Jigsaw Man(6)

By: Elena Forbes

‘What about the hotel staff ?’

‘We’re taking statements from anyone still here who was on duty last night. I can give you the full list of names.’

Tartaglia looked at Minderedes. ‘You’d better start waking up the guests as soon as the rest of the team gets here.’

‘A few are already up,’ Johnson said, ‘but we told them to go back to their rooms. We’ve closed off the second floor entirely, so nobody can go in or out. We’ve left the main stairs open but we’ve stopped access to the lifts and the back stairs unless authorised. Do you want to take it any further than that?’

Tartaglia shook his head. ‘That’s fine for now. Just make sure nobody leaves the hotel until they’ve been spoken to and their IDs have been checked.’ Theoretically, he would have liked to lock down the entire hotel, but it wouldn’t be practical.

‘Have you got a map of this place?’ he asked.

Johnson handed him a sheet of paper. ‘This is the ground floor.’

‘What about cameras?’

‘There are a few dotted around, here and here,’ he said, marking the paper for Tartaglia. ‘It’s pretty minimal coverage, though. The manager gave me some spiel about guests needing their privacy. I suppose they get their fair share of celebs here, but luckily there’s a camera at reception, so we should be able to get a visual of Herring.’

‘Where’s Security?’ Minderedes asked.

‘In the basement, next to the gym,’ Johnson replied.

‘Start with that,’ Tartaglia said to Minderedes. ‘I’ll come and find you when I’m done with the crime scene.’

‘The CSM was looking for you,’ Johnson said to Tartaglia, as Minderedes disappeared out of the door. ‘She’s still up in the room. I can take you there now, if you’re ready. This place is like a rabbit warren.’

‘Carry on with what you were doing. I’ll find it myself.’ He wanted to be on his own for a minute. Try and clear his thoughts. The room where he had been with Jannicke had been on the first floor at the front of the building, not that he’d paid much attention to the location at the time. He remembered using the main stairs by reception and that was about it. He wondered whether she was already up and getting dressed, and if he would bump into her at some point. It would be a little awkward, but he felt no real embarrassment.

‘It’s number 212, at the back of the building,’ Johnson said, following him out of the snug. ‘There’s a lift that gets you out right by the room. Go through the bar, and you’ll come to it.’

Tartaglia glanced at the map. The hotel was a rectangle, with four wings built around a long central courtyard. He remembered reading in some blurb the previous night that the rear wing had once been a small theatre or cinema. The bar was empty and silent, apart from the distant sound of a hoover, and the strong smell of cleaning products hung in the air. Grey early-morning light filtered in through the row of tall windows and the room looked more austere and less welcoming than he remembered it. As he passed the table where he and Gianni had been sitting only a few hours before, he wondered what time Gianni had left and whether he had gone home on his own.

The lift was outside the entrance to the restaurant. He heard the clatter of plates and cutlery and saw staff through the glass panel of the door preparing for breakfast. He showed his ID to the uniformed PC guarding the lift, then took it up to the second floor. Breakfast TV blasted from one of the rooms nearby. It wouldn’t be long before people would be up and about and the usual complaints would start about being delayed and having to account for themselves, along with the inevitable, probing, ghoulish curiosity.

The section of corridor between the lift and room 212 had been taped off and a pathway marked out on the carpet leading to the door. Tartaglia helped himself to protective clothing from a box on the floor and was about to head towards the room when he saw Tracy Jamieson, the crime scene manager, emerging from the lift behind him.

‘There you are,’ she said cheerily. ‘I was wondering when you’d get here.’

‘Why are you so perky this morning?’

Also By Elena Forbes

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