The Visiting Detective – Episode 05

GABY chalked up a point the next morning. The rest of the on-duty officers applauded when she pushed DS Robinson through the door. He wore a sleek single-breasted gabardine jacket and a pair of narrow navy trousers – “very Paul Newman” as she’d told him. Underneath was a super-lightweight cream sweater that Gaby had pronounced “gorgeous” when he walked out of the changing-room in Selfridges.

Gaby picked up her phone.

“I’m going to call the alarm company. I noted down the name at the Duchesne Gallery.”

Kit nodded.

“I’ll get Macdonald here to help me check the records to see if the company is very new, or known to be dodgy, or lacking in reputation. Did they, for instance, notice the new building going up behind when they did the work, and seize the opportunity of an incomplete alarm set-up to come back for the mud picture?”

“Facts at last, DS Robinson,” Gaby said softly as she passed his desk, “rather than feelings?”

He grinned sarcastically.

A few hours later they were still in the office, contacting various receivers of stolen goods of the CID’s acquaintance.

“I don’t really know why we’re doing this,” Kit said, rubbing his eyes. “These thieves know the value of that picture, or they wouldn’t have picked it. They won’t try to pass that painting on until they have the right buyer and the right price. Or it was taken at the specific request of a collector abroad, and left the country before we could even alert the ports.”

“I don’t know what else we can do,” Gaby said. “There wasn’t a trace forthcoming from forensics, of course. And the alarm company came up clean – ancient firm with a sound reputation, known to the Force for decades.”

Suddenly, Rawlish crashed in through the door, his bulk moving at an unfamiliar pace.

“Clark, you have firearms training, don’t you?” he said, panting.

“Yes, sir.” Kit saw her stand up instantly, ready to spring into action. He followed.

“There’s a situation at a rag trade storage place near the Post Office Tower. One bloke, some kind of mental condition. Gone crazy. In there with a suspected weapon – type unknown. Intelligence says he’s not safe to approach unarmed, and so far all we’ve got at the scene is two unarmed officers.”

“Nearby?” Kit asked, grabbing his jacket.

“Five minutes at a trot,” Rawlish said.

“I’m fully trained, sir,” Kit said smartly.

Gaby turned.

“I’ve been in these situations before, Robinson,” she said.

“So have I,” Kit replied, setting off across the room. “Often. Up in sleepy Liverpool we have a healthy smuggling trade – tobacco is the latest craze, and it gets nasty. I’m sure I can be useful, DS Clark.”

“Do I have to take him, sir?” Gaby said, glaring at Kit.

“Just go to the gun stores,” he said. “And stop bickering – you’re like a couple of kids.”

As they ran north-east along the busy streets, Gaby was determined to show that she was as fit and potentially as fast as any man.

“I suppose,” she said, only slightly breathless, “that a lot of your time’s taken up in Liverpool controlling screaming Beatles fans.”

“Very funny,” he said, getting ahead by a few paces. “The Fab Four are rarely home, as it happens. Are you OK?”

“Fit as a fiddle, thanks.” She pumped her arms.

At least, Gaby thought, he can run. She sensed the spring of his muscles beside her as they ran, the Post Office Tower looming closer. He had the build of a sprinter. She focused on not appearing to be in the slightest bit fatigued.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.