The Sound of Broken Glass

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie Read Free Book Online

Book: The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Deborah Crombie
    Switching it on, Gemma saw that it was fully charged. Evidently Arnott hadn’t used it much the previous evening. Nor had its owner gone in for apps. The wallpaper was standard provider issue. No photos. No music. There was no e-mail account, and only a handful of numbers under the phone contacts.
    â€œWhat did he need that kind of phone for?” asked Shara, who had been looking over Gemma’s shoulder. She sounded disgusted. “He could have used a cheap pay-as-you-go. What a waste.”
    Gemma nodded absently, her attention focused on the few tagged numbers. “Home. Kathy.” She glanced at Melody. “His wife, do you think? And chambers .”
    â€œAs in a surname?” Melody asked.
    â€œIt’s not capped.” Gemma met her partner’s widening eyes. “Oh, hell. Don’t tell me the man was a bloody barrister.”
    By midmorning, Kincaid had run out of strategies for dealing with cranky children.
    He’d dressed and gone down to make coffee while Gemma was showering, hoping to have a quick word with her about her case before she left. He’d only caught her “. . .  man strangled, Crystal Palace . . . ” muffled by the sound of running water.
    But their movements had roused the younger children, the dogs, and the cat. By the time Gemma had clattered down the stairs like a red-haired whirlwind, the dogs were barking, Sid the cat was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table loudly demanding his breakfast, and Toby and Charlotte, both still in pajamas, were wailing over the cancellation of the day’s plans.
    Hugging them, Gemma had promised to be back soon, but in their household, that promise was heard too often to be given much credence. Charlotte had transferred her limpet grasp to Gemma’s waist. Lifting her, Gemma gave her a squeeze, then passed her back to Kincaid. “Sorry,” she whispered, giving him a quick peck on the cheek.
    â€œNo worries,” he’d said, waving her off.
    The morning had gone downhill from there. The little ones, tear streaked and cornflake sticky, had run upstairs and woken Kit by bouncing on the middle of his bed. A shouting match ensued, punctuated by the distressed yips of Kit’s little terrier, Tess, and then Geordie joining in the fray.
    Reduced to seeking peace at any cost, Kincaid sent the small children and dogs out into the garden, and was rewarded a half hour later by a tracker’s dream of muddy boot and paw prints throughout the house. “But it’s the Marauder’s Map,” Toby protested when they were asked to mop up.
    â€œThen it will reappear, won’t it?” Kincaid said. “But not until you’ve cleaned up every bit.” His jaw was beginning to ache from clenching. The bass from Kit’s iPod speakers thumped through the sitting room ceiling, proof that his son was up and now thoroughly awake.
    Handing the roll of kitchen towels to the younger children, he grabbed a jacket off the hall peg and left them to it.
    He went out through the sitting room’s French doors into the garden. On days like this he had started to wish he smoked, just as an excuse for the break. He never remembered feeling that way on the job.
    The fine mist in the air felt soft and cool against his face. Taking a deep breath, he stood gazing over the low iron fence that demarcated their small garden from the communal garden beyond. The bare trees looked ephemeral; the grass, a lush, emerald green. A wet emerald green. Living on a communal garden might be the height of aspiration in Notting Hill, and on a fine Saturday it would have its share of dogs and children, happily occupied. But not today.
    It was time to regroup and formulate a plan for the day. Structure was the key—he’d learned that quickly enough. He’d taken it for granted on the job.
    â€œDad!” Toby burst out through the French doors waving the kitchen phone and shouting as

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