Jinnie had gone back to bed after her second chat with Ro but woke for a second time just after 7am and lay for a few minutes listening to the twins chatting to Izzy in Italian. They were having their breakfast and discussing what they were going to do for the day. Izzy was telling them that they had to go food shopping that morning and Uncle Dan was leaving them the people carrier. He was going to town with Daddy in his car. It was agreed that when they got back, they would go to the beach and yes, they could have pepperoni pizza from the beach cafe for lunch. Jinnie lay for a moment smiling to herself and wondering how Miss Evans was going to cope when they started school in September.
The twins were still at the kitchen table when Jinnie arrived for breakfast. They were busy colouring and Jinnie kissed them both and said good morning to them but in English. They switched automatically to English and told her they were going shopping with Izzy, then to the beach and Izzy said they could have pizza for lunch. While Jinnie ate a ham omelette that Izzy seemed to produce from nowhere, the twins chatted on telling her they were going to dig a big wall in the sand to stop the sea, go swimming and collect shells.
Jinnie, Penny, Paolo and Dan said goodbye to the twins and Izzy and set off for the embassy in their various cars. Lenny was already in room B2 and had been checking emails and messages and most importantly had got the coffee machine on and a freshly brewed jug of coffee was waiting for them. He showed them the preliminary forensics results from the ship. They had agreed that there had been six explosive devices of which five had detonated. One that had landed in the swimming pool had not exploded and had been recovered. It had contained about five ounces of explosive. Analysis of the explosive showed it was of German manufacture.
Penny said, “I might have guessed that, so now we are looking for German agents.” “Yes,” said Jinnie, “I suspected that was going to come out eventually, but I didn’t expect it to emerge so soon. Has this news been released to the media?” Lenny smiled and replied, “No, the BPS is playing this close to its chest and just telling the media the investigation is progressing.” He then added, “It’s not in the report, but a contact at police HQ tells me they have lifted fingerprints from the recovered bomb, but they are not in their records. They probably belong to the bomb maker and personally I doubt they are on record anywhere. Bomb makers tend not to bother about keeping their prints off components as they tend to be lost when the bomb explodes.”
“Are they sharing the prints more widely?” Jinnie asked. “Yes.” said Lenny, “I understand they are going to all the local islands and the friendly nations. We have already received an electronic copy and it has gone to London, but I doubt it is on record.” “Do you know if the Italian embassy got a copy?” asked Paolo. “In Rome we have some old records from when we were occupied, we have some BND records and even some Abwehr and SD ones, but I think those are pretty useless as they are probably all dead.” “I’m sure you will have had them,” said Lenny. “I’ll phone the embassy anyway,” replied Paolo. With that the impromptu meeting broke up and everyone found a PC and tried to keep busy until more information became available.
Jinnie checked her phone and found several text messages. Ro was confirming that Brian and Belinda had now got a confirmed hotel booking and they would be on the Virgin flight the next morning. Jinnie had to think for a minute to work out that it was the afternoon in England so they would be landing about 2 pm local time the next day. Jinnie decided that if things were as slow tomorrow as they were today, she would skip off and meet Brian and Belinda at the airport. The next message was from Alberto, he and Brooke were also on a Virgin flight but the day after Belinda and Brian. He reported he had booked a hire car, and it was being delivered to their hotel who offered a minibus pick up at the airport. He promised to ring her as soon as they were safely in the hotel. Jinnie thought that this was Alberto all over, do it cheaply.
Suddenly Dan said, “Now that’s interesting. The Barbados Police say they have a new lead the forensics people are saying they have lifted a DNA sample from the inside of those surgical gloves you found, they also think that have a useable set of fingerprints on the gloves. It looks like someone used their bare right hand to remove their left-hand glove. I hope none of you touched the gloves.” Paolo and Lenny chorused, “No.” Penny asked, “I suppose they haven’t got a match to either the DNA or the fingerprints or they would be crowing.” “You’re right,” said Dan, “We are all being sent copies.”
Jinnie suggested to Paolo they try the food from Auntie JoJo’s for lunch and Lenny said, “I hear it has the best fried chicken on the island. Why don’t you get takeaway food for the team, and we can find out? Just get a selection of what looks good and we can try it all.” Paolo and Jinnie joined the queue outside Auntie JoJo’s and discussed what they should get. The man behind them overheard them and said, “Man, you must get the fried chicken it’s the best.” Someone else said, “No, the jerk chicken is what it is about.” Soon the queue around them was suggesting their favourites, pulled pork, shrimp kebabs and chicken wraps all got a recommendation but fried chicken and jerk chicken were definitely the favourites and they just had to try “the Caribbean curry sauce” with the fried chicken.
So that was what they arrived back at room B2 with, fried chicken, jerk chicken, pulled pork, shrimp kebabs, chicken wraps and two pots of curry sauce. Jinnie was itching to try the food as on the short walk back to the embassy the smell of the food had been tantalising. Paolo had not been happy when the embassy guard had insisted on putting the food through the X-ray machine, but it had been quick and the local guard had said, “I’d recognise Auntie JoJo’s food anywhere. Just you enjoy.”
The food tasted just as good as it smelled and after everyone had tried a little of each dish, they all agreed the fried chicken was the best. Jinnie whispered to Paolo “What do you think, could we sell this food in Britain?” “I would travel a long way to get fried chicken this good,” he replied licking his fingers. Penny said, “Gosh, I can see what attracted you to this place, this food is as good as the posh restaurant in its own street-food way.”
The day progressed with no more news so the group packed up early. Jinnie wanted to join the twins on the beach for a little while and Paolo wanted to pop into the Italian consulate so he could check on the injured cruise ship’s crew and passengers. But he promised to be home for dinner, so on her way to the beach Jinnie stopped by the beach cafe/restaurant and booked the whole party in for a meal that evening. Anderson promised that he would have homemade fish fingers on the menu for the twins and asked if anyone would be ordering lobster as he liked to buy it in fresh. Jinnie said not to bother as there were many varieties of fish on the menu that were not generally available in Britain, she said she personally wanted to try red snapper and Anderson told her it would definitely be available that evening. Anderson said he was nearly fully booked for the evening but as Jinnie wanted to eat at six, because of the twins, he would put two tables together on the terrace overlooking the beach. The tables wouldn’t be needed again until eight thirty by which time the twins would be in bed.
Jinnie found Izzy and the twins on their normal stretch of beach, Izzy was sitting under an umbrella, reading a Jack Reacher paperback and keeping an eye on the twins who were playing in the water’s edge with two local girls splashing in the wavelets as they trickled over the white sand. Jinnie joined Izzy under the umbrella and watched the children enjoying themselves. She was amazed how tanned they had become in just over the week they had been there but wasn’t surprised when Izzy called them back for another application of waterproof factor 30. Izzy explained that now they were so brown she had dropped back from using the factor 50.
Jinnie told them they were going to the beach cafe for dinner that evening, and Millie said, “But Izzy has got pasta for tonight!” Jinnie chuckled and said, “I am sure it will keep until tomorrow,” and when Izzy nodded ‘yes’, she continued saying, “Anderson says he will have special fish fingers for you tonight.” “Oh good,” said Willie, “will it be with chips and peas?” Jinnie replied, “I expect there will be chips, but I don’t know if they have peas in Barbados perhaps it will be beans instead.”
The party wandered down the path to the restaurant for their dinner and the twins could hardly believe how different it was in the evening with the tables all laid with glasses and flatware sparkling in the candlelight. Anderson showed them to their table and a waiter poured glasses of ice water while another brought over the menus. The twins’ choice was easy, the special fish fingers, chips and what the waiter called green peas. Jinnie chose the red snapper and salad, as did Izzy. Paolo went for pan-seared mahi mahi with chips and salad. Penny had a yellowfin tuna steak and Dan had a swordfish steak.
For starters, the adults ordered a large sharing platter of Bajan fish cakes and shrimp skewers which allowed them to let the twins try something different. Jinnie was not in the least surprised when the twins both declared the starter to be to their liking. When the main arrived, Anderson whispered to Jinnie that the fish fingers were made from flying fish which is a Bajan delicacy. The twins were more than happy with their dinner and had no idea that the fish fingers were not the normal cod from Birdseye. The adults all enjoyed their meals and Jinnie thought that if they could provide meals of that quality from a dark kitchen, things were looking good.
It was 7:45 when the family left the restaurant, and the twins were out on their feet, so Paolo hoisted Willie onto his shoulders and Dan did the same with Millie to carry them back to the villa, where Izzy and Jinnie decided to skip bath time and after a quick wash popped them in their beds and they were asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows. Jinnie and Izzy joined the other three adults on the villa’s terrace, accepted a tall G&T with loads of ice and a slice of lime, and sat watching the moonlight sparkling on the waves.
The team gathered again in room B2 the following morning, where Lenny had again already got the coffee brewed. The news was that there was no news. The BPS were reporting that no one had yet found a match in their criminal records for either the fingerprints or DNA. The team settled down to another long day of doing virtually nothing. Jinnie told them that if nothing had happened by one pm, she was going to drive over to the airport and meet Brian and Belinda. If they were not too tired from the flight she suggested that she and Paolo should take them to the Continental for dinner, so they could see the restaurant at work. Penny said she had better ring Izzy and warn her that they wouldn’t be having her pizza for a second evening.
Jinnie was waiting for Brian and Belinda as they walked out of the customs hall. Brian said, “I didn’t expect to see you here, I thought you were busy.” “Things are a little slow at the moment, so I bunked off to greet you. I’ll walk to the car hire compound with you and we can chat on the way. Then I suggest I meet you in your hotel bar and we can talk about the job in hand. As they walked to the car hire office, they chatted about the flight and Belinda said how comfortable Upper Class had been. She had slept on the lay-flat seat and felt quite awake, not as if she had just stepped off a nine-hour flight.
Jinnie was enjoying an ice-cold Pepsi Max in the hotel bar when Brian and Belinda joined her. The waiter arrived immediately and took their order for a large pot of tea for two. Brian said they had decided that was just what they wanted in the lift on the way down from their room. Jinnie told them in detail about her plans to expand the Trattoria Trevi and DKL businesses to the Caribbean and told them she had booked a table at the Continental restaurant for that evening so they could see it for themselves.
The receptionist at the Continental restaurant recognised Jinnie as soon as she and Paolo came through the door and greeted her as Dame Jinnie. Paolo explained that they were being joined by friends and the reception said they were not here yet, but their table was ready if they wanted to wait there or they could wait in the bar. Jinnie chose the table option and they were led to an excellent table with a good view of the room. The waiters fussed around them with the wine list and while fetching a Pepsi Max and half of lager, Jinnie whispered to Paolo, “Someone has recognised our name in the bookings and all the stops are being pulled out.” As their drinks arrived Brian and Belinda were shown to the table.
Settled with drinks and the menus, Brian and Belinda took the opportunity to look around the restaurant and take in their surroundings. Belinda said, “First impressions are good, we were greeted politely, the receptionist recorded that we were here, and we were shown to your table promptly and politely. The service so far has been good, but I get the impression they are trying a little too hard as they know who you are. I intend to watch the service a nearby table gets. Now from a refurbishment point of view the white table linen and cutlery are fine, as are the tables and chairs, replacing them is not necessary unless you want a whole new design scheme. However, I can’t say the same for the banquette over there, from here it looks shabby, but that could just be the lighting. It is very poor. It should be bright and clear, but this is just not good enough for a top-class restaurant. The carpet is a disgrace and needed ditching ages ago, the whole place needs repainting and the air conditioning clearly needs looking at.”
“None of that is very costly, but it is a clear sign the current owner isn’t keen on spending money on the fabric of the building. I bet Alberto will find fault with the kitchen when he gets to see it, if the owner won’t invest front of house, he sure isn’t going to back of house. Now let’s see if the food’s as good as you say.” Jinnie said, “I agree with everything you have just said, but would add, personally I hate the reception desk and bar area, it is dingy and uninviting. Oh, and I would replace all the curtains they don’t go with the rest of the decor.”
The meal was excellent, and the service couldn’t be faulted until it came to the coffee. Jinnie said to the table, “How’s your coffee, mine is awful, it tastes stewed.” Brian agreed saying, “It really isn’t very nice,” and called over a waiter. He told him the coffee was undrinkable and would it be possible to have it replaced with a fresh brew. The waiter replied, “Immediately, Sir,” and scuttled off into the kitchen. The maître d’ hastened over and apologised saying that a fresh pot was being prepared but he was sorry the owner had just changed the coffee supplier for a cheaper roast. Jinnie thought, ‘When we take over that’s going to change and quickly.’ The fresh coffee was an improvement but still not good and Jinnie remarked, “Even the coffee at the local beach cafe is better than this.”
On their way out Jinnie said to the receptionist, “This is Mr Quarendon my finance director, please inform Mr Braithwaite he will be back at 9:30 tomorrow morning to look at the books. Oh, I nearly forgot Mrs Quarendon is our refurbishment contractor and she will be with him to have a good look at the restaurant in daylight. She will be measuring up to estimate refurbishment costs, you better let Mr Braithwaite know that as well.”
As they strolled back to Belinda and Brian’s hotel, they passed the queue outside Auntie JoJo’s and Belinda asked, “Is this the chicken shack you were taking about? I expected a hovel, but this is bright, clean and quite modern.” Pretending to look at the menu, while actually looking through the window, Belinda added, “Well this owner has been reinvesting profits and does it show. It is so clean and well-kept you could almost eat off the floor. Gosh this place looks good to go as it is, and doesn’t the blue and yellow colour scheme reflect the Barbados flag? Now that layout and colour scheme would be an easy task to replicate in other branches. When did you say Brooke was arriving, I think she will be delighted with what she sees. Like me I bet she is expected a dump, but this is a pleasant surprise.”
In Chapter 6 – A positive identification
© WorthingGooner 2023