The Visiting Detective – Episode 08


GABY’S eyes shone.

“So, not as we expected, whipped out of the country or sold to a collector or anybody knowledgeable.”

Kit nodded.

“The original thieves wanted quick cash, then. Who usually wants quick cash?”

“Druggies?”

Kit shook his head.

“They don’t make the effort to steal art. There must be more to it.”

Gaby picked up her bag.

“I’ll go back to the gallery and talk to our Mr Duchesne again.”

“I’ll come with you,” Kit said.

“Are you allowed?”

“The doctor said tomorrow, but I’m going crazy sitting around here.”

“You’re missing the thrill of working with me,” she said.

“Try again,” he said.

Mr Duchesne seemed no less stressed when they arrived.

“I’ve had to pay the artist,” he said as soon as they walked in, “and the insurance company want to know what the police are doing.”

“We are glad to say that your picture has turned up,” Gaby said.

“Really?” He stared, too astonished to speak. “That’s marvellous,” he said finally. “Shall I come and fetch it?”

“I’m afraid that it’s currently being held as evidence,” Gaby explained.

Mr Duchesne wiped his brow.

“This is very difficult,” he said. A girl in a red A-line dress and black Mary Quant bob walked out of the back room and Mr Duchesne lowered his voice.

“A customer,” he whispered. “Can we be discreet?”

“See ya, Mr D,” the girl said in a London accent as she opened the street door. “D’you know, I don’t really like any of them pictures you got.” She strolled out, and Mr Duchesne watched her leave.

He had very little to tell them about the likely behaviour of the thieves, and seemed relieved when they left.

As they walked back to the car, Kit spoke.

“He didn’t seem all that delighted that the painting was back, did he?”

“No, he didn’t,” Gaby agreed.

“Maybe he’s realised that Monet is much nicer, and he doesn’t really want the mud.”

“Very funny,” Gaby said.

*  *  *  *

The next day, DC Fenton walked into the office with the news that a body had been pulled out of Regent’s Park Canal.

“I’m afraid it’s your Mr Duchesne,” he said in a sombre tone. “And I don’t think he tied his own bricks on his ankles.”

Kit and Gaby visited the scene. It was gruesome, and they sat afterwards in a café on Great Portland Street looking glumly into their tea, knowing that the investigation had very much stepped up a notch.

“If he was killed by the same people who took the painting,” Kit said, “why murder the victim of their crime? He clearly didn’t see them take the thing, or have any information, or he’d have said in order to help recovery.”

“We need to find out a lot more about him,” Gaby said. “Let’s get back to the station and divvy up the work.”

When they stood up, Gaby saw Kit’s eyes shut as he suddenly paused, holding his elbow carefully with his other hand.

“Your achy shoulder?” she asked.

“My gaping bullet wound,” he corrected, and then, seeing her miserable expression, grinned. “It’ll be something to tell our grandchildren, DS Clark. I mean, the grandchildren I have, and the ones you have.” He swallowed.

Gaby felt her face burning.

“Let’s get to work,” she said.

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 aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.