Sunday, 4 April 2010


Sue's back to prove it's...

All In The Detail

She knows.

I'm certain of it.

There's that subtle twist in her tone. And the delayed glances.

And now I have an interesting dilemma. Do I deal with her now, or wait until later?

Well, it has to be later, of course – right now I'm knee-deep in blood, guts and a particularly nasty case of vomited vindaloo. The things you see on this job! Still, with forensics it’s always somewhat of a challenge. But, it keeps life interesting and I’m always learning something new – comes in useful in my ‘other’ line of work!

Now, going back to what I was saying before, what I mean is, do I wait and see what she does next or do I........damn! Dropped the bloody tweezers. Paul Hollis, call yourself a professional! Yuk! They're all slimy and wet now. I'll have to open a new pack.

Right. Where was I? Oh yeah. Dealing with little Miss Sarah. She’s been on the team nearly a year now but just lately I've noticed her watching me. She's a good actress. If I catch her staring she doesn't look away guiltily. At least she doesn't draw the attention of the others. That's good. So, when it happens no one will guess there was something going on between us.

That's a laugh - 'something going on'! Nah, she's not my type! And way too young. No, I mean no-one will realise that she was showing just a little too much interest in my extra-curricular activities.

Have to act now, really. She pretty nearly pulled me up on a case a couple of months ago. Myra Vale, that stabbing jobbie? I made a silly mistake. Used a brand new knife block. Little Miss Clever-clogs noticed none of the other knives had ever been used.

Full marks to her for spotting it, I have to say. Pity. She’s showing promise. Not too many of the newbies are so observant. Managed to bluff my way out of it, though. Good job I’d kept that receipt. Wasn’t too difficult to suggest Myra had probably only just bought it.

Hang about, this is interesting - what have we here in this pocket? Hmmm. Screwed up ATM receipt. Right, in the bag you go, deal with you later.

You see, that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. To Joe Public, an old receipt like that might be meaningless, but as part of the evidence in a crime it could make or break the case. People have been known to swing for less. Well, they don’t ‘swing’ any more. We don’t have capital punishment nowadays, but you get my drift, right? It’s all in the detail.

So - back to my problem with Sarah.

I think I’ll have to nip it in the bud. I’m on a nice little earner at the moment. People pay me rather well for 'services' rendered, regardless of whether it's just 'altering' the evidence afterwards or doing the 'job' properly so there is no evidence in the first place! I can’t afford to have her poking her delicate little nose into my affairs. So, it’s just a question of how and when.

Forensics work gives me so many options, but time is running out and I really need to make a decision. Next Thursday, I think. That’ll be good. I’ve already looked at the duty roster. She’s off for three days so there’ll be plenty of time to set the scene. Then, when she doesn’t turn up for the next two shifts, we’ll check up, see if everything’s OK. That's when we'll find her. Naturally we’ll all be shocked.

I’ll be senior on duty. Of course, as she’s on my team, no-one will stand in my way of taking charge - we look after our own in this business. And I’ll certainly make sure she get’s looked after! Before. And after.

Actually, thinking about it – that screwed up receipt might be an idea. It could be a prescription. A few choice drugs, filled out in her handwriting. I can alter the toxicology reports, make it seem like there was a history of abuse.


Yup - the Hollis mind is on the case! Add a retrospective testimony on my part, put my thespian tendencies to work, beat myself up about not having aired my private concerns about her behaviour. What a waste of a young life.....such a shame.....

OK. Done here. Just pack up the gear and get back to the lab.

“Sarah? Do you want to come in and do a ‘last look’? See if you can catch me out this time?”

I like letting the junior team members have a final look round at a crime scene. It’s always a good teaching point – when you’ve done everything, have a fresh pair of eyes try to spot anything you might have missed. It’s easy to become so engrossed and miss something fundamental.

I don’t think I’ve made the ‘deliberate mistake’ too obvious.

Might as well let her have a moment of glory.

It’ll be her last.

It’s all in the detail, you see.


Sue Harding works in a library in Warks. Having spent years 'shelving' books, she's starting to 'write' them instead! Sue blogs here:


  1. I did comment on this earlier, but it's not showing up... I thought this was excellent Sue, and a real smooth read. I still want to know more though, keep writing! (Faster dammit!)

  2. Thanks, Paul! This isn't the last of Mr Hollis - and also watch out for a 'guest appearance' in the near future!

    (BTW - today is a 'red letter' day! I actually got to drive Oliver/Olivia for a whole 15 mins!!! Now the son and heir needs the wheels more than I do..... :-( )

  3. Very Dexter-esque, Mrs Harding.

    Enjoyed your cunning Hollis character, but may I add one little piece of constructive criticism? At this point I always think, 'who the hell am I?' but I'm just trying to be helpful...
    Go easy on the exclamation marks n let the reader decide if the sentence merits one. (The odd one's okay).

    That apart - loved it!!!!!!


    Ps. Pass on my best wishes to Mick (!!!), our teams have swapped places. :)

  4. Col - Ok! I get it! It's a nast habit, I know! I will ration the '!'s! ;-p

    And isn't Dexter a bit of a psycho? (not seen/read any Dexter stuff as yet, so just going by hearsay) Our Mr Hollis is just in it for the money.......but have you ever asked yourself why?

    'Mick' says 'Hi', btw. He's off to Wemb-er-ley on Sunday so the team positions may all change again after that.

    Eee - 50-odd words and not an exclamation mark in sight.

    ( you'll be alerting the inverted-comma police.....)

  5. Hope you didn't mind - I was told the same thing a while back!

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  7. Col - I welcome the comment, and take it as constructive criticism. I'm well aware I stray off to the upper left side of the keyboard a little too often.

    Don't worry, there will be no reprisals! (sorry, couldn't resist that last '!' ;-p)

  8. Sorry for my tardiness.

    I enjoyed that again Sue. Hollis is a good character and I look forward to reading more.

    Dexter, just for info, isn't a psycho. He's a blood spatter expert for the Miami Metro Police Department, who just happens to be a serial killer, but he kills people who deserve to be killed. In the very first episode he killed a choir master who was interfering with the young children in the choir. It may be worth a watch of the series or even a read of one of the novels by Jeffry P. Freundlich (pen name Jeff Lindsay)

    Keep them coming Sue.

    Regards, David.

    P.s. Col's advice about the '!' is spot on as well. I was given the same advice by someone who reads my work (and also Col) and I'm not that keen on them, as Col knows. :-)

  9. Nasty but nice. You could get a serial out of this.