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Title: Lights, Camera, Murder
Series: The Eagle Chronicles.
Word Count 14,554 (total)
Summary Steven is on the set of a movie about his wartime exploits when there's a murder. A off-comment rfrom the director gets him thinking about his life,
Notes: Well, his life doesn sound like it could make a movie, doesn't it? The younger generation appears here too.

Cliff peered out from behind the curtains. "It's filling up out there."

Andrew joined him. "Oh, Lord. There are Mum and Steven."

"I don't think I can sing tonight," whispered Jessie. "All those people."

"It's just like performing at the club," said Mags. "Once you start, you'll feel comfortable."

"That's easy for you to say. You won't be the first out there."

The band started with Opus One by Tommy Dorsey, a rousing number to get the crowd involved. Then it was time for Jessie. She looked at the others for assurance. As the band played the opening , she sashayed out and positioned herself by the microphone. She tried to imagine that she was actually singing to a wartime crowd which helped her to relax.

Bei mir bist du schon
Please let me explain
Bei mir bist du schon
Means that you're grand
Bei mir bist du schon
Again I'll explain
It means you're the fairest in the land

Mags was right, the more she sang, the more confident she felt.

Steven, who had decided to take Alison out for dinner and dancing, was surprised to see his young cousin singing a 40's standard in front of a nightclub in an evening gown. "She's fantastic," he said. He turned to look at his wife. "You knew about this, didn't you?"

Alison smiled. "I knew she was trying to land a job with a band. She asked to borrow some of my records."

"But why this song?" His eyes spotted Quinn and Gareth at a nearby table. "She wanted to sing in the movie. Why didn't she say anything to me?"

"Jessie wanted to get it all by herself without using her connection to you."

"Going by the look on their faces, I think Gareth and Quinn are ready to sign her on the spot."

Steven wasn't the only one surprised by Jessie's performance. Dennis had received an invitation to come hear them sing and expected to hear more modern tunes. He was stunned when he saw her on the stage, virtually ignoring his companions which did not sit well with Alicia and Kirsten.

"I thought we were going dancing," complained Kirsten. "This is boring."

"You'd better get used to it since we'll be hearing it throughout the movie," commented Dennis as he led them to a table.

"Doesn't mean I have to like it."

"Who's that singing?" asked Alicia. "Is that the friend we've come to see?"


"She's very pretty."

"Mmm." He never took his eyes off Jessie.

She was working up to her big finish.

I try to explain
Bei mir bist du schon
So kiss me and say you'll understand
I could say 'Bella, bella'
Even say 'Wunderbar'
Each language only helps me tell you how great you are

The patrons cheered and applauded, and, after a few curtsies, Jessie walked off stage. "You were fabulous!" declared Mags. "You really put your heart into it."

"How did you feel?" asked Cliff, who sang the next song.

"Once you get going, you forget about the crowd. I still can't believe it."

"You'd better get changed for dancing," said Andrew. "Something a little less formal."

As Jessie changed, Cliff sang It Had to be You and Mags followed with </i>It's Been a Long Long Time</i>. Then it was time to dance. Mags and Jessie both wore full skirts with crinolines. They waited until the band started Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing before they made their way to the dance floor and started their moves. The dancers parted to give them more room. Jessie danced her shoes off and smiled when Andrew squeezed her hand before the finale. "Ready?" She nodded and he spun her around, she squatted, arms outstretched as he lifted his right leg over her arms then pulled her forward between his legs and she jumped into the air, turning to face him as she did so. He then lifted her straight up and over his head.

Quinn looked at Gareth across the table. "What do you think?"

"The band is good, and if those kids come with it, it'll save us the trouble of hiring singers."

"Should I sign them up?"

"You brought the contracts with you?"

"Of course," Quinn smiled. He motioned for a waiter and told him to tell the bandleader that they wanted to see him. "Oh, look, there are our stars. I wonder what they're doing here?"

"Why shouldn't they come here? It's a nightclub."

"But to come to a club playing big band music instead of the new songs?"

"It's a very popular place tonight," remarked Gareth. "There's Edinburgh."

As the two movie men watched, Steven and Alison were joined by Jamie. "Sorry, I'm late. Did I miss them?"

"You knew about this?" Steven asked.

"How could I not? They practiced in the flat. So, how were they?"

"Wonderful," answered Alison. "I never realized how talented Andrew is. We think they'll get to be in the movie."

"There'll be no living with them, then," Jamie teased. "Uh-oh, speak of the devil." Thinking they were heading for the table, Jamie hushed. Instead, they went past with the bandleader.

"Are you enjoying the show?" asked the bandleader as he reached Quinn and Gareth's table.

"Very much," said Quinn. "Allow me to make the introductions. My name is Quinn Douglas and this is Gareth Sands."

"Gary Evans. These are tonight's singers; Jessica, Cliff, Margaret, and Andrew."

"It's rather unusual to see kids your age performing this type of music," remarked Gareth. "What made you decide to do it?"

"I grew up listening to it," answered Andrew. "I always thought they were fun to sing."

"Mr. Douglas and I are currently filming a movie based on the duke of Edinburgh's wartime exploits and we'd like to use you and the band for our nightclub scenes."

"How wonderful," said Evans. "Do you need us to come to the studios to sign?"

Quinn smiled. "We have the contracts here."

"Just give me the pen," said Cliff.

"Aren't you with the band?" asked Gareth.

"They just joined," said Evans, coming to the rescue. "We haven't had time for a formal contract."

Quinn looked at Gareth, who shrugged. "They can sign individually."

They all signed the contract and Quinn welcomed them to the project.

Dennis smiled when he saw the group approach Sands and Douglas. What a scheme! "It seems like we've got our band. I think I'll go congratulate them."

"Then can we leave?" asked Kirsten.

"If you still want to."

Alicia slowed when they passed Steven's table. "Is that Lord Jamie with the Edinburghs?"

Dennis gave the table a quick look. "Yeah. Do you want to meet him?"

"You know him?" Kirsten thought the evening was picking up. "For how long?"

"About three or four months."

As they passed the table, Jamie turned and saw them. "Dennis! What are you doing here tonight?"

"Hello, Jamie. Your Graces," he said as he nodded his head in Steven and Alison's direction, hoping that was the proper way to address them. "Some friends of mine would like an introduction" He presented Kirsten and Alicia.

Jamie and Steven stood while Alison bowed her head in greeting. "How nice to formally meet you," said Steven as he welcomed the young actresses. "I've seen you at the studio."

"This is an honor, your Grace," said Alicia, even though she was looking at Jamie.

She was stopped from embarrassing herself further by Mags as she reached the table. "The most wonderful thing has happened."

"You made it into the movie," said Jamie.

"You could sound a bit more enthusiastic."

"Why? I had no doubt that you would all pull it off."

"Don't you think they would find it the tiniest bit suspicious, seeing you here with us?" asked Steven.

"It can't hurt," said Andrew as he and Jessie came over. "We've already signed the contract." He kissed his mother on the cheek.

"With our real names," added Jessie, "so there won't be any accusations of misleading them." She saw the new arrivals. "Dennis, I see you got my invitation."

"I brought along a couple of friends. I hope you don't mind." He introduced the two women again. "You guys were really good. I was just surprised over the choice, is all."

"Where's Cliff?" asked Jamie, trying to extricate himself from the attentions of both Mags and Alicia.

"Using the Gents," answered Andrew.

Just then he came rushing over. "You will not believe what I just heard."

"What? Give," said Jessie.

"There's been a murder."

Mags was inclined to disbelieve him. "Pull the other one, Cliff."

"I'm serious. I heard it from a reliable source."

"And just who is this 'reliable source'?" asked Jamie.

"Gareth Sands."

"What?" asked Steven. "How did you hear this?"

"He was on the phone as I passed it on the way from the bathroom. I wasn't listening until I heard the word 'murder'. Of course, then he had my attention. After that, most of the conversation was on the other end. Sands said he'd be right over."

"So we don't know who or where," said Jamie.

"We do know where," Steven said. "Who would be calling Sands here?"

"Someone from the studio," answered Dennis, catching on.

"Exactly. Andrew, you see your mother home. I'm going to the studio. No arguments," he said as Jamie opened his mouth. He left money with Alison for the bill. "I'll let you know what I find out." With that, he was gone.

Dennis looked at Kirsten. "Do you still think it's boring?"


Steven arrived shortly at the studio and made his way up past the police barricade. He followed the signs of commotion and found himself in one of the offices on the upper floor. Seeing a familiar face, he walked over. "Keeping busy, John?"

Superintendent John Dolittle looked up. "What are you doing here?" Since they had been friends for close to twenty-five years, he was one of the few people who could treat Steven like an unwanted guest and get away with it.

"I was at the club when Sands got the call. Knowing it originated here, I came right over." He tried to look into the office. "Who is it?"

"Elizabeth Michaels. She was--"

"The script editor on my movie." Steven walked inside to where the photographer and medical examiner were getting the details of the site. "She was a brilliant writer, you know. What was the time of death?"

"Somewhere around 7:00 or 8:00," replied the examiner, a dour man who seemed immune to what he saw around him. "Due to the vomiting, I'd say she was poisoned. I need to do an autopsy for details."

"Thanks." Steven stared at the body of the woman who just yesterday showed so much enthusiasm for her work. "I want you to get whoever did this, John."

"You know I will. If you don't get him first."


Steven let himself in the front door then headed for the kitchen in the hopes of getting a hot cup of coffee. As he passed the door to the den, he heard Alison call out his name. He walked in to see her sitting on the couch, her legs tucked up underneath her. With one look at his face, she was up and hugging him. "Was it so horrid?"

"As far as corpses go, no, it wasn't. It was most likely poison so there were no outward signs of violence." Alison knew there had to be more. Of all the deaths he had investigated in the past, nothing had affected him like this. She led him back to the sofa and sat beside him, her arm about his shoulder. "I knew the victim, Alison. This time it wasn't just a body, wasn't just a name." He looked at her. "She was Liz Michaels, the script editor for the movie."

"Oh, my God!" There wasn't much else she could say.

"All I want to do now is get a little something to drink and go to bed. Peace and quiet is just what I need to get myself together."

"I'm afraid that's not what you're going to get."


"You have an audience waiting to hear from you. The group from the club have been waiting in the kitchen since we got back."

"Maybe we can sneak away upstairs before they realize I'm back."

"I don't think so."

Steven was about to ask why when he heard voices in the hallway. Andrew was the first to reach the room. "I told you I heard the door," he said to the others.

They entered and gathered closely around Steven so they could hear every word he said and satisfy their morbid curiosity. Jessie noticed something different about Steven. He usually reacted to murder by going off and investigating, not by sitting and moping. She also noticed how Allison sat with her arm about his shoulders as if she was comforting him. "You knew the. . ." She couldn't bring herself to say "victim".

He looked at her. "Yes, I did."

This statement made Dennis, Alicia, and Kirsten nervous. If it was someone from the studio that Steven knew, odds were that they knew the victim as well. Dennis asked the question on everyone's lips. "Who was it?"


"Oh, my God," said Kirsten. Alicia crossed herself as Dennis slid into a chair in shock.

"How did it happen?" asked Andrew.

"They're not positive, but as there were no signs of violence, the coroner thinks it was poison."

"But why Liz? Surely she had no enemies," remarked Kirsten.

"You knew her?"

"Not well. She kept to herself after hours, but she was nice to everyone on the job. Even when we all were tearing our hair out, she was calm."

"We invited her to join us for drinks the other night," said Alicia, "but she preferred to stay late and get her work done."

"You can tell that to the police when you go to work tomorrow. Any little bit can help."

"Do you really think they'll continue working on the film?" asked Jessie.

"Oh, yeah. I don't mean to sound cold, but they won't let a death stop them permanently. They'll stop for a couple of days, then it's back to business." He looked at the three actors. "You'd better get home as you have an early start."

"Thank you, your Grace, for taking the time to tell us," said Dennis as they left.

"You deserved to know." Jamie, Jessie, and the others left rather subdued. "I'll keep you up-to- date when I can," he told them. He closed and locked the door. He then turned to Alison. "How about a brandy?"


Dennis arrived at the studio the next morning to find the police questioning everyone involved just as Edinburgh had said. Quinn greeted him when he reached the soundstage. "Dennis, there you are. I guess there's no delicate way to tell you: Liz Michaels was found dead in her office last night."

"Oh, Lord," said Dennis with feigned shock. "How did it happen?"

"They haven't said. The police are questioning everyone."

"I'll be glad to help."

"Good lad." He introduced Dennis to the man in charge of the case, Spt. John Dolittle.

"We're just doing some preliminary questioning of everyone who came in contact with Miss Michaels while she worked."

"I'm so glad you didn't say 'the deceased'."


"I'm glad you used her name instead of referring to her as 'the deceased'. It doesn't sound so cold that way."

"I find more people cooperate if you use the name whenever possible. Now, did you know Miss Michaels?"

"Not well. She was very professional when she was working. She would try and lighten the mood sometimes by cracking a joke or two. From what I could tell, everyone liked her."

"Do you know what she was like outside of work?"

"No. We asked her to join us for a couple of drinks a few nights ago, but she stayed late to get some work done."

"We gather that's what she was doing when she died. How many people knew she liked to work late?"

"I couldn't really say. There were about ten of us going out that night, but I don't know how many--if any--others."

"Thank you, Mr. Howell. I may need to ask you some more questions, so--"

"I know. Don't leave town. If they carry on with the filming, you can always check with the studio for our location schedule." Dolittle made to leave. "Can I ask you a question, Superintendent?"

"I guess."

"Are you a friend of the duke of Edinburgh, the John Dolittle in our film?"

"Yes. Ironic, isn't it?"

After questioning all the studio personnel about Liz, Dolittle and his men returned to Scotland Yard. Dolittle went up to his office and found Steven waiting for him. "Hard day at the office?"

"Very funny. I was out at the studio questioning suspects. Quite a bunch there. Oh, they say they were saddened--'What a tragedy'--but then they seemed to wonder how her death would affect them. Except for one. Howell, I think his name was."

"Ah, Dennis." Steven stood so John could sit behind his desk. "He plays me in the movie. Nice kid."

"So what brings you here?"

"Well, I knew you'd be at the studio and wouldn't want me underfoot and I figured the preliminary autopsy reports would be in . . ."

"Sometimes I wonder why I bother to ask," said John with a smile. "They should be sending it up sometime soon." There was a knock on the door. "Come in."

A young constable stood there with a file in her hands. "From the coroner's office, sir. Said you were to have it straight away."

"Thank you." The constable handed it to Dolittle, and, with a startled look at Steven, left. "What is this affect you have on people?"

"I've no idea. Sometimes it comes in handy, though." He leaned forward in his seat. "Well, what does it say?"

"It confirms poison. Isopropanol, large concentration on the fingers."

"The typewriter," said Steven in a flash of inspiration. "Our murderer coated the typewriter keys with poison knowing that he didn't have to be there when it happened."

"A great alibi for time of death. I'll have to check and see if they found isopropanol on the typewriter."

"It may have evaporated by the time you got there, but traces may have been found."

"Then we'll have to start questioning all over again."

"Good luck."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"There are those who don't exactly tell the full truth to the police."

"And you think you can do better?"

"Not this time, but I know someone who can give us a little help."

Steven followed Dolittle over to the studio. "Back again, Superintendent?" asked Sands. "Come to harass my employees?"

"No, I'm here to see justice done," Dolittle replied. "Since I was here this morning, we've learned how Miss. Michaels was killed. I need to ask more questions."

"If you find it necessary to disrupt work--"

"If you don't let me pursue my questioning, I could have you arrested for obstruction."

"That was not my intent, Superintendent. Of course, you must continue you investigation. It's just that there are other films being worked on and disruptions would set things back."

"I will be as discreet as possible, Mr. Sands." Once outside the offices, they walked to the soundstage. "He's a cold one. You'd think he'd show a bit more sympathy."

"He's a producer. They don't have time for sympathy. He's The Money. His main concern is that the film doesn't go over-budget and ever delay means more money."

"Are you defending him?"

"As a suspect? No. I'm just pointing out the reason for his attitude. One thing to be said in his favor, though."

"What's that?"

"Her death is costing him money."

John shrugged. "I'll keep that in mind."


Alicia took a sip of her drink. "I can't believe we were questioned by the police twice in one day."

"The first was necessary to follow-up the death," said Dennis. "The second was after they found out how she was killed."

"God, what a way to go," remarked Kirsten. "Poisoned by her typewriter."

"But why?" asked Karen who had joined them. "What could Liz have done to make someone need to kill her?"

"The police are convinced it was someone from the studio," said Dennis. "We have just got to figure out what happened at the studio, when things started going bad."

" 'We'?" asked Alicia. "You're taking this whole thing rather seriously, aren't you?"

"The police always ask if there have been any changes in habit or emotion. We're the ones who have the best chance of noticing such changes."

"So what are we supposed to do?" asked Kirsten.

"If we can figure out when the changes started, we might be able to help find out who killed Liz and why."

"This could be fun," said Alicia.

" "Fun'? This could hardly be considered fun," said Karen. "There's a murderer somewhere in the studio."

"Okay. When did things start to go wrong?"

"From the beginning," said Kirsten. "There were always problems. Lighting, props, that stuff."

"That goes on with every film," said Dennis. "When did something different happen?"

They were quiet while they thought back on what had happened. "Everything was going fine until the re-write of that scene, you know, the one with the speech," said Alicia.

"I thought there was some tension between Quinn and Sands," remarked Dennis.

"But why would tension between them result in Liz's death?" asked Kirsten.

"Maybe it was everything to do with it, maybe nothing."

"Very Holmesian, Dennis," said Alicia. "But it might have been something in the scene rather than who wrote it."

"And the one thing in the scene that changed was the speech," said Kirsten.

"Why did they go after Quinn since adding the speech was his idea?" asked Karen.

"Because whoever it was didn't realize that. Besides, I think that the deciding factor was the use of the recording."

"So the killer could be the man who was a Nazi sympathizer?" asked Alicia.

"He heard the tape and was afraid that the person who wrote the scene used it on purpose to flush him out," said Kirsten.

"I think we'd better go tell the duke of Edinburgh," said Dennis.

"Now?" asked Karen. "Are you sure?"

"The time we waste, the killer gets further away."


Steven sat at his desk trying to work on some new scenes. The show must go on, after all. He tapped his pen against the desk. He couldn't get his mind off Liz's death. He knew the victim; he felt he should be out there tracking down her murderer, not sitting here in his study overcome with grief.

A corner of an envelope caught his attention: the return address was from someone named Sutton of Romney Grange. That's the name of the woman on record as Jamie's mother. What's Alison doing with a letter from there?

Alison came in and found him staring at the desk. "Oh, there's that letter I've been looking for."

"What letter?"

"From my cousin Edmund Sutton in Romney."

"I didn't know you had family there."

"I could have sworn I mentioned them. Aunt Caro was Dad's younger sister. I used to visit them while I was in school."

Caro. Caroline Sutton. That was the name Jamie's mother gave at the hospital. This couldn't be coincidence. "Did you visit there during the war?"

"Quite a number of times. It was so peaceful there compared to London. The hard thing to get used to was driving without road signs."

"It's ironic that you spent time in Romney during the war and Jamie was born in Dymchurch in '45."

"I never realized that."

"Alison, about Jamie--" The doorbell rang.

Dawson knocked on the door. "Sir, Dennis Howell to see you."

"Thank you, Dawson. Send him in."

"I wonder why he wants to see you?" asked Alison.

"Probably has questions about Liz's death. I asked him to keep watch on the studio for me."

Dennis came in. "Thank you for seeing me, your Grace. I hope I wasn't interrupting anything?"

"Nothing that can't wait." After all, it's waited twenty years. "What did you want to see me about?"

"After shooting today, Kirsten, Alicia, Karen, and I got together and talked about when things started happening at the studio. Kirsten said that the murder in tied-in somehow to the propaganda speech because it was after that scene changed that Liz was killed."

"That makes little sense. Why kill Liz when it was Quinn's idea to use a speech and mine to use a real one from the MI6 archives?"

"It would if the murderer thought Liz was responsible. Alicia thinks that the murderer is the man who made the speech."

"True. Many sympathizers used pseudonyms to keep their identities secret should they return to everyday life after the war."

"So this means that the murderer is definitely one of the men from the studio," said Alison. "Someone who wouldn't be given a second glance going into her office."

"And once he finds out his mistake, Quinn and I are next on the list. Thanks for telling me all this, Dennis. I'll pass this on to Superintendent Dolittle."

"Good night, your Grace--both of you." With a smile, he left.

Steven reached for the phone, dialed Scotland Yard, and asked for Dolittle. He didn't notice when Alison left the room. "John, a theory has been put before me that sounds like it could be a good lead." Steven told him all that Dennis had said.

"So you think you and Douglas will be nest?"

"If he finds out he's made a mistake. See if you can get histories on all the men at the studio who could be Lord ________. I'm going to visit MI6 and start from the opposite end."

"And the moment either of us discovers anything--the moment--we call the other. Right?"

"Oui, mon capitain."


As Dennis was walking across the studio grounds, Kirsten came up to him. "Your friends are over at the recording studio."

"Really?" Dennis was surprised they hadn't told him. "How do you know?"

"I saw them. Lord Stuart wasn't with them, though."

"Why would he be?" he asked with a smile. "He doesn't sing with them."

"Oh, I don't know. Moral support, maybe?"

"Thanks for telling me." He looked at his watch. "I've got time to stop by." He waved and headed for the recording studio.

When he arrived, they were in the middle of a vocal so he could only watch through the window in the studio door. A young technician saw him. "May I help you, sir? This is off-limits to the general public."

"Oh, I'm working on a movie here. That group singing now are friends."

"Really? They're pretty good, but my tastes run towards the newer stuff."

"They sing that, too. One of them even met the Beatles." That impressed the technician who let Dennis watch the rest of the session from the mixing room.

When they were done, Dennis joined them in the studio. "You guys were fab."

"You're not just saying that, are you?" questioned Mags.

"'Course not. How come you didn't tell me you were going to be here? I had to find out from Kirsten."

"We tried to reach you, but you must've already left," said Cliff. "How're things going with the film?"

"Very slowly, but things may be looking up soon."

"Has something broken?" asked Andrew.

Knowing there was less chance of being overheard outside, Dennis said, "Why don't you walk with me to the soundstage and I'll tell you what I know."

During the walk, Dennis told them everything, with only a few interruptions from Mags. "That's some story," remarked Cliff.

"Did Steven give you any idea of what he was going to do next?" asked Jessie.

"No. Just that he was going to notify the superintendent."

"Well, you can be sure he's doing something more than that," said Andrew. "He's going to be in this all the way."

Dennis stopped outside the set. "Do you guys want to get together tonight?"

"Sure," said Mags. "I can always find time for a few drinks."

Dennis laughed. "I'm not sure when I'll be done, but I'll call."


After Steven had left for the Foreign Office, Alison placed a call to her cousin in Romney. "Edmund."

"Hello, Allie. I wasn't expecting a phone call."

"Yes, well, there are some things I need to talk about and this is more immediate than a letter."

"What's wrong?"

"It's something Steven said last night." She took a deep breath. "Do you remember when I came to the Grange near the end of the war. . ?"

"When you were enceinte?"

"I think he knows."

"Alison, you're not making any sense."

"I think Steven knows I had his baby. He was asking about my visits to Romney and if I went during the war. He then said it was ironic that I visited there so close to the time Jamie was born in Dymchurch."

"He believes Jamie to be your son?"

"It's possible. I never knew whether it was a boy or girl. Jamie's birthday falls around the same time."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Check the orphanage and see if they can tell you anything."

"I don't know if they can give out that information."


"Oh, all right. I'll call you back as soon as I can. I still think you should tell him."

"You're right. I will. Thanks, Eddie." Alison hung up the phone. "The only problem is when and how."


Steven looked up from the reports he was reading and rubbed his eyes. "I probably should invest in a pair of glasses," he said to the empty archive room. "I don't know how people can do this all day for a living."

He had read through transcripts of Lord ________ speeches and a character profile--what they could learn from his speeches, plus formulated ideas on the type of man he would be. There were even reports from dialecticians trying to place his origins!

The most agreed-upon premise was that he had spent time in Germany in one of three ways: (1)he was born there and later moved to England, (2)one or both of his parents were born there, or (3)he was educated there. Being exposed in such a way to the German culture and way of life, he felt that what Hitler said was right and wanted to help The Fatherland in any way he could. When the war was over and Germany had lost, he returned home to try and pick up where he left off, no one being any the wiser.

The information itself was nothing earth-shattering, but hopefully, in combination with John's, it should help them catch a murderer.

He returned the files to the archivist and used the phone to call Dolittle. "Hello, Steven. Any luck?" John sounded rather animated.

"Some. Nothing positive, though. Everything's very vague. You must've come across something, otherwise you wouldn't sound so up."

"I don't think it's something we should discuss over the phone. Stop by and I'll tell you all about it."

Steven drove to the Yard and made his way to John's office. Dolittle smiled and shut the door behind him. "Wipe that smirk off your face and tell me what you found out. It's been driving me crazy the whole way over."

"For once I have the upper hand," said John. "I'm going to savor it for awhile." He sat behind his desk and leaned back in his chair.

Steven tried to act non-chalant by leaning back in his chair and acting as if he had all day. He stared at John thinking that might break him. It didn't work. He then began to drum his fingers on the chair's armrests. "Okay. Spill. I'm not very good at this waiting business."

Dolittle smiled. "I was wondering how long it would take." He sat up and pulled a couple of files from the desk. "There are two possibilities, but I have my favorite."

Steven took the proffered folders. The first held nothing overly significant. He was the right age and had spent a good deal of time in Germany before the war. He then looked at the second. "I see what you mean." His parents were from Cologne and they had moved to England before the outset of WWI. He was born in 1915, went to a minor public school, then two years at Oxford and one at Heidelberg. He had been visiting friends in Germany when the war broke out and he spent the intervening years in Switzerland.

"This is too ridiculous. Five years in Switzerland when they could have easily arranged a way home? The Germans could have provided a second passport with no problems. His real one was used to enter Switzerland and the second to go back to Germany. When the war was over, his original would have been ready and waiting."

"A lovely scenario. I wouldn't have thought of that."

"I always fell back on a number of passports myself."

"How could I have forgotten?" John sat back. "We may have found our sympathizer, but we're no closer to our murderer."

"Oh, I think we are. This file plus what Dennis and the others told us leaves no doubt."

"The evidence is barely circumstantial. We need more to arrest him."

"Frustrating, isn't it? It should be easier to catch him now that we know the proper bait to use."

"We let it leak out that you know who the murderer is and then we wait for him to make his move."

"You know, you should do this professionally."

"Very funny. How are we going to leak the information? It'll look suspicious coming from us."

"All we need to do is tell one person and the word will spread."


Later that evening as he was preparing to leave his office, Gareth Sands received a visit from Quinn Douglas. "I'm sorry to bother you, Gareth," he said, rolling his Rs in nervousness, "but something's been bothering me."

"If it's about the filming, I think we'll be able to start up again at the end of the week."

"No, it's not that."

"Well?" Knowing this was going to take time, he motioned for Quinn to take a seat.

"I've been wondering why someone would want to kill Liz. I realized it had to do with the film, but I wasn't sure what it was. In the commissary, I heard talk that it might be because of that speech we added."

"That was rather daring, using a real speech. There is a chance that the man is still alive or has family."

"I know, but the idea to use a speech at all was mine and his Grace recommended using a real one for authenticity."

"So you're feeling guilty?"

"Well, of course. It should be me that's dead, not her."

"We're all feeling guilty that something like this could happen on studio grounds. Possibly, by one of us."

"That's what I've heard."


"That's what Scotland Yard suspects. Liz was killed because the murderer thought she knew his secret."

"Maybe you should try never to be alone with anyone," remarked Gareth. "Since it could be anyone." He picked up his briefcase and headed for the door. "If you want, I'll walk with you to the car park."

"No, thanks. I've a few things to arrange for the locations."

"Very well. I'll notify Security that you're still here."

"Thank you." Quinn released his pent-up breath once Gareth had gone.

From their hiding place in the corridor, Steven and Dolittle watched him go. John spoke into his radio. "All units, suspect is on the move, possibly towards the car park. Keep your eyes open and mark if he does anything suspicious."

"You were wonderful, Quinn," said Steven as that man joined them in the hall. "That should have him worried."

"It's hard to believe that Gareth's the killer."

"He was protecting a secret he had kept for twenty years."

Dolittle's radio crackled. "Go on."

"Hawkins here, sir. The suspect has just entered the car park."

"Good. Keep an eye on him." John looked at Steven, gave a quick jerk of his head, then started down the corridor.

"Shall we go? I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss the fun." He noticed Quinn's startled reaction to the curt way John had treated him. "You're wondering why I put up with it?"

"It did cross my mind that it's a strange way to treat royalty," Quinn replied as they followed the policeman.

"Dolittle's known me since I was a reforming thief during the war. It's part of his personality. I can't expect him to change because of a title."

They caught up with John at the lift. "What kind of car does he drive?"

"A Jaguar, I think," replied Douglas. "Why?"

"He's entering a _______. I take it that's your car."

"What's in doing in my car?"

"Obviously, he plans to sabotage it," remarked John dryly as the lift doors opened.

"But why? I still don't get what's going on."

"From your recitation in his office, he thinks you now know his secret. When he realized his mistake, he made immediate plans to rectify the situation."

"You mean all that about the speech is true?"

John let Steven explain it to Quinn while he thought about how to handle the situation. He wanted to call his men but the noise of the radio would give everything away if Sands heard it. The lift doors opened on the ground floor and the three walked towards the main doors. "Where are you parked?"

"To the left when you get outside, a few spaces down."

"He'll spot us if we all go out." He looked down the hall. "There's got to be an office with a window. I have to signal my men to move in."

"Follow me." Quinn then led them down the hall. "This should be the one."

Steven went to the window and peered out. By the light in the car park he could see Sands bending over the car with the bonnet open. "I see he has taken up car mechanics."

"Would you come into the office for any reason?"

"Yes, he wouldn't be suspicious," replied Quinn.

"Great." John backed up against the wall by the window and Steven did the same on the other side. "Now, turn on the light and do what I say."


Hawkins saw the light go on in the office behind Sands. Puzzled, he watched as the shadow walked back and forth, almost in a pattern. He recognized it as Morse code. He signaled the other men and moved forward. He approached Sands and said, "Pardon me, sir, but could you use some help?"


"Okay, turn off the light."

Quinn did so and Steven peered out the window. "One of your men is with him now."

"Time to go." John and Steven rushed out of the room, down the hall, and outside, with Douglas tagging along.

Once in the car park, they approached the two men by the car. "What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?"

"It looks like a ruptured break line. I was just offering this gentleman my assistance," replied Hawkins.

"Your Grace. Superintendent. I didn't expect to see you here," said Sands.

"We needed to work out a few things," replied Dolittle. "I'm surprised by your choice of car. I expected an Aston-Martin or a Jaguar."

"It belongs to a friend," said Sands. "Mine is in the garage. I'm afraid I don't know much about cars. Is this serious?"

"Oh, very," answered John.

"Could be fatal," agreed Steven.

"You were goin' t' kill me!" exclaimed Quinn, his burr becoming more noticeable.

"Douglas, you're here as well?"

"He's taking your advice, Gareth. You told him not to get caught alone."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't try to deny it. There were witnesses," said John.

Quinn pointed to the other end of the car park. "Don't believe that story about his car. His is that forest green Jaguar over there."

"What read on would I have for killing him?"

"You thought he knew your secret, the same secret you thought Liz knew."

Sands laughed nervously. "A deep dark secret? You should write gothic novels."

"I think spy fiction is more my thing, Herr Steiner," Steven replied with a sly smile.

"You knew! It was you all along!" Sands--Steiner--swore in German and moved towards Steven, only to be restrained by Hawkins and one of the other undercover men who had come forward during the conversation.

"Gareth Sands, born Gerhardt Steiner, you are under arrest for the murder of Elizabeth Michaels and the attempted murder of Quinn Douglas," stated Dolittle as Hawkins put the handcuffs on him.


"How did you realize it was Sands?" asked Jessie.

"It wasn't any major revelation. Dolittle researched the background of all our possibilities and discovered that Sands was the best prospect."

"But you had no actual proof that he committed the murder," said Jamie.

"No, we didn't. We had to force his hand."

"So you had Quinn tell Sands that he was responsible," said Andrew. "What would you have done if Sands hadn't gone for the bait?"

"We would have thought of something." Alison appeared in the doorway and looked at Steven. "It appears I have an important conference."

Jessie looked at the two of them and knew they needed to be alone. "Why don't we go tell the others the news?"

Andrew was about to ask why when he saw the look on her face. "What are we going to do? Call them or meet them at the club?"

"We'll think of something," said Jamie as they walked out the door.

Alison closed the door behind them and walked over to her husband. "I have something to tell you."

"You don't have to stand there like you've been sent to the headmaster's office. Sit down and tell me," he said with a smile.

Alison fought a smile. "This is hard enough. I need to do it this way." She took a deep breath. "Two months after you left for France I discovered I was pregnant." She looked at Steven who showed no emotion. She continued. "My father thought it best that I got out of London before neighbors started asking questions. I let all my friends know that I was going to the country to get away from London while I stayed with my aunt. We told her neighbors that I was widowed.

"When the time came, we went to the hospital and I used my aunt's name. The attending doctor was a good friend of hers and thought it a good idea. I didn't even know if it was a boy or girl because I didn't want to wonder if every child I saw was mine."

Steven stood and held her in his arms. "It's all right," he said comfortingly.

She shuddered in relief. "It feels so good to let that out. I know I should have told you earlier, but I was afraid of how you would take it." She looked up at him. "You're taking it better than I thought."

"I will admit it's not a total surprise to me. Remember when I went out of town? I went to the orphanage at Dymchurch. When they were taking cast photos at the beginning of filming, Quinn pointed out that Jamie was probably conceived in a 'night of passion' before the father went to war. Anyway, Mrs. Sumner at the orphanage told me the name of Jamie's mother--Caroline Sutton."

"Oh, my God! You mean. .?" She sat down in shock.

Steven went to the door. "Jamie!" he called. "Can you come here for a minute? Alison and I have something to talk to you about."


SPN Dean Writing

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