted guard over a crime scene, but that kind of mundane duty was beneath them now.

Morgan was ducking under the tape when a CSO stopped him

Can’t you read?  It says Police Line Do Not Cross.

Morgan showed him his Met ID and the CSO jumped back as if he’d been stung.

Morgan went down the steps to the lower level, climbed over the walkway parapet and went down the aluminium ladder to the riverbed.  As he stepped off the bottom rung mud oozed around his shoes.

He trudged towards the knot of men gathered under the bridge, keeping to the low water tideline.  Out on the Thames a police launch was waving off the tourist traffic, but a tug pulling a string of refuse barges passed through the centre span setting up a bow-wave which rippled down the shoreline and caught Morgan before he could reach the spit of shingle.  His shoes disappeared in soapy scum as the water sloshed around his ankles.  He muttered a short epithet. Looked up and saw his men smirking at his misfortune.

I’ll wipe that smile off your ugly mugs .. you don’t find something useful to do. You’ll be directing traffic… Marble Arch.

A SOCO in a white paper suit looked down at his wet trouser cuffs.

Don’t you start…what’ve we got here Phil?

She’s back there.  The SOCO jerked a thumb.  Made a real mess of her by the looks of things.

Just what we needed to start the week.  Who’s here?

Andy Rawlings and a bunch of Ds from division.

Haven’t trampled all over it have they.

Nah, boss… we got an early shout, got it staked out before the uniforms turned up.  Bridge-man spotted her at first light.  You want to take a shufti?

They went deeper under the bridge and a PC keeping the log on the inner cordon wrote down Detective Superintendent Mitchell Morgan and the time.  Morgan followed the SOCO to the spot where the girl lay.  She was naked, on her back with her hands crossed under her breasts as if she’d been laid out.  Thick brown hair fanned around her head and her face was contorted.

Rawlings came over, nodded at the body. Standing there, the two men couldn’t have appeared more dissimilar.  Morgan, bulky with a bulldog physique, barrel chest and thickening waist, his large head sunk into his shoulders, thinning hair scraped across his skull.  Rawlings, a whisper under six foot but standing taller, his pepper and salt worn in a nine millimetre crop, both bearing and hairstyle legacies of his youthful four year hitch with the Royal Marines.

She’s taken a right pasting, Rawlings said. Raped, buggered and strangled.

Dumped?

Probably.  Looks like she was handcuffed, one of those plastic ties, cut into her wrists, and take a look at this guv’nor… He pointed out the deep welts on her throat.  You don’t see the old Spanish windlass much these days.  Stuffed her panties in her mouth to muffle the screams, tied her tights around her neck and used this stick to tighten the ligature, control her breathing.  He indicated the black tongue lolling between swollen lips. Wicked bastard played with her until the moment he ejaculated…before he snuffed her out.  Semen in every orifice, we’ve got a bucketful, the DNA boys are going to have a ball.

Any idea who she is?

Give us a chance, boss.  She’s probably not been missed yet.  We’re checking the mispers, but my bet is she was walking along the river path there last night, or jogging this morning when he jumped her.

Morgan looked up at the MI6 building towering over them like the prow of an ocean liner.  Right under the nose of the spooks.  The building was bristling with security cameras.  We’re going to need to check their CCTV.

I already asked the liaison officer, you know what a cagey lot they are.

Morgan looked at the body. Looks like she put up a fight.

Yeah, SOCO got fresh scrapings from under her fingernails, lovely forensics.

Great, Andy.  All we need now is an ID and a prime suspect and we’re home and dry.

We’ve got a possible lead.  Come and have a look at this.

Rawlings led him up under the buttress of the bridge.  A concrete ledge protruded above the waterline.  There was some sacking, newspapers, a crushed beer can and the remnants of a meal.  A sleeping bag was stuffed into a crevice.

Some joker sleeping rough.

Morgan nodded.  Mm, looks that way right enough.

Sees her coming, waits his chance and bingo!  Rawlings slapped a fist into his palm.

Morgan said: Yeah could just be and now he’s away on his toes…get weaving Andy.  Get an incident room set up, Kennington nick, get Holmes up and running and crank up some actions.  I’ll rustle up some extra troops…see if we can’t get a quick result before this hits the TV and the sky falls in.

They walked back towards the ladder.  Up river they could see the wheel of the London Eye across the river from the Houses of Parliament.  Morgan nodded to the green and grey dappled MI6 building.  You know the spooks in there put blinds on all the windows facing the Eye…reckoned some spy with a high powered telescope could read documents at that range.

Rawlings rolled his eyes: That’s scary.

Yeah… you know what else? This was the bridge where the Romans first crossed the river…they found the stump over there somewheres…

No I didn’t know that.

They went back to the walkway and up the steps to the bridge approach.  The huddle of CSOs was still here.  As Morgan left, the one who had originally challenged him said to Rawlings: "God preserve us

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