Detective Chief Inspector John Anderson walked across the grass and stood just inside the taped-
off area, well away from the activity in the centre of the park. He was not pleased. Five minutes
later Comben joined him. Anderson waited but his new Detective Sergeant said nothing.
Then Anderson raised his left hand so that the sleeve of his coat slipped easily over the thin
disc of his watch and fell back down his arm. Black hands and black Arabic figures showed up
well on the dulled-metal dial and showed it was a few minutes past six. He nodded in Comben‘s
direction. The younger man raised his own hand but had to push his sleeve over the bulk that
Anderson imagined was some sort of multi-functioning computer. The figures could have been
read from a yard away but Anderson stooped and read off 06.04.
=Sorry sir,‘ said Comben.
Anderson didn‘t reply; he‘d made his point. He did expect his sergeants to be quicker off
the mark. He had no doubt that Comben slept sounder and longer than he did himself and it was
true that the phone call from the station hadn‘t woken him: the first light of dawn creeping round
his curtains had done that. But he had taken his time getting there: two – or was it three – cups
of Lavazza, a shower and then he always took a little time deciding what to wear.
He felt the pang of an unhealed wound as he thought about his clothes and he was not quick
enough to stop his mouth twitching into a grimace. Whenever he stood in front of his wardrobe,
he still yearned to put on the suits that hung to the left – the pre-Comben clothes – but he never
did. He had his old Detective Sergeant, Patricia Fielding, to thank for that and now, as a newly
promoted Detective Inspector, she reminded him about it every time they met in the station. Not
that she said anything – she wouldn‘t say anything – but her eyes were more expressive than
words could ever be, as they examined the texture and shade of his suits.
Anderson dragged his mind away from the unpleasantness. He was in time to put his arm