Saturday, 7 January 2012


"You're being obstreperous," said Miss Flava to Playfair as they walked past the front desk.  Manning the front desk was a young woman in a very smart uniform, standing rigidly upright and organising files while she waited to be of assistance.
"Henry?" said Playfair, stopping in mid-stride and causing Miss Flava to stumble as she tried not to collide with him.
"And who might you be, Sir?" asked the woman behind the counter.
"DI Playfair," said Playfair.  "You're Henry?"
"Short for Henrietta, Sir, it was my Aunt's name."
"You should be careful she doesn't decide to take it back then," said Playfair.  "Come along, Miss Flava, we have a house to look at, possibly before it burns down!"
"You stopped!" Miss Flava stared after him as he walked out of the station and turned towards the car-park round the back.  "That man...." she said, partly to herself, but partly also to Henry, who didn't even crack a smile.
By the time she reached the car Playfair was stood expectantly by the driver's door, and so she raised an eyebrow and sighed loudly.
"Oh come on," he said, holding his hand out.  "It can't be far, and there's no traffic on the roads, and no-one will ever know."
"Yes they will, because you'll find a way of stripping all the teeth off the gearbox," said Miss Flava.  "Or you'll drive into something, probably livestock, or someone will drive into you.  These accidents are why you're not allowed to drive the car any more, boss."
"I am your boss, aren't I?"  Playfair still had his hand out.
"Which you won't be if anyone finds out I let you drive."
They stared at each other, eyes locked and a silent battle of the wills playing out.  Miss Flava blinked first, but Playfair let his hand drop fractionally later, and walked round to the passenger side of the car.
"I can think better when you're driving," he said, as though nothing had happened.  "Fewer people seem to do stupid things in front of you."
Calamity barked her enthusiasm at seeing them again as Miss Flava unlocked the doors, and she attempted to bound over into the front seats and get out of the car.  Playfair pushed her back, and Miss Flava had to wait till he'd finished wrestling her on to the back seat before she could get in.
"Should we take her for a walk first?"
"No," said Playfair.  "I'll need her up at this house to sniff around.  She'll get her exercise then."
"Don't let her widdle on things," said Miss Flava, starting the engine.  "Forensics didn't stop complaining about you for weeks last time."
"Last time?"
"You gave Calamity one of the bones from the scene of the crime to play with.  It took three of them half-an-hour to get it back off her!"
"Yes, but it wasn't one of the human bones, it was just some old bone that had gotten mixed in with the rest.  It didn't matter."
"Maybe, but no-one else knew that, Playfair.  And since you won't explain how you knew, there's still no-one else who knows how you knew."
"It's obvious, really, you know.  If any of you would just sit down and think about it properly for half-an-hour you'd know too.  Really."
Miss Flava pulled out of the car-park and turned left.  "Which way is this house then?"
"I don't know," said Playfair.  "I didn't ask.  Beechwood Drive, I think."
"Yes, I remember that, but where is Beechwood Drive?  I can't go there if I don't know where it is!"
"Oh," said Playfair.  "It looks like you're lost then!"

No comments: