The African Rose

By Isabel Carter All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Mystery


It was mid afternoon and Macgregor had given Fowler the task of setting up and interviewing the guests. This was to take place within the main guest lounge, an extravagantly ornate area mid ship, most guests would have to travel through this area to get to their private suites or to the elegant dining rooms. The area had several comfortable lounge chairs, well presented coffee tables displaying multinational newspapers and the latest magazines from several countries along with beautiful designer and artistic books. Art works graced the walls and the magnificent glass panelling gave an incredible view of the Bay, which looked stunning on this sunny afternoon. The captain had advised the guests that they were to be interviewed and that the process would take some time, an attractive young female duty officer had compiled a list for the detective sergeant, she smiled at him as she placed it on his desk. Fowler smiled and thanking her began the arduous task of reading through the information. The ship had 165 residences which included 106 apartments, 19 studio apartments and 40 studios, and could take up to 200 residents and guests. The passenger manifest listed 94 guests currently on board, so a lot less than usual for this particular cruise.

The staff list had 272 names having three crew members disembark at the last port in Tasmania, one from a broken leg and two due to illness, a ships nurse who had found a lump in her breast and a young deck hand that had been diagnosed with glandular fever, they had flown back to their respective countries. Their names and personal information had been given in a separate folder. Fowler quickly scanned through the documents before embarking on the task of calling the first guests.

The guests had been given the list with times of preference for interviewing. The first guests to respond on the top of the list were an American couple Mr and Mrs Goldberg from Manhattan in New York, believed to be the richest Jewish couple in New York, worth over 22 billion having made their wealth from newspapers and publishing houses. Ari and Raya Goldberg as children were brought over from Israel with their parents, with lots of other migrant families who settled in Brooklyn in the early 1930′s. They were permanent guests on board the luxury ship and were only to keen to impart any information they had as after all they lived on the ship, Ari and Raya Goldberg ‘Knew everything about everyone’.

Raya Goldberg sat like bird like, her small head twitching under red dyed sparse hair. Small raisin like eyes peered through square gold framed glasses. Her frail bony thin wrists hanging limply under the weight of several heavy gold bracelets while bony hands with gnarled knuckles perched on the edge of the desk. Her brightly coloured kaftan belying the slight form beneath it.

Ari Goldberg’s short but lean stature, with a full head of grey hair and beaming smile showed a pleasant disposition, he sat upright in the chair, back as straight as a poker, his red polo shirt collar turned up around his neck. He was casually dressed in white shorts and long white socks up to his knees above his loafers.

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