include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Norma Andrews Murder in the Barn by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Norma Andrews

 

Murder in the Barn

 

 

by

 

Bob Looker

Norma Andrews - Murder in the Barn

 

First published in Great Britain in 2018

By Iris Publications

3 Highlands Mews, St Leonards on Sea

East Sussex, England

TN38 0LT

Copyright © Robert J.M. Looker 2018

The right of Bob Looker to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the

Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988

All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

 

A CIP catalogue record of this book is available

From the British Library

Paperback is available from all good Bookshops

EBooks available from all good Digital Bookstores

 

Cover picture - https://www.fiverr.com/acegraphics_pro



Books by Bob Looker

 

 

WWII British Resistance Series

Three Days

The Pheasant

For the Love of Ann

 

Other books

The Virgins Wreath

The Long Walk Home

A Week Away



Norma Andrews Series

Norma Andrews is a newly trained FBI Special Agent who is called to Halam County to solve a murder. Accompanying her is Special Agent ‘Lucky’ Little who finds country life a real mystery

 

Norma Andrews – Murder in the Barn

Norma Andrews – Murders in Grange County (Due Spring 2019)

Norma Andrews – Murder on Cheats River (Due Autumn/Fall 2019)

Norma Andrews – Terrible Twins (Due Spring 2020)

 

The Inspector Davies Series

Inspector Frank Davies works out of Redhouse Police Station which covers a large rural area in southern England.

Murder at Fletching Manor (Autumn/Fall 2018)

Murder in the Cornfield (Due Spring 2019)

Murder at the Museum (Due Autumn/Fall 2019)

Murder at the Allotment (Due Spring 2020)

To my readers

 

 

Please note:

 

I will be using the English(USA) dictionary

for the Norma Andrews series of books



Acknowledgements

 

I would like to thank my American Facebook friends who not only inspired me to write this series of books but have given me advice on life in the USA



Lori Montmarquet

Nancy Marco

Lora Mallett

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – Early morning call

Chapter 2 – I’ve got too

Chapter 3 – He’s not happy

Chapter 4 – The FBI’s in Town

Chapter 5 – Auntie Jenny

Chapter 6 – A statement from each and everyone

Chapter 7 – a night in the country

Chapter 8 – Jacobs farm

Chapter 9 – What the hell is that?

Chapter 10 – Rodney Jacobs

Chapter 11 – The information starts to flow

Chapter 12 – Ladies first

Chapter 13 – Dinner

Chapter 14 – Time to report in

Chapter 15 – The plan for today

Chapter 16 - I want a Lawyer

Chapter 17 – When did you last see Lori

Chapter 18 – The Early Morning Caller

Chapter 19 - Millionaires

Chapter 20 – Deputy Richards

Chapter 21 – He’s cute

Chapter 22 - Don’t move

Chapter 23 – You’re sleeping in the stables

Chapter 24 – Don’t trust Rod

Chapter 25 – Lies followed by Lies

Chapter 26 – So it was you or Wendy

Chapter 27 – the last supper

Chapter 28 – Late News

Chapter 29 – Where is the mobile?

Chapter 30 – Strangers in the night

Chapter 31 – I want to know what was said

Chapter 32 – Get her out of there

Chapter 33 – Are you sure

Chapter 34 – Are you telling me you know who did two murders

Chapter 35 – A day off!

Chapter 36 – This is ‘Lucky’

Chapter 37 – the $64,000 question

Chapter 38 – It all adds up now

Chapter 39 – Arresting times

Norma Andrews - Murders in Grange County

Chapter 1 – Early morning call

 

Norma Andrews loved to lie in on Saturday mornings. It was the only time of the week that she knew she was free to do her own thing.

Her partner, New York Patrolman Geoff O’Hara was not on duty today. Geoff had left the house at 8 o’clock with his golf bag slung over his shoulder. And by 8:30 he would be teeing off with his two best friends Jack and Malcolm.

Norma knew that Geoff wouldn’t be home until 6pm at the earliest, most likely not before 9pm. That suited her as it meant she didn’t have to worry about getting him an evening meal.

Although she liked the thought of staying in bed Norma never did. By 8:30 am she would be out of bed and getting herself breakfast. Her favorite would be to cook herself a plateful of waffles. She would carry them on a tray, together with honey, peanut butter and a flask of coffee, out to the veranda. Here she could relax looking out across Forrest Hill towards New York City.

She was halfway through her stack of waffles when the house phone rang. ‘Dam’ she thought as she stood up and headed into the lounge to answer the call. But she didn’t release the honey covered waffle she had started to eat. By the time she had reached the telephone she had nearly devoured the waffle.

“Hello” she said, as she picked up the phone and put it to her ear.

“Can I speak to Special Agent Andrews?”

“That’s me,” Norma said, but she didn’t recognize the voice.

“This is Assistant Director Jeremy Gordon.”

What was her boss doing calling her at home, and on the weekend? Norma had only finished her training at Quantico a few weeks previously, she was still on probation.

“How can I help you Director?” Norma asked.

“We’ve got a special job which requires your talents.”

“I don’t understand Sir.”

Norma was confused. She had passed out at Quantico as the top recruit but she didn’t remember showing any particular area in which she stood out.

“We’ve been requested to send you to Halam County, to solve a murder,” The Assistant Director said.

“But they’ve got the State Police and their own Sherriff’s department. They can cope,” Norma stated.

It was only a few months ago that Norma was a Deputy Sherriff at the Halam County Sherriff’s department. She had left there to become an FBI Special Agent. What was this all about?

“Well Senator Richardson disagrees. He wants you, and only you.”

“Sir, I’m an FBI Special Agent, not local police,” Norma tried to protest.

“They know that. But they say that you are possibly the only person who can crack this case. The FBI Director has agreed that you can go down there to help out.”

To Norma this appeared to be a done deal. After all, she has been badgering for an assignment, she could hardly turn this one down.

“When do I go Sir?” Norma was now resigned to the assignment.

“Special Agent ‘Lucky’ Jack Little will pick you up in about twenty minutes.”

“What for?”

“The two of you are going to Halam County.”

“But…” Norma wanted to object.

“Agent Andrews this is your chance to show that you are as good as your Quantico report says you are. Special Agent Little is coming along to observe and to give you advice.”

“Is he in charge of the investigation?” Norma asked.

“No. It is your lead,” the Assistant Director said.

“I had better get a move on then Sir,” Norma said.

“I’ve emailed you all we know about the case. You need to read this before you arrive in Halam County. I understand the Sherriff will brief you,” he informed Norma.

“Sir, you did say I was in charge, didn’t you,” Norma asked again.

“Yes”

“Does Special Agent Little know this?”

“Yes”

“I bet he wasn’t happy,” Norma said, more to herself than to the Assistant Director.

“I think you’ll be surprised,” he replied.

“Now off you go, you’ve only got fifteen minutes to get ready. Good luck,” the Assistant Director signed off.

Norma so much wanted to tell the Assistant Director to stuff his assignment. After all, this was her day off, but she thought better of it.

It’s only three weeks since Norma had completed her Special Investigators training course at Quantico. She was then assigned to The FBI Office in New York. All that training and she is a filing clerk!

Norma looked at her watch and noted the time, it was 09:05 am and ‘Lucky’ would be drawing up outside her house at 09:20, but if she knew his type it would most likely be 09:15.

On the training course they had been told that all agents should have a ‘Ready Bag’ packed. That was one of the tasks she had planned to do later today, even though she was unlikely to need a ready bag for some months.

Norma made her way to the bedroom, opened up her wardrobe and reached up to the top shelf and pulled down the overnight bag she intended to use as her ‘Ready Bag’.

‘Now where the hell is the list of things they suggested we put in the bag?’

Norma didn’t have time to search for the list. She just hoped she could remember everything.

In a few minutes she had raided her drawers and packed her underwear, blouses and a couple of pairs of trousers, including a pair of jeans. With already a good knowledge of Halam County, she made sure she had a good pair of strong shoes.

Norma picked up the bag and headed for the bathroom. As she entered she glanced at her watch. It was 09:12 so there was no time for a shower. That could wait until tonight. In the meantime she needed to ensure she packed all her essentials.

As Norma closed the final zip of the ‘Ready Bag’ she heard a car drawing up outside the apartment block, but she was still not dressed.

‘He will have to wait’ she said to herself as she dropped the bag off by the front door and returned to her bedroom to find her clothes for the journey. A T-shirt, Jeans and trainers would have to do. She threw her discarded clothes into the washing basket. Hopefully Geoff would put them through the washing machine. Norma now pulled on her jeans and trainers. As she ran towards the front door she ensured she had put on the T-shirt the right way around.

On her way out she collected her revolver and her FBI issued holster, together with her special holster, from the locked drawer in the side table in the hallway. Also on the table were her mobile phone and the works mobile, a Globalstar GSP-1700, which she may well need in Halam County. The communications were not that good and being able to link with a satellite could make all the difference. As well as picking up the bag she reached up and grabbed a coat, as she knew it could get cold there in the evenings.

Norma had previously met ‘Lucky’ during her training. He was one of the experienced Special Agents who came to assist in specialist areas. Since working at the FBI’s New York Office she hadn’t come into contact with him.

What was his attitude going to be? Having to work with a new female Special Agent straight out of training was one thing but Norma was going to be the lead Agent? Norma hoped he would be genital with her and that they could work together.

Norma got into the car, after throwing her ‘ready bag’ into the back seat.

“Morning Boss,” ‘Lucky’ greeted her.

“Good morning Special Agent Little,” she replied.

While in training Norma had looked him up on their computer systems and knew him to be a top agent. He had many successes and bravery awards to his name and as such she should be respectful.

“Call me ‘Lucky’ and I’ll call you Norma, if that’s OK with you?”

“Thank you,” Norma was a bit overawed.

“Have you read the case file the Assistant Director sent you?” he asked.

“No. Since the Assistant Director rang I’ve been running around getting ready before you arrived.”

“I bet you hadn’t packed your ‘Ready Bag’?” he smiled at her, as they made their way through the traffic to get out of town.

“How did you know?”

“I did the same when I was out of training. I was lucky I had the full six months before I got called away, so I had time to find the list and pack the bag.”

“I’m just hoping I’ve got everything,” Norma said.

“Don’t worry I’m sure they’ve got shops in Jackson.”

“Look you get on and read that file while I find us the route out of here and towards Halam County. Once we are on our way you can brief me,” ‘Lucky’ said.

Norma took out her official iPad and brought up her emails. As promised the Assistant Director had sent the case files. She opened the attachment and started to read.

She recognized the style of reports made by Sherriff Henry Carter. They were never very detailed but she knew how to read between the lines. Not that there were many lines to read between.

What Norma had here was the single fact that a woman named Lori Williams had been murdered last Sunday at Jacobs Farm, while attending a BBQ. There was no mention of how she was killed or any suspects. This was worrying. What was Sherriff Carter hiding from her?

They were still fighting their way through the traffic and it was not a good time to distract ‘Lucky’ so Norma laid her head back against the head rest and closed her eyes. She needed to think.

It was half an hour before ‘Lucky’ spoke,

“Well what’s in the report?”

Norma opened her eyes and looked around. She wasn’t looking for ‘Lucky’ but wanted to get some idea about the countryside they were travelling through.

“Not a lot. The dead woman is Lori Williams. I used to know a Lori Hall but not a Williams.”

“How was she killed?” he asked.

“It doesn’t say. Nor are there any suspect named.”

“Forensics, Coroners reports?” he asked.

“No”

“What’s going on?”

“I’m willing to bet that this is as much as they have,” Norma said.

“You’re joking?”

“I wish I was,” Norma said.

“This is unfair on you Norma. I mean fresh out of training and nothing to work with,” ‘Lucky’ stated.

“I’ve got you,” Norma smiled at ‘Lucky’.

“I know why they sent for me,” Norma said.

“I wish I did,” he replied.

“These are county people and they are very territorial. This murder happened at Jacobs Farm. The Jacob’s clan controls a large part of Halam County and so this area is virtually lawless.”

“But there is a County Sherriff?” ‘Lucky’ observed.

“Not in the Jacob’s area there isn’t.”

“So why have they asked for you specifically?” ‘Lucky’ was curious.

“I was the only Deputy accepted by the Jacob’s clan and that’s partly because I’m one of them,” Norma said.

‘Lucky’ had to think about this for a few moments. If Norma is in the clan how on earth do they expect that she would find the killer and bring them to justice?

“I know what you’re thinking ‘Lucky’. They are sending a lion into the lions den.” Norma cut into his thoughts.

“Are you joining the pack?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

“No I’m going in and routing out the bad wood,” Norma stated.

They travelled on until it was mid day and ‘Lucky’ pulled into a gas station and filled up the tank. While he did this, Norma made her way to the gas station’s café. She ordered herself a coffee and a slice of apple pie. They didn’t do apple pie in New York like they did out here in the countryside. ‘Lucky’ soon joined her at the table.

With the food on the table ‘Lucky’ had something he had to tell Norma. He didn’t want them to get off on the wrong foot.

“Norma. At the end of this investigation I have to write a report on how you worked, what you did and if you are a good agent.”

“Can I do the same?” Norma smiled at ‘Lucky’.

“Seriously I’m here to observe and, if you need it, assist. This is your case.”

“Thank you. I was worried that you wouldn’t like it, working for me.”

“I’ve read all your training reports. You’re going a long way in the bureau so I have no problem working with you,” he smiled across the table at her.

“Working for me, surely?”

“Yes, Boss. Working for you,” he smiled at her.

While ‘Lucky’ was finishing his lunch and Norma was having her second cup of coffee Norma took out her mobile phone and dialed a number,

“Aunt Jenny its Norma,” she said, when the call was answered.

“What can I do for you dear?”

“Look I’m being sent to Halam County to investigate a case and I need somewhere to stay. Can I stay with you?” Norma asked.

“Why not stay at your Ma’s farm?” Aunt Jenny asked.

“Your place is nearer to where I have to work, that’s all,”

“OK when will you be here?”

“Today. One other thing Auntie, I have a man with me. Can you put him up as well?” Norma hoped she would say yes.

“Of course I can. It’s not Geoff is it?”

“No. A work colleague”

“Remember dinner’s at 6 o’clock.”

With that both women rang off.

“What’s that all about?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

“Just finding us a good place to stay, that’s all,” Norma said, with a smile.

“We usually stay at one of the approved hotel chains,” ‘Lucky’ informed her.

“Well there aren’t many Hotels in Halam County and none from the approved list,” Norma said.

“So why are we staying with your Aunt and not at a hotel in Jackson?”

“Our work will be centered well outside Jackson. Aunties farm will put us in the middle of our area of investigation, less travelling,” Norma informed him.

‘Well it seemed logical’ ‘Lucky thought.

Once they had finished their meal they got back in the car and set off on the last leg of the journey to Jackson city in Halam County.

Chapter 2 – I’ve got too

 

On the previous Sunday evening, as the BBQ at Jacob’s Farm was coming near its end, there was the discovery of a body in the main barn. Of all days this could happen. The BBQ was arranged to commemorate the death of Susan Jacobs, 20 years to the day.

The local Sherriff’s department was called but Rodney Jacobs had already sent his guests home. Rodney thought there was no need for them to hang about, as it would take the Sherriff’s Deputies at least an hour to get to the farm.

Sherriff Henry Carter had sent Deputy Richards to Jacobs Farm to secure the scene. Deputy Richards was attending at the William’s farm, investigation a dead cow. Being the nearest Deputy to the Jacobs Farm he was dispatched as a dead body was more important than a dead cow.

Deputy Richards hadn’t been happy going to the Jacobs Farm. There had been a long running feud between his family and the Jacobs. Their families had been on different sides during the civil war and memories still ran deep.

On his arrival at the farm Deputy Richards was shown into the barn. While he waited for the Coroner, Doctor Allen Edwards to arrive Deputy Richards took a few photos of the scene. Once Doctor Edwards arrived he proclaimed Lori Williams dead, Deputy Richards could get about taking statements.

With the help of his assistant, Doctor Edwards bagged the body and, with the additional help of Deputy Richards, they lifted the body into the coroner’s vehicle and the Doctor and his assistant headed back to Jackson.

With the body off the farm Rodney Jacobs told Deputy Richards to leave his farm but the Deputy protested as he had to take statements from all those attending the BBQ.

It took the threat of arrest before Rodney would agree to give him a list of those who were attending the BBQ. But no, he was not giving a statement.

It took two days before the list of those attending the BBQ arrived at the Sherriff’s Office. During Wednesday and Thursday all the deputies were dispatched to take statements from all those on the lists but only a small handful had agreed to give any form of statement.

Sherriff Carter was getting frustrated at the slow progress. Surely the death of a woman in a barn, with a pitchfork in her chest, was not a hard case to clear up?

The other thing that was worrying the Sherriff was that it was the election season. In two months time he would be up for reelection. If he hadn’t closed this case by then he could well be out of a job.

The Sherriff had a restless nights sleep on Wednesday. He was tossing and turning all night, so much so that his wife went into the lounge and slept on the sofa.

The one thing that local police don’t want to happen is for the FBI to be called in. But Henry realised that if he didn’t solve this murder that’s exactly what he would have to do.

Why he had done it he didn’t know. It must have been because they had grown up together. Henry had let his best detective join the FBI and he could really do with her back here right now.

When Norma first applied to join the FBI the Sherriff thought she wouldn’t have passed the physical fitness test but she past that with top marks. Then there was the interview followed by a long wait to be called up for the training course. He was hoping that these delays would change her mind, but it didn’t.

Time had gone on while Norma waited for the course date and in the mean time she had met up with Geoff, a man she had befriended during her Basic Police training course. Henry was hoping that being involved with this man would delay or even cancel her application but no, just after she returned from her holiday with Geoff, the letter came through giving her the course start date. That was seven months ago and since then he had seen neither hide nor hair of Norma Andrews.

The Sherriff’s only way of getting her back was to call in the FBI.

Sherriff Carter arrived at his office at 8 o’clock Thursday morning and asked about any developments on the case but, as he expected, there were none. This made up his mind. He firstly needed to speak to the Mayor but then he would need to call the Divisional Commander and request he calls in the FBI. In particular they wanted only FBI Special Agent Norma Andrews.

Henry looked at his watch and instantly knew that it was too early to go and see the Mayor but he guessed that Daphne would already be in the Mayor’s office. So he rang to make an appointment to see the Mayor.

“Mayor’s Office, can I help you?”

“Daphne I need to see the Mayor urgently,” Henry said.

“Is that you Sherriff?” she asked.

“Yes”

“He’s not in yet and he has an appointment at 9 o’clock.”

“Good, let me know when he gets in and I’ll come right over,” Henry said.

“But…” Daphne began.

“Look this is urgent, it can’t wait,” with that he rang off.

Henry sat back and needed to think about how he was going to approach the Mayor. The last time the FBI came to town there was trouble everywhere and the Mayor got the blame.

Just after 8:30 am his phone rang.

“Sherriff Carter.”

“Sherriff the Mayor’s just come in. If you hurry you can see him now,” Daphne informed him

“Thanks Daphne, I’ll be right over.”

The Sherriff stood up and headed for his office door. As he opened the door he reached out and took his hat off the rack and placed it on his head. He always liked to be dressed right when he was walking about the streets of Jackson. He not only wanted to be noticed but by being seen about town, he hoped this would reassure the towns’ folk that the law was looking after them.

He crossed the road and walked the few yards to the building which has a large brass plate above the door announcing that the Mayor of Halam County was Jason J. West. It always made Henry smile when he looked up at this plate, Why was the Mayor’s name so much larger than the name of the county? He entered the front door of the Mayor’s offices and was greeted by Daphne.

“I’ve told him you needed to see him urgently. So he said you can have five minutes,” Daphne said.

“Thanks Daphne.”

Chapter 3 – He’s not happy

 

Henry took off his hat and dropped in on the seat outside the Mayors inner office, opened the door and went in.

“Good morning Jason,” the Sherriff greeted the mayor.

“What’s the urgent problem you need to see me about, and before my first cup of coffee?”

“It’s about the killing out at Jacobs Farm.”

“I thought you had that in hand.”

“No and that’s the problem. I can’t get those people to talk to us. They are clamming up and building fences,” Henry informed him.

“You’ll have to knock the fences down.”

“That is easier said then done. You know what those people are like. If it hadn’t been for Owen Robinson being there I doubt if we would ever have been told about it.”

The Mayor knew he was right but like Henry there were town elections coming up in a couple of months time and if this murder was not solved by then the two of them would be out of their jobs.

It suddenly came to Jason that this meeting had nothing really to do with the lack of progress in the investigation. Henry had something to ask.

“Well what is it you want?” Jason asked.

“I need Norma back.”

This surprised the Mayor. He knew how happy Henry had been when Norma was selected to become an FBI Special Agent. They had reports that she not only passed out with flying colors but also received the Director’s Leadership Award for best recruit.

“She’s only just finished her FBI Training. Norma won’t want to come back here,” Jason said.

“I know. I need her back in her FBI capacity.” Henry said, knowing the fire he was jumping into.

“I’m not having those animals crawling all over my county, never!” Jason snapped.

Henry had known this would be the Mayor’s stance but he had to find an argument that would persuade the Mayor to agree to get Norma back.

“Look Jason, Norma is one of them. The Jacob’s clan trusts her.”

“Well I don’t trust those scumbags.”

“The Jacobs are not scumbags,” Henry said.

“I’m talking about the FBI scumbags,” Jason said angrily.

“But you know Norma, she’s different.”

“She’s one of them now.”

“No she’s not. She wouldn’t change, not this quickly anyway,” the Sherriff said.

Jason sat back for a moment to think things out. Then the door opened and Daphne walked in with her father’s first cup of coffee.

“Don’t upset him Sherriff. Doctor Vincent said he must take it easy or he’ll have another heart attack,” Daphne tried to protect her father.

“All he has to say is ‘Yes’ and I’ll be out of here,” Henry smiled at Daphne.

Even though she was his daughter and not just his clerk, Jason had learned to trust his daughter’s advice.

“The Sherriff wants to bring Norma back to help find this killer,” Jason addressed his daughter.

Daphne’s face lit up. She liked Norma and they had been friends for several years but she knew her father.

“But she’s an FBI Special Agent now,” Daphne stated.

“I know but she knows these people and they trust her, even when she worked in the Sherriff’s office they trusted her,” Henry stated.

“But pa doesn’t like the FBI,” Daphne said.

“I’m not that happy either but she is special,” the Sherriff replied.

It was then that Daphne put a spanner in the works.

“Norma’s only just finished her training. They never send new agents out on investigations this early. Norma told me that after training she would have to be in their office for the first six months. Even then she had to be accompanied by a senior Special Agent.”

Both men looked at each other. Neither of them thought Norma would be allowed to come. Not on her own anyway.

“Well that’s it then Henry. You can’t have her,” the Mayor stated. He was both pleased and disappointed at the same time.

Sherriff Carter was deflated. Without Norma he couldn’t see the investigation going very much further. As he left the Mayor’s office he picked up his hat and placed it on his head.

Both the men may well have given up on the idea but Daphne hadn’t.

“Sherriff, I have a friend at the State Police and she has a friend at the FBI office in New York, where Norma’s working.”

“How will that help?” the Sherriff asked.

“May be I could ask if the FBI would be willing to let Norma come here and help you in your investigation, as part of her ongoing training,” Daphne smiled at the Sherriff.

“They wouldn’t do that.”

“We can only ask, can’t we?” again Daphne smiled.

“Anyway I haven’t put in the request yet,” Sherriff Carter said.

“Give me an hour Sherriff. I’ll ring you and tell you what they think,” Daphne was not going to take no for an answer. She never did from the Mayor so why should she from the Sherriff?

Sherriff Carter left the building with a slight skip in his step. He had expected the Mayor to not like the idea, but unexpectedly he appears to have Daphne on his side and she is a very persuasive young lady. If anyone could do it, it would be her.

As the Sherriff left her office Daphne picked up the telephone and called her friend at the State Police.

“Jenny, its Daphne.”

“Hi Daphne what can I do for you?”

“You remember Norma, don’t you?”

“Yes, top student at the FBI Academy as I hear.”

“That’s her.”

“What about her?” Jenny asked.

“Our Sherriff needs her back.”

“But it was him who recommended her for the FBI. Changed his mind has he?”

“No we have a murder here and the people involved are a close net community but Norma is one of them. The Sherriff believes she can get inside and help find the killer.”

“The Commander’s not going to be happy. Like your pa, he doesn’t like the FBI in our state.”

“I know but Norma is family,” Daphne pleaded with her friend.

There was no response from Jenny so Daphne needed to put something to her.

“Jenny don’t you have a cousin at the FBI office in New York?”

“Yes, he works in HR.”

“Can you ask him if there is any chance of Norma coming back for just this one case?”

Jenny thought for a moment. Daphne was right, she could ask him, he might say no but then they will know.

“I’ll give my cousin a ring and see if anything can be done,” Jenny agreed, after all a phone call doesn’t cost.

Just as Daphne was about to ring off, she remembered something important.

“Jenny. It’s Norma or no one.”

“What do you mean?” Jenny asked.

“If the FBI doesn’t send Norma then we don’t want their help.” Daphne stated.

Both girls knew that the FBI always wanted to get their noses into the states Law and Order. As they hadn’t been to the State for the last two years they would just about do anything to get their toe in the door.

“I’ll get back to you,” Jenny promised.

“Quick as you can. Our Sherriff needs her,” Daphne emphasized the urgency.

It was 15 minutes before Daphne’s phone rang.

“Daph, its Jenny”

“Have you any news?”

“Yes. My cousin says they think very highly of Norma but she would defiantly have to come with an experienced Agent.”

“They won’t like that,” Daphne said.

“Take it or leave it, is what I’m told,” Jenny stated.

“OK I suppose I’ll have to work on pa,” Daphne said as much to herself as to Jenny.

“You need to make sure that they emphasized that it would be good training for Norma and that you are stuck without her,” Jenny relayed the message from her cousin.

“Thanks Jenny, I owe you one.”

“In that case bring that brother of yours with you when you come over next time.”

“Which one?” Daphne asked.

“You know which one, Tommy.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Daphne said and after pleasantries they both rung off and got back to their real work.

Instead of going to see her father, Daphne left the office and headed across the road to the Sherriff’s Office.

The Sherriff’s door was open and he was sitting in his plush leather chair thinking.

Daphne walked into his office and closed the door.

“Hi Daphne, I didn’t expect to hear from you this quick,” the Sherriff said.

He could see that she was like a child who was let loose in a candy store.

“Well?”

“Sherriff I’ve had a word and it’s possible to get Norma but you need to say why you specifically need Norma. You must say it would be good training for her and in an environment she is familiar with and, importantly that you are stuck without her,” Daphne reported.

 

“It’s not my job to train her, it’s theirs,” Henry said.

“If you want any chance of them sending Norma, then you have to say that,” Daphne stated.

“OK thanks. What does your pa think?”

“I haven’t told him,” she said with a smile

“Many thanks Daphne. I’ll get on to it right away.”

Daphne left the Sherriff’s office and returned to sit behind her desk, before her father realised she was not there.

Henry rang the office of the Divisional Commander at the State’s Police Headquarters. After a few minutes he was put through to Commander Jock Scott.

“Good morning Sherriff, what can I do for you today?”

“Sir I have a request for some extra support for this murder case of ours,” he said.

“OK I can send you a couple of detectives early next week.” The Commander agreed.

“No Sir. I need specific help.”

“We don’t have many specialists Sherriff, you know that.”

“Sir I need Norma Andrews.”

There was silence at the other end of the phone. Had the Commander hung up on him? After what seemed like ten minutes but in fact was less than a minute Henry spoke.

“Sir, are you there?”

“Did you ask to have FBI Special Agent Norma Andrews back?”

“Yes Sir.”

“That can’t be done,” the Commander stated.

“But it can, Sir.”

“We don’t want those scumbags here,” the Commander said.

“I can’t solve this murder without Norma. It’s at Jacobs Farm,” Henry said.

The Commander instantly knew the problem and why Henry wanted Norma.

“It will be difficult, Sherriff.”

“I know Sir. I need you to ask for the help of the FBI but to say that we will only accept the help from Special Agent Andrews.”

“How the hell can I do that?” the Commander asked.

“Firstly, Norma is a specialist in dealing with deep routed county folk. Secondly it would be excellent training for her to hone her FBI training among the people she knows. Thirdly the state would be very grateful.”

Henry let that sink in for a moment before he addressed the Commander again.

“Sir, Norma is the only person who can solve this case and find the murderer, without starting a local war.”

The Commander thought for a moment and realised that to do this he would need help from the Senator.

“All right Sherriff Carter, I’ll do what I can. When do you want her to report to your office?”

“Yesterday,” Henry said.

“I’ll do what I can.”

“Sir, if it’s not Norma, then we don’t want their help.”

“Are you sure you want me to say that?”

“Yes Sir. It’s Norma’s specialty we need, not just any FBI Special Agent.”

“OK Sherriff I’ll get back to you.”

Well Henry had done his best. He knew that without Norma this would be the second death in that barn that will go unsolved.

In the meantime the Commander was taking a long lunch. He was heading to the local golf course. He knew that the Senator would most likely be having a round of golf at this time.

It took him only half an hour to reach the golf course and be taken out on the course, to find the Senator. They thought he should be on the 11th green by now and so it was. The buggy pulled up just as the Senator was holing his put.

“Well done Senator,” Commander Scott said as he walked towards Senator Richardson.

“Hello Jock, didn’t expect to see you out here today!” Senator Richardson said.

The Senator was no fool. The only reason Jock would be out here at this time of day was if he wanted something or came to warn him about a problem.

As they headed to the 12th tee the Senator held back so he could talk to the Commander without being overheard by his playing partners or the caddies.

“Well what’s it about?” the Senator asked.

“I need your help with the FBI,” Jock said.

“We don’t’ want those scumbags in our State,” the Senator said fervently.

“It is not the FBI as such. It’s just one particular FBI Agent we need.”

The Senator stopped and looked at Jock’s face. Was he really serious? Didn’t he remember the last time those scumbags were in the state?

“Sir we need Special Agent Norma Andrews in Halam County to help solve a recent murder.” Jock said earnestly.

“Isn’t that the girl who recently past out of Quantico with flying colors?”

“Yes Sir.”

“So why do we need her?”

“The murder took place at the Jacobs Farm. All the people who were present at the time are all relatives of the Jacobs. Special Agent Andrews is also a relative of the Jacobs.”

“How will that help?”

“Putting a fox in to catch a chicken,” the Commander said.

This made the Senator smile. He knew of Norma and the good work she had done in the Halam’s county Sherriff’s office.

“Do you support their request Commander?” the Senator asked.

“In normal circumstances I would say no, but this is different. There is no way the Sherriff will ever find out who did this murder unless we have the help of the FBI and in particular Special Agent Andrews.”

“OK I’ll make a few calls. You go back to your office and put in a formal request for her services. Between us we should be able to do something,” the Senator said, with a smile.

With that the Senator walked off and caught up with his playing partners, waiting to tee of at the 12th. The buggy came up behind the Commander, he climb on board and was taken back to the club house and his car.

As soon as Jock got back to his office the made the formal request. He didn’t expect a reply to this today or for that matter before the weekend, still he had done his duty.

Chapter 4 – The FBI’s in Town

 

On Saturday morning Sherriff Carter found out that the FBI had agreed to send Special Agent Norma Andrews to help his investigation. He was very pleased indeed. Now he could move forward and find the killer of Lori Williams.

What disappointed him was that Norma was also being accompanied by FBI Special Agent Jack Little, her supervisor. A while later he received a call from Norma telling him that she would be arriving early that afternoon.

Henry had sold the idea of calling in the FBI, to both the Mayor and the town, on the understanding that it would only be Norma coming. He was not sure just how they would react to this stranger arriving in town?

For Norma it was a long and boring drive from her home in Forrest Hill, New York to Halam County. As they crossed the border into Halam County she felt at home again. They drove near to the river banks where she used to fish and swim with her brothers and friends. They past many of the farms and fields she had played in. Yes Norma was home.

“‘Lucky’ please, please go easy with these people. They don’t like us you know and we need their cooperation if we are to get anywhere with this murder.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll behave. I’m just here for the ride and to hold your hand,” ‘Lucky’ assured her.

“Oh no, you’re not holding my hands!” Norma said.

“You’re still in training, you’re lucky they let you come at all,” ‘Lucky’ said.

The car entered the outskirts of the town of Jackson and Norma visibly relaxed, she was among her family and friends.

“Where to now?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

“We’ll call in at the Mayor’s office first,” Norma said.

“Why not go to the Sherriff’s Office?”

“That’s because Mayor Turner hates us. He needs to see we are nice people who are not here to rip his community in half,” Norma said.

“You reckon?”

“One thing I was taught at the academy was to get the locals on your side and you’re half way there,” Norma replied.

Norma pointed out a parking space near the Mayor’s office which was reserved for his visitors.

Once they were out of the car Norma led the way to the Mayor’s Office building, up the steps and opened the door as if she lived there.

“Morning Daphne,” Norma greeted her friend.

“Norma, you came! I didn’t expect you this week or any other for that matter,” Daphne said, as she came around her desk and threw her arms around Norma’s neck and gave her a hug.

“Can I see your Pa?” Norma asked as soon as Daphne had released her.

“Yes, he’ll be so pleased to see you.”

“I doubt it,” Norma said flashing her FBI Badge.

“Oh forget that, he’s very proud of you really,” Daphne said, as she led the way into the Mayor’s office.

“Look pa, Norma’s here.”

Jason looked up and smiled at seeing Norma in his office but this soon changes when he saw a second FBI Agent along side her.

“Mayor Turner, this is Special Agent Jack Little, known as ‘Lucky’. He has come along to supervise my training,” Norma said.

“Please to meet you Mayor Turner,” ‘Lucky’ said as he held his hand out but the Mayor was not accepting his hand so ‘Lucky’ withdrew it.

“I want no interference with my town. Do I make myself clear,” the Mayor said, directing his remark towards ‘Lucky’.

“I’m sorry Mayor but if my investigation brings me into the town then so be it,” Norma said, ensuring that he understood that there would be no restrictions placed on the investigation.

“All right my dear. Give my regards to your father and mother when you see them,” Jason said, as he stood up and rounded his large desk.

“I will.”

The three of them left the Mayors office and as Norma and ‘Lucky’ walked out into the street Jason turned to his daughter,

“Get me the Sherriff.”

The Sherriff’s office was on the opposite side of the road and as they crossed over Norma could see the Sherriff waiting for them at the main door.

“Henry you didn’t have to stand on ceremony,” Norma said as she greeted him with a hug.

“What, a ceremony for the best Deputy I ever had, who deserted me, never.”

“Anyway why did you go to the Mayor’s office instead of coming to see me?” the Sherriff asked.

“I just popped in to see Daphne.”

“Can I introduce Special Agent ‘Lucky’ James Little? He is here to supervise me.”

“To keep you out of trouble is more like it,” Henry said, smiling towards ‘Lucky’.

“Please to meet you Sherriff,” ‘Lucky’ said, holding out his hand. Unlike in the Mayor’s office, his hand was gripped this time.

“I see you drove, ‘Lucky’. You would have lost that car had you let Norma drive.”

“I know. The reports show Norma wrote of three patrol cars during pursuit training at Quantico,” ‘Lucky’ reported.

“Only three” Henry said. The Sherriff moved back to escape Norma’s punch

“Come in and I’ll brief you on the case, so far,” Henry said and led the way.

As they were crossing the main room of the Sherriff’s department one of the Deputies called out to him,”

“Henry it’s the Mayor,” he said, holding out his phone to the Sherriff.

“Tell him I know.”

“The old sod thinks I can’t see across the road and notice you had brought ‘Lucky’ along with you,” Henry smiled down at Norma.

‘Lucky’ was surprised that Norma hadn’t spoken about the town or the Sherriff’s office. It appeared to him that she was well loved so why the mystery? As they crossed the office several hands waved out to Norma and she acknowledged them. So what was it she was hiding?

Henry showed the two of them into his office and turned around and asked Deputy Richards to join them. As Deputy Richards left his desk he picked up a collection of files and carried them into the Sherriff’s office.

“This is Deputy Richard Richards. He is to be your liaison while you are in Halam County.”

“I don’t need my hand held Henry, I know my way around better than Richard. No disrespect Richard,” Norma replied.

“None taken,” Richard acknowledged.

“Norma it has to be. The Mayor insists.”

“OK but I’m in charge,” Norma looked at both the Sherriff and Richard.

“You’re in my county,” Henry pointed out.

“You called us in Sherriff. You insisted on Special Agent Andrews being assigned because you know her well and she knows the area. I’ve only known her for a short time and we both know, you don’t mess with her,” ‘Lucky’ said, with a smile.

“Don’t worry, I’ve known Norma since she was a babe in arms, I was just covering my ass,” the Sherriff said.

The briefing then began. On the wall was a large map of the county with varying colored pins sticking in it.

For Lucky’s benefit Deputy Richards pointed out the geography of the crime scene and its relative position to Jackson City.

“How far is that?" ‘Lucky’ asked.

“75 miles as the crow flies,” Deputy Richards said.

“And by car?” ‘Lucky’ wanted some clarification.

“100+ miles,”

‘Lucky’ looked at Norma.

“Don’t worry I’ve arranged to stay at my Aunt Jenny’s place,” Norma said, as she got up and, taking the pointer from Richard, pointed out where her Aunt lived.

“That’ll bring us to about 20 miles from the Jacobs Farm,” Norma said.

“How do we get to Jacobs Farm from there?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

Both Richard and Henry laughed.

“Have you ever ridden a horse?” Henry asked ‘Lucky’,

“When I was a child I did.”

They laughed again and looked in Norma’s direction.

“Don’t worry ‘Lucky’, I’ll give you Daisy, she’ll be genital with you,” Norma smiled and then joined in the laughter.

“Come on, what’s the joke?” he asked.

“You are not in the city now. This is open country and the best way to get about is on horseback,” Norma said.

“You didn’t tell me that.”

“Oh. I didn’t know about Deputy Richards, will he need a room?” Norma asked Henry.

“No, he’ll come and collect you when you come into town,” Henry stated.

It was then that Norma realised Deputy Richards couldn’t come into that part of the county as there was still a strong family feud going on between his family and the Jacobs.

“Right why are we here?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

“It’s not you but Norma that we need,” Henry said, rather rudely as far as Norma was concerned.

“OK Sherriff, why am I here?” Norma emphasized ‘Sherriff’’ so that he understood she was angry with him for speaking to ‘Lucky’ like that.

“Last Sunday, after church, the Jacobs had organized a BBQ at their farm. They invited all their neighbors. It was to commemorate the death of Jacob’s first wife Susan, 20 years ago.”

Norma looked up from her notepad.

“I was there,” she said.

“I know, that’s why you’re here,” Henry said.

“But…” Norma began.

“Just wait and then you’ll understand my predicament,” Henry said.

“Richard will you go through what happened at the BBQ?”

Richard stood up and hung a drawing of the Jacobs Farm and its outbuildings over the County map. Holding the pointer he started to explain the scene and handed out a folder to Norma, ‘Lucky’ and the Sherriff.

“As the Sherriff has said, last Sunday the Jacobs held a BBQ and Hog Roast at their farm. All those invited are named on the list at page 2 of your folder,” Richard said.

Norma flipped to page 2 and ran her eyes down the list. With the exception of herself, there was only one person, which she would have expected to be there, missing from the list.

“Where was the BBQ held?” Norma asked.

“Just here,” Richard pointed out an area outside the farm house kitchen.

Norma knew this place and agreed it was an ideal spot for the get together.

“When I arrived at the scene many of the guests had gone back to their homes. They are marked with stars.”

“Now you see our problem Norma,” Sherriff Carter said.

“Yes”

“How’s that a problem? You just go and interview them,” ‘Lucky’ stated.

“I’ll explain it to you on the way to my Aunt’s farm, it’s complicated” Norma said.

‘Lucky’ let that go, so moved on,

“Where was the body found?” he asked.

“I was taken to the barn, over here,” Richard pointed out.

It was then that Norma realised why she was here.

“Exactly where was the body?” she asked.

“You can see from the pictures on pages 3 & 4, these show the body on the barn floor near to the post,” Richard said.

Norma felt everything draining from her. The first picture showed the woman’s body on the barn floor with a pitchfork rising up from her chest and blood surrounding the upper part of her body.

The second picture was taken from above the body and showed the true extent of the area the blood covered the barn floor.

This brought flash backs to her mind. Norma had seen these images 20 years ago, in the very same barn, when she was only 9 years old. Déjà vu.

She had to get back on track before ‘Lucky’ realised there was a problem.

“When was she killed?” Norma asked.

“The doctor put it at between 4:00 and 4:30 Sunday afternoon,” Henry stated.

“When were these pictures taken?” she asked.

“Just after I got there,” Richard said.

“OK, when exactly did you get there?”

“We got the call at 5:30 pm and as Richard was half way there, visiting John Williams’ farm, I sent him to the Jacobs farm. My self and Deputy George Conner got there at about 7:00 pm” the Sherriff said.

“Why did you take George? He only knows about traffic, not real crime,” Norma asked.

“It was Sunday afternoon and he happened to be passing by the office when the call came in, I had no choice,” Henry explained.

Norma realised that they had sent the chickens into the foxes den. How the hell were they ever going to get a conviction from this mess?

“No one has yet told me what time Deputy Richards arrived at Jacobs Farm,” Norma was starting to get angry now.

Henry looked at Richard, what was he doing not telling Norma the time he arrived? He was there when he and George got to the farm.

“At 6:45 pm,” Richard stated.

Norma knew that Richard was not visiting John Williams when the call came in. The William’s place is only 20 minutes from Jacobs Farm. She will speak to him later, away from his Sherriff.

“So the woman had been dead for over 2 hours by the time you arrived and took these pictures,” Norma stated, more than questioned. She was trying to make a point.

“That’s right,” the Sherriff agreed.

“I don’t recognize her,” Norma said, looking at Henry.

“No you haven’t seen her for years, that’s Lori Williams but you knew her as Lori Hall.”

This shocked Norma. From the photos Lori looked a good 50 years old but in reality she was much the same age as Norma.

“Are you sure it’s her?” Norma questioned the Sherriff.

“Sorry, but yes,” the Sherriff said.

Henry knew that before Lori left for university she and Norma had been close friends. The only difference was that after university Norma stayed in the county. Lori, on the other hand, went off to Florida to find fame and fortune but from all reports all she found was the drug scene and prostitution to pay for it.

Things were coming into place for Norma. 20 years ago Lori had also been at Jacobs Farm, the day when Susan Jacobs had been killed. The coincidence was that both of them had been killed with a pitchfork.

Henry opened up his folder and flipped through to the back page and reminded himself of the facts.

“Yes we did a DNA test and it confirmed it was her.”

“I haven’t time to read all these statements now, can you tell me who found the body?” Norma asked.

“That was young Freddie Jacobs, one of Rod’s kids,” Henry said.

“Who else had been in the barn between 3:30 and when the body was found?” ‘Lucky’ asked.

“No one,” Richard said.

“So this was suicide,” ‘Lucky’ stated.

“No” Henry snapped.

“How is that?” Norma asked.

“All the finger prints had been wiped off the pitchfork’s handle and Lori wasn’t warning gloves,” Henry reported.

Norma had been flicking through the pages in the file, while ‘Lucky’ had been asking his questions.

“There aren’t many statements here!” Norma observed.

“That’s why you’re here Norma,” the Sherriff stated.

“You’ve got an office full of Deputies. They can take statements,” Norma said angrily.

“There is no way any of them will go up against Rodney Jacobs, you know that,” Henry reminded Norma.

“But there was no problem when I was here,” Norma questioned the Sherriff.

“As I said, that is why you are here,” he replied.

“Sherriff can I have a private word?” Norma asked.

Henry recognized that tone. Either he was in trouble or she was about to leave.

“Deputy Richards, wait outside please.”

“I haven’t finished yet,” Richard said.

“OUT” Norma snapped.

As Deputy Richards opened the door Norma turned to ‘Lucky’,

“‘Lucky’ please go with Richard, I won’t be long.”

He was about to object but saw the look in her eyes and decides to follow Richard out of the Sherriff’s office.

Before closing the door behind them, Norma ensured that they were not standing just outside the door, listening in. Happy they were crossing the main office, she slammed the door closed.

Henry knew the signs and stayed behind his desk, sitting on his large leather chair and hoping for protection from his desk, for the forthcoming onslaught.

“You said I was here to help with the investigation. Hell you haven’t even started,” Norma had placed both of her hands on the front edge of his desk and was leaning forward, looking him straight in the face.

“We have started,” he objected.

“A map of somewhere I know like the back of my hands, the list of guests, and a couple of pictures. You call that started?” Norma was in full flow.

It was time that he hit back before she walked out on him.

“What do you expect, you ran out on us.”

“Ran? I walked. If I had woken up to just how useless you were I would have left years ago and never come back.”

Henry said nothing as he knew she was right. It had been Norma’s hard work which made him Sherriff and retain his position in the town. If it came to light that his department was useless he would be out of the job in a couple of month’s time when the elections are held.

“Look you can keep Deputy Richards. He’s no bloody good to me. Instead I’ll take Deputy Susan Semple,” Norma said.

“You can’t do that, she’s only been here a short time, just after you left in fact.”

“Has she done the Basic Training course?” Norma asked.

“Yes”

“Then she’s going to be better than Richards.”

“But…” Henry started to object but Norma was having none of it.

“She’s not from this county so that makes her just right for this case.”

“That’s not fair Norma, I come from this county.”

“Yes but you don’t go to Jacobs Farm, do you?” Norma challenged him on her selection of Susan.

“You know why.”

“You are the law for the whole county, not parts of it,” Norma stated.

“Norma, please help me out?”

Norma thought for a moment.

“If you don’t run for Sherriff”

“You’re kidding me?”

“No, either you withdraw or ‘Lucky’ and I will go back to New York.”

“You can’t, the FBI won’t let you,” Henry said, more in hope than knowledge.

“When I give in my report, this county will be black listed.”

“What does that mean?”

“1st you will never be able to call us in and 2nd there will be a thorough investigation of your county’s Sherriff’s and Mayor’s offices. If I had my way they would include the Court as well.” Norma said.

“You can’t do that,” the Sherriff was standing up and leaning forwards across his desk towards Norma until they were face to face, just inches apart.

“Try me!” she replied.

There was a pregnant pause as Henry thought out his options.

If he did as Norma told him he would loose his dream job and have to go back and work on his father’s farm.

Bluffing her out could be costly for the town, unless she was bluffing.

Henry knew that there were several areas, across the county that were virtually lawless. The Mayor’s office was no better. Here money changed hands on a regular basis.

“OK Norma. I’ll do what you want,” Henry said, slumping back onto his chair.

“Do it now.” Norma ordered.

“I’ll do it later.”

“Now or ‘Lucky’ and I leave this county.”

He looked directly into her eyes and saw she meant every word. With that he picked up the phone and dialed the Mayor’s office.

“The Mayor’s office, can I help you?” Daphne said.

“Daphne put me through to the Mayor.”

Daphne was confused. The Sherriff was always jolly and would often tell her a joke before asking to speak to her father. He would also ask for him by his name, not ‘The Mayor’. She was going to listen in to this.

“Pa it’s the Sherriff,” Daphne said when her father answered the phone.

“Hi Henry, what’s up?” Jason asked.


Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-37 show above.)