Detective Shelly Hobbs has Starred in three previous mysteries. Why not read those in order first. There maybe a clue to this new mystery within them.
Murder in the Menagerie
Clear as Tonic Water
Let’s join Shelly for her latest Mystery.
Down the Drain
An alert and observant personality has always been important for police personnel. None more so the detectives, like Shelly Hobbs. Having spent all day in court ensuring a murderer got the prison term he deserved, Shelly was on her way home.
She paused to get a takeaway dinner and pointed her black Mercedes toward the east of the city. There wasn’t too much traffic about and she pulled up at the traffic lights to the boundary junction first. It was growing dusk and the streetlights had come on. She glanced through the orangey light taking in the waiting vehicles at the other roads entering the junction. A white van, orange Peugeot with no lights on. red Mazda revving like an idiot.
Shelly snapped back to the Peugeot. It had some sort of blocker over its number plate, she could only read the first two letters. Shelly grabbed her radio at once, “Despatch is there a road traffic car in the Boundary Road area?”
The target car made a right turn.
“Yes, ma’am. What do you need?”
Shelly gave details as her lights turned green. She filtered in behind the mysterious car. “Okay, now heading along the Reepham Road.”
Shelly made sure to keep her distance. She didn’t wish to spook the driver. The car’s rear bumper was cracked along with the right rear light cluster.
It wasn’t long before the marked police car passed the detective. Its blue lights flashed at the mysterious car.
Shelly was surprised to see it pull over almost at once – she’d expected it to bolt. As it stopped the passenger’s door flew open and shut just over a second later. Stopping her car behind it, Shelly joined Officer Jimmy Kiang at the car.
“Good evening, Sir.”
“Why the hell’d you stop me? I gotta get home!” yelled the driver, a man with an ugly mousy beard and bald head.
Shelly eyed his dirty t-shirt and jeans and started looking over the rest of the car.
“Can I see you driving licence and insurance details, please?” Jimmy requested.
“Bloody hell! You don’t have a damned reason to stop me, do you?” The man thrust his driving licence car out of the window.
Shelly glimpsed the inside of his wallet, no cash seemed to be present. There was a single bank card and a second white card with a gold arrow on it. Focusing on the back seats, she took in a teddy bear and girl doll discarded there. A few long hairs on seat told her they belonged to a blonde girl. A wooden handle was sticking out of the front passenger’s door pocket.
“You can’t hold me for committing no crimes.” Argued the man drawing Shelly to him.
“But you have …” Shelly glanced at the driving licence. “Gary Gaul. Your front number plate is illegal, there’s a knife in the passenger’s door and a white substance on the dashboard.”
“Your licence expired two years ago too,” added the officer who’d been checking details over his radio.
“Come on – really!” Gary thumped his steering wheel. “I paid to have it replaced last week. I’m waiting for the new documents to be delivered. The knife is a work knife, wheres the crime?”
Shelly came around the other side of the car and pulled on the passenger’s door. It was firmly shut leaving her thoughtful as she peered inside and felt the colour drain from her face.
“Step out of the car, sir.” Jimmy opened the drivers’ side door disengaging the central locking.
“Jimmy! Careful there are nine-millimetre rounds in here!” Shelly called as she ran around the side of the car.
Gary bolted, knocking the officer off his feet.
Shelly jumped around the bonnet and slipped her leg between the runners and snapped him to the ground. “No running, pal. You’re under arrest.”
“Good catch, detective,” said Jimmy making use of his handcuffs and hauling his new prisoner into a sitting position against the car’s bumper. “Despatch, send me a prisoner transport, please,” he added into his radio.
“My pleasure. Shelly returned to the car and opened the passenger’s door. Gloves on, she pulled it open and flicked the bowie knife from the door pocket onto the seat. She pulled four live bullets from the pocket as well. She scanned the fast-food containers and half-empty drinks bottles in the footwell. Nothing more incriminating there.
The car had a glove compartment. Shelly opened that causing a cascade of pens, little plastic bags, a box of headache pills and a pair of gloves to fall out. A notebook landed in the rubbish. Shelly seized and flicked through it. She found lists of twenty-pound deal bags. One page read. ‘Colman owes three thousand – he’s paying more than that now.”
By then a second squad car had pulled up. Jimmy gave Gary Gaul to them and came around to help, Shelly. “What are you finding.”
Shelly pulled several packs of mints and a mini-scale from the glove box and stood-up. “It’s what I’m not finding that’s the problem.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve got bullets but no gun. There’s deal bags, scales, possible drug powder all over the dashboard, but no drugs or cash.” Shelly straightened with a thoughtful sigh. “Gary Gaul is also wanted in connection with the kidnap of a little girl. We got a teddy and doll in the back, but no girl.”
“Right, we’re taking him in any way. We’ll see what he knows and gives up during the interview.” Jimmy said. “Despatch we’re going to need recovery to tow a car in for forensic examination.”
“Roger that, tow truck being arranged now.”
“Thank you, despatch.” Jimmy focused on Shelly with a knowing grin.
“You know something, detective.”
“He hid everything,” Shelly replied with a growing smile.
“Where? You looked over the car.”
“You’re standing on it.” Shelly indicated a drain cover under the car. It was the type with a weir or drain-curb stone. Allowing water to run off the road through the curb into the drainage system. This one was missing its grating.
Jimmy flashed on his torch dropped to a knee and peered inside. “Well bugger me! How’d you know?”
“He stopped too quickly. As he did the passenger’s door opened fully and swung back shut, just long enough to hurl things in there.”
“Nice work, detective. You’ve won the star prize!” Jimmy revealed a small white brick of cocaine in a clear bag, a bundle of twenty-pound notes and a small handgun.
“Excellent, my cars camera will give evidence to him opening the door and depositing this lot.” Shelly watched Jimmy searching the drain further. “Anything else?” She felt the main prize was still missing.
“No, that’s the lot.” Jimmy rose and bagged the finds. “I’ll get him and this lot processed at the station now. The detective dealing with the kidnap will be interested in him.”
“Thanks, Jim—” Shelly’s mind was playing over everything she’d seen. Without a word, she burst around the car and seized Gary’s wallet from the bonnet. Drawing it open she took out the white card. A look at the prisoner saw him growing terrified of his situation. “I can’t believe you took a girl to pay for drugs you despicable monster! Officer Barker, book him into the cells with all the evidence on the bonnet. Jimmy, with me.”
“Roger that.” Barker mocked a salute.
Shelly never saw it she jumped into her car in a hurry. She started the engine and screeched the tyres as she turned at speed and made for the airport. With Jimmy on her tail, in his car, she pulled into the car park of a seedy hotel. Jumping out she raced to the door.
“What happened?” Jimmy asked coming up behind her.
“That scumbag had this hotel room card in his wallet.” Shelly threw open the foyer door and raced in. It was musty smelling on account of a rotten old cheese plant in the window corner. She ran up to the pine counter and banged on it for assistance.
“Madam, can I help,” asked a bespectacled man wearing a suit coming from an office behind the counter.
“I’m Detective Shelly Hobbs, what room is this for, please?” Shelly showed the hotel card and her ID.
“Good evening, Detective. I’m Adrian the manager. Let’s see.” Adrian swiped the card. “Room four – three weeks paid in cash. It’s covered until tomorrow. Would you liked to see inside.”
“Urgently!” Shelly glanced at Jimmy and followed the manager.
Adrian swiftly unlocked the room door and stood aside.
Jimmy drew his stun gun and entered first. “Police, nobody move!”
Shelly followed and was surprised to find the room clean. One case of belongings was open on the little dining table and that was it. The bed was neatly made with its thirty-year-old, mustard yellow throw. The cheap pine kitchenette tidy. She dashed passed the officer, peered into the shower room and smiled. “Hey, Leah. There you are. Lots of people have been searching for you.”
“Hello.” said the little girl sitting cross-legged on the toilet seat. She was zip-tied to the cistern. “Can I go home now?”
“You bet.” Shelly hugged her. “Let’s get you home.” Shelly cut her free and led her out into the room. “Case closed, Jimmy. Now I’ve got the star prize!”
Have a great day!