The Visiting Detective – Episode 10

DUSK fell, and they both gave up thinking.

“I have to be in court tomorrow,” Gaby said, looking at her watch. “A bail hearing. The judge wants someone from the case in attendance.”

“Isn’t that kind of time-wasting annoying?”

“And I don’t think this defendant will raise bail: it’s set at fifteen thousand.”

“How much?” Kit said, stopping and turning to her.

“Fifteen –” Gaby stopped, too, and looked at him. “You mean it might just be something like a bail sum that was needed by our thieves?”

“You never know,” Kit said.

“We could maybe take a quick look at who got bail in the past few days, who might have needed to get out, and who might have wanted them out.”

Gaby grinned at him. At that moment a bus shot past them, and he stepped away from the kerb and towards Gaby to avoid it. Their heads were suddenly very close. Gaby looked up at him, and he seemed to move another quarter of an inch towards her, but then a car horn sounded loudly a few feet away, and she jumped away.

“Traffic!” Gaby said quickly.

“Dangerous,” Kit replied.

They parted.

*  *  *  *

The name Derek Salter leaped off the page at Kit.

“He was arrested a week ago,” he said to Gaby, hurrying over to her desk. “Bail was set high for a minor offence. I gather that the judge was sick and tired of the Salters. He thought he’d seen the back of them. Funny that only one of the gang has been active lately.”

“What was the offence?”

“Affray. Shouted at a police officer. In his cups.”

“Ma Salter will not like that, not one bit,” Gaby said. “She likes to keep her children very tight, and well away from us if at all possible. They are a load of nasty criminals, but she always says she insists on ‘manners’.”

“So the judge didn’t like the rudeness towards the bobby on the beat, and set large bail.” Kit looked at Gaby. “It’s definitely a long shot, but what if the Salters needed fifteen thou’ unexpectedly to get Derek out?”

Gaby frowned.

“What is Derek known for? Charlie?”

DC Fenton looked up from his typewriter.

“He’s their driver. At least, he’s one of their drivers. The other’s a cousin called Wayne, I think.”

Gaby looked at the chewed end of her pen.

“There’s something going on,” she said. “I can feel it in my bones.”

Kit looked at his colleague. Her slender arm was draped over the back of her chair, and her glossy hair hung freely in soft waves.

“You aren’t old enough to have feelings in your bones,” he said without thinking.

“Personal, DS Robinson,” Gaby said, but he noticed she looked at him across the room.

Gaby suggested they go through the rest of Mr Duchesne’s belongings in the flat above the gallery. It was a sorry business – a man on his own for a long time, tidy in his habits, nothing much to show for himself. It was a cramped flat and the furniture was very post-war utility, not at all like the Habitat suite.

“You’d think he’d move upmarket,” Kit said as they looked around the sitting-room, “selling those expensive paintings as he did.”

“Maybe the modern art business isn’t as successful as the shop front seems to suggest.”

“Why?” Kit said absent-mindedly, stroking a brown upholstered chair back.

“I said, maybe –”

“No, I mean why the kitchen chair?”

“DS Robinson, you are not making sense,” Gaby said crossly.

Kit turned to her suddenly.

“Those thieves who broke into the back of the gallery. They dropped in, took the picture, and had to get back up again. Why drag a kitchen chair all the way from up here to down there, when they had a set of nice green velvet chairs right there in the room?”

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”.