The Emerald CrossChapter 6

Emily met Charles Rundell for breakfast at the hotel where he was staying. After the early flight from Dublin she was badly in need of some strong coffee. A huge pot was provided by the friendly waitress. After two cups of this and a plate piled with eggs and toast, Emily felt ready to face the day's activity. First stop was the jeweller's shop where Rundell had seen the emerald cross.

It was not far from the hotel and they walked there together. Rundell was an elderly man and Emily had to slow her normal brisk walking pace. Like Rundell's in London, it was not a large shop, but the prices made Emily gasp. She certainly couldn't afford anything from there on the salary the Garda paid her. She surveyed the stock of beautiful adornments laid out on velvet cushions in glass cases, but could not see the cross Rundell had described.

Rundell spoke to the jeweller. "Last time I was here, I saw a large platinum cross on display, set with some extremely large emeralds. Could you tell me if it has been sold?"

"Sir, I wish you had bought it when you first saw it! What a shame to disappoint this lovely lady." The man obviously was making the assumption that Rundell wanted to buy the cross for Emily. "I'm afraid it's gone now, Sir! It was stolen from my shop a few days ago."

"How did it happen? Did someone break into the shop?" Emily asked.

"No, a man came in, pretending to be a customer. A tall, well-dressed man, I think he was British. He wanted to buy some diamond earrings for his wife, at least that's what he said. I opened that glass case where the cross was displayed to show him some earrings. He asked me to gift wrap them for him and as soon as I took my eyes off the glass case, he said he'd changed his mind and went out. I unwrapped the earrings and went to put them back in the glass case. That's when I noticed the emerald cross had disappeared!"

"I'm with the Garda, the Irish police force. We think those emeralds may have been stolen from Ireland. I've come all the way from Dublin trying to trace them. Could you tell me who sold them to you?"

"A couple came in and sold me the cross, also a diamond necklace and bracelet. I'm sure they weren't thieves; they seemed like nice people, quite well off, but perhaps needing to raise a large sum of money in a hurry. I'm not sure if they were married or not; I got the impression the jewels were her property."

"Would you recognise them if you saw them again?"

"Yes, I'm sure I would. The woman was very striking; I'd certainly remember her."

Emily took from her bag a copy of the photograph of the woman wearing the cross at the fundraising party. "Is this her, do you think?"

"Yes, that's her. She's not someone you could easily forget, is she? And that's the man who was with her, the one on her left in the photo."

The jeweller had just identified Belle Mahoney and Dr Robinson.

"Belle, I wish you wouldn't spend so much time with Paul Robinson." Jason was not wearing his usual charming smile.

"Jason, please don't make trouble! You know there's nothing more between Paul and me than shared political interests. He's someone who believes in the same things I do and works with me. I do sometimes need to go somewhere with him and I admit I enjoy his company. He's a very intelligent man with an enviable reputation. But you can't imagine that I care for him!"

"If you don't care about him, don't go to parties with him!"

"I don't want to risk upsetting him. I need him too much; he's the brains behind our movement. Can't you just put up with it, Jason, now you know its just a friendship and not a romance?"

"He doesn't think it's not a romance! I went to his office to have a word with him, and the cocky bastard laughed at me in his sarcastic way. He seems to think you'll soon be chucking me to spend more time with him."

"I can promise you that will never happen! It's simply not true. It's not my fault if that's what he thinks."

"I want you to stop seeing him, Belle."

"I can't do that. Our group needs him, you know that. I hope you won't bring this up again, Jason. And please be polite to him when you see him on Saturday."

"Oh God, I'd forgotten about the party! I suppose he has to be here?"

"Yes, of course he does. I've invited him; I can't put him off now!"

"And he'll be walking around telling everybody he's your boyfriend?"

"I'm sure he won't!"

"Would you like it if I brought a girl to your party? One who was just a friend?"

"Do as you please! I can't stop you."

"You see! You wouldn't like it at all." Perhaps he would ask a girl to go to the party with him, Jason thought. Then it would be her turn to be jealous. She would realise she wasn't the only woman in the world.

When Liam was first given the job of finding out as much as he could about the original theft of the jewels in 1907, his first reaction was resentment. He would have much preferred a free trip to Antwerp or tracking down suspected members of the Secret IRB to researching in libraries and old archived files. When he found out that the crime had been investigated not only, as he had originally assumed, by the Dublin Metropolitan Police, but also by Scotland Yard, he started to take more of an interest in his work. Soon he had made himself an expert on all the known facts about the theft and was in a position to report back to Emily and Daniel at their next briefing.

After Emily had narrated how the jewels had been stolen for the second time in Antwerp, and Danny had related all he had found out about the various visitors to Dr Robinson's office as seen on CCTV, it was Liam's turn.

"There are some very odd circumstances surrounding the theft of the jewels in 1907," he began. "They were taken from a safe in the Office of Arms at Dublin Castle, which at the time was heavily guarded by soldiers and by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. The safe lock was examined by locksmiths who gave their opinion that the lock had not been forced; it had been opened with a key. It seems that the thief had no trouble getting in and finding what he had come for. Everything points to the theft being the work of someone with inside knowledge of the Office of Arms.

The chief suspect at the time was a man named Francis Shackleton, known as Frank, who had the position of Dublin Herald. He was half Irish and the brother of the famous Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. He was known to have money troubles in the months before the theft, then suddenly at the time the jewels were stolen his financial situation recovered. While it was never proved that he had anything to do with the crime, it is known that soon after the theft he left Ireland for a short stay in Italy. I suspect the purpose of this trip was to dispose of the jewels somewhere where they would not be recognised, which of course would not be possible in Dublin or London. We know his exact address in Italy from a letter he wrote to his brother Ernest, who at the time was in New Zealand preparing a ship for his expedition to the South Pole. Frank wrote to wish him luck on his voyage, but the letter was delayed and arrived too late. It was sent back to the Shackleton family in London and is now in a museum. Frank was staying with an English family, the Mainwarings, in the town of San Remo. I checked with the San Remo police and a descendant of this family still lives in the same house. It's just possible that there may be some record of what Shackleton did and who he saw while he was there."

"Was Shackleton involved with Nationalists? Or do you think he stole the jewels purely for selfish gain?" Danny asked.

"There's no evidence that he was involved in politics at all and given his background he's more likely to have supported the Unionists. I expect he was just in it for the money. The case was taken up by Scotland Yard but unfortunately the Inspector's report to the Yard has been lost. It's known that he carefully investigated Shackleton, but we may never find out if the decision not to arrest him was because the Inspector believed him to be innocent or could not find enough evidence to convict him."

"No money before the theft of the jewels, plenty of cash after looks like Shackleton could be our man," Emily commented, "I never feel a need to look for political motives when there's the good old-fashioned one of money. Liam, I want you to take a good look at this Shackleton character. Find out whatever you can about his movements in Dublin and in Italy. I'm sure the San Remo police will be happy to help. Remember the Garda caught that Italian bank robber a few months ago and sent him home? This is their chance to show their gratitude. Danny, of course you'll be checking the CCTV tapes of who calls on Dr Robinson. See if you can follow him without him spotting you; I'd like to know where he goes and who he sees. I'll see what I can find out about Jason Doyle if he turns up at Kendo practice tonight."

However busy she might be at work, Emily tried never to miss a Kendo practice. She found that if she missed a practice she just had to work twice as hard the next time, and her muscles ached twice as much. The sessions were twice a week, presided over by the Sensei who was notoriously impatient with excuses. In his opinion, if you missed a session you had to have a very good reason.

"Jason, we missed you last time. What was more important than Kendo?" The Sensei questioned Jason as soon as he walked into the dojo.

Emily continued with her warming-up exercises as she listened to Jason's answer. "Sorry, Sensei. I had to go abroad on business. I was in Antwerp for a few days. I'm afraid it was unavoidable."

Antwerp! When she heard that, Emily's attention was caught at once. Since she had seen Jason on the CCTV tape from the camera outside Dr Robinson's office, she had suspected he might have a connection with the case. It was just possible that he had some innocent reason for seeing Dr Robinson, but it was too unbelievable that his visit to Antwerp could be for a reason that was not linked to her investigation. She remembered the jeweller's story of the theft of the emerald cross and the description he had given of the man who had stolen it. Could that possibly be Jason? Was the attractive, successful man she had met at the Museum opening party really a jewel thief? She would not jump to hasty conclusions. She determined to talk to him after practice was finished and find out as much as she could about his visit to Antwerp.

She hurried to shower and dress at the end of practice and caught him as he came out of the men's changing room.

"Jason! Some of us always go to a pub for one or two drinks after practice. Would you like to join us?"

"That's a good idea! I could use a cold beer after that. Just one, though, I'm driving."

Emily found that the pub was not the best place for a private conversation with Jason. They sat with a large group of people from the dojo and as usual the talk was all about Kendo. A competition was coming up which some of their club members had entered and an Eighth Dan Sensei was visiting from Japan. Before she had a chance to ask about Antwerp, Jason said he had to be going. He asked Emily if she would like a lift home.

"No, I'll stay and have another drink, but thanks very much," she said. She knew if she left with Jason after only one drink, instead of her usual two or three, it would be a subject for gossip among all the members of Dublin Kendo Club.

"Emily, one of my friends is having a party on Saturday. Would you like to come? I know she would love to meet you."

"Yes, I would love to. I haven't got anything planned. Thanks, Jason." What a chance to find out more about Jason and the people he knew! It was lucky she hadn't told him she worked for the Garda.

Garda Headquarters, Dublin 2007