Saturday, February 14, 2009

From the Green Man's Private Files: Five

By the time that Stannard had finished going through the 'guaranteed rates of return' on his investments, Ms. Madison appeared to be hooked. Any person in any sort of financial difficulties would have jumped at the opportunity he seemed to be holding out to her, with thirty, forty, even fifty per cent profits guaranteed, the blance sheets of other clients being used to show just how wonderful his businesses were, and how small fortunes could be made from relatively small investments. Not that Ms. Madison was as impressed as she seemed. She knew that Corona was little more than a glorified pyramid scheme, the money paid in going out almost immediately, most of it to pay these inflated returns, the rest to fund Stannard's lifestyle and his other enterprises.

She also knew that Stannard was unlikely to check her credentials too closely. The recent slump in property prices mean that his property empire, mortgaged to the hilt, was in serious trouble. The whole edifice was tottering and Stannard, like most criminals, had not prepared for the lean years that must invariably follow the fat. And a large inheritance belonging to an air-head heiress was bait that he couldn't possibly resist.

As the interview ended, Stannard rose, still smiling.

"Well," he nodded, "of course, I don't expect you to make an immediate decision, of course, but I do hope you'll consider investing in our operations. I like to flatter myself that this is still the best investment, even in these difficult times."

Playing hard to get, Ms. Madison noted. She gave him a smile of approval.

"I'll certainly give it serious thought, Mr. Stannard." She shook his hand. There was no point in her pressing things now. That would almost certainly arouse his suspicions, especially if he knew Sparrowhawk was creeping round.

She left the office, escorted by Vance, who handed her back her attache case, still smiling. After thanking him, Ms. Madison hailed a cab.

"St. Morton's Church," the blonde hopped inside.

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