His anger shocked out of him, Rhys-Morgan accepted the chair he was offered. Jonathon moved Butterworth to a small velvet cushion on the desk and then sat down himself, neatening up his clothes at the same time.
“I would offer you lunch,” Butterworth told Rhys-Morgan, “but I’m afraid I’ve just eaten. I could get Joanne to bring you in some tea and cake if would like, though.”
“Er, no, thank you. I’m hoping this won’t take too long.” Rhys-Morgan thought for a moment. “Some coffee would be good, though.”
At an unseen signal from his Haemophagic boss, Jonathon buzzed the secretary.
“Now, how can I help you?” asked the tiny lawyer.
Despite himself, Rhys-Morgan found Butterworth to be quite charming. Furthermore, he was rather helpful. He remembered the Jackson and Lloyd case, for a start, which was more than Mr Smeg was even bothered to try to do. It turned out that Wendy, the missing-presumed-fraternising secretary, was David Lloyd’s sister-in-law, which is how Smeg & Butterworth got the case in the first place. Furthermore, young Anthony Smeg assisted on this case – his first official work at his father’s company – and it was through it that he first got close to Wendy.
“Of course, I don’t really believe the rumours about those two having an affair,” Butterworth told him. “Wendy’s more like a mother to him, in my opinion.” He sighed. “But then again, I am just a haemophilic annelid. What do I know about humans and your strange ways?”
“Enough to fleece lots of money out of us!” thought Rhys-Morgan. But, back to the matter at hand. “Have your clients received any threats about this case, that you know about?” he asked.
“I don’t think so, detective. Jonathon, have a look in the file to see if we have anything recent on the Jackson and Lloyd case.”
Jonathon rose and opened one of the filing cabinets. After a moment or two he withdrew a beige document wallet a flicked through the contents.
“Of course,” he said, “Anthony has all the details of that case. We just have the summaries here. All the recent stuff, though, seems to be about collecting evidence for the civil action against Garth Jones.”
“Oh yes,” said Butterworth. “I had forgotten about that. Not much chance of winning that one, I’m afraid. Don’t think it will even get to court, to be honest. Mr Jones certainly doesn’t seem worried – he’s been surprising cooperative for a man being sued.”
Rhys-Morgan jotted all that down. “There haven’t been any actual threats to do with the case, then?”
Butterworth shrugged, which was quite impressive given his lack of shoulders. “There was a bit of trouble at the time, as I recall. The case featured some, you know, unpleasantness to animals. I believe there were a couple of threats from some kind of animal rights group - the ALF, I think it was - but they rescinded once they learnt of my, er, non-human status. Then of course, we won the case.”
“There’s nothing on record of any threats since.” Jonathon reported, replacing a folder and closing the filing cabinet.
“You could ask them,” suggested Butterworth. “Mr Jackson and Mt Lloyd were also most cooperative with the police before.”
Rhys-Morgan snapped his notebook shut. Butterworth could probably be trusted but he did not want to risk it.
“No, sadly that’s not possible. Mr Jackson and Mr Lloyd are unavailable.”
“It’s a shame Wendy’s off today or you could have asked her,” said Butterworth. “She would probably know if Frank Jackson had received threats. I can give you her address, if that would be helpful?”
Rhys-Morgan stood up. “Yes. Thank you. That would be very helpful.”