Backlash

Backlash by Sally Spencer

Book: Backlash by Sally Spencer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sally Spencer
Tags: Mystery
began to throb alarmingly, ‘because if he is a psychopath . . . if . . . he . . . is . . . a . . . psychopath . . .’
    â€˜Stop right there!’ Paniatowski ordered. ‘Take a few deep breaths.’
    Kershaw did as he’d been instructed, and the purple sheen which had come to his face slowly drained away.
    â€˜Better now?’ Paniatowski asked.
    Kershaw nodded. ‘It’s still a possibility that has to be faced, you know,’ he said, with great effort.
    â€˜Yes, it is,’ Paniatowski agreed. ‘And we won’t be neglecting that as a line of inquiry. But I’ll also be looking for anyone who has a grudge against you – and that’s why I’m asking you now for access to the files on all the investigations you’ve conducted in the last five years.’
    â€˜And if I say no?’
    â€˜If you say no, I’ll ask the chief constable to order you to give them to me. And if he refuses, I’ll go over his head to the magistrate. But why would you want to say no?’
    â€˜You’re quite right, why would I?’ Kershaw agreed. ‘But when your lads are working their way through the files, I want my lads sitting right next to them.’
    â€˜That’s not possible,’ Paniatowski said.
    â€˜Isn’t it? Why not?’
    â€˜Because it would be highly irregular for them to become a part of the official investigation.’
    â€˜But they could be there unofficially,’ Kershaw pointed out.
    â€˜And how would that work?’
    â€˜A couple of lads have taken some of the leave that’s owed them. I didn’t ask them to, but they insisted they’d do it whatever I said.’
    â€˜They’ve taken leave ?’ Paniatowski repeated incredulously. ‘In the middle of a bloody flu epidemic, when we can barely scrape a skeleton staff together?’
    â€˜Yes.’
    â€˜And who rubber-stamped their request? You?’
    â€˜No, not me,’ Kershaw told her. ‘I’m too personally involved, so I passed the request up to the chief constable.’
    â€˜You knew I’d ask you for the files, and, with George Baxter’s complete cooperation, you decided to stitch me up before I even made the request,’ Paniatowski said, furious.
    â€˜I’m willing to do anything – and everything – I have to, if it will get my wife back safely,’ Kershaw said.
    â€˜Then why won’t you and your chief constable mate just let me get on with my job?’
    â€˜Maybe George doesn’t completely trust you,’ Kershaw suggested. ‘Maybe he thinks your personal animosity to me will influence the way that you conduct the investigation.’
    â€˜And what about you?’ Paniatowski demanded. ‘Is that how you think?’
    â€˜No,’ Kershaw said seriously. ‘I think you’re a good bobby – probably one of the best in the whole force.’
    â€˜Well, then?’
    â€˜But I’m better. I’m the best. And since it’s my wife who’s gone missing, I want the best bobby available looking for her, even if it’s only unofficially.’
    â€˜And if I say no?’ Paniatowski said, echoing his earlier comment.
    â€˜If you say no, I’ll go above your head – and I’ll win,’ Kershaw replied, returning the compliment. ‘Of course, it won’t do either of our careers any good, but my career is the last thing I’m worrying about right now.’
    â€˜I need time to think about it,’ Paniatowski said.
    â€˜There is no time,’ Kershaw said. He looked around him. ‘I hear you’re a pretty good darts player,’ he continued, his eyes resting on the board.
    And so I am, Paniatowski thought.
    She’d come to the game rather late, when Louisa had started to express a distinctly unfeminine interest in it, and had been surprised to find she was a natural.

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