White & Co had developed Fairway Lodge after the grieving owner had sold them the family home. His wife had been shot and killed outside the house while leaving for work one morning. Lake View Manor had been started when the resi-dents sold their place after the next-door neighbors were bru-tally tortured and murdered in a house robbery. White & Co had killed two birds with one stone on that particular project, because the woman who lived at the end of the road had sold to them too. That beautiful piece of land then had forty luxury cluster homes erected on it and became Sandton Ridge.

Jade scribbled notes on her paper and ended her final call. She couldn’t believe it. In every case, the surviving home-owners had sold to White & Co in a panic, traumatized by recent violent events. They had all unquestioningly accepted Mark’s assurance that property prices had been adversely affected by the current crime wave and that they needed to move somewhere safer as soon as possible, so that their bad memories could start to fade.

All the survivors had told her how charming Mark was, how he had worked hard for the sale. How he visited them many times before the tragedy occurred. They’d regarded him as a friend.

The operation was as slick as any Jade had seen. Mark would gain the trust of the victims. During his conversations with the families, he would discover who wanted to sell and who didn’t. Whiteboy would “remove” the reluctant partner, or orchestrate a nightmare crime scenario close to home to nudge the potential sellers into a “favorable” decision. Then the sale was as easy as taking candy from a baby. Easier, Jade thought, because in her limited experience babies and candy tended to form sticky combinations.

She was also sure that if any other developers decided to go up against White & Co for a particular property, Whiteboy would find very effective methods of making them change their minds.

She frowned, gazing out of Piet’s kitchen window at the rolling hills, with the trees and fences and barn silhouetted against a tangerine sky.

There was only one problem.

She was still no closer to discovering why Annette had died.

If Mark, like Whiteboy, was a complete psychopath, she could have understood why he murdered his pregnant wife. Just. But Annette? Had she died because she was trying to prove that Ellie had been murdered? If so, how had she known about Ellie?

She hurried back to the lounge where the faxed copy of Ellie’s friends and contacts that Bill Scott had provided lay on the coffee table. Jade’s notes crawled around the edges of the photocopied text like ants around a sugar bowl. She only had one piece of paper. And there had been a lot to record.

Jade scanned the list, hoping to see Annette Botha listed as one of Ellie’s friends. Perhaps she’d tried to catch up with her after a long break and panicked when she couldn’t trace her.

Ellie’s list of contacts read like that of a spoiled teenager. Her father had done his best. She thought he must have racked his brains to help her and David. He’d remembered names of riding instructors and dressage instructors, which was presumably different from normal horse riding, although Jade couldn’t see how. She’d had riding friends and dressage friends. She’d had tennis friends and cycling friends and golf friends. Friends from school. Ellie had more friends than Jade could believe. No wonder she was smiling in the photograph that stood on her father’s polished cabinet.

She was so intent on searching for Annette that she almost missed a familiar name. She carried on past it, and then she frowned, went back, and read the name again.

“Adrian Muller. Golf Coach.”

Annette Botha hadn’t known Ellie Myers. But her brother Adrian had. Well enough for her father to have added his name to the list.

Jade raised her head. She wished that she had her timeline in front of her. She’d forgotten to add one name to it. The name of Adrian Muller, who’d died five years ago, stabbed during an ATM transaction.

Ellie had died five years ago, in February. When had Adrian died? Were their deaths connected?

Jade went into the kitchen, turned on the light. She walked over to the boxes containing Adrian’s sporting equipment. Packed and labeled by Annette before her move. She found a spoon in the sink. Using the edge of the spoon, she sliced down the center of the packaging tape of each box.

In the biggest one, she found golf clubs. More golf clubs. Golf bags. More golf bags. How many did a golfer need, she wondered. Other boxes contained golf shoes, shirts, trousers, tailored shorts. Umpteen caps. Plastic items which after a moment’s confusion she identified as tees. Gloves, all for the left hand. She couldn’t find any right-handed ones. Perhaps golfers only wore gloves on one hand. There was an entire gym bag crammed full of golf balls.

And one tennis racket.

Jade turned off the light and looked out at the early evening sky. Her eyes were automatically drawn to the dark bulk of the barn, framed by the tidy rows of wooden fencing. A brand-new horse barn, never used. Why had it been built? Adrian was a golfer. He had won trophies for his sport. He didn’t own any breeches or shiny riding boots. There was no tack in the boxes. No whips or gloves or big padded helmets. Clearly, Adrian hadn’t possessed any riding gear, or owned any horses. But Ellie had. Ellie was a horsewoman who prac-ticed the mystifying art of dressage.

Ellie was three months pregnant when she died.

Jade shot back into the lounge and grabbed her cell phone.


Reality returned to David in a gray, dizzy haze. For a moment he wished it hadn’t. His hands were fastened together behind his back. The cable ties around his wrists were digging into his flesh. His legs were tied. His head was pounding and the bump on his temple burned every time the car turned or slowed. Bile churned in his stomach. At least he wasn’t gagged. If he threw up, he wouldn’t choke to death. Although in the heavy, solid trunk of the car, his voice was of no use to him.

David thought about Graham Hope tied up on the back seat. He couldn’t hear the man, couldn’t sense any movement from the car’s interior. Hope clearly wasn’t struggling. David supposed that, at night, there was no chance that anybody would notice him through the deeply tinted windows. Even if he made faces or tried to smash the window with his head, as David would have done.

Or perhaps wouldn’t have done. Not if Whiteboy had been in the driver’s seat with a loaded gun.

And then he heard a familiar, persistent noise. His dulled brain took a while to register what it was. His cell phone, ringing in his jacket pocket. Whiteboy obviously hadn’t bothered to take it away from him. He must have thought that a sharp blow to the head, together with the cable ties, made it unnecessary.

After a short, intense and painful struggle, David realized he was right.

He slumped back down onto the carpet. Wasting his energy wouldn’t help him now.

He could feel his cheek resting on the sharp edge of some-thing small and shell-shaped. In the dark he couldn’t see what it was. But he wondered if it might be the missing fingernail, the one that had torn away from Dean Grobbelaar’s hand moments before he was tied to a tree to meet his bloody fate.


Jade phoned Piet first. His phone didn’t even ring. It went straight through to voicemail. Then, on reflex, she called David just to see if he would speak to her. No reply.

Jade called Johannesburg Central. She needed to know when Adrian Muller had died. She was sure that Piet would remember.

She knew David wouldn’t be there, so she asked for Captain Moloi. He sounded tense and abrupt. Jade supposed that was because he was talking to her. Williams must have briefed him. She’d probably been labeled as a traitor, a turncoat. A career-damaging person.

Jade didn’t care.

“I need to ask Piet Botha a question,” she said.

“He was released just now. Williams told us to let him go. No reason to keep him any longer.” Moloi seemed guarded.

“Oh.” Jade paused, confused. She had assumed that Piet would call her as soon as he was released. “Did you give him back his cell phone? Because I haven’t been able to get hold of him.”

“Yes, we did.” Moloi answered patiently. “All the usual pro-cedures were followed.”

“Do you know where he went?”

“I’ve no idea, Jade. Perhaps you could ask the sergeant at the front desk. He might have asked to use the phone there, if his battery was dead.”


A minute later, Jade was speaking to the sergeant. She informed her that yes, she remembered the man with paint on his face. He had passed by her desk after his release. She told Jade that Piet had met the person who had come to the station the other day. The man who had been using crutches. The one she had fetched a chair for.

“Piet got a lift with him?” Jade asked.

“Yes, I think so. He was standing in the doorway when Piet went out. I saw him speak to Piet. Then they walked away together.”

So Graham Hope had picked him up. She was sure the insatiably curious estate agent had been eager to get the latest news from the holding cells. What better way to do this than giving the former suspect a ride home in his car?

She tried Piet’s number again. The phone rang straight through to voicemail a second time.

Jade thumped the table in frustration. She needed her case file. For a crazy moment she wondered whether she should risk driving back to the cottage to get it. Because now she needed to contact Graham Hope urgently, in order to speak to Piet. She thought of the solidly packed queues of traffic between Johannesburg city and the northwestern suburbs. They could be another hour getting here. And there was no guarantee that Graham wouldn’t whisk Piet off for a bite of supper, to squeeze more information out of him before he took him home.

Graham Hope’s business card was in her case file in the cottage. His number wasn’t stored on her cell.

She had one remaining option, and her chances of success were fading as fast as the evening light. With a sigh, Jade picked up the phone and dialed the number for the estate agents board.

The phone rang twelve times before it was answered. The woman sounded annoyed. Jade was sure she’d been on her way out of the door. She’d probably forgotten to turn on the answering machine and had only answered the call so she could have the satisfaction of telling the caller that her com-puter was turned off so they’d have to ring back tomorrow.

“It’s me again. I called you earlier,” Jade said.

“Yes. You did. Twice. Well, I’m on my way home now. Any-thing you need to ask will have to wait until morning.”

There was no other choice. Jade would have to grovel.

“Please. I’m a private investigator in the middle of a vitally important police investigation. I’m sorry I took up so much of your time today. There is one final piece of information I need from you now. It’s incredibly urgent and if you give it to me I promise I’ll get off the phone and never bother you again.”

The woman sighed loudly. Jade felt a glow of triumph. She was going to cooperate.

While she was listening to the faint sound of the computer starting up, Jade wondered why she hadn’t ever tried to nego-tiate with David in the same way. Perhaps it would produce better results. Perhaps she should try it sometime.

Jade drew a pattern on the last blank corner of her paper, outlining a box for the number. It was a nice thought. But she knew she never would.

“What do you want?”

“The cell number of one of your estate agents. A Mr. Graham Hope.”

She heard the woman repeat the surname as she searched the database. “Hope, Mr. G. Yes. We do have one for him,” she said. Jade wrote the number down, thanked her profusely and said a hurried goodbye.

She dialed the number. He answered at the other end of the crackly cell phone line. Jade couldn’t hear what he said at all.

“Hi there, Graham. It’s Jade. Is Piet with you?”

More crackling.

“Piet Botha. Is he there with you?”

“No. This is Graham.” His voice sounded deep and grainy, distorted by the poor line.

Jade sighed. She hoped he was heading into a better cell reception area, because otherwise this was going to be a long conversation.

“Graham, I know it’s you. I need to speak to Piet. Is he with you?”

“Piet who?”

“Piet Botha. You picked him up from jail earlier today. Or at least, you saw him there.”

“From jail?” He sounded as if he was speaking underwater. She lost him again for a couple of seconds.

Jade sighed. Either Graham had amnesia, or the sergeant at the front desk of Johannesburg Central had been hallucinating.

“Is Piet not with you?”

Suddenly, magically, the line cleared. She could hear him.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She wondered for an awful moment if the lady at the estate agents board had given her the wrong number by mistake. She hoped not. Because she’d rather stick pins in her eyes than have to speak to her again tonight.

“I’m Jade,” she said. “Remember? We met the other day at Annette Botha’s place. The property you originally sold to her brother, Adrian Muller.”

“Yes,” he said, in a surprisingly harsh, grainy voice. “I remember selling Adrian that property. Out in northwestern Johannesburg. But I have no clue who Annette is. I have no idea who you are. And I’m not selling properties in Jo’burg any more. I moved down to the Natal Midlands in the middle of 1992.”

Jade felt her fingers go cold. She nearly dropped the phone. This couldn’t be happening. Not now, not when so much else had already gone wrong.

“You’re definitely Graham Hope?”

“Always have been,” he assured her.

She put the phone down and sat looking at the photo of Piet and Annette on the wall unit. Graham Hope lived in Natal; he had never met her. Or Piet. Which begged the question: who was the friendly, charming, plausible man claiming to be Graham, who had handed out business cards and won their trust? Who had kept track of the investigation and picked Piet up from the police station a short while ago?

Who she, in her innocence, had called earlier on today, to tell him she had discovered the existence of White & Co.

Jade thought she knew. They had been outwitted. Tricked, deceived and outmaneuvered by an enemy who had been two steps ahead of them the entire way. But now she had no idea what to do about it. Or where to start.

While she sat paralyzed with indecision, her cell phone rang. The noise was deafening in the silent house. There was no number identification for the call.

She pressed the button. “Yes?” she said.

“Jade.” The voice was deep, unfamiliar, confident. “You don’t know me. But I’ve got a good friend of yours here. Two friends, actually. We’d like you to come along and join the party.”

Jade walked out of the living room and into the kitchen. She stared blankly out of the window. The sun had set. The sky was completely dark.

“Whiteboy,” she said.

His mocking laugh was all the response she needed.

Random Violence