The Visiting Detective – Episode 13

OPPOSITE him, Gaby crossed her feet and stuck her legs out into the centre of the Tube carriage. Kit looked at the map of the Central Line above her head and hoped there were lots of stops. He was enjoying himself.

“Did the Salters need Derek for a particular reason?” he asked. “Did they, or did Duchesne, or both, sell the painting?”

Gaby adjusted the soft peaked hat she wore. Kit liked the colour, a warm rust that complemented her hair.

“And he couldn’t,” she said, fingering a thick lock of hair, “just hand it over to the Salters so they could flog it, because that would look really odd.”

“And because he wanted the insurance payment. It had to be theft, or look like theft. But why give it to them? I mean, he took a huge risk.”

“Most importantly, where is all this leading? Because it goes further than the picture, you can be sure of that. We haven’t seen the end of it.”

“Mr Duchesne has.” Kit grinned. “In the canal.”

“Is that supposed to be northern humour?” Gaby asked.

Kit just kept smiling, and after a moment he was glad to see her smile, too. Her eyes seemed to dance, and it took Kit a moment to remember that he was actually at work.

But they both had to agree, back at the station and drying out, that they had come to a bit of standstill.

“There’s no intel about a Salter-type job in the offing,” DC Fenton told them. “That family is what you might call ‘middle-time’ rather than ‘big-time’. They go in and out of the nick with monotonous regularity for a variety of wheelings and dealings.”

“I don’t like the fact that they’ve been quiet.” Kit sat upright.

“I say we work on the basis that they got him out quick, and took some risks doing it, because they want his skills,” Gaby said. “Perhaps they want to get away from somewhere fast, and Wayne in a motor is not good enough on his own.”

“Well, I’m starving,” Kit said. “I brought a butty and I’m going to eat in and read the paper.”

“A butty? Dialect – how sweet,” Gaby said sarcastically.

DC Fenton looked from one to the other.

“You’re just like those two in that Shakespeare play – what was it? ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Beatrice and that bloke. Bickering all the time.”

Fenton walked off to his desk, unconscious of the two people who stared, blushing, after him.

“What happened to them, then?” Kit asked casually.

“Oh, true love, in the end,” Fenton said, leaving and slamming the door.

Kit lifted the “Evening Standard” in front of his face and slammed his feet up on to the desk. Five minutes later he lowered the paper. He saw that Clark was chewing her pen again.

“Have you seen this – the seamen at Dover and the ports are on strike,” he said.

“Are they?” Gaby said vaguely. “Well, I’m not off on a holiday any time soon.”

“No, it’s mainly a freight problem. There’s a picture of all these blokes on the docks, hundreds of them, sitting around smoking, and cargo building up in a great mountain behind them.”

“And what has that to do with art and the Salter gang?” Gaby was frowning, trying to concentrate on her notes about the contents of Mr Duchesne’s flat.

“They won’t have been paid for a fortnight. I bet there’ll be pay trucks stalled somewhere on their way out there, or waiting in London, and nobody to pay. I’ve had to spend days watching pay trucks, back in Liverpool, when there’s been strikes. Boring as anything. I suppose the uniform division watches that docks money, does it?”

Gaby looked at him for a long moment.

“Maybe I’ll just look into where that money is laid up,” she said softly, “and if it’s safe.”

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”.