Daniel turned the car so that it crashed into the wall front end first, so the engine took the brunt of the crash. I groaned as I staggered out of the car. I touched my head and saw blood on my fingers.
“Daniel, Nell, everyone okay?” I asked.
“I’m okay, my head hurts, but that’s all,” Nell replied. I looked at her and saw blood on her head too.
“I think my ribs are broken,” Daniel replied. Nell went over to him and gently prodded his chest. He hissed in pain.
“Yes, I think you’re right. You’ve only broken a couple, it’s not as bad as it could have been,” she said.
We turned as we heard the sound of bells and saw a police car. Daniel staggered forward and started to explain what had happened. A doctor was called and we gave our statements. The doctor announced Nell and I were fine and Daniel had indeed broken his ribs; none of us needed to go to hospital, but we must take it easy for a few days.
We found a small hotel and checked in. Nell and I shared a room. We both soaked in the bath and scrubbed the grime of the day away. We made our way down to the bar to meet with Daniel. He sat there nursing a large whiskey and rubbing his ribs every so often. Nell and I ordered our drinks and went to sit with him.
“I spoke to the mechanics at the garage, they said the brake cable had been cut. They called the police and told them. The police now want to know who may have done it. Any ideas?” he said.
“The only people who knew we were there were Pietro and Jasmine,” I said.
“Then there was Johnny; they may have told him we were in town,” Nell put in.
“I can’t see it being Jasmine or Pietro. I’m not so sure about Johnny, I don’t trust him, not since that day we were shot at,” I replied.
“What about that Enzo Ferrari you met?” Nell asked.
I shook my head, “I seriously doubt it, he’s looking at me to invest in his team. He’s not likely to try and kill me, is he?” I remarked. Nell conceded the point.
“Now the big question: could it be the Mafia?” Nell asked. We looked at Daniel.
He shook his head, “No this isn’t the way they do things. If they want you dead, they’ll execute you. It could be a warning, but this isn’t their MO, their way of doing things,” he said.
“The scarred man?” I asked.
“I have no idea who he is or whether he knows why we’re really here,” Daniel replied.
We went to bed and in the morning we went into town to do various personal things. I sent a telegram to Aunt Suzanne to tell her what had happened and that we were waiting for the car to be repaired. I wandered around the shops, bought a few things and ended up in a cafe.
I ordered coffee and pastries and was making a few notes in my notebook when the door opened and three men walked in. One of the men was very well dressed, in a style I’d seen before. He came and sat at my table, I knew this man was possibly the local Mafia bigwig.
“Lady Amethyst Richmond, I am Marco Santino. I was wondering if we could have a little chat,” he said.
“Of course,” I replied. I wasn’t going to refuse this man anything. What Daniel had told me about the Mafia was enough to chill my blood.
He signaled to a waiter who hurried over with coffee and refilled my pot and pastry basket.
“You and your ‘Chauffeur’ are private investigators, I understand,” Marco said.
“Yes sir, that is correct,” I replied.
“Are you investigating us?” he asked.
“No sir we are not,” I replied.
“May I ask what it is you are investigating?” he asked. I sighed, I really didn’t want to answer. but if the drug gang and the Mafia were rivals, it may be an idea to be on good terms with them.
“We are investigating the death of James Munroe. His family doesn’t believe it was an accident, they believe he was murdered. We believe that it was someone in the motor racing fraternity. We’ve been led to believe that someone in the fraternity is smuggling drugs and distributing them throughout Europe and Great Britain,” I said.
Marco nodded, “We believe the same, please continue,” he said.
“We think James Munroe may have seen something he shouldn’t have. Maybe he knew who was running this smuggling ring and that’s what got him killed. We believe that three other accidents that happened lately have been deliberate. I was invited to attend the Mille Maglia, I went posing as someone who is looking to invest in a motor racing team, but none of the big teams were there, just Italian ones and some independent racers. I spoke to an Enzo Ferrari about investing in his team.” Marco nodded. “Which I may do. We left the town, our car crashed and we are here waiting for it to be repaired,” I finished.
“I see, we also have been having problems with this new smuggling gang, they are encroaching on our business area, not just drugs but other areas, and we will not stand for it. We believe they are from Great Britain. European gangs understand that there are areas of business that we control. We are happy to share, if we get paid, but these people are not so polite; they are trying to take over and we won’t stand for it,” Marco said.
“What do you want us to do? Do you want us to stop our investigation? I assure you it has nothing to do with your organisation and I can assure you, your organisation will never be mentioned in our report,” I replied.
“Thank you my lady. What I propose is…we share information. We both want these people out of commission. You want to find out who killed Mr. Monroe and we wish to know who is running the operation in competition with ours. You and I seem to be of the opinion that they are the same person.” I nodded. “If we exchange information then we will catch them quicker,” Marco said.
“I’ll have to talk to my partner, Mr. Tempest, and see what he has to say, but I’m sure he’ll see the wisdom of your proposition,” I replied.
Marco nodded and handed me a card. “Just send a letter or telegram to this address, or telephone if it is really important,” he said.
I scribbled in my notebook and ripped the page out, “This is the address of my Aunt Suzanne in Nice, she is taking messages for me and accepting my mail,” I replied.
Marco chuckled, “Ah, the Lady Suzanne. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, but I have heard many stories about her. You are in good company, my lady,” He stood and extended his hand, which I shook. “I look forward to hearing from you,” he said. He left with his companions.
Coffee slopped into my saucer as my hand shook. I ordered a brandy from the waiter and gulped it down in one. How would Daniel react when I told him I’d agreed to share information with The Mafia?
Look for Chapter Fifteen to be published in November 2020