continued from here:
Nick met Brown in the public bar of the Pier Hotel in Glenelg at five o’clock. Brown looked pleased, he’d only been on the job for three days and claimed he’d already located the first body’s suitcase.
‘Found it at the train station, the boss thinks I’m Mandrake the Magician.’
A florid faced bruiser with tattoos on both arms delivered Nick’s schooner, took his money and returned with the change. He bent over the bar, gestured them in close.
‘You blokes interested in some fresh prawns?’
Brown shook his head. ‘No mate, thanks.’
‘How about a couple of dozen oysters?’
Brown looked at Nick, Nick shrugged, Brown looked back to the barman.
‘We’ll think about it, ok?’
They waited as he turned and walked away.
‘What sort of bloke do you reckon this Keane was?’
Brown took a long swallow.
‘Wasn’t a working man, too many shirts and ties.
‘Couple of international letter forms. Nothing on them.’
An hour later both men left the hotel. Take a stroll along the waterfront with him, Francis had said, you’ve got the right day for it.
People were about on the promenade, strolling this way and that, others were sitting on the sand. Children scampered about in the shallows around solitary waders and women in water to their knees, dresses held high. Two swimmers were further out, stroking evenly in the deeper water.
‘When was the last time you wore a pullover Les?’
‘Buggered if I know, last winter?’
‘What about today?’
‘It was hot enough under the coat.’
Both men had taken their coats off and were carrying them.
Francis doodled on the square of butcher’s paper he had laid out on his desktop, a habit when puzzling through a case. He always started in the top left corner, being right-handed, never moving whatever was on the sheet and in his doodle’s way: pen, cigarette lighter, letter opener. Francis drew around them.
The suitcase tag said the first body arrived in Adelaide on a train.
The pullover under his coat said he was dressed for cool weather.
The bus and tram tickets found in his pocket said he arrived at Glenelg by public transport on the same day.
The post mortem said he died on the beach within twenty-four hours.
The Glenelg phone number found on the back cover of the second body’s copy of the Rubaiyat also said something, but Francis wasn’t hearing it yet.