Friday, 19 May 2017

It was too late for introductions. You don’t shake hands with a dead man; especially one who has had the fingers and thumbs of both hands severed at the first joint. Phi Rudolph Auckland CID knew he had the job ahead of him as he took stock of Anton Clegg Chairman of the Board of Air-Chill Cold Storage strapped in his chair in his private office at 3am on a disturbing Sunday in the middle of winter. Here was a man who was going nowhere other than the morgue from a place that resembled an abattoir more than a cold store.Chief Inspector Philip Rudolph didn’t need a coroner to tell him Clegg had used up his life’s supply of group something blood. There was a gory trail of investigation ahead for Auckland's top policeman. Prime suspect Greg Parkinson was drunk enough and sober enough to leave his car after a Saturday night birthday binge and wander into the loading bay of a city warehouse for shelter. He heard somebody’s death cries and stumbled upon the butchered body of Anton Clegg. Clegg who is a white collar criminal who excels in misappropriating investors funds. The question had to be raised -'Is it Anton Clegg? His identical twin brother is knight of the realm Sir Alexander Clegg, philanthropist. The two are often mistaken for each other. Who was the one slain in that Auckland City cold store? No fingers means no fingerprints which makes it hard to confirm the identity of the bloodied remains. Sir Alex was in Brunei on business which further frustrates immediate identification. And so began the chapters of corruption, murder and suspicion. Anton Clegg was not unknown to Greg Parkinson who with Clegg’s blood on him was the immediate suspect. It was one of Clegg’s investment companies those years before that had eaten up in excess of a million dollars of Greg’s money and in the process destroyed his marriage. ‘I was Taken by Experts,’ Greg told the police who were keen to connect him to the crime in the cold store. This story is more intricate than that, however, with a string of dead bodies and savage deeds reaching from the Eastern Bay of Plenty to the Bay of Islands; from Hamilton City in New Zealand to The Rocks on the waterfront of Sydney. The strange happenings at The Stables, the home of Sir Alex add spice to a story which has leading characters disappearing with Sir Alex himself, succumbing to a stroke which leaves him immobilized. He is then at the mercy of discriminate people such as his head groom Benjamin Scully and his personal physician and surgeon John Delmage. Add to the mix the devious dealing of barrister Wolfgang Blauner who has clear intentions of redirecting the entire content of the Clegg empire into a private funding account which will be shared by a select number of operators. The mystery deeps and suspicions are raised with the disappearance of Sir Alex Clegg’s housekeeper, Yvonne Barns who has been his personal friend and servant for twenty years. How dangerous, or how harmless is Wannenburg Morne, the square-headed South African ex rugby player, master carpenter and cabinet maker, whose face had been rearranged so many times in the front row of the scrum his own mother would have had difficulty recognising him? Answering only to the name Shark, his service in the French Foreign Legion has fine-tuned his hard, unforgiving nature which never encourages long friendships. He conforms well to the job description laid down by the main players in this game of life, death and elimination. This is an exciting plot of extortion and corrupt activity; fast moving and seething with interesting characters trying hard to remain alive. All are members of the hardest school of criminals who know better than to turn their backs of those working beside them. Twists and turns will have you guessing through to the last pages. This is vicious crime at its most ruthless executed by hardened criminals who allow no one to stand in their way.

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