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GEORGE OVERTON INVESTIGATES

GEORGE OVERTON
 

Set in Sydney in the post-war years of the late 1940s to early 1950s, retired detective George Overton continues to get involved in some unusual mysteries.  The Korean War was at its peak and George gets involved in espionage in ‘The Case of the Rusty Medals’, ‘The Case of the Missing Plans’ and ‘The Case of the Chinese Statue’.  In ‘The Adventure in the Blue Mountains’ he tries to have a holiday with his wife, Margaret, but a murdered chef and some stolen money make sure he doesn’t get any rest.  In ‘The Case of Art for Art’s Sake’ George tackles some art thieves and investigates a missing woman.

Roger Wood has a talent for capturing this era in Sydney when life was easier but no less dangerous than it is today.  George may not always get things right but with a glass of his favourite whiskey and some homespun philosophy he always seems to come through in the end.

The interesting characters and intriguing situations keep the reader keen to turn the next page, this is a great read for all lovers of crime fiction.

 

In Store Price: $AU28.95 
Online Price:   $AU27.95

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ISBN:   978-1-921919-42-8  
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 282
Genre: Fiction

Cover- Clive Dalkins

Author: Roger Wood
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2012
Language: English

Roger Wood’s background is in television and theatre. He worked for BBC Television for 23 years in the design department before returning to Australia in 1987 and now he lives on the Sunshine Coast. 

Roger has written many plays for the theatre. This is his fourth collection of short stories.   

 

Also by Roger Wood ... 

George Overton (Retired)  (Zeus, 2009)

Detective George Overton (Zeus, 2010)

George Overton’s Casebook (Zeus, 2011)

The Case of the                          Missing Plans

 

 

Chapter One

 

Sydney Australia. Summer, 1953.

 

It was a dark night and the new moon cast only a pale light between the bond stores that overshadowed the Dalgety building in Hickson Road on the west side of the harbour bridge. There was just enough light for the driver of the car to see where he was going as he edged along without using the headlights. He saw a movement in the shadows by the foot of a staircase so he pulled into one of the darker shadows and turned off the engine.

All was quiet as he eased himself out of the black Humber and closed the door carefully. The rusty iron staircase zigzagged its way up the side of the old convict-built warehouse where stout doors were set into the stone walls at each level. The man tried the doors on two floors before the third one opened with a scrape across the floor from disuse. He paused a moment before entering, out of breath from the climb he took in some deep gulps of air, he wasn’t as fit as he once was. He had always been overweight but he was usually tied to a desk job so he didn’t need to be the A1 he was when he was a regular soldier. He had a quick look around to make sure he was alone, it was very dark but he could see to the bottom of the staircase and between the buildings he could see a slight ripple on the harbour as the wind ruffled the surface. He pushed the door open wider and passed into the dark interior of the building.

He couldn’t hear anything so taking a small torch from his pocket he shone the weak beam around; he couldn’t see much as the room was vast. It was filled with wooden crates of all sizes stacked on top of each other, as high as the ceiling in places.

He wound his way between the crates to the other end of the building where he found an inside staircase of stone and quietly made his way down. Turning off the torch he opened the door to the lower level just enough to enable him to listen. The voices he heard were muffled and he knew he would have to get closer if he was going to hear what they were saying. He opened the door wider and squeezed his body through, this floor also held rows of wooden crates and barrels but he had to feel his way this time as using the torch was out of the question. Making his way towards the voices wasn’t easy as the place was littered with obstacles; it looked as if there was work in progress on this floor. He picked his way over a pile of barrel staves and almost twisted his ankle when he stepped on a hammer but he made it in silence until he was within earshot.

Two men were talking in the darkness, it sounded as if one was giving instructions to the other.

‘Where is the slip of paper you were given?’ asked a cultured voice.

‘I have destroyed it,’ said an Eastern voice.

‘Good.’

‘Why these strange verses?’ the Chinese man asked. ‘We have met many times, you should tell me where we are to do the exchange.’

‘What? Before I’ve seen the money?’ said a cultured voice. ‘I don’t think so.’

The foreigner passed across a leather briefcase. ‘Here is some, there will be more when I see them.’

A torch flared briefly as the Australian looked inside. ‘Very well, but don’t get any ideas, I’ve got some good friends in your country,’ and he leaned close and whispered a name in the Chinese man’s ear that brought a look of fear to his face.

‘Ah, so,’ was all he said and then recovering his poise he asked, ‘Do you have the documents with you?’

‘No, but I can get them quickly enough when the time is right.’

‘Where will we do this?’ asked the Eastern man.

‘One of the usual places.’

‘I have given you money.’

‘You’ve given me some of it.’

‘So, a church,’ said the foreigner knowingly. ‘Which is it to be this time?’

The Australian lowered his voice but the listener could still hear enough to make out a rhyme.

‘You will be there to do this exchange?’

‘Ah!’ laughed the cultured voice. ‘I shall be keeping an eye on the transaction from a distance.’

It sounded as if they were ending their conversation and as he thought he had heard enough, the listener started making his exit back between the crates. He remembered to step over the barrel staves but kicked the hammer he had previously stepped on sending it clattering across the floor. ‘Oops,’ he said to himself.

‘Who’s there?’ boomed a voice and a powerful torch shone a beam in his direction.

He dived behind a packing case; an explosion echoed around the warehouse and a bullet tore splinters from the crate close to the man’s head. Moving to the other side of the crate he felt his way towards the stone staircase when there was another explosion and the blow in the back that knocked him down told him that he had been hit.

He staggered to his feet; he could hear the sound of them running towards him. If he could get to the stairs he might elude them, he thought. He picked up a piece of timber and threw it to his left to distract them while he half crawled to the staircase.

Up, he thought. They wouldn’t expect him to go up and he knew the door was open on the upper level as that was where he had come in. Getting up the stairs took a lot out of him and his back felt wet where he was losing blood, he knew he would have to be quick. Once outside he paused at the top of the iron steps and gulped in the cool, fresh air. He took out his notebook; he didn’t have the strength to write much but there was one thing he had heard that he wanted to get down in case he didn’t make it.

The powerful flashlights of the two men shone around the upper level now so he would have to descend quickly, he didn’t want them catching him on the open iron staircase. Somehow he made it to the ground, falling more than climbing, but he was there. He supported himself against the stone wall as he made his way painfully to his car. A beam of light caught him as he opened the car door and a bullet creased the side of his head causing him to black out and tumble into the driver’s seat head first.

‘What’s going on there?’ was the cry from another direction and another beam of light illuminated the car. When the policeman saw the legs of the man draped across the pavement he blew three shrill blasts on his whistle. The two flashlights of the attackers went out and they quickly dissolved into the darkness.

 

‘Do you think he heard what you said?’ asked the Eastern man as they walked up the steps to Windmill Street.

‘It doesn’t matter, that’s why I use the rhymes.’

‘There,’ the Chinese man said and pointed at the taxi standing at the kerb.

‘You got a taxi and left it waiting here?’ said the alarmed cultured voice.

‘Why not? He does not know where we have been.’

‘He will remember your face, you will have to get rid of him,’ said the Australian and strode off into the darkness.    

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