- Author: Suzanne Frankham
Book online «Shadow Over Edmund Street Suzanne Frankham (great book club books txt) 📖». Author Suzanne Frankham
Journeys to Words Publishing
181 Drummond Street,
Carlton, Melbourne. 3053.
First published in Australia 2021
Copyright © Suzanne Frankham 2021
The moral right of the author to be identified as the
author of this work has been asserted.
The characters in this book are fictitious as is the plot.
Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead,
or real circumstances, is coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity
(including Google, Amazon or similar organisations),
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, scanning or by any
information storage and retrieval system, without prior
permission in writing from the publisher.
Editor: Jen Hutchison
Text design by Daniel Chelchowski, Journeys to Words Publishing
Typeset in EB Garamond 12pt/16pt by Daniel Chelchowski
Cover design by Daniel Chelchowski, Journeys to Words Publishing
Cover Image from Arcangel/Des Panteva
Printed by Ovato
PART 1 Ten Days in May
It had been a long night. Constable Andrew Houghton, three weeks out of the Police Academy, had been on his own at the front desk of the station dealing with whatever the public threw at him. He’d been terrified. A more senior officer would normally be rostered on the Saturday night shift but everyone was sick. A virus which began like a cold and went to the chest, left people with severe bronchitis and the asthmatics struggling for breath.
He’d been lucky. It was a cold windy night. The streets were quiet. There’d been stolen cars, a couple of fights, a drug overdose and a lost dog but he’d coped. Grateful at least there’d been no out-of-control addicts to deal with. Nobody yelling at him.
He checked his new watch, all silver and shiny, a graduation present from his parents. Almost six. Another hour and he would be done. Soon it would be over, nothing more than a good news story to tell his girlfriend, how he’d managed to bluff his way through his first night on the desk. His eyes were shining, and he was thinking of the way she looked at him in his new uniform when the phone rang.
There was no time to introduce himself before the voice on the line took over. Male, loud, breathless. Within a few seconds the air was knocked clean out of his lungs. He struggled to breathe.
‘Are you sure she’s dead?’ he managed.
‘Of course I’m sure. I’m a doctor. I know when someone’s dead, and besides,’ he added, ‘the ring of blood around her neck is a giveaway.’
The constable felt his stomach lurch. He’d never seen a dead person, never dealt with death in his twenty short years of life. He concentrated on reaching for the set of instructions kept below the counter. On spitting out the right questions in a business-like tone, making it sound as if he had done this before. To calm the agitated doctor and assure him help would be there in a matter of
With blood pounding in his ears he picked up the special phone—the crimson one kept out of sight—the one which rang straight through to the big boys. He focused on steadying his voice as he detailed the information he had scrawled over the page.
‘Female. Reported dead in a car. Suspicious. Silver hatchback at the base of the escarpment in Pierce’s Park. Phoned in by Doctor James Thomas at 6.12 am. He’s still at the scene. No police there.’ He finished reciting the facts and put the phone back in its stand. His hand trembled as he sank into a chair.
His first serious crime.
It was later, at home and showering, when he realised he had no idea what an escarpment was. Before bed, he googled it — a cliff. A big long word and all it meant was a cliff.
* Detective Alex Cameron took the call just after 6.30 am. The dog had padded into the bedroom at the sound of the phone, a mid-sized bundle of black fur with legs too long and skinny, a body too short and fat and eyes which never missed a trick. He settled down in the corner of the room with his head on his front paws, ears pricked, watching and waiting.
Alex had found the dog a year ago, lying on top of an old woman dead on the floor of her bedroom. The dog had been a ball of desperate, snarling aggression in a room stinking of death and decay. The two constables first at the scene had called it in, unsure of what to do. Alex had heard their confusion on the radio and stopped by to help.
The constables were young, hadn’t dealt with death much or with frantic, grief-stricken dogs. As soon as Alex walked into the bedroom the dog stopped growling. After a couple of minutes it stood up, shook the stiffness out of its limbs and crept over to him. No one in the room uttered a word. He bent down, doing his best to avoid the stench clinging to the dog’s fur, looked it in the eye and saw its misery. He went to the kitchen and rifled through the cupboards, found a can of food and an opener, fed the dog and gave it some water. He watched while the dog ate and drank. Five days, the doctor said. The old lady had been dead for about five days, the dog by her side, waiting for her to wake up.
That’s how it had started. Now the dog was his.
‘Another one, Dog,’ he said as he got out of bed, but as far as he was concerned the dog already understood. It was the eyes which gave him away. Old eyes which had seen too much. When Alex reached for his jacket and car keys the dog picked up his lead and carried it in his mouth as they caught the lift to the ground floor. He headed straight to Mr Chan’s apartment and waited. He wouldn’t mind being woken early on a Sunday morning.
‘Got a case on?’ the old man asked, opening the door, his face creased with sleep. He