The Body in the Building: Chapter 8

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For what seemed an eternity, Dave looked at me in shock. At last, he found his voice and said, “Samuel OLSEN!?”

“Yes,” I replied. “It has to be related to the building somehow.” As I spoke, the more conviction I felt in my hypothesis. “The location of the body and the note left for me. They both point to there being some connection. And any delays on this project would cost Olsen significant money. If Walthers found evidence of that, it would screw up Olsen’s political aspirations.”

“Jesus, Nat, if you’re right, then this could be huge.”


“There’s only one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“So far, everything is circumstantial. What actual evidence do we have that Olsen is involved in any of this?”

I paused. Dave was right. If we tried to take what we had to the police, they would almost certainly tell us to go away and stop bothering them. Or worse, if Detective Symonds did suspect me of being involved somehow, he may accuse me of trying to deflect blame from myself.

“So what do we do?” I asked.

“We need to find out what it was exactly that Elliot found, then take that to the police.”

“Need I remind you that Elliot got killed over that piece of information?”

“True. But do we have a choice?”

“Not really, no.”

“That’s pretty much the conclusion I came to as well.”

“So where do we start? Aside from not getting killed.”

“Elliot thought something was wrong with those geological reports. If we find out what, we’ll have something concrete to take to the cops.”

“I definitely have a reason to go back to work tomorrow now. All of our geo surveys and reports are there.”

“Can you get to them from here?”

“No, there are physical and digital copies, but the digital copies aren’t accessible remotely.”

“Oh?” Dave was surprised. “Not even via the VPN?” he asked, meaning virtual private networks, used for secure remote access to corporate systems.

“Well, they are, but they’re considered intellectual property and require higher privileges than I have.”

“Then if Olsen somehow tampered with them, how did he gain access?”

“With the money and resources he has available, couldn’t he have hired someone to break through our security? We’re architects, not the military.”

“What about the physical copies?”

“Same thing. We have a simple swipe card system and the lower floors are tenanted. It’s a big building, the security guards don’t know everyone who comes and goes, even at odd times of the day or night.”

Dave laughed humorlessly. “So what you’re saying is that the security measures are enough to keep out an honest criminal, but someone determined will find a way in.”

“Isn’t that the situation for most places?”

“More than most people realize, yes.”

“That’s comforting.”

“Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. An unlocked door, an open window, a moment’s inattention. Unless you have the resources, then the security that most places have is more than enough.”

“Samuel Olsen has the resources.”

“That may be so,” Dave said. “But does he have the triad of means, motive, and opportunity?”

“Ooh, you’ve gone all detective-y on me!” I smiled. “I think we agree he could have means and opportunity.”

“Yes. But what about motive? That’s the big one.”

Just then, my phone rang. I reached forward and picked it up from the coffee table. The screen showed the caller as an unlisted number.

“Natalie Shaw,” I answered cautiously.

“Ms. Shaw. It’s Detective Mark Symonds, we met yesterday.”

The first name basis from the day before had evaporated. “Yes, Detective, of course I remember. What can I do for you?”

“I was wondering if we could meet in the morning for a chat. There are a few details I would like to discuss further with you.”

“Of course. Any way I can help, I am more than happy to.”

“Could you swing by the station in the morning, say around 9:30?”

“I’ll just have to let my boss know, but that shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Great. Speak then.” There was a click as he hung up.

I looked at Dave as I put my phone down. “That was Symonds.”

“I gathered.”

“He wants to talk to me in the morning at the station.”

“Did he say why?”

“No, nothing at all.”

“I’m sure it will be fine. You did find the body, after all.”

“I know, it’s just a feeling. Like he thinks I’m involved in all of this somehow.”

“As I told you, he’s old school and the suspicious type.”

“I know, but when we spoke yesterday, he was quite relaxed and open with me. Just now, he seemed… tense.”

“That’s hardly surprising under the circumstances. I’ll bet he got chewed out for holding up construction this morning, cordoning off the whole site as a crime scene. Olsen would have been pissed.”

“I’m sure my bosses weren’t exactly enthused either.” While Geoff Anderson, my boss, would have no doubt been sympathetic and concerned about the death of Elliot Walthers, he also had a business to run. Any delays in its completion also meant a delay in the final payment to the firm.

“See? You’re worrying about nothing.”

I shook my head. “I don’t know, Dave. I just have this feeling we need to get to the bottom of this and fast. That evidence of Olsen’s involvement could very well save me from being accused of murdering Elliot.”

Chapter 9

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