The next morning Morse's eyes felt a lot better and he smiled at the worried once over his Sergeant gave him upon picking him up. Lewis had already stopped at the Randolph on the way to Morse's and picked up his belongings which had hastily been deposited in Morse's hall. The Chief Inspector's mind was still reeling with the events of the previous evening. He needed to question the taxi driver, Jerry Munkle, as Lewis had informed him when he took him home from the hospital. Though Morse had been up half the night, thinking, he hadn't managed to come up with a motive and still wasn't sure why the man had seemed familiar to him. Well, maybe his Sergeant could jog his memory.
"Lewis, have you seen Munkle before?"
Lewis cast a sideways glance at him. "I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I think he works at the bar in the pub we stopped at yesterday."
Morse nodded. "Of course, you're right. That's where I had seen him before."
"But it doesn't explain how he came to be your driver..."
"Isn't that obvious? Someone tipped him off. Only two real possibilities there: Either someone at the taxi company who is referring the tours from the Randolph to him or someone at the hotel calls him directly."
"He could just be waiting at the Randolph for a tour, though."
"What, all these murders happening by chance? No, someone's in on this with him. Not necessarily aware that they're assisting in a murder, but he's got help. Get on to the taxi company first thing. I want to know how he got to be there for my tour yesterday."
"You could just ask him. Don't you want to question him?"
"I will question him, Lewis. In good time."
"So, what will you be doing until then?"
"I have some things to think through."
- ~ - ~ -
At the station Lewis set to finding out how Munkle had come to be the driver for Morse the previous evening, he picked up the first lab reports and checked Munkle's background. When he finally returned to the office he shared with Morse, the Chief Inspector sat hunched over a crossword puzzle. The older man looked up. "Well?"
Lewis didn't comment on Morse's 'thinking', instead gave a quick summary of his findings.
"Munkle indeed works as daytime barman at the pub. He's only been doing it for seven weeks. Before, he worked as a waiter at the Randolph. He was fired after a guest accused him of theft. Apparently he's been struggling a bit money wise which is why he's also driving a taxi in the evenings. Even with two jobs his bank account is overdrawn."
Morse nodded and signalled for Lewis to go on.
"The tours weren't assigned from the taxi company though. They told me he picks up most of his passengers without assignment from them. So he might just have been waiting at the Randolph for a tour after all."
"What?! Most certainly not. If it's no one from the company, it must be someone at the Randolph."
"How can you be so sure of that, Sir?"
"I just am. Anyway, what else have you got?"
Lewis had saved the best bit for last. "The lab has checked out Munkle's torch. They say it fits with the damage on the skulls of our victims. They also found traces of blood on the handle which they're still checking. Hopefully it'll match at least one of our victims. They're still checking out the car but don't have much hope of finding anything interesting. Too many people are in and out of a taxi."
"Good work, Lewis. Now we're ready to question Munkle."
Lewis wasn't sure if the praise was his to take as the lab had produced the most important bits but praise didn't come his way too often from Morse so he didn't point it out. "I'll have him brought up," he said instead and reached for his phone.
- ~ - ~ -
An hour later, Morse had all the information he needed. Lewis sat at his desk, putting together all the information and evidence to build their case against Munkle and he himself had returned to his crossword. He sighed. No way would he be able to count the time he needed for this one with the interruption. Having to start on it twice had spoiled the fun.
There was a short rap on the door to their office before Superintendent Strange strode in and looked around. His eyes lingered on the folded newspaper on Morse's desk a bit longer than on the mass of papers and notes spread over Lewis' workplace.
"Well? Case closed then?"
"We're still waiting for the final lab report but Munkle definitely is our man."
"Has he confessed then?"
"He has indeed."
"Good, good. Well, let's hear it then. I have a press conference on the 'Tourist Basher' in an hour and though I don't want to feed any details to the press, I'd like to know what I'm talking about."
"Jerry Munkle had been working at the Randolph as a waiter. Two months ago, a tourist accused him of theft. They couldn't prove it but the management still had lost trust in Munkle and set him free. This tourist happened to be a bachelor of approximately my age, travelling alone. Munkle blamed him for the loss of his job and developed this rage against everyone reminding him of the man. His girlfriend works at the Randolph at the reception and when Munkle got the job as taxi driver, she tipped him off on tours she thought could be profitable for him."
"Like taking well-off tourists to their evening activities," Strange concluded.
"Exactly. She referred a lot of tours to him, not only those of the tourists who got killed so apparently she never got suspicious. Uniformed colleagues are on the way to pick her up for an interview just now. But I don't think she was aware of what he did."
Strange nodded. "The unsuspecting girlfriend. She probably thought she did a good deed..."
"Munkle also works at the pub the sightseeing tour stops at for lunch which is where he chose his victims. It was easy for him to spot who was on his own – like I was. No wedding ring, ordering just one drink or meal... then when he found them in his taxi in the evening, he saw his chance for revenge."
"But he couldn't take his revenge on the man he really blamed so his anger didn't fade and so he just kept killing," Lewis explained.
"Well, I can honestly say I'm glad he didn't manage to quench his thirst for revenge last night." He turned to Lewis. "Good job you did there, Lewis."