Trouble at the Harbour

Miss Pickett had a look at the Harbor Morning News and read aloud :

“This morning, the dead body of Denis Kavanaugh was discovered by the owner of the Blue Belle, James McCarter, when he wanted to pull up his anchor to go fishing at sea. The body was tied to the anchor by the neck with a strong nylon rope. It seemed to have spent at least 48 hours in the

water, considering the poor state of the body. The NZ Metropolitan Police sent immediately detective Pickett to lead the investigation. The body was transferred to Saint Mary’s Hospital where it was found that Mr. Kavanaugh had drowned after being hit with an iron bar and thrown unconscious in the water. The victim was a well known fisherman appreciated by his colleagues. Divorced, he had no children. We will keep you

aware of Miss Pickett investigation’s results.”

Having a sip from her tea cup, she raised her head and said to constable Dimagio, her assistant :

– What a mess ! Let’s go and have a little conversation with the owner of the boat.

– The news said the victim was divorced.

“Divorced” means ex-wife, doesn’t it ?

– Yes you are right, we will meet her and

also her new husband if she has one.

– I heard Mr Kavanaugh was fishing with a colleague on the same boat. We could ask him some questions as well.

– Make me a list of all these people, quick !

– Aye aye Miss !


James McCarter was on the phone when the two detectives arrived. Constable Dimagio waved him and said when he finally got his attention :

– Excuse me, sir…We’re from the NZ Metropolitan Police and we would like to question you about the murder of a colleagueof yours : Denis Kavanaugh.

– I am sorry, I hope I didn’t make you wait too long…Yes I heard about Denis this morning, it’s horrifying. But go ahead, ask me your questions, anything that can help you find his murderer.

– Well, where were you and what were you doing Saturday night ?

– I was at home, cooking dinner for my kids, you can ask them and my wife if you want.

– Do you have any idea who could have killed Mr. Kavanaugh ?

– I sincerely don’t know. I didn’t know him so much, I talked to him a couple of times. We were mostly just running into each other. But I know who might inform you about what happened Saturday night.

– Oh really ? Who ?

– His name is Dan Drew, he’s a homeless man who lives in the harbour. Every night, he goes for a walk on the pontoons to watch the boats. So he could have seen something last night. He is a nice man, well at least with me, because he doesn’t really like cops. They keep trying to evict him of the harbour. So I don’t know if he will be very cooperative with you. But you should still try.

– Thank you very much for your help, we will consider your advice. Have a nice day, sir.


When the two policemen arrived at Susan Wiles’ house, the victim’s ex-wife was crying. Her new husband, Adam Purcell, was standing next to her with a sad grin on his face.

– If he hadn’t been so stubborn, he would not be dead by now ! she cried.

– What do you mean ? said Miss Pickett

– He always wanted to be the white knight of the sea, he would never pay attention to any advice from anyone !

– What was that advice he wouldn’t care about ?

– My advice was to let the people deal with the coast guards when they poach fish. Now he’s dead and the poachers are alive.

Miss Pickett asked then her husband, Adam Purcell :

– What do you think about this ?

– Denis was a good guy, but he thought that everyone should be the way he wanted them to be. He should have known that fish are often better than human.

Constable Dimagio said :

– Enough philosophy, let’s talk about alibis, shall we ?…Where were you and what were you doing Saturday night ?

– We were watching the Cricket match between New Zealand and South Africa in the living-room.

– Oh then, what was the score ?

– We won 11-5 !

The assistant nodded, confused :

– Yes, that’s right… What’s the name of the famous Cricket player that did an amazing pass during the match again ? I always forget it.

The expression of Adam Purcell lightened and he said with enthusiasm :

– Oh, you mean Kane Williamson ? He is my favourite player, he literally saved the match ! Without him, the NZ Cricket Squad would be lost ! He did 6 runs in the 2 last innings ! Sadly, he had to quit the game because of Ross Taylor, that—

– I would love to discuss more about Cricket with you but, unfortunately, we have to go, we have other suspects to question. You already proved us you weren’t the murderer of Denis Kavanaugh. Thank you very much for your time and forAnswering, our questions… Goodbye Mrs. Wiles and Mr.


Constable Dimagio politely greeted them, headed towards Miss Pickett and whispered :

– They’re innocent, I have watched the match myself Saturday and all they said about it was the truth.

– Good, we can strike them off the list ! Now let’s visit Raymond Holt, the colleague of our victim, shall we?


Raymond Holt was unfolding his fishing nets when he turned around and saw Miss Pickett and his assistant getting on his boat. He immediately stopped what he was doing, threw his nylon nets away and said suspiciously with a deep croaky voice :

– Hum…Hello, can I help you ?

– Yes, actually, I’m Miss Pickett and this is my assistant, Constable Dimagio, from the NZ Metropolitan Police. We’re investigating the murder of your colleague Denis Kavanaugh. We would like to ask you some questions about him, if you don’t mind.

– Oh, right. What happened to him was horrible, when I learned about him this morning I couldn’t believe my ears. I honestly don’t know who could have done such a terrible thing…

– So, where were you and what were you doing Saturday night ?

– I was doing some gardening in my garden.

– Can someone confirm your alibi ?

– Hum, no, I was home alone.

– Mr. McCarter, the owner of Blue Belle, whose anchor had been used to kill Mr. Kavanaugh, told us that you and the victim were friends. Is that right ?

– It is. Denis was a good guy, he was often inviting me on his boat, after a long day of fishing.

– His ex-wife and her new husband told us that he was sometimes too much invested in poacher affairs.

– Yeah… He should’ve mind his own business instead of being involved into other’s.

Mr. Holt seemed upset but he suddenly smiled when he remembered that Miss Pickett and her assistant were still there.

– Not that I know anything about those things, of course…

He took a look at his watch and said politely :

– Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go : I usually go fishing at sea at this time… Goodbye Detective Pickett and Constable Dimagio.

Once Miss Pickett and her assistant arrived on the pontoon, they looked at each other and Constable Dimagio said :

– I don’t like him, he seems fake. And did you notice that his fishing nets are made of nylon, exactly like the rope that was used to tie the victim to the anchor ?

– I agree with you but we have to keep searching. We can’t be sure if we don’t have all the evidence. Now let’s go find Dan Drew, the homeless man Mr. McCarter was talking about.


Dan Drew was sitting on a rain coat in a corner of a fish shop. He was playing the guitar and singing at the same time. A few empty bottles were lying next to him. He stopped when he saw the detective and her assistant coming and screamed at them :

– I won’t go ! That’s my spot ! You have no right to—

– We aren’t here to make you move. We would like to ask you some questions about the murder of Denis Kavanaugh, a fisherman that has been discovered dead this morning.

– Oh…It’s nothin’ to do with me, now go. I ain’t got the time.

– Please sir, it’s important. Moreover, if we discover that you knew something about the murder without telling us, you could be arrested for trying to cover up the truth to the police.

Dan swore and took a moment before answering to Miss Pickett :

– Ok…I’ll answer  your questions this time, but then don’t bother me again !

– So, where were you and what were you doingon  Saturday night ?

– I don’t remember… I was kinda high… the only thing I remember is hearing somethin’…

– What was it that you heard ?

– It was a fight… between two men… one had a really deep raspy voice… then I heard a big noise, as if a person was falling down…and…then I don’t remember, it was a complete black-out.

– Well, I think we can’t go further if you don’t remember anything more from Saturday. But, however, your information are really helpful. That’ll be all. Thank you for answering our questions.

As Constable Dimagio and Miss Pickett left, the latter said to his assistant :

– I think I know who the murderer is…


By Alice 4e3