Blood in Grandpont

Blood in Grandpont by Peter Tickler Read Free Book Online

Book: Blood in Grandpont by Peter Tickler Read Free Book Online
Authors: Peter Tickler
course.’
    ‘We’ll need their details,’ Holden said, ‘but there is another question. We found a photograph on Maria Tull’s mobile phone. Her husband told us that the photo was of you. Perhaps you can explain it?’ And with that she removed a photograph from the bottom of her thin file and slid it across the table. ‘This is a copy.’
    Jack Smith had been pondering how to respond to this question when it was asked – as he had known it surely would be – but even so he found himself hesitating. Should he tell the truth? And how the hell was he going to square it with his wife if it came out?
    ‘It was just a bit of harmless fun,’ he said finally, trying hard to sound unconcerned.
    ‘Really?’ Holden said in a tone that signified disbelief. ‘What do you think, Sergeant,’ she continued, turning to Fox.
    ‘I doubt Mrs Smith would see it as harmless fun,’ Fox replied instantly. ‘But maybe she’s more broad-minded than my missus.’ Not that Fox had a missus. Not any more.
    Smith reacted with alarm. ‘I don’t see what it’s got to do with my wife!’
    Fox grinned broadly. ‘It doesn’t,’ he said cheerfully, ‘but if you don’t explain it to our satisfaction, then maybe we’ll have to ask her if she took it and then sent it to Maria as a laugh.’
    ‘She didn’t,’ he replied quickly. ‘Maria took it.’
    ‘You were lovers then?’ Holden had taken up the baton again, and leant forward as she asked the obvious and crucial question.
    ‘We had a fling. A one-off.’
    ‘And that was when she took the photo?’
    ‘Shit, aren’t you a smart cookie!’ he snapped back, spittingsarcasm in self-defence.
    ‘Careful!’ It was Fox who growled the warning, and like a guard dog bristling in defence of its mistress, he half rose from his chair. Holden gestured him down, but her eyes were fixed on Smith. She pointed at the photo. ‘And this one-off took place at her house?’ she continued, her eyes firmly fixed on his face.
    ‘No. It was a house I was working in. She came round to chase me up about a problem with her shower, and it just happened.’
    ‘A bit of a ladies’ man, are you! One look at you in your dirty overalls, and they can’t wait to tear them off?’
    ‘Are you taking the piss?’
    ‘How many of your clients have you slept with?’
    ‘What’s that got to do with anything?’
    Holden leant back, turned to Fox and shrugged. ‘Maybe you were right, Sergeant. I think we’ll have to keep him for a few hours while we pursue other enquiries.’
    ‘Sure, boss.’
    Smith’s panic was palpable. ‘What do you mean, keep me here? I’ve answered your questions, and I have to get back to work.’
    Fox gave a brutal laugh. ‘You think a few half-arsed lies are enough? If you want to get out of here any time soon, you’d better start answering the inspector’s questions properly. And she asked you how many of your clients you’ve slept with? Mind you, personally I find it hard to imagine how any woman in her right mind would want to get jiggy with a tubby creep like you.’
    Smith half-opened his mouth, but said nothing. He looked across at Holden, but if he was hoping she would call her sergeant to heel, the hard set of her face told him he was out of luck.
    ‘We want a list of names!’ she said firmly. ‘Then we might let you go.’
    He swallowed, and licked his lips uncertainly. ‘Honestly,’ he said quietly, ‘she was the only one.’
    ‘Liar!’ Fox bawled.
    ‘I’m not,’ he yelped back. ‘She was the first, the only one. Christ, I wasn’t expecting it. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did.’
    ‘And then she took the photo?’
    Smith paused before he spoke. The fight appeared to have gone out of him, and when he replied he did so in a resigned monotone. ‘Yes.’
    ‘What was she blackmailing you about?’
    He looked up sharply. ‘I never said anything about blackmail.’
    ‘So why did she take the photo?’
    He shrugged, and gave a sheepish grin.

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