An Explosive Time (The Celtic Cousins' Adventures)

An Explosive Time (The Celtic Cousins' Adventures) by Julia Hughes Page A

Book: An Explosive Time (The Celtic Cousins' Adventures) by Julia Hughes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julia Hughes
phone back, there were two voicemails. He started the Passat up before listening to them, comforted as always by the friendly rumble of the engine.
    The first was from his superior, demanding Crombie account for himself and his absence. The other from a Thames Valley desk jockey, asking Crombie to call her in relation to the APB he'd placed on Charlie Bozen's jeep.
    Choosing the lesser of the two evils first, Crombie dragged out his notebook and retrieved a pen on the floor, before ringing Thames Valley. The receptionist put him through to a woman whose default setting seemed to be "sleep mode".
    'DI Crombie? The plates on the APB you put out match those of a jeep found next to a burnt out caravan just outside a local beauty spot.'
    'Really? When was this please, and where exactly?' Crombie poised the pen against his notebook, thinking he'd never catch up with Bozen now. Paper rustling competed with an annoying white static buzz. Eventually the woman's voice said.
    'Erm, last week, outside Beckett's Woods.'
    Crombie huffed impatiently, and was about to tell her to be more specific when she continue as though reading from handwritten notes.
    'Charred remains of one body, thought to be male. Jeep not reported stolen, registered to a Mr. Hunt, who was traced to a nursing home in Bournemouth. Do you want the address of the nursing home DI Crombie?'
    'What?!! Of course I don't! Are you certain? Because I have reason to believe those plates belong to a jeep owned by a gentleman by the name of Charlie Bozen.' Crombie snapped, hoping to inject a sense of urgency into the conversation.
    'Well according to the owner of the nursing home, Mr Hunt hasn't driven in fifteen years, and isn't likely to, as he's been diagnosed with senile dementia.'
    'Jeez.' Crombie breathed out. 'Do you have any clue as to the identity of the body?' Although he already guessed Charlie Bozen wouldn't be doing anymore running. More paper rustled, even more white noise crackled.
    'Sorry Sir. Just checking the forensic report.' More pages turned. 'No, sorree. Says here dental records would be no help, every tooth has been 'stracted, probably premortem. When Traffic moved the caravan, they found a laptop computer hidden underneath the vehicle.' Pages turned again. 'Says here the IT crowd have tried to open it, but without success. All files are password protected.' She added, as though imparting valuable information. Crombie thought quickly. From what he'd gleaned about Bozen, the man was barely literate. Doubtless the IT crew at Thames Valley regarded computer security as a personal challenge, yet they'd been trying to open the laptop's files for nearly a week now. Something stirred in Crombie's gut. If he didn't know better, he'd call it Copper's instinct. If he could bottle and sell it, he'd make a fortune.
    The laptop wasn't Bozen's, and the owner wanted it back so badly, when they couldn't find it, they'd made certain it would be destroyed. Only they'd reckoned with Bozen's animal cunning. On impulse Crombie told the woman he was on his way to collect the laptop, and to make certain it was waiting for him on his arrival at reception.
    'Oh-er' she wavered. 'I dunno about that. The Super needs to authorise it, and the Super is away in Corfu until next Wednesday.'
    'Really? I'm expected to kick my heels on a murder case until your superior gets back from holiday.' Crombie went in for the kill. 'And I'll explain to Scotland Yard to get ready to drop everything on Wednesday, because that's when Thames Valley think they might be able to hand over a laptop that they've already tried for the best part of a week to get into. Tried and failed.' For a moment or two Crombie thought he'd overdone the sarcasm and the hapless nameless woman had hung up. Instead a timid voice began giving him directions to the office block where evidence was kept, assuring him that she would phone ahead and make certain he was expected. Instead of blurting out his gratitude, Crombie gave a

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