“We’d like a word with your husband.”
Mrs Blake looked the policemen on her doorstep up and down, sizing them up rather than paying attention to the i.d. they waved in front of her.
“He’s asleep,” she said coldly. “He… works nights.”
“Even so, we need to talk to him.”
Mrs Blake stood firm. “What’s this about?”
A glance flickered between the two detectives. “We would rather not say,” said one, while the other looked down at his shoes.
“You’ll have to come back. After dark. When the moon is fat.”
The first detective consulted his wristwatch. It was not even lunchtime; sundown was hours away. “I’m afraid that won’t do. We must speak to him at once.”
“Upstairs, is he?” The second detective was losing patience. He crossed the threshold, causing Mrs Blake to shrink back against the open door.
“You can’t do this!” she cried, but the man was already rushing up the stairs.
The first detective stepped into the hall. “You just wait there, love,” he instructed. “Or make yourself useful and put the kettle on.”
Mrs Blake sneered, her face turning vulpine for just a second. “We do not drink…tea,” she scoffed.
The second detective appeared on the landing. “Nobody up here, boss.”
Mrs Blake smiled to herself. The first detective rounded on her. “Where is he? You said he was sleeping.”
The second detective was coming back down. “That’s just it, boss; there’s no beds up here. I checked every room. They’re all empty.”
“Are you sure?”
Mrs Blake closed the front door and bolted it. The detectives spun around at the sound.
“This way, gentlemen,” she grinned, ushering them toward the door under the stairs. “My husband will see you now.”
She opened the door. A single light bulb cast a dim glow that didn’t quite reach to the foot of a steep flight of wooden steps. The detectives picked their way down into the gloom. Behind them, Mrs Blake closed the door and locked it.
She sat on the stairs and listened. Her husband wouldn’t mind being woken early since she had provided him such a handsome and refreshing two-course lunch.