The Girl on the Beach

A contemporary political novella 

 

A beautiful girl is found dead on the beach in front of the SeaBaths at St Kilda .  She had no handbag, driving licence or other identification, and no watch or jewellery.  Her fingerprints and DNA didn't match any of those in the police databases. All she had in the zippered rear pocket of her jeans was a Lockwood key, an all-day tram ticket which had been validated at eleven-thirty the previous morning, and almost ten dollars in change.   She was wearing a bikini under her clothes, it was judged she was in her mid-twenties and she was described as being 'of Indian appearance'. A police drawing was published in the Age but no one came forward to identify her.  Who was she?

The editor of the Age wonders if this is another Pyjama Girl case, and asks Ralph Bloom, a retired investigative journalist, to see what he could find out.  Bloom is befriended by a couple of old architects who regularly meet for coffee in the CafĂ© il Fornaio just up from the beach and one of them remembers the young woman having coffee there.  She had a small rose tattooed on her cleavage, he said, and didn't think the young woman was Indian, she looked more middle-eastern he thought, Iranian perhaps, something about the shape of her nose. By luck and persistence Bloom discovers she was Fatima Nafisi, the daughter of Iranian immigrants living in Forest Hill, she had an IT degree from RMIT, had been active in criticising the Iranian government and had hacked into the Iranian Embassy computer, an action that ultimately led to her death.

Bloom patiently uncovers the people in her life and with the help of the police tracks down her killer.

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