The Visiting Detective – Episode 07

“TAKE it easy, Detective.” A nurse’s face with a stiff blue cap loomed over him on the other side, and suddenly the pretty girl was gone.

“I am so sorry,” a voice said, and the girl was back, hair still falling towards him. He shrank away.

“Shh,” the nurse said. “Lie back. Your colleague will explain.”

The nurse’s comforting, protective face was gone. Kit opened his mouth to beg her not to leave him with the murderer, but pain rendered him speechless.

“It was the direction problem,” Clark was saying. He stared as she sat down heavily in a chair by his bed. Her big eyes were full of anguish. “I am a good police officer,” she said insistently, “a skilled marksman.”

“You shot me, Clark.”

“Yes.” She hung her head for a moment. “Thing is, I have this problem with sense of direction. Sometimes – and it’s not the stress of an incident – sometimes –”

“Get on with it. I’ve got a hole in my chest and I’m quite tired.”

“I forget which corners I’ve turned, or I’m not sure what’s north or south. I was on one side of the building, and when you said ‘east’ I suddenly thought that I was on the west side. Then I saw this figure of a man coming out, and he had a –”

“He had a gun. Brilliant.”

“Pointed at me! I thought that you were away on the east side. I thought you’d got it wrong, that here was our man, about to shoot me, or about to escape on my side.” Her eyes were very dark as she leaned over him, and for a moment he almost felt sorry for her.

She sniffed.

“Anyway, you were lucky.”

“Lucky? Shot by a colleague on my second day?”

“The bullet passed through soft tissue only,” she said, “and cleanly. You’ll be up and about in a week. Truly.” She screwed up her small nose. “They’ve extended your secondment.”

“And assigned me a different partner?”

She pouted.

“Rawlish said that would be too easy for me.”

Kit nodded, and winced at the pain.

“That figures.”

*  *  *  *

Gaby came to visit DS Robinson daily as the art case trundled tediously on, with very little results. She tried to be humble, but the two of them generally ended up bickering, and Gaby had to admit that she found humility challenging. She tried to find neutral areas of life to chat about. But that didn’t go well.

She mentioned her admiration for the music of the Kinks, and DS Robinson said they sounded like they had cheese graters in their mouths. He said he enjoyed a big musical and Gaby said that she wouldn’t be seen dead at a musical, not when there was a wealth of experimental theatre to be experienced in London.

Then Gaby was able to tell Kit that the stolen picture had unexpectedly worked its way back to a dealer. This dealer was sensible enough to bring it to the police.

“It’s really odd,” she said. “He’s the owner of a big, well-known gallery in Park Lane, and he actually brought it into the station today. He knew it was missing, and he’d just been offered it by a shifty bloke who just walked in, said he could have it in exchange for a couple of thousand in cash, and scarpered. The gallery owner was hardly able to give a description, it was that quick.”

“Where had it been, do you think?” Kit was now back home in his temporary accommodation in Kensington. Gaby had brought him some Middle Eastern snacks which he thought were horrible.

“That’s just it – we don’t know. Our Park Lane owner tried to prise something out of the seller, but all he said was the painting had ‘done the rounds’. It’ll be a nightmare to trace its movements. But it can’t have been through many hands – there’s been no time.”

“To get to that point, the painting must have been sold on for a fraction of its value.”

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”.