Kneeling beside the chair where Gregory Williams still sat comfortably reclined, was Detective Alistair Mooney. Hearing the door open, he turned to her and smiled. The man was tall and thin, with a weathered frock draped lightly across thin shoulders. Add to that his too-pale skin, bulging eyes, and penchant for voicing unwanted opinions, and you had a man who was difficult to like. This was the first time Allison had seen him in person, but she’d heard enough about him to know all she needed to.
“Good of you to come, Detective Newberry,” he said. “The work so far has been rather lonesome.”
Allison said nothing.
“Gregory Williams,” Alistair continued, ignoring her silence, “aged sixty-five. Stabbed once through the heart, a clean entrance wound, with a butcher’s knife. That knife.” He pointed to the weapon that lay on the floor. Its keen edge caught the light from the newly-stoked fire. Droplets of blood were spattered around it. “No effort taken to hide the weapon or the body. The evidence merely left where it fell.”
“Just like Illdara,” Allison mumbled.
A wide, crooked grin split Alistair’s face. “A fine bit of work, that, Detective Newberry. Not many could venture into that horrid abyss and return victorious. But it did change you, didn’t it? Forced you to leave something or yourself behind?”
“Enough of that,” Allison said. “I don’t care to dwell on the past when there’s a crime to be solved here in the present.”
Alistair laughed. “For one not keen on the past, you’ve certainly visited that young man rather more than a few times.”
It was hard not to hit Alistair across the face, but that was the sort of reaction he seemed to thrive upon.
“I see little need in having two detectives on this case,” she said bluntly.
“Our superiors,” he said, returning to the body, “in their wisdom, deemed it necessary for the “great detective” to have an assistant on this case, so that she might better let her mind work, while another handled the more tedious tasks of the investigative progress.”
“I didn’t ask them to send you,” Allison said, annoyed.
“You didn’t ask them not to.”