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.Yes.I know her.But as I said, I wasn’t here.”“In what capacity do you know her?”“We used to be neighbors.”“Is that all?”“You’re trying my patience, Chambers.”“So your relationship with the Doyle family was as a family friend?”“Yes.”“The daughter, too?”“Yes.And Patrick was a good friend, so knock it off with the innuendos.There’s nothing there, and no reason for it.”“I’m concerned as to why this woman should ask for you in person when she came to report an illegal handgun.”“It’s natural enough to seek out someone you know in a difficult situation, isn’t it?”“Don’t you think she did it because she expected special treatment?”“I don’t know.It’s not my place to speculate as to motive.Or yours.As I said, a familiar face goes a long way if you’re upset.”“Do you think Mrs.Doyle had any idea of the legal penalties involved in possessing a handgun?”“I have no idea.Probably not.Most people don’t.”“Because this is her daughter we’re talking about.And there’s no denying prison time would be involved.”“She did what she thought was best.”“That’s easy enough to say.”Banks got up and walked over to the window again.The butcher over Market Street, to his right, was taking all the cuts of meat from his display window, and his assistant was scrubbing the trays.A last minute shopper dashed in through the door and the butcher looked up to smile and serve her.Banks turned to face Chambers.“Why are you asking me these questions? What do you hope to gain? I’ve already told you, I wasn’t here.You should be concentrating on the AFOs involved.”“Don’t tell me my job.” Chambers thumped the table.“That woman asked for you specifically, and I want to know what you would have done if you’d been here.”“Oh, that’s it,” said Banks.“We’re dealing in would-haves and what-ifs now, are we?”“A man died.”“You don’t have to remind me.He was my friend.”“Could you have prevented it?”“Could I? I don’t know.What does it matter? It would have been out of my hands.You want to know what I would have done? It’s easy.I would have got as much information as I could from Mrs.Doyle and tried to verify, then assess, the circumstances.In all likelihood I would have logged the incident, and it would have been passed on to our Area Control Room.The ACR would no doubt inform the Divisional Duty Inspector responsible for the area concerned, and she would, in turn, make the Force Duty Supervisor aware of the log.They would discuss the circumstances, and the Fsup would then ask that more information be gathered.Once that had been carried out, the Fsup would request that the DDI deploy a conventional double crewed response vehicle, ensuring that all officers have full Personal Protective Equipment.The Fsup would then…Do you really want me to go on?”“No.That’s quite enough.”“But that’s the procedure.Don’t try to teach your grandmother to suck eggs, Chambers.”“You wouldn’t have gone around there by yourself?”“Well, that would probably have been the best course of action to take, wouldn’t it? They would have been expecting me, so they wouldn’t have felt threatened.Mrs Doyle would have been accompanying me, and she would have let me in, so I wouldn’t have had to break down the door.And I wouldn’t have been carrying a Taser or a weapon of any kind.But that’s not following the rules, is it? What the bloody hell did you expect me to say?”Chambers looked fit to burst.He made a noise somewhere between a huff and a snort, then lumbered to his feet again.“You’re not being helpful, you know.You’re impeding the investigation.I’ll be making a note of this.”“I’m not impeding anything.This is pure fantasy.What happened, happened.I was five thousand miles away or more.But you do that,” said Banks calmly.“You go ahead and make your notes.But before you do, be aware of one thing.”Chambers paused at the door.“And what may that be?”“Things have changed since you started this particular witch-hunt—”“I obj—”“A policewoman has been shot.Annie Cabbot.My friend.My partner.” He felt himself choke up and struggled for control.Even as he spoke the word “partner,” it sounded odd to his ear.Blame Dashiell Hammett and three weeks in America.He would normally have referred to Annie as his colleague, or oppo, or even as his DI, but “partner” sounded good.She was.He would use it from now on.He remembered a line from The Maltese Falcon about when a man’s partner gets killed he’s supposed to do something.Annie hadn’t been killed, thank God, but he still knew that he had to do something, and he could start by putting Chambers in his place [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]