"Are you ok there, m'dear?"
"Fine, Mrs McCourt, just looking for my husband," Hannah replied. "Have you seen him?"
The older woman pursed her lips thoughtfully, pausing in her self appointed task of polishing the reception desk. "I think he went out for a walk, did he not mention it to you?" Her eyes watched the blonde woman in obvious curiosity.
"He must have forgotten to mention it," she answered, pasting a false, polite smile on her face. "I'll go find him, could do with the fresh air anyway," she continued casually.
"Mmm hmm." Mrs McCourt shook her head, eyes narrowed in scorn and disbelief as she watched the girl leave.
Mumbling angrily to herself, Hannah veered off the path slightly, heading towards the small stream. "Jack!" she yelled out, her anger and frustration growing by the minute. "Jack!" she screeched again. She stomped her foot when there was no reply. Letting out an annoyed screech, she headed in the direction of the small alcove that was shaded by trees.
As she jumped down into it she stopped in horror at the sight of her husband's lifeless and bloody body floating in the shallow water. For a brief moment she just stared, and then a heart stopping scream erupted from her throat.
"Cause of death?" Michael asked, crouching down next to Stephen.
"At this moment I'm not sure," he replied, frowning. "He was smashed over the back of the head, most likely with a rock, then stabbed rather ferociously multiple times. However as he landed face down there's a small chance that he drowned before he could bleed to death. I'll know more when we get him to Glasgow. Do we have a name for the poor chap?"
"Yeah, a Jack Harris from Stirling, he was out here on his honeymoon and was found by his wife a couple of hours ago. The local officer secured the scene as quickly as he could."
"Not an easy job when there's only one of you."
"No it's not," Michael agreed as he got to his feet and looked over to where he could hear Stuart stumbling through the overgrown bushes. "Did you get anything useful from the wife?"
He shrugged. "Not really, he went out while she was in the shower and didn't tell her where he was going. She went out looking for him and found him about twenty minutes after leaving the hotel. I checked with the B&B owner and she confirmed this story."
"Did he have a falling out with any of the locals."
"No, to be honest Boss they're all keeping quiet on this one, refusing to talk and closing ranks."
Michael sucked in a hiss of breath between his clenched teeth. "Just great," he muttered.
His eyes narrowing in confusion Stuart asked, "Why did we get called out to this God forsaken Island anyway? It's not exactly in our area."
Rolling his eyes, he replied, "Nice to see you kept abreast with all the changes in the force, DC Fraser. This place now falls under our jurisdiction, has done for two months now."
"So what do we know about it?"
"Not much, they get a few tourists, mainly couples who come out here for some time alone. There's only fifty six people living here anyway. So what now?"
Rubbing at his forehead, Michael gave an irate sigh. "I'm going to accompany the body back to Maryhill and get a cause of death. I want you to stay here and question the locals."
"On my own?"
"You have the local officer," he snapped. "You're always talking about how you want more responsibility, well here you go."
"Another case solved," Robbie declared triumphantly, resting his feet on his desk and crossing his ankles one over the other.
Jackie suppressed a smile. "Yes," she remarked dryly. "We've put away a group of car thieves, the world can breath a sigh of relief."
"You know what they say, every little helps. Wonder how Mike and Stuart are getting on in the back of beyond?"
"It's good to see that you're paying attention, Michael arrived back here before we did."
"Did he?" Robbie looked at her in surprise.
She couldn't hold back the laugh that bubbled up in her throat. "Yes, he did." Looking over her shoulder at the sound of a door slamming, she added, "Speak of the Devil." As Michael stomped towards their desks. "I take it that it didn't go well up there."
"No it didn't," he replied shortly. "Heard you had a good result though."
Robbie shot Jackie a triumphant grin. "Yeah, we did."
Jackie ignored Robbie and glanced around, asking. "So…um, where's Stuart?"
"Still up there trying to get somewhere with the locals."
"Any idea what happened yet?"
"Hit over the back of his head, stabbed and dumped face down in a stream."
"Well someone didn't like him then," Robbie drawled.
Michael shot a glare in his direction before stomping out of the office once more. Jackie rolled his eyes in Robbie's direction. "I don't know what it is about you, but you just seem to annoy him."
"It's a gift, what can I say."
Sitting down in the chair across from Hannah Harris, Michael eyed the sobbing woman carefully. "So did you have any problems with the locals, any disagreements?"
"No," she forced out. "None. They were all really friendly, couldn't do enough for us, very open. The other couples who were staying there were really nice as well."
"And they're still up there?"
"Yes, Karen and Garry are there for another week, Laura and Sam for ten days."
"And what are they up there for?"
"To get away from it all, I suppose. It's a popular place for couples, quiet, romantic. We don't have a lot of money so we decided to go their for our honeymoon, seemed as good a place as any," she shrugged. Rubbing at her eyes with her closed fist she whispered, "Wish we hadn't now."
"Oh it's good to be back," Stuart breathed out as he dropped into his seat.
"Wouldn't get to comfortable," Robbie laughed. "Mike was looking for you, wants to know how you got on."
"I didn't," he replied blandly. "None of them would talk to me about it, no commented their way through the entire thing."
"Well," Michael's voice resonated behind them. "According to Mrs Harris the locals were friendly while they were there, couldn't keep their mouths shut."
"So they're hiding something then," Jackie replied.
"So what do we do now?" she asked.
Michael leaned against the filing cabinet. "How would you like a holiday?"
"No," she countered back instantly. "I hate the countryside."
"It wasn't really a question. The best way to get the people there to talk is to put someone on the inside. The place is popular with couples, so you and Robbie are going up there."
Robbie's head snapped up at that. "Huh?"
Jackie shook her head. "If we phone up to book a last minute holiday after everything that's happened then it's going to look downright weird."
"Not really. The story hasn't reached the press and you haven't been there before so there's no reason your arrival should provoke any suspicion." He smiled at her as he squeezed her arm lightly. "You never know you might just find yourself a convert."