Chapter 2

Back from lunch Sandra, Jack and Gerry get stuck back in to finish the rest of the boxes. Worried looks are exchanged as time drags on with no sign of Brian. Finally, well after 3:00 p.m. the doors swing wide and in marches their missing compatriot. "Brian, where the hell have you been?!" demands Sandra. "To the fount of all knowledge, to the dizzy heights of..." suddenly Lane is interrupted by Gerry's loud,"Bollocks!" Worriedly Jack pipes in,"Brian have you been drinking?" "No no! Only bottled water," assures Brian. "I wanted to get me hands on some files that I thought would be helpful. Not all of them are on the computer especially from back then. It's because of these budget cuts," grouses Lane as he flops the new files on his desk. As he carefully hangs his scruffy old coat on the hanger with his name on it, the others exchange incredulous glances with each other. In exasperated tones Sandra demands,"You mean to tell me with all the files we've been sifting through this week you've had the cheek to bring us more?! Why?" With a small sigh of his own Brian tries to explain as though to small children. "Well you said if any of Laughtons cases would due for UCOS we'd handle it. If this one wasn't taylor made for us I don't know what is. Please, will you just hear me out?" With a good deal of eye rolling the others acquiesse by taking their places on the plush furniture before the white board. "Fine," gripes Sandra,"Let's hear it. And it had better be good!"

"Right, thanks,"says Brian with a smile like a big kid."You won't be sorry," he promises. "I'm already sorry Brian, now do get on," she snorts and sits back to listen. Quickly bringing the files he needs over before she can change her mind, Brian sets up and his voice takes on a lecturing tone that they've all heard at other times. They settle back as best they can and try not to look too skeptical or annoyed.

"This case begins in Oxford, the Thames Valley division. A nasty murder of this lovely young girl, Cynthia Smythe, aged 19. She was studying law and doing very well though it was early days yet. Her father, a widower, Stephen Smythe was a hugely successful businessman. One of those multi-nationals in the City. She was his youngest and by all accounts the apple of his eye. She'd been meant to go up to London for the weekend to her fathers place in 's Wood, but she'd called at the last minute to cancel saying she was ill. This was later to be discovered to have been a lie..." "Heh," interrupted Gerry,"No kidding! Four daughters me, and you always know when their giving you the flannel! 'Specially at that age." Annoyed at being interrupted Brian clears his throat and begins again.

"Any road," he says glaring at Gerry, "the father tries to get back in touch with her several times over that weekend. And not only him, but his son and future daughter-in-law as well. It was their engagement party she'd been meant to attend that weekend and both were a bit annoyed she'd blown it off. Not thinking her quite so perfect as her father did they were both sure she'd just decided to go have fun with friends. No one can get hold of her though so come tuesday morning the future daughter-in-law, the then Melissa Groves, volunteers to drive down and check up on the girl. Melissa arrives, checks in with the porter and goes to Cynthia's room. No sign of the girl. Thinking she's attending her classes she looks around for her schedule and heads off to track her future sister-in -law down. To make a long story short..." "Too late!" mutters Jack. Suddenly the boys are all arguing much to Sandra's annoyance. She gives a shrill whistle and scolds,"Now look, we've agreed to listen to Brian so let's belt up and give him a chance. And never you mind thanking me Brian, just for pity's sake get on with it!"

"Right! As I was saying, to make a long story short... she can't find the girl. Turns out no ones seen Cynthia since late friday night. Becoming worried herself, and knowing her future father-in-laws likely reaction, she calls in on the police. Well, we all know the procedure well enough. By days end young Cynthia's body is found in a local wood. Battered to death," so saying Brian pins up the crime scene photos of the once beautiful Cynthia Smythe. Everyone winces and Gerry, thinking of his own girls says,"Gordon Bennet!" "Aye,"Brian responds," visciously bludgened to death and dumped in the wood not far from her college." "Body dump then?" asks Sandra. "Thames Valley CID said yes," replies Brian.

Brian then quickly outlines the details of the next few weeks of the investigation. Taking a breath he says,"Now the DCI on this case up to this point is straight as a die. Unfortunately, he's an abrasive sod, can't stand the priviledged classes thinking their above the law. He treads on toes but gets away with it mostly because he is a brilliant detective and has a terrific clear up rate. Be that as it may, he's made enemies. Now it's going to end up coming back to haunt him. His old un-friend DI Dennis Laughton is handed the case and promptly pushes Morse and his bagman, Lewis out on their ears as he's with the Yard and Morse isn't." "Hang on a tic," says Jack, "where've I heard that name, Morse before?" "Glad to see someones paying attention," says Brian with a smirk. "Back at the beginning of the week, when I was listing some of Laughtons particulars..." "That's right," pipes up Gerry," You said how old Thursday sent him off after a run in with a new lad name of Morse. Under a cloud too. Koo! Must have stung even more knowing Morse was younger but made DCI." "Laughton always was a rotten sod," said Jack bitterly."Number of times that man did for other peoples careers was a crime in itself!" "All right, let him finish," said Sandra,"Go on Brian."

"Morse tries to fight this decision but his superiors make it clear that if he disobeys these orders he and his DS, Robbie Lewis, will be out on their earholes. Perhaps not wishing to ruin the younger mans chances, what with him having a growing family, Morse backs down. He's promptly given busy work as far from the Smythe case as they can get him. Despite all that he makes sure it's on record that giving this case to Laughton ensures it will at best be bungled and at worst out right swept under the carpet. And of course, those words were prophetic for that's what happened in the end. Case was never solved and barely investigated at all after it was taken away from Morse and Lewis."

Shifting in his seat and rolling his eyes again Gerry says,"Cripes what a flippin' mess! Laughtons arrest couldn't have happened to a nicer cretin! What now? Can this Morse bloke..." "Sorry Gerry but Morse is dead," replied Brian in a sad tone. "On a brighter note his DS is still alive and kicking. In fact he's now a DI with his own bagman by the name of James Hathaway. Still right there in Oxford as well."

"Well Sandra, what do you think?" drawled Jack. Taking a deep breath, and nodding her head their DCI straightened her spine and replied,"I think this pratt's let a murderer go so he could stick it to an old enemy. And further than that I feel we owe it to the Smythes to see that justice is done however belatedly. Also, I think we owe it to the late DCI Morse and his bagman to finally put this one to bed. I'll take it upstairs and sell it to the brass." Pausing she looks around at these old relics she's come to rely on so well and sees the determination mirrored in their eyes. Never one to get too soft she stands and addresses her team. "Look, this is Oxford so for pities sake, hair cuts all around, well shaven, and a suit Brian. You look like a tramp! Right, on your bikes now. Bright and early monday morning we meet here and head down to Oxford together. See if DI Robbie Lewis and his bagman can give us a hand with this." With a final nod they all stood and headed off for the weekend. It would be quite a while before any of them would have a day off again.