Detective Inspector Ronnie Coxson settled back into the overstuffed sofa that he been asked to “take a seat” on and politely accepted the cup of coffee he didn’t really want from Steinmann’s receptionist or whatever her job title was. She’d leaned a little too far forward and smiled a little too brightly. She’d walked away with too much of a wiggle in her step. He shook his head. He had long ago stopped being impressed by any of that, besides he knew she was only doing what Steinmann had told her to. Make the Inspector feel welcome won’t you. Coxson wasn’t the sort of man who needed to feel welcome. He didn’t care, he was there to do a job. He sipped his coffee, which he had to admit was very good, much better than the sludge coloured muck the machine at the station churned out. He took in his surroundings, it was the first time he’d been back stage as it were at the club. Not that he frequented it that often, his wife would string him up if he did, but sometimes it was necessary when meeting people who were a little shy of being in public places shall we say. The décor was extremely tasteful, dark woodwork, neutral coloured walls, low lighting even though it was sunny outside. There didn’t appear to be any windows to let in natural light. Not like my office he mused, which either blazing hot or freezing cold depending on the time of year. There was a large mirror on the opposite wall, Coxson caught sight of his reflection and sighed. He was a year or two off fifty and starting to go grey. Lines had started appearing on his face years before and he was sure the job made them worse. Had he always looked this old he wondered aloud.
“Not at all Inspector” a slightly accented voice startled him.
He stood up “Mr Steinmann. I’m a little early, hope that’s okay”
“Of course. Come on into my office. I trust you’ve been well looked after?”
“Of course” Coxson replied.
Steinmann motioned for the Inspector to sit down, this time it was a huge maroon leather office chair with wooden arms. He tried not to think about the slightly ripped, coffee stained covered material of the seat he normally sat on. Instead he focused his attention on the man sitting opposite him. Probably a year or two younger, dark slicked back hair in a small ponytail, goatee beard and piercing eyes. That was okay. Coxson’s eyes were more than capable of doing some piercing of their own.
“It’s happened again” Steinmann said without preamble
“That’s three in as many weeks, it’s getting to be a habit for someone. Was it another dancer?”
“No. This time it was a member of the bar staff. Julianna”
Coxson raised an eyebrow “Tell me about her”
Steinmann shrugged “Not much to tell to be honest. She’s older than the other girls, divorced, two kids, works a couple of other jobs to keep a roof over their heads. Does her shift, keeps her head down and goes home again”
“Except last night she didn’t. Go home I mean”
“No.. the cleaner found her slumped in the doorway just like the others”
Coxson had been taking notes, he flipped back a page or two “Jenna and Sabrina?”
“I’ll need to talk to the cleaner again.. Mrs Roberts.. I know my officers have already interviewed her but I’d like a quick chat all the same”
Steinmann nodded again.
“What?” Coxson put his notepad away.
“Off the record?”
It was Coxson’s turn to nod.
“I’ve enlisted some.. outside help to try and resolve this matter as quickly as possible..”
Coxon’s eyes narrowed slightly “And…”
“And I trust that if my help promises to stay out of your investigation you will in turn stay of their way..?”
“Of course” replied Coxson. But he had a bad feeling about who this help was.