Casualty of Court · interviews · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court – Annie interviews Fern

As promised, the interview rounds have begun. Each of the four principal characters will face the panel of interviewers. Who will shine and who will curl up and wither? All will be revealed over the next few weeks before Detective Hugh Dunnitt closes the case. (Of course, you can make your own mind up when Casualty of Court is released in March)

Asking the questions this week is Annie Skillsett – a recruitment manager.

She can spot a liar within milliseconds, and will grill each of the characters on their work experience and abilities before presenting her finding to Detective Hugh Dunnitt.

First up is Fern Mortimer. Aged 25, and a qualified accountant. She’s back in Portugal to give her account of the “alleged” attack on her by the accused – Stefan Pereira.


Let the interrogation begin:

Fern arrives, early of course, and has been waiting patiently outside. After exchanging greetings, she settles in opposite Annie – who, dare I say, is unlikely to put the young woman at ease.

AS: So, Fern, you’re an accountant? What are you doing now to further your career?

FM: Um, well, I’m not sure I wish to continue as an accountant.

AS: You’re giving it all up? After all those years spent studying? You did an OU course, didn’t you? While recuperating after the hit and run?

FM: That’s right. I spent a lot of time studying. It kept my mind off the pain and the gruelling physio, but I’m not sure it’s the right career for me.

(AS scribbles notes when Fern answers: Does she have staying power? Commitment? Is she drifting to avoid growing up, life, people, relationships?)

AS: Does your mobility affect you still? Do you consider yourself able to move on with your life? Are you be ready to live an independent life?

FM: (fidgets a little, and runs her thumb along a fine chain around her neck) Of course, things aren’t always easy in a wheelchair; access to certain places is restricted and I struggle to reach the upper shelves in a shop or library. (She gives a feeble laugh) I’m determined to be independent; my parents will echo that sentiment too, I’m sure (another weak laugh)

(AS makes yet more notes: I can’t imagine her exaggerating Pereira’s attack, but then again I wonder if she is looking for pity, albeit unconsciously)

AS: How good an accountant are you?

FM: My results were in the top 2% nationwide for my year.

AS: If you’re so good, why aren’t other firms clamouring for you to join them? What’s stopping them?

(Fern doesn’t answer, instead she nibbles on the gold chain)

AS: Well, if you intend to change careers, what other skills do you have? Are you a people person or more behind the scenes?

FM: I used to be outgoing, quite the party girl … and adventurous too. The hit-and-run accident knocked my confidence, but I believe I’m getting stronger both physically and mentally. I’m a good listener, very logical and practical and a quick learner.

AS: How would your friends describe you now?

FM: (Lowers her head) I’m afraid I’m a bit of a loner. I alienated many of my former friends after the accident. I didn’t want them to see me in that state. My best friend now, Raven, would probably describe me as boring, prone to mood swings and quite childish – if I’m being honest. She’d be right to do so – I need to learn to live again, and that includes finding a career that challenges me.

AS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years then, if not as an accountant?

FM: (Slow to answer) I’m not sure. I haven’t thought that far ahead. I do intend to take back control of my life once this trial is over, though. I’m not a victim, Ms Skillsett, I refuse to be.

AS: (stifles a smile) That’s good to hear; people who dwell in the past are never successful in my opinion.

FM: I agree. I’ve been a spectator of life for too long now. I’m ready to change and move on.

AS: Well, I wish you luck, Miss Mortimer. (She gestures for Fern to leave. The young woman bids her goodbye and exits the room, leaving Annie to complete her notes)


Annie’s summary: Naïve. Vulnerable; she considers herself more independent than she really is. Determined, but lacks focus. Open, although wary of revealing too much about herself. An unlikely liar or drama-seeking wannabe.

Next time, Raven is the subject of Annie’s questioning.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened to her last summer.