top of page

Excerpt from 'Dexxman'

Chapter One: William Wentworth

I had not expected to find a body when I was out on my evening stroll, so it came as a bit of a shock when I did. Well it was not really me that found it, but rather it was Sally. Sally is a little dog, and my constant companion. She’s part Yorkshire terrier, part shih-tsu, and looks cute as hell when she’s trimmed, but a bit like an un-sheared sheep when she’s not. The damn fool loves me to death, as anyone who has been left to dog sit will testify. So a lead was not really necessary because she would not roam far, and kept returning to make sure I was still there.

She had just snuffled off into the shadows of an alley, following some elusive but irresistible scent, when the sounds of her snuffling and moving about ceased, to be replaced by an unmistakeable ‘come and look at what I’ve found’ whinge. So I retrieved the small Maglite torch from my pocket and headed towards the whinge, thinking she’d just met the love of her life cocker spaniel, or perhaps was having a standoff with some aggressive ginger tom.

It turned out that neither was the case. She was sat whingeing quietly, beside a young, and very dead, boy of about fourteen. The kid had not died easily, nor cleanly judging from the amount of blood and the really horrific injuries that were present. I had to haul Sally away, as she was doing her best to ‘lick him better’. During the adult parts of my seventy-five years I had seen quite a few bodies, particularly during my stint in the Royal Air Force. Most of them had either been shot or blown up, but in either case particularly nasty injuries were always present. I had got used to it, or so I thought until I saw this lad, and then I found myself heaving. I turned away and was violently sick, which did serve to confirm my humanity but achieved little else. I would hazard a guess that he had very few unbroken bones, and his head and face were hardly recognisable as human. I had to look away, not knowing which was worse, the extent of the injuries, or the fact that he was only a young boy.

“Bit late for that babe,” I said, as I pulled her away, “that’s enough.”

She knew the ‘that’s enough’ and moved away to sit down beside my legs, as I pulled my Blackberry out of my pocket and dialled 999. I briefly told the operator what I had found, and what I had been doing at the time, and then confirmed that I would remain where I was until the police arrived.

I moved away from the body to make sure that we didn’t contaminate the evidence any more than we already had, and sat down with my back against a wall which was obviously the back of someone’s house, to wait for the police to arrive. Sally moved over and lay down beside me, whining quietly because she knew that something was not quite right here. She loved people, all people, and it upset her no end when she sensed that someone was injured or in trouble.

I knew I was in for a difficult time when they arrived. Suspicion always falls on the discoverer of a body until any physical evidence to the contrary is found. So it looked like several hours of questioning lay ahead. I did have the advantage of age, and the fact that very few crimes are committed by people who have dogs with them, but the truly evil nature of this murder might still make the questioning unpleasant.

The police arrived surprisingly quickly, in the form of a police patrol car followed closely by an incident van.

I recognised the inspector, who was the first to come into the alley, as someone I had met once before, and I remembered that our meeting had been quite amicable. I’m a licensed private investigator, and have been ever since I was discharged from the RAF. Strangely, I had surprisingly little to do with the police, but that one meeting had been as a result of a particularly nasty scam that I had been investigating at the time. My license was under review because of my age, but at least it had not been revoked yet, so having it might mitigate the problems that I was about to face.

The details of that meeting started to come unbidden into my mind. It had been quite a lucrative assignment, from a wealthy young lady who had been taken for an expensive ride by this individual, but couldn’t get the police to listen to her. So she resorted to the phone book and I won the search. It only took me two or three days, using a number of fairly bent people who owed me, to accumulate a lot of damning evidence against the scam artist, and I accompanied the young lady to the police, where with my help she put up a sufficiently good case to get him arrested. The resulting six years he got, plus two thousand from the girl made for a satisfying conclusion, to what had turned out to be a fairly simple case.

From memory, I remembered him as uniformed Inspector Chuck Allen, well Charles really, but all of his colleagues referred to him as Chuck. Sally began to rumble in her throat as he approached me. She didn’t take to people walking around until she had been introduced to them.

“It’s OK Sal,” I said, “that’s only Chuck.”

At which point she immediately accepted him as someone she had known forever, and her tail began to wag faster than windscreen wipers in heavy rain.

Fielding her as she attempted to jump all over him, he arrived at my resting place and held out a hand to help me to my feet. The help was welcome, as being no longer in the first flush of youth, I had been wondering how I was going to get up from here,

“Thanks,” I said.

“You are welcome.” he replied, “We have met before haven’t we? If you are who I think you are, I remember that it was quite a pleasant meeting. That scam artist thing wasn’t it? Fairly odd name it was. Yeh, I remember now, its Lawrence isn’t it, Lawrence Dexxman.”

“That’s right, Dexxman with two ‘x’s, but call me Larry, and the enthusiastic lady is Sally,” I said pointing to her.

“Ok then give me the story, before the detectives arrive, and I may just be able to field them off.”

Of course, it wasn’t a long story. After all, I was only out walking my dog when she just happened to discover a body, and I called 999. That was it. I did explain that Sally had been trying to lick him better, so it would be wise to take her DNA for comparison. I pointed out that I had touched nothing, and just pulled the dog away. I did add that I had been sick, and indicated where. I felt a lot better when Chuck went over to look at the body, and was sick in the same place that I had.

As he came back to me, the forensics team came into the alley carrying their equipment cases, and started to tape off the area around the body. There were a number of muttered expletives from them as they began their examination. It was nice to know that even guys that were as used to it as these were, were upset by what they found. One of them detached from the rest and came up and whispered something into Chucks ear,

“Shit!” I heard him spit out, and then he turned back to me, “The Shit is really going to hit the fan on this one. That poor kid is the Home Secretary’s son. They found a library card in his pocket. I presume I can rely on your discretion. It’ll be bad enough when the official announcement is made, let alone having to field off rumours.”

He took a mobile phone out of his pocket, dialled a number and then spoke a few brief words when it was answered. He listened to what were apparently some instructions, and then replied,

“Look Sir, I’m pretty busy here, can’t someone else do that.”

He paused,

“Yes I know sir. Very well, if I must,” and rang off.

“I have been given the onerous task of informing the Home Secretary. The Chief Constable, who just happens to have picked this moment to visit my boss, does not think it can wait, and I am the most senior officer in the field at the moment. I think you ought to come along.”

“Ok,” I said, “I can always leave Sally in the car, she won’t mind that.”

Informing parents that they have just lost a child, is not something that is on my list of desirable things to do, but I had never met a Home Secretary, or even a politician, before, so...what the hell. Hopefully once won’t kill me.

Sally likes cars, so as soon as the door was opened to the patrol car, she eagerly jumped in, making herself comfortable in the driving seat.

“Not there babe,” I said, “Back seat please.”

She withered me with a look, but squeezed between the two front seats and settled down in the back.

“I swear that damn dog understands every word you say,” said Chuck.

I looked at Sally in the back seat glaring at me, and reached in to scratch the top of her head. At which point she wriggled into a more comfortable position, and looked just a little less annoyed.

“You could be right,” I said, “never really thought about it.”

Neither of us said anything on the way to the Home Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Wentworth’s official residence. I mean what was there to say? Chuck was not a long lost friend, just someone I had only met once before. I had no idea what his interests were, so I really had no idea what to talk about. Beside which he was a policeman, and it pays not to say too much when one of those is around.

We arrived outside of a plain looking government building, parked the car right outside of the door, and got out. Sally jumped up eager to join us, but lay down again at a brief “no” from me. I would have to pay later for not allowing her to come with me, but it was not somewhere that she needed to be.

As we started to walk towards the door, two shifty looking individuals drifted up and blocked our way,

“And where do you two gentlemen think you are going?” said one.

Fortunately, even though he was in uniform, Chuck had taken his warrant card from his pocket as we got out of the car, obviously anticipating this. It doesn’t pay to be reaching into pockets when confronted by two heavily armed MI6 types. That’s the only thing they could have been. Normal police would have been uniformed, and MI5 are way smarter. He flipped open the warrant card and presented it to them,

“We are here to inform the Home Secretary of the death of his son. It’s not something that we are really eager to do, so if you want to do it for us, we can be on our way.”

“Ah! Sorry Inspector, but that’s way outside our pay grade,” said shifty number two, and stood to one side indicating that we should proceed. As we passed them and moved towards the house, a thought tickled me that the second of the men had a really peculiar accent. I couldn’t place it at the time, so put it from my mind.

bottom of page