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The disappearance of Neville: The last car that the man calling himself David Wenter had hired

from Cars on Broadway would have been found, and would have been found near the park near the long bush-lined driveway leading up to Ivan Keplers house in Titirangi, had it not been for the fact that Kenny and Neville, out one drizzly Sunday night stealing, had found it near that park first. And it would have been found in better condition than it ended up in as well, not that it would ever found, anyway. That but for Kenny and Neville then, and even then but for a high tide that night, that and but for a slight falling out amongst car thieves also. And that, this, as Kenny and Neville, cousins only in crime though from an early age, had then, having driven the car round half that night, had then, somehow and with some precision as well, then managed to run that car out of petrol dead in the middle of the short uphill run that was all that ever separated them usually, their respective homes, wherein their respective parents resided, not often waiting up for them, still, though, never ones, usually, to resile from giving their respective sons the odd welter or two after the odd lark came home to them, hence their untameable resilience perhaps, Kenny's and Neville's. The nastiest, not the brightest of the two, Kenny, was then, all for letting the car run down-hill backwards then. To where it would no doubt crash, Neville pointed out to him, best he could, near where Nevilles parent's house was located as well. Not a good idea, Neville said then, adding that, It would be better, if,' he was summoning up all the diplomatic strength with which he was sometimes able to ward off Kennys tendency towards actual instead of just threatened violence, towards him (this being something he had learnt in his earlier years, when their parents had first placed them into a cot together), 'If, instead of that, we could turn it around and coast it down to the beach, leave it there...' Kenny, wanting to be well away from all this, assented. With Neville behind the steering wheel then, Kenny then obligingly pushed and pulled the car around until at last it was facing forwards, down hill then, ready for its down-hill run, down to the beach way below. Kenny typically, Neville swore some of the way down to the beach after that, didnt then get in beside him. Instead he had said that he had to get home, as did Neville as well, of course. After that, Kenny had given Neville a good push and got off.

It had taken until Neville had steered the car past his parents place before he stopped worrying for his own sake again, having called Kenny a rat again, Kenny sensitive to that, he looked like one. Neville then started to worry, instead, if there might be anyone else out that moonlit night then as well. Someone that might recognise him, coasting by in a car that at some time soon would also be reported as stolen, in the Herald. Neville put the car lights on again, got some speed up, that so it would be difficult for anyone coming up the road, walking or driving, to get a clear look in at him, or even at the car till after it was by them. The bends then gave way to the short straights that he knew so well enough anyway, enough not to need the lights on for, but they helped, the wipers as well, with the drizzle. He quickly reached the beach, passing no one else on the way down there, to French Bay. On the last bend, the one that curved right and steep to the beach, altered since, the road below running adjacent to the curve of the beach, he stopped. Turning the car lights off then he let his eyes adjust. There was no one down there, not that he could see, anyway. He pulled the handbrake up, as far as it would go. He eased himself out of the car, easing the door near closed again behind him, until the interior light went out. The ramp was there, below him, and directly in front of him then, the tide was in and full, as was the moon above, nearby a more-pork hooted, 'who, who?' Whew! If it hadnt been for Kenny leaving this to just him then, they might have just parked the car down there. There so that if it was still there a day or two more, not found before then, well, they could have stolen some more petrol and then used it again. Now, Neville got back in the car, some fun of his own then. The interior light on, the door half-open, Neville's left foot on the brake pedal, he shifted the car out of gear with his left hand, and then released the handbrake. So intent was he on what he was doing just then though, that he failed to notice the car lights snaking off the trees above and behind him. And so it happened that just as Neville's foot came off the brake pedal, Neville intending then to step out of the car completely, to close the door then, and then to just let it go, gently into the night, tide, another car then slammed into the back of the car that he was still, effectively, half in still. And so the car that Neville was still half in then, well half out of if you prefer, Neville didn't, either way, then catapulted forwards, then heading

down towards the boat launching ramp, going somewhat quicker though, than Neville had just before then, been allowing for. In no time at all, it seemed to Neville, the half-open door with Nevilles leg half in, half out of, slammed shut again, on and almost separating Neville from the foot that he had almost just dragged back into the car by then. And that happened just as the drivers side of the car, the door Neville had been getting in and out of, and the recently trimmed Pohutukawa tree, came into contact. And that point of contact, the angle, also ensured that the cars entry onto the ramp was, as Neville had hoped and calculated for in his wildest moment so far that evening, straight and facing forwards then, out to sea. And so the car, slushing into the water, headed straight out there then, into the night. And it would have floated much longer than it did if it hadn't been but for Nevilles leg and foot still being connected a little either side of the bottom door sill, the water seeping in there. Still the car floated a while though, out as far as the deep channel used by the shipping that wound nearby that point as well. Then the car, Neville a faint inside, turned side on into that shipping lane, there where the current was near still then due to the tide being high, just turning then. And then, before any of the services that turned out that night for what seemed to have been the hard luck crash of the dead driver of a car that had crashed head on into a Pohutukawa tree beside the boat ramp, but which had in fact rolled gently head on into the tree after hitting Neville hard just before then, the car with Neville still in it then sank out of sight. *** At about the same time as that, as Neville was drowning out there, cursing Kenny out loud perhaps then as well, but quite some distance away, a darkly clad figure walked quietly onto a building site in Newmarket and in the gloom peered over the side of a rubbish removal bin there. The person that had been placed in that bin the previous evening had fallen spread-eagled and face up then. But this evening that person was lying face down? A prod in the back with a piece of framing timber found near at hand didnt rouse him though? This dark figure then clambered into the bin behind the person there, spread its legs, then the piece of framing timber rose high in the air, came down hard on the back of that person in the bins' head. Before it hit though, it clipped the side of the bin, and from within that confined space there came a very loud drumming sound. Somebody, nearby

yelled, yelled out something that ended, now that the figure could almost hear again, with some expression that sounded like that racket.' A hand placed against the side of the bin stilled the vibration. No one seemed to be coming near though, this figure breathed out again, slowly. The person in the bin definitely wasn't breathing now. The dark clad figure climbed out of the bin, walked quietly off the building site, back on to the street again, and two minutes later, a further two streets away, the piece of framing was tossed onto another building site, soon to be incorporated into yet another building that would leak, the door not completely shut on that yet, the damage done thereto those trying to get a leg up that way. *** If the car that the man calling himself David Wenter had hired that weekend had ever been recovered, it would also have been discovered that for once the mileage reading was quite a bit higher than during his other hire periods. This was not just due to Kenny and Nevilles night out stealing though, but rather this was due more to David this time, who, from where he had been parked alongside the park, again near Keplers long bush-lined driveway in Titirangi, had seen Joanne Kepler arrive late that damp Saturday morning, driving an old Jaguar, and he had decided then, for want of anything better to do that day, to follow her when she left there that day. And that was in part because she was with a companion this time, one he hadnt seen her bring to the house before then, but one whom he did recognise anyway. Following that sighting David thought about trying to get closer to the house again then, that morning, so as to see what sort of discussion might develop between those three then? So long as he could get close enough though, so that he could hear them, which he might not be able to do, of course, even if he was standing in the same room? There was a track off the park that David had been using when approaching the house, and he approached the house that way again then. This brought him, after he pushed through the stands of fern that were always wet, the rainfall in that part of Auckland, and which then drenched his head and neck every time he pushed through them, out onto the driveway again, about half way up it, to just below the bend after which the driveway straightened out to meet the road then, that house, driveway, at the end of that road. Making his way slowly up the driveway after that, stepping back again

and again from the driveway, in amongst the ferns, he arrived at a point where he could see the man he had followed back to New Zealand again, his visitors as well. This big man, this Ivan Kepler, was outside, hacking, ineffectually seemingly, at the bracken and flax outside of the house, beside the path that took you round the right side of the property, with a machete. Mind you, it was a bit wet, everything was, outside here. Wet or not there was a large building site type bin sited near the top of the long bush-lined driveway though, so he meant business then, anyway, this scrubby material destined for dropping in there then, David guessed, and then destined for some landfill nearby. Did they compost here? After that, 'Everything must be fairly rotten round here anyway...' *** Davids first search of the house, after he had first followed Kepler there, then while Kepler had been sleeping off his jet-lag, had revealed nothing. Nor had subsequent searches when he had been able to make them revealed anything either. It didnt, as Kepler was home and looking like he would be working there that day as well, look like he would be able to make one that day after all, maybe later? And he couldn't hear a thing. He began to think about retreating then, so as to be ready to follow Joanne Kepler when she left, he should head back towards the hire car, find that pathway again. Going over things there had always been the possibility that Ivan Kepler did not know that he had carried that last passport overseas, if he had? And there were reasons for reasoning that. For one, Kepler had reported that someone had been in his room at that hotel in Vienna. And then he'd also been concerned that someone had ripped apart part of his baggage. And so if he hadn't known he was carrying the extra passport then, then someone else, someone with whom he felt reasonably comfortable with then, comfortable with them entering and moving about his own home by themselves perhaps even, had probably been the one that had sewn that passport and whatever other documents into his baggage then. And this Joanne Kepler, his niece, she had met him at the airport on his return, she seemed a good bet for that if that was so? Actually, the only bet so far, anyway. And this other chap, What about him as well then? ***

Although there hadn't been any especial scenario to get him going, David had, so far, when he had found out where Joanne Kepler worked, set about seeing her about an apartment to rent then. That had seemed a worthwhile exercise at least, to at least get started with one of them, get closer in. He had hoped she might be more interesting, right from the start, but so far she hadnt been. Maybe today,' he wondered then? 'You might turn out to be more so?' During weekdays he had been searching her flat whenever he could. Ivan's house he had been searching weekends, whenever possible then? He hardly went out. It was a matter of hanging about then, for when? And he had also been checking Joanne's mail whenever he could, before she collected it, her personal mail anyway. Anything, he knew, could also land at her office. He'd get in there sometime soon as well. Same with Ivan's. Neither of them, though, had so far taken delivery of anything interesting to him. And so if they were involved in anything irregular it wasn't regularly then. Still, one way or another, he would be settling the score with someone out here. That or could end up having to come back some day, that unlikely he knew, but the thing was, you never knew sometimes did you...he knew. This West Auckland, this wet place, what did this place have to show? *** The assassination of their comrade, he reminded himself then, had also set more than a few minds wondering about this country? What would those minds make of all this, bush? Was he close to anything, to finding out anything? Didn't seem so. Too close to the house now though, go back, he might be noticed. He might not be able to hear much anyway, his hearing not having been improved by that long flight out here either, the end of the world, the bottom end. And if that flight had been anticipated then someone else would have been sent instead. Good job that would have been. And the operation then, that he had been sent to Vienna for, would have gone ahead, his hearing still grossly affected, three months after he had dropped that stun grenade, it had then gone off, too close, too close... Here, in the bush of West Auckland, David still remembered the face of the man that had held the pistol on him the whole time he had been on board that plane on the ground in Munich. He would never forget him, that

man had held a pistol at his head the whole time he had been on board that plane, except when it was time to leave. He'd been well keyed up. Then, when he was meant to leave, that man had then stood in front of him, big mistake on his part, only a slight distance to him, there, standing to the left of the door, the fool had half opened it then as well, had shown himself outside. Standing still, pausing on this track, on his way back to the hire car, David could still feel it all, the ending of it in him still, that man, in front of him, this not behind him, the way the guy had stood, up to them, an amateur truly, brave still, not for talking round, that apparent to David from when first he had been allowed aboard, that after the hijackers asked for sandwiches and coffee, fuel they were still asking for when he boarded, and to facilitate this, his boarding, it had been agreed that a flight of steps could be positioned against the wing nearest the terminal. David, whoever, could approach the door from there. Now, again, an inner voice was telling him to withdraw. The man in front of him, then, David had quickly come to regard as their leader, albeit inexperienced in that role, living up to what then? There were three others that he could see, even more nervous than him. He had expected the others, soon as he had seen them, two men and the woman, to fold easier than the man in front of him. He had almost got that right, not quite, you never knew with some, the most unlikely sorts can have great courage, one of them did, ignored him when he had gone on board, and he had nearly died learning that. Out of the darkness, at the rear of the plane, the others had come forward, for the coffee and sandwiches, soon after he had unpacked them, for them, and after he had then set them out as ordered to also, onto a folded me down table. Gathered together, in the gloom, they had then allowed themselves to become companionable again, no doubt they had been great friends. He 'd lost one himself, he shouldn't forget. Drawn tense after having been kept waiting for him, they were now relaxing. He was there, nothing bad had happened. There had been, for them, an understandable release of tension, nothing bad had happened yet. Yet in that respect, David had also understood why he had been invited on board the plane, also why he had been allowed to see what he had. They weren't up to much. He, their leader, knew it, and he also knew what he was, so he was expendable as well. And apart from holding the sandwiches and coffee back, which probably was in itself a bit testing, no moves had yet been made to refuel the plane.

Rather, then, than kill any of the passengers, risk the bad publicity associated with that, it had been expected, planned for, that if tested enough, it wouldn't take much, and if they did not then throw any dead passengers or crew off, the crew especially unlikely, then it was likely the hijackers would still feel quite like making some sort of point with whoever else then, they allowed on board. David had been there. He knew he might become that, an example then. And they could claim later that it had been regrettable as well then. But that it had been necessary, his death, due to the intransigent authorities also, whom had not taken them seriously up till then either. That would be their position, but another position was developing as well...an action, the likes of which, would to put an end to hiJocking per se, forever. And that involved him as well, getting one of them on board the plane. David had held back. The man in front of him had begun to motion him off...towards the door. David had seen enough, the man in front of him, he was the leader, had been the one that had also ordered that the few passengers left be crowded into the rear of the plane as well, another mistake, shouldn't have been crowded anywhere. Nobody part of this group, had returned to the rear of the plane by then either. Dressed black, standing out there on the wing in the semi-darkness now, had been two members of the unit, just as there had been two more on the wing opposite that door, just as on ladders, silently slid up alongside the other doors, there were two more. And all of the waiting men, his comrades, had held stun grenades of a type that never usually saw service either, the rings of the safety pins oversize, to be able to be slid onto any finger. That left them then, if you were holding one, just sitting there in your palm, ready to be thrown, like any ball, the ring attached to any finger. Another could hand you the 'ball' as well, the ring still attached to their finger. Either way, it didn't pay to linger, when these were being thrown around. Someone, David remembered, this story, had caught one once, intended not for them, and had had to be told to drop it, had had to be told what it was. He'd ended up a bit deaf as well. David had stepped towards the door, he remembered, being motioned towards...and as he closed the distance he had turned straight on towards the hijacker then. And then, before the man in front of him had registered anything other than surprise, his left hand had slid under the barrel and up against the trigger guard of the pistol that the hijacker was holding. An arrogant move this, it disarms, especially if at the same time you step aside a

little and lift the barrel of the pistol upwards then, and towards another's chin, the option then, some probably take it, to choose whether to let go then, or to pull the trigger instead. This one had let go, anyway, the others gawping, probably hoping in their hearts that this was just a little scuffle between us, nothing very serious. No one had shot at me then, though they had livened up a bit after I had chucked their leader out the door, there where waiting hands grabbed him again and then chucked him off the wing onto the tarmac, down to where more hands were waiting, pulled back at the last moment though. Then, the first stun grenade slipped into his palm, its chord attached to anothers, pulled at the grenade, felt the pin pull out, and delivered it, an inswinger. Returning then, for another, his hand out again, the first not having burst yet, David had then been shot at from the rear of the plane. 'Ah,' he could still remember thinking, 'There is another, another woman,' she was calmly taking aim again. Hit, he had dropped numb to the floor. The more lasting injury though had been to his hearing, when in trying to get out of his comrades way, the second grenade, the one he had dropped after he had been shot, burst under the seat that he had dragged his head on to as he felt underneath the seat for it, again and again. Wounds to his upper legs and to one forearm had ensued then, from the fragments of the grenades casing bursting. He had arrived in Vienna for his last medical operation, for his hearing, they were going to implant something, only the day before he had left for New Zealand. There was no one else, the Major had said. *** Previous to this trip, he was here now, it had been arranged that while he was undergoing that last phase of his treatment, he would house-sit while he recovered then, for another member of the unit that was going on holiday with his wife to Northern Italy. It was a condition of work that after any action any member could request leave then, usually granted. The person that David was going to house-sit for was also at times a driver, David was as well, one of the few sponsored by their Government attached by their government consulates there. Cosy and handy, all the team members were attached in some capacity like that, as sponsored ancillary staff in diplomatic missions. Not too far apart from each other, they could assemble quick smart. There were other purposes to these more normal jobs as well. For not

only were they meant to help preserve their anonymity, meant to be handy, these postings were also meant to help them preserve a feeling for everyday life, that if at all possible. 'Some hope of that, without the odd holiday myself,' David felt, backing through that last stand of wet fern, on his way back to the hire car parked by the park. *** It had been a close run thing, but the man who had booked into the same hotel earlier the same day that Ivan Kepler had arrived in Vienna, had managed to retrieve what he had been looking for. Close, because when he had heard someone at the door by which Ivan Kepler had only ten minutes before left through, he had only then just managed to slip out again through the adjoining door before Kepler had re-entered his room. The man had heard Ivans quiet expletive as he quietly locked the door, then again as he slipped out through the main door to that room. He quickly made his way back to the room he had booked. More importantly than that, after that, Saul Mekhon now felt more comfortable again, now that he had the time up his sleeve that he had been hoping he would end up with, the time that he could only end up with if only he could retrieve the passport soon enough. He had. And now with that behind him, he now knew that had that extra time he wanted, that so that he could ease some of the pain he worried he might not leave behind him when he left Vienna again, this time for good. Painfully, he had realised that only by the example of his own life his son Paulli had perished. From his vantage-point, from where he hadnt been removed from after the plane had been stormed, he had managed to take some photographs of some of the anti-terrorist team as they stood down then. Posing as press he had taken photographs of some of the vehicles that they had arrived in then as well. And unfortunate it would be for one member of the anti-terrorist team that he had arrived at the scene in a vehicle that was not only distinguishable as a diplomatic corps vehicle, but which also had recognisable licence plates. Probably, Saul had guessed, this vehicle had something to do with that particular team members other duties then. He was right. Saul now knew every face on every photograph he had managed to take of them. And also by then he knew the location of the consulate that the driver of that car had returned to after that, to his other duties, taken up again the next day.

The action on the plane had been a disaster. His son had become overconfident and had even allowed a member of the anti-terrorist unit onto the plane. What could he have been thinking? He would never have allowed that himself. And he would have shot the chap sooner than later as well, only allowing him so near so as to send out a warning without having to harm any of the passengers or crew then. From his vantage-point, and through the telephoto lens of the camera, Saul had also seen his son lying lifeless on the tarmac under the wing of the plane after it was all over. This had been very difficult for him. The others hadnt lasted much longer either. All killed, the papers claimed, because they continued to resist. Sure! One member of the anti-terrorist team had apparently been wounded? Saul hoped it had been fatal, but didnt imagine that that would appear as news anywhere. His son, on the other hand, had been identified as the leader of the hijackers, and photographs taken recently of all of them together, him included, and with their names as well, had appeared on the front pages of newspapers all over the place after that, even in the Herald. In New Zealand. *** After the much publicised failure of the hijack, the killing of her old lovers son, Jean Kepler had gone into shock for days on end, his name coming up again that way. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, that helped her to get past that to the point, then, when she decided that she must then help Saul now if she could. And this time he would know that she had, was helping him out, as well. She had reunited with him only twice before she had returned to New Zealand. The first time he had arrived unannounced at her flat in Vienna. She hadn't seen him for many years. He had looked thinner than she had remembered him, when first she had met him, a student in philosophy at the university she had arrived to study at, there. His level of activism had far exceeded anything with which she had ever been involved in, she had quickly fallen in love with him. She had also worried though, she remembered, when she was cleaning, where a life together might lead have lead then? It had led nowhere back then, and she'd had no significant involvement with anyone else after that either. Instead she had concentrated on improving her position at the University then, which indeed she had improved as well, up until she had recently resigned,

intending to return to New Zealand, something untidy left there to be seen to, to be seen at last... *** When Saul had first turned up again, he had told her that after he had left there he had returned home, as he had said to her he was going to (it hadn't really been necessary to add that), he was going to teach there as he insisted then that he had always told her he was going to do. Then he had eventually married, he said, when he realised that she wasnt going to join him there. After that he had fathered a son there as well, Paulli. And now poor Paulli was dead, Jean reflected, not thrown another hand when he landed hard on that tarmac. And then, when Saul turned up again, the second time, he had said that problems had developed for him there then as well, in his own country? And so he was no longer safe there also, many of his colleagues had been imprisoned as well. Some of them had even disappeared, left, or what, he didn't know? He had said then that he was worried about visiting Jean even, because of that now, for the problems he thought he might bring to her then. It wasn't safe anywhere for him anymore. This wasn't just a visit though, Jean knew then. He was hoping she might help him out of there she knew as well. He had remembered something about her, she had thought then, something about where she had come from, she had told him once that it was very safe there, a great place for growing old, for growing up, the middle bit a bit dull though. *** If Jean had ever been able to explain to Saul why she hadnt joined him first, when he wrote asking her to, the explanation then would have been quite simple. For she had realised, at that time, that he had been involved in that bombing in Leipzig. Having decided to turn a deaf ear to that, she had then come under some surveillance herself...a little left over paranoia from New Zealand had told her that. If she had joined him, then, she had realised, then, that she would have led them straight to him. It wasn't that difficult a decision not to go then, to him. For a few days, that first time, Saul had stayed with Jean again. Things between them had almost drifted back to how they once had been. Never normal, they couldn't be, but sort of comfortable anyway, again they were

with each other. Only for a few moments had he ever relaxed openly. Cleaning didn't do much for him, for her it helped, a bit of extra, At least, while she was doing this, he did talk openly, sort of, followed her around the flat, as openly as he could be anyway, as she could remember anyway. She should be careful, he had told her, not to let any of their old friends know he was there. You could never be sure of what lay in peoples hearts, he said. But, he would soothe her, she had always lain in his. Then, when Saul had left again after that first visit back to her, he had told Jean he would be back again. But it was to be many months before, and then not long after she had first managed to establish some contact with her daughter in New Zealand again as well, before he had returned, and this time he was in real trouble, he said, couldnt go back there. Once again though, and for another few days, he stayed and they renewed their fondness for each other again. This time though, she had told him something that she had never told him before, about her daughter in New Zealand, she had grown her whole life without her. He had then talked to her again of his own son, Paulli, Paulli whom she was now reading about as well. Still, Jean had also told Saul then, that since she had not seen him again for so long, she had been intending then to return to New Zealand, to forget all about it then. He had listened, understanding what she was saying, why, and then he had said that if she did, and if he could, he would join her there then, some day, if she wished, she still did... *** If Jean, back then, had asked Saul to explain himself better, what held him back there one minute longer, he wouldnt have dared. He remembered enough about Jean to know that she might not understand again anyway. He didn't want her to anyway. Now, he thought again, perhaps she would have understood. But it was still too much of a risk to him to tell her anything of the plan he had been working on between the time they had first met again, and then. And which reluctantly, also, he had agreed to let his son lead, instead of himself, his son having said then that it was now his turn to do something for a change. And in fact, Paulli had reminded him, he was older then than his father had first been when he returned home from University in Vienna, having already bloodied himself for them all there. That was something Saul had wished Paulli had never found out about.

He hadnt told him, one of the others had. And that was also something Jean had never known about either, he'd not told her anyway. Just that he wanted to leave, to return to his homeland again, just to teach. Still, before Saul left again, after his second visit, he had given Jean the address of Paulli's girlfriend then, anyway, who was still living nearby in Munich then, quite safe and with whom he said he was in regular contact with. Jean should, if she did get back to New Zealand, and if she did want him to join her there then, if they could find a way, write to him there, but should she, she should not use her own name then either, 'Use another, think of another's...' And it would be better, also, if she did go back to New Zealand using her own name also, but to travel there under another name as well, if that could be arranged? That way so that the departure for there of one of his oldest friends from Vienna wouldnt be recorded anywhere, that just in case there was some way, one day, that he could join her there...'Could she manage this, would she?' 'Yes,' she thought she could. And 'yes,' a minute later, she would. *** The letter then, which still arrived unexpectedly, at that address in Munich, that after the failed hijack, photos in newspapers everywhere, didnt ask any questions. Simply, it set out, that if he wished to join her in New Zealand, he should send two passport-sized photographs to the address included, a practised signature as well, the new name, there. A passport, then, when it arrived, would be a New Zealand one. He would be a New Zealander then, and so there were some tapes included to help him out with the idiom, some episodes of some new outrageous television series. Later, on, after he'd returned the photographs and some practised signatures, another letter arrived then, setting out how the passport, when it came, would be delivered then. It would be in an envelope sealed in the lining of a suitcase, when Jean's brother, photograph and name included, next arrived at the hotel he stayed at in Vienna when he travelled thereon business, The Glube. It was too much of a risk, the letter read, to deliver any package to him there, by post, as these were now being scrutinised more than ever, 'rising security concerns', in Europe... The date, flight Number, and expected time of arrival of the flight was included there. He should book into the hotel and retrieve the passport at the first available opportunity. Be careful! An economy class ticket to New Zealand would be included with the

passport. The ticket for travel would be for the same day as her brother was returning. They had been booked together. This should give him at least four days to collect the envelope. When he arrived in New Zealand he should hang back as long as possible, at customs, even though business class passengers, and Ivan would be one of those, were cleared first. Her daughter would be there meet her uncle, Ivan, she looked after all his travel...would get him home from there. Jean would enter the terminal when she saw them getaway. Her brother didnt yet know she had returned, didn't know anything about him coming then either, it would have to stay that way. Her daughter knew he was coming though, but not whom exactly, of course, nor had she even really questioned her over that either. The letter signed off then, till we meet again, fingers crossed for you there, waiting for you here, J K. *** A breakthrough had necessitated that David travel again. The assassination of a comrade, let alone a friend, was a serious thing and had not happened before. At worst it could mean that the anonymity of the team could no longer be assumed. At best, well there was no at best if that was the case. For it had to be assumed then that they all could be targeted, any time, and so they either found out specifically where the threat came from, and dealt with that, or they all stood down forever, after that. *** Ivan Kepler had apparently complained that he thought that one of the staff, or someone else staying at the hotel, had gone through his baggage. He believed this because he had left his room the first morning back in Vienna for breakfast, where, when he picked up his first coffee of his expected busy day there, he had accidentally spilt some of that, then, on his shirt. He had returned quickly to his room, no more than ten minutes after he had left it, unlocked the door, hoping for a quick change, and had found his suitcase open on the bed, torn apart, instead. The complaint had been logged and so it had come through to the Major after his request, in the wake of the killing of their comrade, for everything reported to the police, every little thing even, reported in the run up to that, that week... An odd thing about the Kepler case was that nothing had been reported as missing from his suitcase, or his room, just the intrusion, the damage to

his baggage? When the Major asked that David come in that first morning, and when he first related this to David, it seemed to David to be nothing new or helpful even, so far as he was concerned, concerned about the murder of his comrade, as they all were. But, when the Major told him that Ivan Kepler was from New Zealand, that he had arrived in Vienna just one day before the killing, and that his complaint was made the morning after he arrived, after he first left his room, David was forced to think again, and especially after he what the Major next told him... The man, slain by police after the killing of their comrade, had had very little on him, but one item he had had on him had been a key, a key that belonged to that same hotel that Mr Kepler had been, was still, staying in. This key, passed to the Major, after the slain man had been searched, the major on his own then, had searched a room that it seemed the slain man had been staying in. And that search had revealed a New Zealand passport there then as well, and an air ticket to New Zealand, unused. A discreet enquiry then, by the major to a counterpart in New Zealand, had revealed that although the passport seemed genuine, there was no still record of it ever being issued there. And, it was also new, had only one stamp in it, that for entry into Vienna as well, that for the same day that Ivan Kepler had arrived also. *** It had seemed impossible to David then, that the killing of their comrade could have been instigated in far off New Zealand. But there they were? And so someone would have to follow Ivan Kepler back to New Zealand then as well. The rub, further to that, was that Mr Kepler was leaving Vienna for New Zealand later that same day David met with the major also. Also, no one else was near enough to go then...And so David would have to go then, and he would have to assume the identity of the slain man then, the photograph, on the passport, replaced already by a recent photograph of David, the Major then handed it to him, the air ticket also, the slain man's. The plan was then, the major's, that, and if anyone was expecting the slain man there, in New Zealand, then they would in all likelihood be there to meet him off the plane as well, so they might get sight of that person then as well? David, the major continued, should avoid Ivan Kepler, he was

travelling business class anyway, but should get through customs as early as possible still, so as to see who might meet Kepler then as well? An add on here was that the subsequent slaying of the assassin after he had killed their comrade had been covered up so far. So far, it was known only that someone had been arrested, taken wounded. David, if he wanted those facts known, after he arrived in New Zealand, should let them know, he might want to shake some ones tree? *** Obviously David couldn't just pretend to be the slain man either then, if that link did go right back there as well? They didn't know, anything yet? . Next best thing he should find the nearest announcement desk to arrivals when he arrived, wait near there to see if anyone enquired as to whether or not the slain man had been on the flight then. Then, if anyone did that, it would appear that he had, and that being the case someone might even put out a call for him after that as well then? And that should ensure that he would be able to identify anyone there to meet him that way. There were many ways this could go. There would be confusion for them as well, if he was expected. That could help them, David knew. David could also get, apparently, from any post centre there, and for only a few dollars, any vehicles registered owners name and their address. 'Amazing,' he whistled. 'Good luck,' the major said. 'Find out what this was all about for the sake of all of us, won't you.' And with that the Major had passed across the package that contained the air ticket, a passable New Zealand driver's type license with the name David Wenter on it as well, another identity he could use there. There was enough English currency to last him some time there as well. Not that it would be necessary for him to stay there for that long, they both hoped. There was also a photograph of Ivan Kepler taken that morning as well, a good likeness, and there was the original passport photograph of his new passport was included in the package as well. He would have to change the sterling when he got there as they hadnt been able to get a hold of any Kiwi currency at such short notice. Travellers cheques and credit cards were out as they could always be traced to somewhere. Finally, they shouldnt fall into the trap that the French had with the Rainbow Warrior bombing, that of underestimating their chances of being detected in New Zealand. There existed, some cha mozzle that had been,

photographs, images, American satellite he reckoned, of a yacht sinking in the pacific, a French submarine nearby. Not that deep a trench there either, this boat could surface one day, only if it was trawled for though. 'Interestingly, the American's gave them to us, when we were casting about for anything we might offer for you, should you get caught. Seems they are getting on better now, the US and New Zealand, a change of government. We'll trade these, if they get on to you, might just pass them on anyway.' 'Normally,' the major said, the next minute showing him out, 'Ivan Kepler travels to Vienna about once a month.' If he was not able to get anywhere out there, before Mr Kepler returned to Vienna next, then David should return then as well. 'Same flight.' They would be watching for his booking there. Mr Keplers baggage would then be searched on arrival, they would take it from there, it would be over for him, he could stay home for a while. Tickets and another passport would be delivered to him when he sent them an address there, that delivery would be by a local representative, codename Goulash. They would also keep an eye out for him out there, if possible. 'But don't count on that though,' the major had told him, 'them, for help too much there. They are watched there so we believe, the Kiwi's are on to them. A friend, same friend I told you about before, has told me that. Great chap, he'd probably even like to meet you, but no to that, I think. I don;t want anybody to know youre going there.' He was sorry, again, it had had to be him. And David knew this was so, that the major meant that. He would arrange for his operation to be conducted the moment he returned to Vienna. He didn't add if he did? He never did whenever he sent them off anywhere, this time it was him for New Zealand. 'To where?' 'Well down here,' David said to himself then. 'Somewhere where it's always wet as well...' *** When the old Jaguar that Joanne Kepler was by then a passenger in, appeared again at the bottom of Ivan Kepler's driveway in Titirangi, David, back near his hire car, wiped his muddy boots best he could, got into the drivers seat, turned the car round and followed on after them. Joanne and her companion would call at several vineyards nearby to

each other in the Henderson Valley area next. But before they did those they visited another first. One where they no longer cared for the vines there, very run down indeed, about to become a housing estate, signs said so, at the end of a very long road this was, that led off opposite a very large cemetery. *** If David had been able to view the official file that related the background of the old woman that still lived there, the major might possibly have been able to arrange that, he would have thought he had hit the Jackpot at last then. The old woman there talked lovingly again to Joanne about her mother, held her hand again, for perhaps the last time the old lady said, she would be leaving there soon. As they left she handed Joanne the thin grammar with an inscription in it, penned by her friend, keep this for me, love, J K. Viewing from nearby David saw this handed over. For delivery, he wondered then? He would have to see this...get a look at this, follow that, then. The rest of the afternoon the couple spent tasting different wines at several different vineyards then. And at each Joanne bought several bottles, and a couple more, she decided, that her uncle might like, they would drop these back to him. The same with her uncle, she hadnt told her mothers friend about her mothers return yet. Her mother had asked her not to, not to tell anyone of this? An odd request that had seemed, but she didnt have that much difficulty with that, so pleased to have got her back herself, at long last, her long lost mother. Well not lost, really, she had been somewhere, Vienna it seemed. *** It was all a bit off the wall really. And if it hadnt been for the offer of the money for the second passport, that and that that old car had still been up for sale, Jonathon would probably never have gone for it. But go for it he did after Joanne asked him nicely enough. The first passport, he'd had no trouble knocking out, and he'd even forwarded it on to Jean himself, an official look alike. Less risky, he had even liked the idea of the second passport standing

less chance of being scrutinised by its proposed manner of delivery, that proposed by Joanne's mother. A problem had developed, Joannes mother had written first, long before then, in that if she did return to New Zealand, she might then have some difficulty getting by financially there. Not quite sure what her mother meant by that, it did seem more plain when Joanne read on. 'Difficulties,' she read, might develop for her mother over the pension she had just started receiving there. It would be better, her mother had said, if her mother did not appear to have left there, when she returned, better if she left Jean Kepler there somehow instead? It had been Jonathon whom, after she had told him of this, had then come to their rescue. Had she told her mother about him though, she couldn't remember? Still, ever hopeful for any improvement in attitude towards himself from Joanne, he had been only too pleased to help her mother out. Risky Jonathon had told Joanne then, yet a practically undetectable crime so long as her mother didn't commit any reprehensible crime during her passage back. And then, he had said, that when she got back, he would want the passport back as well then. Then, casually, perhaps too casually after that, he had then also said then that, 'We could probably always knock her up another, anyway, if she wanted to return there...' That hole dug for himself it seemed but a short time after Jean had arrived back in New Zealand, that he was asked to help out again. Again, he complied, as if it was the most natural thing for him to do, just ask, which it wasn't, really. Still, that passports manner of delivery would cut down the risk, and he would get that one back after that as well, he said. It even had a genuine looking entry stamp to Vienna in it, this one, 'the real thing,' he had told Jean and Joanne, when he brought it round, 'Just fill in the date, that stamp courtesy of a mate...' *** What Joanne still didnt know about her mother, not that this would have meant much to her anyway, those days long gone, this something her foster father hadnt known of either, and which might have explained a few things, was that Jean had got herself well and truly offside with her peers once, while a student at Otago University, that all before she had arrived in Auckland, pregnant then as well, and seemingly all alone in the world. A promising and near brilliant student there, Jean Kepler had sullied

her promise when it became suspected that her boyfriend was a policeman as well as the apparently well healed student that he had always passed himself off as. Worse really, this fellow, constantly at Jean's side, had constantly sought involvement in causes alongside Jean also. The rumour, when it got going, got back to her then as well. He, apparently, had continued with his studies despite some furore there, brazening it out. Some damage done to Jean then as well though, she had then decided to cut and run, that as good as confirming that she been part of some deception there as well then. In Auckland, some six months later, she had given birth to her daughter there, Joanne. Teachers college for a while after that had buoyed her up, besides she would have to work. Still, New Zealand, being an even smaller place back then than now, every now and then she would hear mention of someone else arriving in Auckland from Otago, and that had further unsettled her there. Adam King, a man she had met and moved in with soon after arriving in Auckland, had helped her out a lot to begin with. And he had continued with looking after her daughter after she was born also, while Jean was at teacher's college. Post teacher's college Jean had then left Joanne with Adam and had gone on ahead overseas then, had said that she had a place there, at another university. That didn't run true to course either though, that was Jean. And soon she was teaching there instead, and had said she wasn't coming back, no matter what, she liked it there, liked someone else there as well, actually, and soon correspondence fell away to nothing. Regardless, Adam had done the right thing by Joanne anyway, had brought her up and had never complained about any of it to anyone either, nor to Joanne. Consequently, Joanne knew very little of her mother, her character, just the little that an old friend of her mother shared with her from time to time, whenever she visited her, a little about her from her uncle, that was all. *** The driver of the truck that collected the bin from Ivan Keplers house, spotted his mate parked up down the road from the recycling depot where every day they disgorged their collected refuse. He flashed his lights, turned

into the parking area and swung his wheel hard right just before the front left corner of his truck would have clipped his mates trucks front right corner. There was a slight bump. He then backed slowly up and managed to park so close to his mate that his mate had to collapse both their mirrors. They both laughed. His mate had just this last empty bin to deliver and then he could get home as well. He had delivered another one to the same place yesterday. 'Makes you wonder what people put in them when they fill them so fast?' Anyway, his wife hated him working Sundays, so he'd, 'better get going.' *** Next morning, Monday, saw Inspector George Te Rupa backing slowly away from the place where that bin had been delivered. He, like his partner before him, had seen quite enough. When he reached the car where she was waiting he opened the passenger's door and got in. Detective Claire Vadonovich said nothing at first, waiting for George to say something instead, she knew he didn't like this sort of scene. To begin with he muttered something about, 'not forgetting to put the rubbish out that night.' And then he said that he, 'supposed they had better get on with it,' enquiring, 'What have we got so far then?' She took it from there. *** The body had been noticed early that morning in an empty site bin set back on a construction site in Newmarket. The man that had found the body had been on his way to catch a bus to work, he had said, when he had gone on to the site and had looked in the bin. George looked up at that? Claire went on... His name, this man's, was Jonathon Livingston. He had phoned the police on a mobile phone, shown the police to the body when the first car had arrived. When Claire had interviewed Mr Livingston he had told Claire that he had been walking home by there the night before. And that it was near there where he had heard some sort of commotion then, some banging, more like a boom, the bin he thought when he saw it there the next morning.. Anyway, that had been at about 11pm, the night before. He had yelled out then, he had said, 'just to let anyone know who was on the site that there were others about then also.' Then he had walked on, he had said, 'a bit quicker after

that, home to bed, up early, walking by there again, the next morning. A little spooked I am now, after finding that,' he had said then.' Home, where's that,' asked George? Livingston had a flat nearby, it seemed, and that had been where he had been heading for when he walked by the site, latish, Sunday night. Before that he had been at a caf come bar nearby, which he had said closed about then, on Broadway. He didnt investigate then, he had said, when he heard all that racket, because who would walk onto a building site at that time of night anyway, certainly not him. Still, it was when walking past the site early that Monday morning, on his way to work, that he remembered then, he said, what he had heard the night before. He had decided to have a look then, had then looked in the bin as well, at about 6 am. Shocked by what he had seen in there, it had taken him a minute or two after that to compose himself, to call them. The call had come in about 6-15 am. *** When Claire had seen George coming back to the car for their first chat she had asked Mr Livingston to stay where he was, 'if he didnt mind,' that while she checked if her boss wanted to talk to him as well then. When she came back to Livingston, after that, she checked his contact details again, told him they would be in touch soon, a statement would have to be taken then. 'Also,' George had wanted her to ask Livingston, anybody hanging about, this, 'Had he ever seen that man around here before then? 'No,' he seemed certain about that, 'I don't usually even walk past here, get around by car usually, a bit banged up that is at the moment, someone backed into me I think, hence the walking for a while now, the bus.' 'But,' Claire ventured then, not sure if George would approve, 'the man in the bin is face down, you can't be sure of that, surely?' At that Mr Livingston just ventured a blank look back again, at Claire. *** Another person, an older women, out early and walking her dog, had arrived at the scene after Mr Livingston, was still about and Claire had also been able to interview her. Not able to add much, Claire put her name and contact details down in her notebook anyway, Joan King. She seemed, Claire noted,

to live nearby as well. Last, before she let her get on, Claire asked her then if she had ever seen the man in the bin before, as she had Livingston. 'No,' she had replied to that as well. 'Neither of them!' So, it seemed unlikely, then, that they would need to talk to her again, Claire told her that. She didn't seem relieved or anything by that, Claire noticed, thanked her anyway. Off down the road this tidy respectable looking women trotted then, her well brushed, tidy looking little dog, trotting alongside her. *** His name, this battered man in the bin, appeared to be one David Wenter. This discerned to begin with from amongst sundry items in a wallet, and from a photograph of him on a drivers licence that looked like him anyway. The licence was of further interest to George in that the plastic front had peeled off after a little scratching. George said little to that then though, not ever one to think too much out loud. The details of the licence could still be checked though, those clear enough, and Claire made some calls after that. It didn't take her long to be able to tell George then that the address did not check out? George, in answer to that, thought the man's address could be, so a receipt for some shoes in to be re-soled on him had indicated, 10 Tenet Street then, nearby, Newmarket. *** Wenter had obvious marks of violence about him. Torn clothing, bruising, dry blood, and some, on the back of his neck, that even looked wettish. That he found to be most definitely so after he touched the back of the mans neck feeling for a pulse. There was none, though blood, almost dry, had stained his fingertips. Wenter looked more like hed been run down than beaten though? That being so George decided then that the man had probably been put in the bin because of some motor accident then, someone had already thought he was dead? But he hadnt been dead then, had he...It was unlawful to dispose of a dead body, not as unlawful as murder though. 'Which act, then,' he wondered, 'had been committed? And by whom?' When the scene of crime

people had finished their work they would have a better idea after that. The body should be removed then, soon as possible, the post mortem as soon as possible after that. That under way there was, meantime, some time left that day to progress the rest of the investigation. This address could at least be checked. *** Due to that, due to taking that line to start with, complications for the enquiry, soon developed. And they were developing due to the apparent recent vacating of 10 Tenet St, Newmarket, as well then? Indeed it seemed as if no one lived there at all, not a good start. Next of kin, if there were any, where as well then? They would have to get in and did after George had lifted up a few pot plants nearby to the door, and had found a key there. There were no personal possessions in the flat, the fridge was empty, the beds had covers on them, the chairs at the dining room table were pushed in. After a further look around, it even looked like the flat had been cleaned, thoroughly as well, smelt like that also, they concluded, before leaving. They closed the door behind them, deciding, George did, to keep the key for a while as well then. It had looked more like the flat was about to be let than lived in. What to make of that? There had been some mail though, it always does keep coming, and they'd gathered. But this was all addressed to a William Symmes instead. What to make of that as well? For that person, so far as Claire could find out then, was not a person who existed in anyway either. Except that he had been the person who had applied for the power a month before? 'Progress,' she believed then. *** The man, Livingston, who had phoned in on his mobile phone that morning, who had reported finding the body in the bin first, lived, he had said, in a flat at 11 Tenet Street, this Claire pointed out to George then, the addresses near opposite to each she had noticed by then. 'Strange then that he should say that he had never seen Mr Wenter before?' Claire, after that remark, and with George's blessing, then crossed over

to Mr Livingston address, and found him in then as well. Mr Tim's, after answering the door, told Claire then, that he had, decided to give work a miss that day, after all that.' Claire showed him the driver's license then, with the photograph of the man he had found dead in the bin that morning on it. George had handed it her, when she had asked for it before she crossed the road to Mr Livingston, positive she had seen a blind twitch there. Claire asked Mr Livingston again if hed not noticed this man, about, that this man had been his neighbour as well, it seemed now? 'Sorry,' he said to that, again. But he had never noticed the man he had found dead that morning, the person in that photograph, in his street before. *** While Claire was over the road talking to Jonathon Livingston, George made a few calls of his own then. And he came up with some blanks on his own then, those when trying to track down the referees mentioned in the application for William Symmes power, that lying about in the flat as well. Well not lying about exactly, everything like that, mail, had been very tidily placed on a shelf, nothing sticking out at any old odd angle. Later, in Georges office they looked through the mail together. None of the mail was of a personal nature. And none of the mail concerned or mentioned anyone by the name of David Wenter either, just this William Symmes then. The person who owned the flat, Claire had soon found out, was resident overseas. The flat, then, had been left to be let by Holland's Estate Agents, Newmarket. And no, that person's name, the leaser, not the lessee, wasn't William Symmes either. They called it a day, that day, then. *** The next morning, Tuesday, both George and Claire attended the post mortem. Too early for George this was, but Claire didn't mind so much. This showed that the man had been aged in his late thirties and was normally, and unusually, very fit. He had been run down for sure. But what he had finally died of was from one very heavy blow to the back of his head with perhaps a piece of framing timber. That, the pathologist said, it might be worthwhile searching the building site for. They would.

That injury though, and this was where it got interesting for George at last, had been delivered some twenty-four hours after he sustained some other injuries. The man had been very fit, a survivor, a man who would usually fight back from injury, had done before. There were injuries consistent with him having been in some military force. Some of the scaring he bore seemed to have been caused recently as well, by something that had exploded close at hand, not too long ago, perhaps a month? Another wound, also fairly recent, in the lower back, looked very much like it was a gunshot wound. He had been expertly patched up though. But it was not likely that he was yet fully fit again. Perhaps he had been holidaying here so as to assist his recuperation. Surely he hadn't been active in any sense! The more recent injuries, before the blow to the head, were consistent with him having been hit very hard, and from side on also though, low down first, by a motor vehicle, a red one it seemed, judging from the bits of paint theyd found, handed to them then, a small container containing paint scrapings, useful if they could find the car that had hit him. There was some mud on his shoes, bits of what might be some bracken and fern about his clothing, some in a jar for George, some had been sent off for checking on in the lab as well. Finally, George and Claire were told that the man had sustained quite severe injuries when he was hit by the car. And it could have seemed to some after that, that he would likely have no chance of recovering from those. 'Still he might have though...' 'Murder it was then,' George concluded after that. *** Tuesday afternoon, at Holland's letting agent, and Joanne Kepler told Claire that the flat had indeed been let to a William Symmes, almost a month before. Mr Symmes was also, she was helpful there as well, the person in the drivers licence photograph. She was surprised, she also said, to hear that Mr Symmes no longer seemed to be living at 10 Tenet Street then, when he died? 'How did the die then, by the way?'

'Don't know yet,' Claire lied. She supposed, Joanne did then, that she had better get the house cleaned up and let again. 'Its already been cleaned, looks set, ready to let already.' 'Can we then?' 'Back up a bit can we...No, you can't let it yet by the way. He hadnt been in to tell you he was leaving then, this Mr Symmes, not even a phone call then?' 'No,' Ms Kepler replied, 'fraid not.' Joanne was looking sharply about. If someone else cleaned up the flat, then Mr Symmes must have found that someone himself then. Yes?' Mr Symmes she described then, when asked about that next, had been polite, a well-spoken person, whom had aroused no feelings of concern insofar as her letting the flat to him to begin with went either. As far as how the let had come about, he had approached them, walked in, photograph in the window, she'd been in. The rent and the bond had been paid at the beginning of his tenancy at No.10, Tenet. Two months rent in all, $3000 abouts, a cheque. The next month due about then... As to what sort of work he was in she recalled him saying that he was an analyst, or something of that sort, she met all sorts. *** Wednesday and Thursday, the next couple of days, the enquiry took the form of visiting bars, cafs and restaurants in the vicinity of where Mr Symmes had lived. Despite showing photographs blown up from the drivers license around, no progress was made that way. Their dead man had not been a regular anywhere. The shoe repairers were no more helpful either. The shoes that had been dropped in for re-soling were ready to be picked up though, the new soles by then glued on top of the old. They collected them anyway, for all the use it seemed they might be. They would have the soles removed anyway. 'Oh,' the chap mentioned as they left, 'they were a little muddy underneath when he brought them in.' *** Thursday afternoon a break in the case came, when a company on Broadway

that hired cars and vans lodged a complaint with the police regarding a car that had been hired by a Mr David Wenter the Friday proceeding his being found deceased the Monday morning after that. As the names Symmes and Wenter had both been searched for on the police computer by Claire, they had both been automatically flagged as having been searched for by her then as well, the flag meaning that she was looking for more. The call, after it came in through the communications centre, and after having been entered into the log there, was then referred to Claire. *** Normally Cars on Broadway would have expected Mr Wenter to have returned his hire car as was usual on the Monday morning. Not returned that Monday morning, the manager, as Mr Wenter had been a customer before then, had then allowed him a few more days to return the vehicle after that. After that though, and after referees had been checked so as to locate Mr Wenter, the referees had then been found by the Manager, Peter Collier, not to exist finally. Mr Colliers job was probably on the line he felt. When Claire later asked Collier for Mr Wenters car hire records she found he had them at hand, plainly worried by it all. Cars had been hired on three previous weekends and for the same length of time as well. These records also showed that the mileage readings for the three previous occasions were similar, showing perhaps that he had travelled to and from the same place during each hire period, approximately fifty-four, fifty five kilometres each hire period, there and back from somewhere? To check whether he was coming or going then, or if Mr Wenter had gone away somewhere in particular each weekend, George then decided that they would have to see if anybody living in the street could recall any of the cars hired being parked weekend days, or evenings, outside Number 10 Tenet Street. To make things more difficult for them there though, David Wenter had insisted on cars of different make each time he had hired one. Though on two consecutive occasions, two cars, not the same make, had been of the same colour, light red. This had almost caused Mr Wenter to cancel the second car hire then, Mr Collier remembered, as Mr Wenter had said that he had specifically asked for the white Toyota for the next weekend, made quite a fuss about that actually. And it was that that had led him to wondering about Mr Wenter's

nationality then. For although Mr Wenters English and way about him seemed to qualify him as near local, an impression had stuck with him, then, that that this may not have been so, stressed he had seemed over such a little thing, really, not really our way. He couldnt be more helpful than that though, and so Claire thanked him for then, left him no more concerned about the fate of his hire car and hence his job then, than he already had been, before she had arrived to speak to him. *** Friday morning George then had Detective Constable Donald Price checking local banks in the Newmarket area. Bill Waters, attending the same meeting, he told to go up any alley he felt like, until they, he, whomever, he didn't imagine it would be Price, got something solid for them to get going on. 'Why?' asked Price, given less scope than Bill again, might the local banks tie in here? 'Well, he must have been getting his cash out somewhere near, or may, should I say...it's worth a look. See what you can cash.' Some joke, Price thought. *** And so it was Price, actually, at last, who not only found the two bank accounts, both local, but who also got them going, and by lunchtime as well. One of them, of these bank accounts, it turned out, had been established almost one month before then, then in the name of their David Wenter as well. Another, the following day, at another bank, had then been established in the name of William Symmes, their other mystery man, the same, Price having flashed the photograph both places. This account of William Symmes, the second one, had been opened by the deposit of $5000 cash. A temporary cheque book had then been issued to William Symmes there, un-customary that usually. Two cheques had since been issued relating to that account, one cheque for $3000, to Hollands real estate, agents, the other, only other, a power bill, the balance remaining, $1767. 51. No activity of late. The first account, in the name of David Wenter, had been opened

following the deposit of sterling there. 'English money,' Price had added, 'a ton of it.' That would explain some of the ease in which this person had been able to operate then, George thought, this some traveller's fund then. At this first bank David Wenter had also requested other items, those not bagged so far, not found on him, not in the flat. 'But maybe in the car,' George suggested then, A bank card then, amongst those items requested by Wenter, hadn't been found, one that could be used in ATM machines. A visa card also, had been ordered, that collected personally, several days later. Withdrawals from the Wenter bank account, the first, had then been made by bank card only, in the main at ATMs scattered around the city. Some local also. Newmarket, some in the western suburbs as well, Henderson? The only large transaction after the initial large deposit at that first bank had involved the sum of $5,000 handed to David Wenter in exchange for some of the sterling that he had deposited there. That had left a balance of near $11,000 in this first account then, still there, that account opened July 10, a month before then. This second account of William Symmes again then, that had been opened by the deposit of $5000 cash, later that same day, that same cash, presumably, the same amount anyway. A temporary cheque book had been issued to William Symmes then? 'Another slip up in procedure then, by someone,' George decided. 'Mr Wenter of the opinion by then, that no identification need be provided? How so? Could that be checked as well? That slip up, why?' Then, finally, having given that little thought, said, 'Look, let's forget that. Let's check arrivals, instead, couple of days before those accounts were opened, that might get us started? Auckland International airport, let's start there!' This was one of those George moments, Claire recognised, when they all might get a head. *** Claire, set on to that, then began checking back into entry into the country a day or two before the opening of the first account, Mr Wenter's, July 10. Not allowing for entry into the country of any person travelling under any name in particular, the check did throw up the surname though, of a Mr Kepler? Who, when Claire further checked that, seemed, was, a male businessman, 64, he had arrived on a flight in from Vienna early on July 9.

Told of this, George had Claire run further background and travel checks on Ivan Kepler then, they had nothing else. There was nothing of any interest insofar as his background went though, he was a frequent traveller. But so what! Weren't many? Still, when Claire had come across that name and first mentioned it to him, George had wondered if Joanne Kepler was any relation to that man. Claire had before him. He decided to ask her then, this Claire, have her brought in, end of play Friday, if she didn't mind. The fishing, planned for that weekend, was not going to wait for the answer to that nagging question? She did of course, mind. But George still insisted, anyway, offered to send Waters, still about the station, to get her, Price gone home. Said she'd come in then, after that offer, on her own... And so it turned out that that was so, they were related, that this Ivan Kepler was Joanne Kepler's uncle in fact. This was getting interesting. *** He was on his own now though, Joanne told them, his wife having passed away some five years before then. As had George's also, he commiserated. Still, Joanne was now quite involved in his life. Someone then. 'But so what,' she said. 'Why are you so interested in this, in any of that. Would you mind telling me, before we go on.' George bore on. 'Bearing in mind that you have just said you are quite involved in your uncles life, Ms. Kepler,' this with emphasis, 'you wouldnt have met him off the plane, by any chance, when he returned to this country then, July 9..?' 'Well, yes,' she replied, seemed perfectly relaxed abut that, about answering that. 'That was probably so, probably the date also. But again, so what?' 'Relax Miss Kepler,' George said then. 'Youre not under any caution or anything. Would you like a cup of tea, cigarette...coffee,' he offered again, 'we won't be much longer.' He opened the draw on his side of the interview room's desk, there always was a packet there, he hoped she did want one, he did. It still being considered, thankfully, next to humane to allow interviewees to smoke if they really felt that need. He did. 'No thanks,' she had said again, no relief for George there then, Claire emphasised with him, a good man really. 'Let's just get through this so I can go instead.' George had to ask her then, if she would mind if he lit one up himself.

She didn't care, she said. This was his place not hers. 'Okay,' George lit up, after a minute, said, 'You dont know this,' pause, 'but not only are we interested in the person that you helped identify for us, that person being both William Symmes and David Wenter then,' pause again, 'but we are also conducting enquiries now into his suspicious death.' He stopped to let this sink in. And could see that in some way, it did. 'How suspicious?' she asked at last. 'Well...finally, after being run down, sometime on the weekend, late Saturday maybe, he was hit very hard on the back of the head, late Sunday sometime, with a very solid piece of wood, and from behind as well, while in the bin we think, lying face down there. Probably with a bit of framing timber lying around we suppose, which we are yet to locate. But we will, short of it being part of some house by now. Not on that site anyway.' Claire winced. George continued. 'Another thing, at about the time that we expect this person entered this country, we are working back from the opening of bank accounts here, no person with either of those names did though. Your uncle, whom you met at the airport, he did though. That's at least a coincidence, we think.' 'Really,' Joanne Kepler replied to that, sounding less interested than ever, 'Why then, now that I'm up with you, I cant help wondering, why have you decided that this person may have entered this country on that particular day as well then? Tell me that? Not wanting to be over critical here, of you, too insensitive as regards Mr Wenter, either. Or Mr whomever?' 'Because,' George said, 'neither person has ever been resident in this country before that day, is why. And also we have bank accounts then, being opened in those names the day after that. What do you think about that? Anything?' 'No!' Finally, 'the flat, can I let it yet?' 'No sorry, not yet.' Claire chipped in, looking bored by it all now, mirroring Joanne, back to herself. 'You dont happen to know a Mr Jonathon Livingston by any chance, do you, just thought I'd ask?' That, as she stood to lead Joanne Kepler out, George stubbing out the last of his smoke, the signal, Claire read it, to quit. 'No,' Joanne answered quickly. Too quickly Claire thought then, George as well, even though he seemed to be taking no notice then. 'Is he mixed up in this as well then?' Joanne's parting comment. 'He found our man, thats all,' George, still seated, said. 'In the bin, his

head stoved in, dead. He phoned in, that's all, lived opposite him as well, said he'd never seen him before, also.' He'd told her it all, then. After that, after Claire had shown Joanne out. Bill Waters, still about, shot off too, Claire next, George after that, sighed, then signed out, heading home to no one again. Still, as he drove, he spotted the half dark moon sparkling on the harbour. There were lights out there. The dancing lights of ships passing in the night, reflecting off the water, almost indistinguishable from the ships themselves. Was the light on water, or just above? A constant concern for George, but not for the fishermen out there. They would be more intent on hooking one of those fish feeding along the edges of the channels, eroded by the churning screws of those mighty liners. *** Come Sunday night, George, relaxed after a good bit of late fishing himself, the night before, now knew that extensive hotel checks would have to be entered into next. For another line of enquiry, that investigated, that might help them proceed? Likely, the Kepler's aside probably, the person who opened the bank accounts would have spent at least one night somewhere, somewhere between the airport hopefully and Newmarket, before starting to open bank accounts then. If on that route, that would also mean, not much of a push this, that the airport was definitely the route in to begin with? Kepler was part of this. Somehow? Or not? Just now that didn't matter anyway. 'Where is he?' Waters, next morning, Monday, was nowhere to be seen. Don Price, in, had come up good so far though. George decided to let him have a go at this then. He often got a bit entangled if over worked though. He'd have to watch out for that, in himself as well, had to remember to empty the net, himself. Easier, when you're not on your own. He'd almost forgotten. First thing George had been up to the seventh floor to ask Chief Inspector John Madden for extra help. Up there he had been reminded again, he always was, of the problems that expanding enquiries posed for them. Already he had assigned Bill Waters to him and he could keep Don Price for as long as he liked. George thanked him for at least that, Claire was his side-kick anyway, had been for some time. Still, Bill Waters was an experienced enough officer, he knew, could even have been handed this case

himself at a push. The Chief Inspector rounded off with a bit more of what he quite often talked about at the conclusion of most fruitless requests for extra resources, fishing. Still they'd not been out together for some time, that was so. It was George's boat so his decision when. They would soon. Soon as he put this case to bed. 'If never, then before then.' Madden's eye's narrowed a little and he seemed to have got some point from that remark? Still, that had never made a blind bit of difference before. 'Any enquiries I can help you out with though,' as George let himself out, 'I'll do what I can as well.' Now that was something new. *** Price gone, Waters still not in, Claire and George headed out west, something nagging at him again. Nothing down there yet, brushing against the line. Still he felt played a little, by Joanne. No getting away from it. She at least had known the murdered man, 'Mr Whomever,' indeed, a cold fish she might be? That left her uncle, again? What was he like, deep down? 'Like him?' Ivan Kepler's business took some finding, his main office some twenty-five kilometres out there, to the west of Aucklands city centre, in Henderson. The name of the company was Shumans, International. They dealt overseas and in the main in chemical agents. They could assist in the cleanup of areas that had become over-contaminated by old-style manufacturing processes. 'There was no substitute,' George thought, when he read the blurb that he found at the Shumans' office entrance foyer, 'for considering the land long before it ever got to that.' *** Mr Kepler would be able to see them, she was sure of that. But it wouldn't be much use waiting for him there his secretary Ms. Jane Wright had informed them. It would have to be at his home, she would phone him there

tee it up, which she did. Off the phone she then wrote down the address for them, explaining further that he had fallen down a bank the weekend before. He had been doing some cleaning up work at his home, was still a bit bruised from that, knocked about he had been, resting up, due to that. He would expect them at his address in Titirangi if they went there, then. And so off they went in another direction then, up into the Waitakeres, those splendid bush cloaked hills, secrets in there, often wet there as well... Arriving at Kepler's door, the long drive, he greeted them, explained that he was on his own there. He had been on his own mostly since his fall, the weekend before. He'd popped into work the Saturday before, before his fall, but he'd not been in since. He'd also been alone, there, since then, since they asked. The accident? 'Oh that,' he'd been cleaning up around the place, intending to anyway, to clear as much as possible of the ever-regenerating bracken and flax they had never quite been cleared from there before. Before, he said he meant by that, when his wife and himself, had had the house built some six years ago...she was no longer with him, had passed away. *** Claire got into more of a discussion with Mr Kepler then, asking him more about his wife first, and after that about his business interests overseas. George knew only too well what it felt like to lose a wife. Uncomfortable sitting about, more Claire's thing this, he soon excused himself, having asked Mr Kepler if he would mind if he had a wander around the property. It had been a long time since he'd felt free to just wander about in the bush. He should feel free to wander where he would, Kepler had said, resumed his conversation with Claire before he even got out the door... The ground, outside, George found, out the back of the house, was overgrown as was usual out west, where great forests had once stood, everregenerating. A fall could certainly have taken place there, he didn't doubt that anyway. Anytime, night or day. It was hard to see what might have been cleared away though, and so, when George re-entered the house he asked Mr Kepler about this. What had happened to the scrub he had cut out then, it hadn't even looked like he had,

really? Mr Kepler told them, 'Ah, well that was that, wasn't it,' he had hired a bin for that, a large one as well, but he'd not got going with that task. A work call, then the fall. Hence, it had been collected Sunday morning then, empty, by the company he had hired it from. The name of the company, he told them, was Goodmans, and he had found them in the yellow pages. From Ivan Keplers they went straight there. *** When Goodmans general manager, Clive Bunson, was asked if they had any contracts with construction companies in Newmarket, he replied that they did. And, that coincidentally they had a bin delivered to Newmarket the Saturday before being held from them at the moment by the police. George wondered for a minute why he didnt already know that, that it originated from out here? 'Look.' Clive Bunson said, 'Is that what you are here about, then?' George cut him off. 'Could that bin have been the same bin as you picked up from Kepler's..? 'No,' Clive Bunson told them, the answer was emphatically, 'No!' 'Sitting in someones notebook, that information would be,' George thought to himself then, annoyed. *** The Kepler bin had been picked up and delivered to Newmarket on the Sunday, not the Saturday. It wasnt the same one, he was sure of that! He had talked to the only two drivers that worked the weekend, only that morning as a matter of fact, and he had been assured of that by them. The order had been, for two bins, delivered by Monday, phoned in, he looked down at his desk pad, just before lunchtime, Friday. They knew their bins, his drivers. George was sure they did, still... 'No,' they werent in the yard at the moment. He wasnt sure when they would be back either. Anyway, did George have, 'any idea when they might have their bin back?'

Following that, he didnt. *** 'That would have all been too simple, dont you think,' Claire said, as she steered them slowly out of the gate of the yard, turning in the direction of the motorway, George staring ahead... Taking a call, Claire talked for a while. She should, really, just be driving, George was thinking, about the case as well. It wasn't developing into anything that really connected yet. Claire put the phone back in the side pocket. 'That was Bill, Waters. Someone back at comms had let him know where we were headed. He said that when he found that out he tried to ring you straight away, but your phone was switched off?' It had been, while George had been wandering about, outside at Kepler's. 'Mine I left in here. He wanted to let us know that Joanne Kepler visited Ivan Kepler at the address, as it turns out, we just visited. Better still, or not, she visited there just after we had her in late last Friday as well. Waters, apparently, followed her there, on his way home, he said. 'Which is rubbish, I know, he lives nowhere near there. You should rein him in!' 'Maybe,' George replied. 'Something that though.' In silence, after that, Claire drove them back to base, there to where Don Price was awaiting them, Waters present as well. *** There, then, back at base, Don Price let them know that he had finally turned up a possible first night stop over for them, for their mystery man. That from motel and hotel enquiries nearby, and from the sketchy memory of one motels desk clerk, one Leonie Taurua. That after some pushing though, some hesitancy on her part to begin with, after he had showed her the photo, his warrant card then. Regardless, this dragged out of her or not, the date was right, she remembered him. July 9, he came in, before lunchtime, she just back at work, after a trip to the Gold Coast, visa card, 'maxed out from that,' she had said. But it had been, 'worth it, the break,' she had said, 'how to pay for it,

another thing.' And so, 'she was being frank, did he appreciate frankness?' she had asked Price. Price had said that he did! Getting on then, they all knew by now that the stay hadn't been registered. When he had checked in he had offered pounds sterling as payment, accepted by the clerk. 'Getting better,' George thought at hearing that. A couple of other things, then. For one, he had produced a passport when he checked in, which he neednt have done, and she had told him that. Another, it had been a New Zealand passport and odd she had thought that, that her own reasoning. 'See the man spoke English well enough,' though he had, as she remembered. 'Not understood it so well, as he spoke it, had asked her to repeat herself a couple of times then.' 'Hard of hearing perhaps,' Don Price had suggested then. 'Hearing you,' George replied. No name I suppose?' 'No, unfortunately, she didn't open the passport, clock that. He offered his first name after that though. Jock, or some such name,' she said, 'the best I could get out of her after that. after I told her not to leave town. Asked me why then, was I going to come round? She's legit in a crooked sort of way, I think.' 'Good enough opinion that is for me as well then,' George said, pleased with all this. 'We'll give her a break, then. Too late for a search of the room now anyway...a fuss, futile. Tell her that when you see her again.' 'Yes sir, I will.' He'd fallen into that, hooked, blushed a little after that. And they all saw it, had seen it before also. 'Kids,' Price thought, discounting the cost of that. *** Tuesday morning and George wanted Ivan Kepler brought in. This flight in business, he felt they had been on the same flight, the connection Joanne again. 'Jock and Jill..?' They could call on him again if he wasn't quite up to it, or if he preferred that,' Claire told him? 'Mind, he didnt mind at all,' he said, a little soft on Claire perhaps, she knew, she'd had her ways for years. He was, 'coming into town anyway,' he said. Then asked what time

then?' A give away really, he was trying. She didnt mind as much as she should have, she realised then, the job in hand. Like him, or not? Or like a bit of flattery perhaps? Probably, she wasn't sure. *** Mr Keplers visit to Vienna had lasted four days, he told them then, after being shown into the same room that his niece had previously been interviewed in. His parents, 'had, in fact, come from there. He had found that he liked the feel of it there as well. And, he had found there, he could have meetings there with both his West German business associates, and with the contacts they had in what had formerly been East Germany. Many Western German business people, he explained, wanted to assist in the re-development of what was formally East Germany. This was for the common good. Also, of course, for the opportunities, business... 'Yes,' he would accept a cigarette, which George then lit for him, holding out a match, striking another for himself. Settled back George then pushed David Wenters drivers licence towards him. 'Do you know that person?' George ventured. 'No, Im sorry, I don't know that person,' Ivan Kepler replied. 'Did you know, or meet in Vienna, any person who arrived in this country on the same flight as you did. After this last trip of yours there then?' 'I take it you mean this person then, do you?' Ivan Kepler asked George, perspicacious. 'No, I don't think so, not ever.' 'Did you know then, or have you ever meet a person, in your travels, first name Jock, supposedly from here?' 'No, no Jocks. A few knaves, yes.' A bit of a laugh there, both of them... 'Thank you very much for your help then, Mr Kepler. George left it at that, he believed him. 'How's that..?' 'Ill have you shown out, Claire, can you...' She was up before George got this out. 'Yes, sure.' She declined the offer of lunch though, made at the outside door.

*** The following day, Wednesday, first thing, Bill Waters reported in with news that Jonathon Livingston had entered Hollands office the morning before, the Tuesday, when they were talking to Mr Kepler, Waters seemed to have known. Livingston had not been in there long though, Holland's office. But when he left he had been joined a short time later by Joanne Kepler, for a walk in the park nearby. *** Following that interesting development Bill Waters had then switched from taking and interest in Joanne Kepler to taking an interest in Jonathon Livingston instead, that off his own back. Although this did get back to George, Price shopping him, when George asked what Waters was up to? This character, Livingston, George interested in him by now as well, had denied ever seeing their man around, before he was found, by him, dead? That despite him living opposite him. A month maybe, even? That was possible of course. Still..? *** Joanne Kepler, then, had also told George that she didnt know this Jonathon Livingston? That a question that George no longer wondered why he had asked her now? Grateful though, that he had, for the sake of the dead. She could have said yes. It would have been no big deal then? But now, obviously, he was glad that he had, asked her. What about this, this development, was it, then? First off, George, when he had heard this, that they had met, Joanne and Jonathon, was going to ask Price to look into Jonathon Tims background then, his standing with Joanne. But by then Bill Waters had already gone to work on that. He was after him, this Livingston. A real bloodhound he was, a fisher of men. He had sniffed something? *** Recounting thus, Wednesday first thing again, Waters was able to recount by then, that Jonathon Livingston had, up until fairly recently

worked in the city for the immigration service. That and that he had held quite a responsible position there until recently. More interesting than that though, was a possible reason that he may have wanted to quit working there, not on record, 'here was the good bit,' he had been suspended briefly, that pending an enquiry into the acquiring of a bonafide New Zealand passport, that by an overseas national... And that person, his nationality still unknown so far, not reported anyway, had been arrested in Vienna as well, that in the wake of the killing of a consular employee there. That, news of that, had appeared in the Herald, a week before also. 'This paper,' he flourished then. George's eyebrows shot up then. He had not read of this, not seen it, any mention of it? Waters, enjoying himself, went on. The enquiry had not proved anything against Mr Livingston, or against anybody actually. And all this was being kept very low under the radar so far. Spooks involved as well, so his friend had said. The outcome for now, was though, had been, that Livingston was no longer employed in the city, that at his own request. And he had been shifted to immigration control at the airport now, at his request again. There, this friend of Waters had told him, Jonathon Livingston, yard bird usually, seemed to have his head down there more than was usual for his generally chirpy self. *** Joan King, when Claire visited her again, her job the Thursday, George's idea again, Price late in, Waters wherever, said she had been out walking her dog early, again. Nice, Claire thought. No dog herself, of course. Who would walk it, anyway, if she had? She'd have to retire also. One day, she might get a good offer? 'You never know?' 'That Monday again, then,' Claire on her doorstep, 'The day that that body was found in the bin...remember it...? Could they discuss that again?' 'Sure, come in.' Spotless, Claire noticed, this place. garage attached as well, she'd like that. A car maybe, 'inside,' she asked? 'No.' 'Okay.' 'Back to that, then, to that morning.'

'Okay, shoot.' She poured out a coffee for them both. 'This was at about 6-15 am then,' Claire seated by then, a covered couch, adding a little milk, stirred it in... 'Again for us, if you don't mind. Any little detail, it can help.' 'Well, passing near that building site, best I can remember,' Joan King began to recount, she had noticed Mr Livingston standing there, a worried look about him, a mobile phone being swapped, hand to hand. Then, when he saw her, he had come up to her, stopped her, and had told her what he had found. Standing about he had been then, really, shifting from leg to leg he was as well. 'Very uncomfortable, he was, this Mr Livingston.' So, she had waited with him. What else could she do, for the police to arrive, with him, which arrive they did, shortly after that last call, that did go through. That gone through again Claire asked her about now, her life? 'Retired,' she said. 'A teacher once. Keep active now by walking the dog, a bit of cleaning for a few friends. No family, no,' the question unasked. 'A famous lover once, infamous really...' She looked down, laughed a little at herself then. Sad about something, Claire could see? Still, tea and sympathy thrown in, she still couldn't recall telling Joan King Mr Livingston's name? Maybe she'd become hard these days though? Or more so... she'd always been a little tough. *** The trial of a man, George read in the Herald, a man suspected of carrying out a killing in Vienna, was scheduled for later that year, this article said, there being some, 'enquiries,' apparently, 'being made overseas...' 'Hmm,' George wondered, 'could that mean here?' It could, of course, he knew. There'd been a bit of state sponsored terrorism on their shores only a few years before. That running through his mind, he decided then to fax a photograph of their deceased man to police in Vienna. From whence came a surprisingly quick reply, he thought then, brought down to him from upstairs?! This, which told him that the photograph had been received had a thank you added as well. 'Very grateful...For what,' George wondered? Then, 'could he send fingerprints, any chance?' And as he could, he did. Between then and the next communication, he wondered if that would come back quickly as well, he'd hang about, he read that paper back to back.

Another item, overseas news, well... under-seas news really, and so caught up with this he became. Caught up to the point where he knew he would not sleep well that night either, this concerned a fishing trawler, and a submarine, the fishing trawler dragged down to the depths, the submarine had snagged the trawlers nets. At once and at one George had been with those fishermen then, while he read that, waiting, dragged down with them, all men, by some unfathomable force, all the way down, as they clawed at the clinging mesh... The next communication, when it did come back, brought him round. This, the one he had been hanging back for, was addressed to him and simply said, that identification had not been able to be made there, 'after all?' And that 'they were sorry over that,' as well. 'Sorry now, as well...?' George was stirred... 'Some stake in this then? Or what...?' He would go on with this then, he knew. Stay on that that track somehow. Step aside only when he had to, to let others pass, only if they wouldn't give way to him though, start shaking some trees, that was his job. And no one had said otherwise yet. Not even Madden, upstairs, surprisingly, seemed to be leaving them to tread where they liked? Waters as well? *** Back of that Claire was he sent,by George, to interview Ivan Kepler again then, Claire who had struck more of an accord with Kepler, than him. He would have liked to have asked him more about his domestic arrangements himself. But was also worried that the lives and times they'd both had with their wives, and now without them, might come up then. It was hard for him still, some of that. But he'd got hold of the drinking after a little while, hardly drank at all now, smoked a bit much perhaps...Still, always had, it went with the patch. *** Joanne Kepler was very involved in her uncles life, Claire reported back later. 'But it hasn't always been so...' 'By the way,' she remembered then, to ask him, 'did he remember if Joan King had got hold of Jonathon Livingston's name through them?' He didn't know? 'Back to Ivan now.' More interested now to know more of how Ivan had got by since losing his wife as well?

Some story this would develop into for him then, for Joanne's mother, Ivans sister, had walked out of Joanne's life when she had been very young. So young in fact, that she would have no memory of her, now, if her mother was still alive, wherever? 'Vienna then,' George automatically wondered? 'Then,' Claire went on, 'after his wife had died, years later, Joanne turned up in his life, then. Get this, she sought him out after seeing a death notice, his wife's, and then another that her mother had apparently placed as well. Only she hadn't, Ivan had, on her part...' *** George, sharing his thoughts later with Claire, surmised, that unless something else happened soon, then he imagined that he might soon start receiving hints from upstairs to leave the enquiry alone then. That this killing had the markings of something very underhand indeed, to him. Not a local conspiracy at all, he was convinced by then, with no good reason to say why either? *** Several days later, and when no one was taking any notice of him, Jonathon Livingston drowned in a bath in the flat at 9 Tenet St. An empty bottle of sleeping pills, of recent prescription, were found placed neatly beside the bath. No note was left behind, that might explain why he had drowned himself? 'Suicide,' George wondered? 'Or murder again?' That would not be so easily determined this time... *** In a huddle, Friday after, at the pub, the Boars Head, the team followed this up, before the weekend, George and Claire off then, with some discussion. There it unfolded that when Bill Waters had finally decided to check the non-appearance of Jonathon Livingston at the usual places around lunchtime that day, he had then, last of all, checked his flat. And it was there, where he had finally found Mr Livingston, in his bath, flat out drowned, after giving the back door a nudge. This flat, pertinent maybe also, so far as Claire was concerned, like William Symmes flat over the road, opposite, had been just as thoroughly

cleaned. The smell of cleaning agents similar to her nose as well. And, to add to that, George's concern was that they weren't the only agency interested in these deaths, now, the only thing not in its place in the Livingston flat when Waters searched it after finding Livingston, a computer box, lain out side down on the study carpet, the hard drive of the computer, obviously, ripped out. Ripped out, or taken out, that was the which now which concerned George? The only possible productive course then was, George decided finally, after they'd all ripped the case apart a little in turn, apart from asking the usual obvious questions of neighbours, of course, and, of course, finally questioning Joanne Kepler about her walk with Jonathon Livingston now, would be to see if the hard drive of that computer had been taken in anywhere for repair then, for replacement even, under some warranty, it was a long shot...? By Livingston? He might have? But wouldn't he have taken the box in as well then? After all he did have a car, didn't he, he had made something of that to Claire, hadn't he. That said, this car, where was it then, what sort, was it outside? Price could chase that up, George decided now. But first he could check if any of the cars that David Wenter had hired had ever been parked overnight on the weekends outside the flat that Joanne had let him. Price was pleased to be given the task of checking on this, other bits of the case more interesting to him now. A little lift in his step, George thought, as well? Leonie, he'd heard. At least he hadnt been taken to task over not keeping a better eye on Jonathon Livingston. Waters had, too bad. Not that even if he had been tracked to his flat sooner it would have made any difference anyway, probably? You can't sit with a case, got to keep moving though, he had come out with at the pub, Waters trying to get out of something. Still they'd not exactly been at red alert over any persons of interest yet. Left to it as well now, bout time he got a bit of head, Price decided, he would start at the bottom of the street and work his way back up, all the weekend coming, if need be. Still, he would have to call again, he knew, sometime, on any residents that werent in when he called, even if he called on them twice over the coming weekend. Everyone in the street, that was the task, had to be asked if they remembered any of the hire cars parked nights over the last four weekends.

*** Claire was surprised, at the funeral of Jonathon Livingston, to see Joan King there. George hated funerals, and so she was the one always sent. Not that she enjoyed them much herself. But it was a fact though, that much could sometimes be learned from them. When Claire talked with Joan King afterwards she said she had decided, even though she had only met him under less than ordinary circumstances, to pay her respects anyway. She wondered if perhaps what he had found that morning had played on his mind? It had certainly played on hers, she said, but it hadn't kept her awake nights. 'Worse happens all the time, overseas.' 'Yes,' Claire went along with that, for then. *** It had taken Price some time to work up and back down Tenet Street the Saturday. He would have to call back at some of the addresses before he finally felt he had something worthy to offer George again. 'Good job again,' he felt. There was, Price had told George Monday first thing, no resident of Tenet Street with a clear memory of any cars in particular being parked, over-nights weekends outside 10 Tenet Street, the last five or so. Though some had said there might have been, when he had mentioned the colour red. There was now something else that might interest George though. George said nothing, didnt interrupt him, just listened. When Price had finished, all George said was that he could leave that now, which Price really didnt want to do then, bearing in mind what hed just told George. Still, George thought, said, he should get onto tracking down that computers hard drive now if possible, which Price really didnt want to do now. *** It didnt surprise George that Joanne Kepler didnt attend the funeral. And he would leave her alone till after that as well. Nor did funerals do much for him. The day after the funeral he finally decided to ask her about Jonathon

Livingston again though. And to ask her about that walk she been seen taking with him as well then, if she kept denying that she had known him. *** But when he called at her work place he had been told that she hadnt been in for the last three days. He found her at her flat. He said he was sorry to intrude. But that as there was no obvious reason for Mr Tim taking his life, he wondered if she might be able to help him, then? She did know him, didn't she... 'Yes,' she finally admitted it, she did know him. And she said she probably could explain some things. She had known him a little, a bit more lately, she had been seeing a bit more of him than before. Before then, when they knew each other, it was just to nod to really. He had been unhappy, for sure, lately. She hadn't meant to lead him on, she'd been lonely herself, and so she'd allowed him back home with her one evening. Truth was he'd been no good when she'd taken him upstairs though, no other way of putting it. Then on one particular day he had called at her office and she had been forced to join him for a walk. He was so unhappy about things between them. He had said so. She had been quite busy really and had not really wanted to do that, the walk, the talk okay. On reflection, she shouldn't have, she felt now.. She couldnt imagine that he would have taken his life over her, but she felt bad anyway. *** There was more, for she couldnt remember if George had asked her if she knew Jonathon before, she said then, but if he had, and she had said she didnt, then she was sorry for that as well. But she hadnt, at that time, wanted to talk to anyone about Jonathon, really. Poor bloke. George said he could understand, and then asked her if she knew what had happened to Jonathon's car then, his old red Jaguar that George knew all about now, that was normally parked on the road outside his flat. Joanne said she was surprised that George didnt already know about that, considering. Jonathons car had been stolen from outside his flat that weekend, just before the Monday when he'd found that body in the bin, that Saturday night in fact, before then.

And the she added that that was why, in fact, he had been up so early that Monday morning also, when he found the body, making sure he could find a bus that would get him to work on time as well, it having been a while since he'd bussed anywhere. That also, then, why he had been walking by the building site the night before, the Sunday, when he had heard, he had told her, what he remembered the next morning to investigate, A crash and a boom from within that bin. Finished, George asked her why she was surprised he didnt know that Jonathons car had been stolen? 'Because,' she replied, 'the theft of the car on the Saturday night had been reported to the police the Sunday morning before the bashing.' 'Bashing...' George thought, how would she know that? *** Price, since set on it, had been spending his time since George had last talked to him phoning computer repair businesses everywhere and getting nowhere. When George finally managed to get through to him, George told him then what hed found out from Joanne Kepler about the Jaguar. He also wanted to know what else had happened that weekend, that he didnt know about? 'Plenty of the usual,' had happened that weekend, Price told him when he got back to George later, pleased to have got a break from the computer related calls. Apart from Jonathon Livingston's car being reported stolen, from outside his flat, Jonathon Livingston had not owned that car for that long either, a notation on the file, if that interested him. Perhaps that may have gone some way towards explaining some downturn in mood that Jonathon Livingston may have experienced before he killed himself as well then? Price didn't know, couldn't say. The coroner might like that, anyway, if he's a westie once, himself? 'The car...' 'No, that still hasnt turned up yet.' 'Okay. Anything else?' *** Well, there was nothing else that even remotely coincided with what had

happened in Newmarket that weekend as it turned out, that George had found out from Price. But, if George wished, he could check, if it interested him, into the reported disappearance of a teenager in Titirangi that same weekend, out West? There was also the fatal accident that had occurred at the beach nearby to where that teenager had lived as well...'on the same night...' Not a red car though, I dont suppose? No sir. Anyway, Titirangi, you say, George wanted to know more, now, one part of Titirangi, French Bay, close to his heart, his fishing heart anyway. 'Lookfor the time being, leave what youre doing now and look into this Titirangi business as well will you. And let me know if any red cars turn up anywhere out there as well, won't you. Or anywhere,' he rung off. 'Yes sir,' Bill hummed, George already gone, and so he, Detective Constable Donald Price, punched in the number for those files again, pleased when he a got a, 'yes sir,' back to that request again as well. *** The first file, he'd but glanced at this before, contained statements made by the missing boys parents and by some of his friends. Action taken: All the tracks and bush areas nearby had been searched not only by a police team from out west, but also by family and friends. The file on the fatal accident showed that that accident had happened on the same night that the boy had disappeared. Now he wondered if they were linked, linked even to their main case at the moment? Not red though, the car that had crashed into the Pohutukawa tree by the ramp had been white. The covers on the files were green which signified incomplete or unsolved. Bill read through the statements again. He then moved the files, one to either side of his desk. In front of himself he placed a blank piece of paper. He sharpened a pencil. Then he wrote down the names of all those that had given statements concerning the disappearance of the boy. Also, the name of every searcher that had helped look for him. He then put a question mark beside the names that he decided he would check first. He then reached for his keyboard, typed in his password and got into it. When he had finished he placed the keyboard back on top of the

console again. He got a coffee, two sugars, picked up the phone again, and this time punched in the number for his boss. 'Boss,' he argued, when he thought he wasn't going to get his own way with this, 'It could be called a job pending, could be squared with the seventh floor that way then...Couldnt it?' The only plea he left off then, being please. Space... 'S'pose,' George said, definitely more well disposed to Price these days. 'Come up,' hung up. *** Price put his case carefully to the Magistrate that George had recommended he approach for the warrants. A boy had disappeared and he had disappeared nearby to where a fatal accident had occurred, the same night. If the driver of the car that had crashed into the Pohutukawa tree had hit the boy, killed him then, maybe, then it was difficult to see why someone else would hide his body then? That driver of that car had died and so it couldnt have been him that hid any body, could it? Where was he then, this boy? Even if he had caused the accident, say, that he had been standing on the bend, the car had taken evasive action then, lost control, the boy could still have gone home to bed, if he was scared for his own sake then. The accident having occurred the same night the boy disappeared had obscured something potentially very serious, Price put it then, the disappearance of that lad. And, by not following up on the disappearance of that boy using normal procedure, things had gone from bad to worse then. The search that Price therefore wished to lead now, then, was of that lads friends place, Kenny, as that should have been done by now as well. A search of another address, the address of one other boy of interest, he would advise as well, also in keeping with general procedure. He would get his way. *** Young, too young to rush in on, perhaps, Kenny had the sort of form that interested police officers generally. Every school had had one, they'd all known one. That aside, persons like Kenny were generally short-term offenders, after school. They werent bright, never had been, and so they didnt cover their tracks very well. They didnt go far either, to commit their

crimes. Which meant they were also always at hand to be interviewed shortly after. They didn't range very far, and if they got embedded in a community they became a real nuisance. That being the case, kids like Kenny could also be said to have another sort of nuisance value. In that even if they were not involved in misdemeanours committed in their area, they usually kept company at times with whoever had, maybe even benefiting in some way materially as well. Leaning on any of them over anything in particular, in this case on Kenny over the disappearance of Neville, usually got results. Plus it was always nice to be able to have a look around so as to see how it was the likes of Kenny were getting by. *** After they had thoroughly searched Kennys room, as well as the rest of his parents home, Bill had then asked Kennys parents if they would mind if Kenny came back to the station with them then,one of them as well, for an informal chat about the disappearance of Neville... Price apologised for the mess then, standard, and said he didnt think theyd need to come back again. Someone would definitely have to come in though, within the next 24 hours, to the station. Kennys father was not pleased. Getting Kenny into the car was no problem after that discussion, he couldn't wait to get away from home. *** Waters, after searching the other boys house, and having a quiet chat, had come back to the station with a story as well. One that had been going around at the boys school. Kenny had, apparently, told anyone that had asked him, that Nevilles disappearance had had something to do with them crossing some heavies. This story, apparently, was widely believed at school as well. George, told that, liked that as well. That would be their way in then. He stood aside, told Price to go in with that first. Tell me Kenny, Price asked him then, about Neville and the heavies? Kenny, shot an upwards look, looked caught short already. Who told you about that, them, what..? 'We ask the questions, Kenny,' George cut in. 'International heavies

then, were they? 'Course not,' Kenny, feeling he had some ground now, hoped that this was all all this would be about then, said, 'I made that up, didn't I. I had to say something about it, didn't I.' Kenny wasn't lying either. How could he get caught out then! 'Why's that Kenny? Why'd you have to make something up? The truth too heavy for you to bear sharing? 'No, course not. Everyone had been asking me, had to say something...to stop that. Ive even been questioned by the cops about it, before you, the westie lot, when we were searching for him. I just want the questions to stop, honest. Thats all. And that worked at school. I honestly, youve got to believe me, dont know what happened to him.' 'Honestly, eh?' Price then. 'So what are you going to tell us then, Kenny?' George quietly cut in again, shuffling David Wenter's drivers license with the credit card that had also been found in Kenny's bedroom. 'Everything,' Kenny said then, scared. 'Everything. Neville got a car from somewhere. Ill show you where, he showed me after he picked me up, we drove round. That's all.' 'Show me then,' George stood up. *** On the question of his movements that vital weekend, Ivan Kepler, after Waters had picked him up and brought him in, told George again, that the only time he had left the property that Saturday, was when he had had to go into work, 'for a while.' Then he repeated, he had arrived home again that day, the Saturday, about 7pm. That Saturday was also the only time, so far as he had seen anyone, that he had had any visitors that weekend. Joanne and her friend, in the old Jaguar. 'Yes, the red one...Saturday morning...' Someone had left two bottles of claret at his front door though, while he was at the office, 'for that short while.' He noticed these when he returned home. 'Yes, 7-ish, again.' 'No,' he didnt know who? But, he assumed then, that that had been Joanne again. Though, when she next visited him, the Friday before, latish, after he had offered a glass, thanked her, she had said that it hadnt been her,

them, after all. 'Who it was then, I still don't know? An old friend perhaps?' *** The next morning, the Sunday, Ivan going through that again, then, he had had his fall, about 10am. He had been rushing, intending to load at least some bracken and fern into the bin before it was taken away. He had expected them to collect it late in the day, the day before, that was the arrangement. He could hardly believe his luck that it was still there come Sunday morning. And so he had been rushing, fallen at the first branch though. After his fall, in quite some pain, he had driven to the medical centre in New Lynn to get himself checked over. He was very sore. Checked over he had got back home around midday Sunday then. And had then taken to his bed as well. No one, so far as he knew, had called at all that day except whoever had come to collect the bin. It was gone by then. George then asked him what had happened to the wine that had just turned up then? Ivan told him then that he was on the second bottle, a little left of the first though, if he'd like to call round and check it and chat? Better than that, George put it to him then, could Claire see him home personally then? And perhaps bring those bottles back to the station after that, as well then? 'What for,' was the look back of course, the question asked though, George also said then that he wouldn't mind if the last one was near empty before Claire brought that one back as well. He could try a bit of both then? Bemused, Ivan Kepler readily agreed. *** It took another day, a little more delay on the part of Joanne Kepler, but George finally got through to her by placing the two empty wine bottles in front of her in the interview room. 'Did she recognise them?'. She didnt think so, she said, 'Not especially,' though she grew more cautious of George then, more cautious than she had ever seemed before, and this was more noticeable now to Claire as well. 'Too late,' thought Claire. George, cleared his throat, offered Joanne a smoke, she took it this

time. He then told her that prints on one of the bottles were Jonathon Livingston's. 'Would that surprise you?' It did. 'Also, on both of them,' next, 'there are prints belonging to your uncle, your uncle who lives in Titirangi...' letting that sink in. 'Now,' he said, 'because of that, we now know that you and Jonathon dropped both these bottles off there. That being on a Saturday then, later in the day probably, when Ivan was in at work, you didn't hang round long then...that the Saturday preceding Jonathon finding that man dead in that bin in Newmarket as well then, the Monday morning after that.' 'This you have denied as well, when asked by your uncle. He,' George, 'wondered why now? Also, there are several more unidentified prints on the bottles, at least one of which I am sure will be yours. So, it's just a matter of my deciding now what to charge you with, so as I can lawfully confirm this. Comprendez, get me?' She did, indicated that she wanted some time to think. *** It wasn't long before Joanne Kepler decided then, that she would tell them more now, more about Jonathon, anyway. She hadn't known Jonathon that well nor for that long, she said then. She had met him one night, in a bar come caf, where she'd been out, with a girl friend. It had been this friend, really, that had known him, in passing, anyway. But once introduced he had seemed interested in her then, also. And to begin with, well around then, she had been a little interested in him as well...There was a knock at the interview room door. *** During the pause Joanne reflected again...So far as she was concerned it had been an accident really, nothing, really, that she should be reproached over either. It had got complicated though. They had arrived at Uncle Ivan's later that day, as this George Te Rupa has guessed, after an afternoon of tasting at several nearby wineries. They had dropped a couple of bottles off to Ivan, yes. They might have had a drink together then, let him get to know Jonathon a bit better then, he'd definitely been part of the scene. Ivan hadnt been in, which had been unexpected. After leaving the wine by the front door they had left again.

Feeling let down a little, Joanne had then decided that it was her turn to drive again, Jonathons old red car, his new old possession, so comfortable inside. She had driven, recklessly, yes, hoping to frighten the life out of Jonathon a little, as well. Hoping to feel a little bit more alive then, herself, not so connected to her needs. Down the drive they had flown, she driving, laughing at Jonathon. She remembered, then, vaguely, hoping that she wouldnt run into her uncle returning from wherever he had been, then, but worried only a little about that, she was just half way round the last bend before the driveway swung again to meet the road, when she saw someone, a man, in front of her. He hadnt heard them. He had had his jacket pulled up over his head and had been backing out onto the driveway when she had hit him, head on. It had been sickening, not her fault. Jonathon had been sick. After dragging the man out from under the front of the car, he had pushed through a stand of silver ferns beside the driveway himself, and had been sick there, she had heard him retching. She hadnt felt too well herself. Jonathon had got very worried then, over that passport business again. Who was this man? Claire had recognised him. He had been following them, trying to put something together then. *** She would tell George then, when he returned to the interview room, about the accident, that much anyway, and she did. 'We were out wine tasting that afternoon. We visited Ivan earlier, Uncle, just to say hullo. We were out that way. He's on his own, mostly, these days. He'd been intending to get on with some clearing up there, he'd got in a bin, we left him to it.' 'Yes,' she would have a cigarette. 'That man, Jonathon had said, we did hit him, run him down. Well, Jonathon did. He must have been stalking me or something, Jonathon reckoned. I had let Number 10 to him. You know that. I recognised him. Even Jonathon did, said he had seen him coming and going from Number 10. Jonathon drove too fast down the driveway. He hit him. I told him to slow down but he wouldn't. I was worried about my uncle returning. We might have hit him. Instead, we hit that guy. He had been backing out onto the driveway, his jacket over his head, the dampness off the fern leaves, I guess, he hadn't even heard us coming then!'

'So, we put the injured man into the back of the car, not thinking for a moment of leaving him there. We were going to take him down to the hospital, I thought. Then Jonathon said that it was too late, he's dead.' After that, he hadnt told her what he had done with the car. She had been trying to get him to talk to the police about it ever since, the morning of that walk in the park even. He had said he was going to then as well. Had promised her, but it seemed he had killed himself instead. The bin, that was some coincidence. 'Sure was,' George thought, not much more we can do with all this now, some confession this was, but it was something at last, anyway. Fish all day sometime... George excused himself and went up to the seventh floor to relate this to his boss. He was not at all sure how responsible he could make her for what had happened the way she had explained it. Had he clocked her by the way? Yes Madden had. *** Amongst others that had moved to Auckland from Wellington once had been John Madden, now George Te Rupas boss. Chief Inspector Madden had been a student at Victoria where he had completed a philosophy degree with honours. This had made him the pragmatist that he was. Almost everything was as relative to him now, as it had once been impressed on him that it was then. The mention of the name Kepler, mentioned to him earlier in the enquiry, had summoned up the memory of Jean, pragmatist or no. Truth was, he had never forgotten her. She had moved on before he had finished his studies, hadn't completed hers either, had left him behind. She hadn't even said goodbye. Or perhaps she had, in her own way? The flat had been left spotless, not a sign of her ever having been there. Yes he had been a member of the police force then. But so what he had told Jean. He hadn't been the first policeman ever encouraged to study. Still, he had often wondered, why, fresh from university, no issue was ever raised with him over his involvement with campus causes then, while he was with Jean. Yet it seemed few cared, by then, that was the answer to that. Someone had retired, been retired finally. A real McCarthyite he had been, a nazi some said, even?

He had heard this staggering story later, not long after Jean left, that she had arrived in Auckland and had had a child there as well, a daughter, it must have been his. He had tried, soon after that, to find her then, but had not succeeded. *** The business at hand, back to that, Madden suggested then that George ask Joanne Kepler how she might plead if she was charged with withholding information which might have helped police with enquiries? After all, she might not directly be able to be linked to what had happened after they had run into him. That man, had, after all again, been alive and in the hands of this Jonathon Livingston then, and there was nothing to contradict that. And there had to be some sort of finality as well, as regards the case of the man found dead in the bin. *** When George reported back to his boss not too long after that conversation, he told him that he had put that to Joanne Kepler, and that she had said she would plead guilty to that, to that if she was put before the court. 'Book her and bail her then, 'Chief Inspector John Madden said to that. 'And when youve done that a little fishing might be in order also. 'Coming then,' George asked him?' 'Give me a minute, or two, will you. I'll catch up with you.' He began to straighten up his desk, George closed the door behind him. *** After George left John Madden waited a while, rose, straightened up his tie, then walked to the lift. When Joanne Kepler emerged from the building at ground level, he was waiting for her. He eyed her up and down. She wondered what he had seen in her, why? 'Your mother,' he caught up to her halfway across the car park, 'your mothers name wasnt Jean was it? 'No, her name is Joan, like mine.' Well, what else could she say? And what if they did make that connection one day? 'Last name then, your mother?' Blast, this was getting more uncomfortable, now. Well, what else could

she say, again? 'King,' then. Very well then,' Madden said, plainly not entirely satisfied either.' 'Mustnt hold you then...' That was it, her mother would definitely have to go away back now.,, *** Kenny had noticed the bits of glass and car wreckage on the bend the day after Neville disappeared. These were all but dispersed and had been by the vehicles that had attended the accident that he had heard had happened down there the night before. But that didnt then, and never did register with him, as having anything to do with why his friend hadnt caught the bus to school with him that Monday morning. When he was asked two days later by the police if he had any idea what had happened to his friend, he had said that he didnt, and that was true. On the Friday, having decided to hang onto the credit card that eventually saw police solve part of the puzzle as regards the appearance of the dead man in the bin, Kenny delivered the binoculars and the sunglasses that he had also taken from the car to the buyers he had contracted for them at school. He had left the passport \in the car. Maybe Neville was using it? They had also wanted to know what had happened to Neville? So did he, but he didn't. And so, he had told them, at school, that Neville and he had recently crossed some heavies out west. So, he had to watch what he said then and to whom. Otherwise they could be in danger as well. By lunch-time he was the legend that he still is. *** The old red Jaguar turned up after Joanne was charged. Someone had parked it that night in the car park just behind a newly completed building in Newmarket, the last bin removed by Goodmans that afternoon. The call alerting the police too its presence there was phoned in anonymously. Another lose end tied up... Somewhat damaged at the front it was scrupulously clean inside, even the black vinyl top had been polished.

Paint scrapings matched scrapings found on the clothing of the unclaimed body of the man found in the bin, but that enquiry had been all but shut down by then. Details relating to the disappearance of Neville had been filed as well, closed until he surfaces? *** After charging Joanne George hadn't gone fishing. Instead his boss had caught him on his way out and asked if they could have a drink instead, down at the Boars Head. The tide hadn't been right anyway, high in at noon. Thus, he repaired the mesh of his net evenings the rest of that week, and in the early evening Saturday till a little late, the tide just starting to turn in, he and his nephew Tim, got in a little netting by lantern off the point at Wood bay, splitting the catch, more than a few flounder each. The following weekend all was more propitious for the boat though, the tide rising all afternoon, and so Madden and he were to meet at French Bay just after two, Saturday. The boat launched they then nipped out and around the point to where a deep channel wound nearby as well. There, Georges said, they would drift fish till dusk. 'Your spot this then, of late?' Madden asked. He hadn't been here with George before. No comment to that, none expected either. George did have something for Madden though, after they got their lines down. 'This Joan King,' he fidgeted, 'we checked this for you. We had one, as I told you the afternoon you asked, at the Boars Head, that afternoon after we charged Joanne Kepler. And, we had her as a witness for a while also, as I said, the woman with the dog who came along after Livingston found our man in the bin. But here's the rub, there...when Claire went to talk to her again, following this up for you, she'd gone, flew out the day after we booked Joanne, landed up in Vienna finally as well, that place again There, she seems to have disappeared...? 'A bit more on Joanne though, we've checked there as well. Seems she was brought up by someone named King, his name Adam, mother not around then. 'A bit more for you though, I got interested in this myself Clalre came back to me with that. There is in Vienna a Kepler as well, a Jean also. But she's not left there for years.' ***

Well, at least Madden knew that much now. That said conversation dried up somewhat for quite some while after that, till near dusk. Till George swore he'd finally caught something then as well. Whether he had or not his line soon went slack. It could have been a shark, they'd been caught near there before; it could have been a stingray? Whatever, it had been a dead weight, anyway. His hook, line and sinker were gone. Now George looked about. The dusk beckoning, the beacons blinking, he knew that ships wouldn't pass by them if they stayed out there much longer. Rather they would roll over them if they came along. And after that no one would even know they were down there. *** Out, over the bay, boomed a tune from some shack hidden by trees. It sounded like Cat Steven's, faded away with, 'there's a way, and I know, I have to go... 'Yes,' George knew, 'In, we must, sooner rather than later...' Out there Madden's take was different. Having caught the end of the tune, just, he had almost remembered the beginning then. But then that had faded also. There would be no more of that. He would go to Vienna himself now... 'It isn't over yet...'

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