by Trevor Hopkins

"Well, let's calm down, for a start," I suggested, "And we can consider your options."

He took a couple of deep breaths, then looked up at me imploringly.

"Now, you want to protect your fiancé and your business, I can understand that. But there are things going on out there, "I nodded in the direction of the closed office door, "That you don't know about, and a few saucy snaps of your girlfriend is just the tip of the iceberg, I suspect."

Broxden nodded slowly.

"So, if you don't want the coppers shutting you down, you need to trust my judgement."

"But why?" he asked, suddenly urgent in his demands.

"I need you to consider this," I answered calmly, "What would have happened if I had told you about Drumfin and the cameras before the police came around?"

Broxden was again silent and thoughtful.

"Either, you would have told the truth, which means that the police would know about the blackmail pictures," I said, answering my own question, "And you would now have their heavy boots tramping all over the place here, getting in the way of your business and undoubtedly scaring off whoever it is who was working with Drumfin."

I paused for a moment to let that point sink in.

"Or, you would have lied to the cops, which meant you would have broken the law," I went on, "And you don't have the protection of the Private Investigator's Code of Conduct on your side. The police don't take kindly to being lied to and when - when, mind you - they had found out, you'd be in serious trouble. So, you were better off not knowing, weren't you?"

He nodded his head meekly, as if he was now the admonished schoolboy and I was the head teacher.

"What do I do now?" he asked.

"If they do come back - which I doubt - then you should tell them the truth. The whole truth. Mention my name, if that helps. That should get them off your back."

"And what are you going to do?" he pressed.

"Find out what's really going on," I said, grimly, "And stop it."

I stood and put my hat back on. Broxden hadn't moved, so I left him to think on his position. But, just as I reached the door, he looked up from his desk.

"Gask," he said softly, "You're still not telling me everything, are you?"

"No, I'm not," I agreed blandly, "But you don't need to know everything, do you?"

Part 47 Part 49