Two Extracts from A Model Murder (Order from Amazon or Alicia Allen Investigates website at http://www.aliciaalleninvestigates.com):
“Quick,” said Will, turning off the computer. “Let’s hide in the big gap behind those ﬁling cabinets,” he said, shining the torch into the alcove. “We can squeeze in there. Hurry!” I grabbed my handbag, and wriggled in behind the ﬁling cabinets. Will crammed in beside me, squashing me into the corner so that I could barely breathe let alone move. It was then that I remembered I had left my chiffon scarf on the desk and started to panic.
“Will,” I whispered.
“What?” he whispered back.
“I left my scarf on the desk.”
“Oh, Ally, no! We had better hope and pray they don’t see it because there’s no way we can go back and get it now. Shush. I can hear footsteps. They”re almost downstairs. Don’t breathe a word.”
It was not possible for either of us to see anything from where we were hiding but we could hear most of what was said. There were three of them and I could pick out the voices of Vincent and Michael, but not the third. They were talking about some deal they had done on the stock market and how nobody would ever be able to trace the source of the funds. Vincent was laughing at his own brilliance and how he had orchestrated the whole thing almost single-handed, although he did concede that without the assistance of his two companions he would not have been able to pull it off.
Since we had been disturbed before completing our investigation Michael”s ofﬁce was unlocked and open. Vincent went berserk over this, and accused Michael of being incompetent, and they had an altercation which seemed to go on for ages. Michael insisted that he had locked the door, but Vincent continued to berate him about failing to do so. The ﬁrst of them to walk into the ofﬁce, and I thought it must be Michael, turned on the light. I was praying that he would not discover my scarf...
“Did I not make it perfectly clear to you before that there are certain matters in this ﬁrm which are no concern of yours?” He pointed his ﬁnger at me as he walked towards me, causing me to walk backwards so that I was now standing against the wall. He put his arms on the wall either side of me, so effectively I was pinned against it with him standing over me.
“Yes,” I responded, looking up at him.
“Then what the fuck are you doing asking Teresa’s secretary questions which are of no relevance to your work here?” he screamed. He was so close to me that I could smell his tobacco breath and I turned my head to the side to avoid it.
“There must be some misunderstanding,” I replied. “I’m only carrying out the work Andy left me.”
“You couldn’t leave it alone, could you, Alicia?” He was menacing. “You know what they say about people who mess with ﬁre?” he added, taking his arms away from the wall. He reached into his right suit pocket, took out a lighter and repeatedly ﬂicked it open and shut within millimetres of my face. “They get burned.”
I closed my eyes for a second, then opened them and swallowed hard. My heart was pounding, I felt hot and sick and I could not speak. He paused. “And we couldn’t have that happening to you, could we?”