Mystery and Crime Fiction posted July 9, 2024 Chapters:  ...15 16 -17- 18... 

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Ruth gives Stacey an update

A chapter in the book The Fix

The Fix - Chapter Seventeen

by Jacob1395

Stacey knows her son Joshua is innocent of killing a young woman, and when a jury finds him guilty, she's certain the police have made him a scapegoat.

For a summary of what's happened in previous posts, please see author notes




1st September 2023


I tap my foot against the sticky floor of the café. Cinnamon wafts into my nose. Sitting across from me a woman’s talking far too loudly about the latest episode of EastEnders she’s watched. I grit my teeth. At least it isn’t too busy. It’s close to where Lucie lives; we’re just waiting for Ruth. I would’ve preferred to have met at Lucie’s, but she said her husband was at home, and there was no way we could meet at mine, not with Rachel there. She opted to work from home today, today of all days.


‘She should’ve been here by now,’ Lucie says, checking the time on her phone. ‘Her coffee is going to go cold at this rate. Ah, here she is.’


I look over my shoulder. Ruth bustles into the shop, hurrying over to us, removing her jacket. She flings it on the back of her chair.


‘Sorry, sorry, got held up by traffic lights, they’re a bloody murder, honestly.’ She takes a sip of her coffee as she sits down. ‘So, I managed to speak to a couple of people who worked with Susannah. OK, so there were a few who wouldn’t talk to me, they said what I was doing was disgusting and that the case should now be left alone, but there were a couple of people, who I thought were keen to get their names in the paper, who did.’


‘Did they know Susannah personally?’ I ask, sitting forward in my seat, glancing over at the woman I heard chatting about EastEnders, to make sure she isn’t listening in.


Ruth nods. ‘Yeah, a little bit; Susannah had only been working at the school for eight months or so, hadn’t she? I got the sense the staff there sort of knew her mainly from the staff room; I didn’t get the impression they hung out with her outside of work. I asked what kind of mood Susannah was in on that day, the day she was murdered.’ She clasps her hands around her cup of coffee. ‘One woman who I spoke to, Claire, she said her name was, she was very eager to chat to me, God she could talk for England; she seemed to think Susannah was in a very good mood the day she last saw her, so much so, that Susannah was humming to herself as she was getting ready to go home.’


I stare at Ruth, the corner of my mouth twitches. I try to think back. Was there anything reported about this in the press at the time Joshua was arrested? Nothing springs to mind. ‘Well, she was going to meet my son, they were going out,’ I say. ‘That’s probably why she was excited.’


‘Yes, I know,’ Ruth says. I'm surprised at the slight hint of a sigh to her voice. ‘But Claire said Susannah was in more of a good mood than usual; she said it was like she’d just had some good news delivered, or something like that. That’s what she thought at the time.’


‘OK,’ I say. My heart thumps as my brain tries to process this information. I’m not quite sure what to make of it. ‘Did Claire tell the police this at the time?’


‘She says she did, but she doesn’t think the police were particularly interested in what she had to say. There wasn’t much more she could tell them, she said she asked Susannah why she was in such a good mood, but Susannah didn’t elaborate any further,’ Ruth replies.


‘But do you think there’s anyone else who Susannah could’ve discussed this with?’ I ask, trying to keep my voice calm. I can’t allow myself to get too excited about this; this could all come down to nothing. ‘If she was in a good mood about something, then perhaps she would’ve spoken to one of her friends, or a family member about it?’


Ruth shrugs. ‘It’s possible. I also asked if they knew what local bars and restaurants Susannah frequented. Lucie, you might be able to tell us how much the police looked into this part of Susannah's life, as you had access to the police reports during the trial.’


Lucie coughs. ‘Well, I know, from what I saw, they mainly concentrated on the school. They spoke to the last people who saw Susannah alive a lot, which is what you would expect in any major investigation.’


I glance back to Ruth. ‘We need to find out what it was Susannah was on about that day. She left work far too early. She must’ve been going to meet someone else and then planned to go back to the school to meet Joshua. That’s why her phone must be missing. The person who was in contact with her didn’t want the police tracing anything back to them. If that person was my son, then why wouldn’t he have got rid of his phone as well?’


‘Unless, of course, your son was using a burner phone,’ Ruth says. I look up at her sharply. ‘Sorry, it’s just something I have to make you aware of, I’m sure it’s what the police would’ve considered.’ A wave of nausea pulses through me at the thought. ‘But, at the moment, I’m going to suggest that this is the area we focus on, I know it’s not much to go on right now, but it’s a start.’


I pick up my drink and take a sip. I think back to the conversations I had with Susannah before she died. I want to be able to go back to that time and find out what was going on in her life. Surely she must've spoken to Joshua about this. 


How much did the police investigate?     


‘We’ve got to assume that the police didn’t pursue this then,’ Lucie says, I flick my gaze towards her then back to Ruth.


‘Yes, that is a possibility. I’ll keep you both updated on my next steps. If there’s anything you can think of, or remember about Susannah, Stacey, I want you to let me know.’


I nod. ‘Of course.’ There’s no way DI Dominic Hitchens would’ve said that to me. ‘I can’t thank you enough for doing this for me.’


‘You can thank me when we get a good result,’ Ruth says, and I feel certain, that she too thinks there’s more here to be uncovered.






Stacey (mother of Joshua) 


Lucie (foreman of the jury)


Joshua (Stacey's son)


Susannah (murder victim) 


Rachel (Stacey's daughter)


Daniel (Stacey's ex-husband) 


Ruth (journalist) 

Post Number 100
A Milestone Post

Stacey attended the last day of her son's trial and was devastated when he was found guilty of the murder of his girlfriend, Susannah, when she believes he is innocent. She is certain one of the jury members, the foreman, knows this too. Stacey is now desperate to prove her son's innocence. On her way out of the courtroom, Stacey spots the foreman and decides to follow her, following her to her home in Romford. Before Stacey has the chance to speak to her she collapses outside her front door. Stacey has a brief conversation with the foreman, Lucie, but before they can have a proper chat, an ambulance arrives and she's taken to hospital. In a flashback scene to a year before the trial, Stacey discovers her son, Joshua, is seeing someone after her daughter, Rachel shows her a post on Instagram. Her ex husband, Daniel has now urged Stacey to move on with her life and to forget about what's happened. Lucie tells her she will try to help her prove her son's innocence. In a flashback scene from over a year ago, Joshua tells her that he has started dating a girl called Susannah.
Lucie's now agreed to contact a friend who might be able to help them. Stacey has now met with Lucie and her friend, Ruth, who agrees to help them look into the case; Ruth suggests to Stacey that she visit her son in prison; Rachel agrees to organise the visit. When they visit Joshua, Stacey is shocked to see he has a black eye and fears he's become a target inside prison. He also tells Stacey the court was right to convict him, but she feels there's something he's keeping secret from her and this pushes her to continue to fight for him. A flashback scene to a year ago has shown Susannah questioning Stacey about her relationship with her ex-husband.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. Jacob1395 All rights reserved.
Jacob1395 has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.