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The Falcon


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I heard the thud and cursed Dizzys cheap heart. Id worked till gone one in the morning doing the set-up on his bass guitar, and now I was going to have to shell out for a new string at the least. Don’t change the strings, hed said they’re new three gigs ago, hed said. Three months of hard gigging more likely.

Hed dropped the guitar off late Saturday— no, it was just gone Sunday morning and said he would pick it up on the way through to the Newhaven ferry on the Monday morning. If he hadnt been a friend, Id have told him where could have shoved his guitar.

I looked at the digits on the bedside clock, two thirty, at least there would be plenty of time to replace the offending strings and get back to bed before the inevitable whirlwind that was Dizzy, showed up.

I turned on the bunk light, threw back the blankets, and swivelled out of bed, watching not to bump my head on the side deck. Living and working on a restored WW2 tugboat had its good points and of course inevitable drawbacks. Having a bunk that was partially under the side deck was one of those drawbacks.

Without turning on the companionway lights I groped my way through to the workshop and almost tripped over the body. I turned on the light and saw it had a neat hole in the forehead where the bullet had entered, the mess of blood, bone, and brains told me where it had exited.

I stood and looked at it for a moment, willing myself not to bend down and seek for signs of life. Dont touch anything; that was the mantra of the TV detectives. Good advice I thought and headed up the companionway steps into the main saloon that was my living room and the phone. I poured a coffee, stuck it in the microwave, and watch the cup go round in circles.

Cup in hand I exited the saloon and stood on the side deck and waited for the police. There were two of them.

 DS Hunter, she said showing me her warrant card. DC Hunter, introduced the partner.

I let them in and told them where to find the body. They were back up in the main saloon in five.

You called in the report, sir? she asked.

Yeah, about half hour ago, I told the operator Id heard a noise and found a body in my workshop.

Did you touch anything?

I shook my head and almost said do I look like I was born yesterday. No sergeant, I didnt touch the body.

Could we go back to the beginning; as best as you can, will you tell us exactly what you heard?

I told them what Id heard - got the impression they werent very impressed with my ability to remember what I heard while sleeping.

Do you recognise him, sir?

I nodded. He was in earlier in the day, said he was looking for a guitar.

Was he alone?

I didnt see anyone else. I dont get many customers off the street. Most of my customers call and make an appointment.

Did he buy one?


Do you think he was looking to buy, or just casing the shop?

I showed him the guitars I had for sale, but he gave me the impression he was looking for something very specific.

Why do you think that?

The first thing he did when I handed him a guitar was to look at the label. Next hed strum a couple of chords then hand the guitar back.

 So you think he was after a specific guitar.

Not sure?

Their questioning was interrupted by the arrival of a couple of police cars, the SCI team, and the press.

Stephen, said the DS. Get the SCIs started, and Ill continue with Mr– er, can we have your name please?

Its Nevis, Jack Nevis.