Runyon was dead. With him all hope of success had died too.
We traced his last few hours, his last few days in the end, but we found nothing.
The trail of targeted destruction was impressive though. Every mail box he might have used, every post office he might have ducked into, and every courier company he might dropped something off at as he passed: firebombed, burgled, done over. Someone, probably those who killed him, had been trying to stop the information he’d gathered being put to use.
We tried to put Runyon’s information back together again but after what had happened to him, his sources had either gone to ground or weren’t talking. If we couldn’t find his notes or a report and couldn’t reconstruct it either, then we were in the hole. Kildaire would win the election and then, frankly, it would be our backs against the wall.
And, much as we all loathed Kildaire and his people, this didn’t feel like them. Kildaire’s people were all gab men, PR hacks and flim-flam operators. This clean up and Runyon’s death itself spoke of professional violence. Either Kildaire had a backer or Kildaire had been hiring.
Then, three weeks after Runyon died the letter arrived at our office. Large, white envelope addressed in a hand none of us recognised, just as we didn’t recognise the return address on the back. When I say “we” I mean the operatives but it didn’t get to us until after the mail room had opened it. Fortunately the mail room recognised what they had almost as soon as they’d slit open the envelope and brought it straight up to us with the enclosed envelope unopened. The envelope addressed by Runyon to the Senior Agent.
There was a covering letter from some lady. Apparently a man, presumably Runyon, had knocked her library bag over at a bus stop then helped her pick the books up. When she’d gotten home she’d found Runyon’s envelope among the books, meant to post it sooner but all the local mail boxes had been vandalised.
The contents of the inner envelope checked out as unaltered and written by Runyon. The information in them checked out, verification being easier in some ways than original research. Particularly when you can track financial transactions with an operative’s murder giving probable cause for a warrant.
Segwin Industries was bankrolling Kildaire.
That explained so much.