In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.
On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.
As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.
This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.
But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…
A bump in the Knight is now being published here as a serial; one part each Sunday.
A Bump in the Knight. Chapter ten, part one
So far, I hadn’t involved the legal profession in any of this. Perhaps now was the time to start. I called Joe Green.
“Joe,” I said, “I’m sure you remember the DNA profiling incident some years ago?”
“Only too well,” he said, “I thought at the time that you were throwing a lot of money his way on very tenuous evidence, but it was the most prudent way forward at the time.”
“Well, the little worm is mounting a coup against me now. He has convinced the rest of my Board that I’m alcoholic and not fit to serve—”
“And are you?”
“Of course not!”
“Sorry, but I had to ask.”
“No, that’s fine. The thing is, he has them so convinced that they won’t accept medical evidence from any of my doctors and, with two exceptions, they don’t want to meet me to see for themselves.”
“Best advice? Collect your own evidence – medical and character witnesses – and sue the little blighter.”
“There is another suggestion. As you know, one of my directors is a time-served forensic accountant.”
“Yes, Max Matham. Used her services ourselves a while back. Damned good she is, too.”
“Yes her. She is going to go through Parker’s accounts and find any impropriety.”
“She won’t find much in what’s publicly available.”
“She may have help.”
“Don’t tell me any more about that, Hannice. What will she do if she finds something?”
“Threaten to expose him unless he retracts and issues a public apology. Then we’ll throw him off the Board and maybe out of the company.”
“And if they find nothing?”
“Here’s one other string to our bow. The DNA analysis was somewhat vague.”
“Non-committal, I’d call it.”
“Quite. DNA stuff has moved on since then, I imagine.”
“Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?”
“That depends on what you think I’m thinking, Joe.”
“You’d like me to arrange for the samples to be re-analysed?”
“Yes. How does that work?”
“”Provided the original work produced the full sequence, which I believe it did; all they need to do is to recalculate the data. Do you want me to find out how much that will cost, and how long it will take?”
“No, Joe. I want you to send me the bill and find out how quickly they can do it.”
“I’m on it. I’ll call you when I have something.”
“Oh, and Hannice…”
“Good luck with the accounts analysis, too. And if you want defamation charges raised…”
“You can be sure I’ll let you know.”
The session I had with Henk and Tanja convinced me again that we did the right thing. Henk told me that he was now pretty well hands-off with the administration of the region, and was concentrating his time and efforts more and more on groupwide operational matters. For her part, Tanja convinced me that she was both confident and comfortable in the role. They returned to Holland later that same day.
Max, Lindy and Kanene stayed for another week and a half, during which time I had plenty of opportunities to observe and to talk with Lindy. He was becoming a steady, solid and reliable businessman, but he was, I was delighted and relieved to see, still Lindy. Max said pretty much the same as Henk did, although she still had three divisions to oversee and so was not as liberated from local affairs as Henk was.
Max started looking into Parker’s financial affairs, with some help from Tanja, but didn’t immediately uncover anything. His tax declarations were fairly straightforward with no questionable deductions or understatement of income. Tanja had, Max told me, uncovered a previously unknown bank account that he has. So far, she hadn’t tried to penetrate it to see what was going on, but she had seen transfers of money from the firm, authorised by Parker, to this account. The numbers involved weren’t massive, but that’s not unusual. There have been a number of instances of people with his kind of access to business finances slowly salting away money that would ultimately augment their pension. If it’s done over a period, the individual transfer need only be relatively small. That was an exceptionally good start.
Joe Green came back to me and told me that the re-analysis of the DNA sequences would be available after about three weeks. I could wait, provided Parker didn’t make too many moves in the meantime. In an attempt to prevent just that, I asked Henk and Max to nominate an independent doctor whom they could rely on to give an impartial opinion on my health, and to have the rest of the UK-based directors agree to. The doctor they nominated wanted me to present myself to his clinic in Birmingham. I did so. He examined me in detail and interviewed me in great depth and at great length about my life, my past, my plans and my attitudes. At Emily’s request, he didn’t tell me of his conclusions, but put them in writing to each of the directors individually.
Of course, Parker had indicated that he wouldn’t accept that the whole thing wasn’t a fix unless the doctor said I was an alcoholic; an attitude that the rest of the directors, according to what Max told me, found strange, but which I found to be utterly predictable. As things turned out, the doctor’s report confirmed what I had been saying all along. All the directors except Parker accepted it and apologised to me. Parker refused.
Max presented to Parker quietly, in a private meeting, the evidence she and Tanja had amassed in relation to his syphoning of funds from the company into his own account. She said that if he repaid the money in full, recanted his allegations concerning my health and apologised to me in front of the entire Board, she wouldn’t hand the evidence to the police. The Board asked me officially to attend an extraordinary meeting.