Chapter 3

Written by: Linda Alley

“Chief?” Ken poked his head around the door of Karen’s office. “Your niece is at reception.”

 

Karen clapped a hand to her forehead. Of course! Her fortnightly lunch date with Jess. 

 

“Shall I tell her something’s come up?” Ken asked.

 

Karen stared out the window for a moment, then smiled. 

 

“No. She’s an art history student. If anyone asks, I’m at a working lunch.”

 

“Eh?” 

 

But Karen was already out the door. 

 

***

 

“Waterfall?” Jess shook her head as they tucked into chicken parmesan in the station cafeteria. “I can ask my supervisor though. Any idea what period?”

 

“Not a clue,” said Karen. “I don’t even know if it’s classical or contemporary.”

 

“I did see a pretty cool painting of a waterfall last month though,” Jess said, laying down her fork. “I thought it might be a good one to include in my thesis as it was an optical illusion. But the dealer didn’t know the artist’s name.”

 

Karen leaned forward. “Do you remember which gallery?”

 

“Small place down the backend of Stanley Lane. The dealer had Lenny Kravitz dreads. Not as hot though.”

 

***

 

Jackson peered over the top of his newspaper as the motion sensor on the door bleeped. A police woman stepped into the gallery. Fiftyish. Bristly grey-blonde hair. Eyes of gunmetal blue. Jackson stubbed out his cigarette but kept his feet on the counter as she approached. 

 

“Chief Inspector Karen Simonivic.” She flashed her badge. “I’m looking for a painting of a waterfall.”

 

You and half of Westbrooke.

 

“Sold it this morning.”

 

“To who?” 

 

“Dark-haired bloke. Late thirties, maybe early forties.” No need to tell her about the boy.

 

“You didn’t get a name?” She locked her eyes on him.

 

Jackson shrugged, picked up the TV remote and began to surf channels. 

 

“He paid in cash. Two hundred bucks. Take a look out back if you want.”

 

It was the oldest trick in the book for throwing the cops off the scent. And if she took him up on it the other forgeries had been sold anyway. Counterfeit art had been Marty’s idea when they took over the gallery together. Marty knew a forger who was so convincing that even the original artists couldn’t tell the difference. The fakes had brought them a steady stream of income over the years. Jackson had never understood why Marty had commissioned a replica of Waterfall though. It was an unknown. Hardly high end art. 

 

“You’ll thank me for it one day,” Marty had told him. 

 

A week later the cops found his body in a skip behind the Empress Arms. Jackson had never thought that Marty’s death had any connection with the counterfeit Waterfall, but now the police were interested…

 

Chief Inspector Karen lifted the side board and joined him behind the counter. 

 

“Show me your storeroom.”

 

“But of course,” Jackson let his feet slide slowly off the counter.

 

Her eyes travelled to the ceiling and rested on the CCTV camera. 

 

“I’ll also need to look at today’s footage.”

 

Comments

Wow Linda, that was masterful. You tied up all the loose threads and brought them together. That was really clever. Your dialogue is snappy and also engages the reader in the various exchanges and including body language helped reinforce what your characters said.
Terrific!
Excellent chapter. Ditto the above comment. Also like the idea to have cctv on hand so part of the story can be told through description and cover, maybe, a lot and so give the writer more room to work with. Lots of info and a couple of clues here to work with. Nice one.