Death in a Far Country
other party-goers. He nodded at a solidly built man, broad-faced and very dark, in whose eyes he had detected just the faintest flicker of some emotion as he had stood at the front of the crowd listening to the appeal for information. As their eyes met for the second time, the man cleared his plate of its last mouthful of food and made his way purposefully towards the door, shouldering slighter people out of his way.
    ‘Emanuel,’ Hope said. ‘I can’t remember his other name. I could look it up for you. I’ve never spoken to him. He doesn’t often turn up.’
    ‘Is he Nigerian?’
    ‘Yes, I think he is.’
    Mower watched as the tall, broad figure in a brightly patterned orange shirt stretching against his belly, pushed through the swing doors, but made no comment.
    ‘Would you like some lunch?’ Hope asked. Mower was tempted for a moment but he could see the frozen expression in his boss’s eyes and knew that this was not the moment, if there ever was one, to persuade Thackeray to try Africa’s varied cuisine.
    ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ he had said with a faint grin inThackeray’s direction. ‘My boss wants to get back. Some other time, maybe. And if you hear anything, you’ll get in touch?’ He gave Hope his card.
    ‘Of course,’ she said. ‘Of course I will.’
    ‘I reckon if she was African someone there would have recognised her, guv,’ Mower said as he drove back towards police HQ.
    ‘So she’s an illegal, or she’s not African at all,’ Thackeray said.
    ‘If she was West Indian and local, someone would have identified her by now,’ Mower said. ‘We’ll have the picture on TV tomorrow, local and national, so maybe that’ll come up trumps.’
    ‘Why did you ask about the man who left? What was his name? Emanuel?’
    ‘I just thought he looked a bit anxious when someone passed him the picture, that’s all. But maybe he doesn’t like the police for some other reason.’
    ‘Didn’t want his papers looked at, maybe,’ Thackeray said.
    ‘Or maybe he’s importing bush-meat. Some of those dishes on the table didn’t look like chicken or beef to me.’
    ‘Bush-meat?’
    ‘I don’t think you want to know, guv,’ Mower said.
    ‘I want to know,’ Thackeray insisted grimly.
    ‘Chimpanzee, all sorts of wild animals, smuggled in. There’s a flourishing trade in London apparently,’ Mower said, grinning at Thackeray’s appalled expression.
    ‘Dear God,’ the DCI said.
    Mower swerved suddenly as they passed a pub where a group of youths in Bradfield United colours suddenly spiltinto the road, with silly smiles on their faces.
    ‘Still celebrating, I see,’ Mower said. Thackeray gave a half-smile.
    ‘Laura actually went to the match,’ he said, still sounding faintly astonished at the idea. ‘Seems to have enjoyed it.’
    ‘I’d have been rooting for Chelsea,’ Mower said. ‘They were just up the road when I was a kid. Not that I could often afford to go, even then, and now you have to take out a mortgage to get a season ticket.’
    ‘We’ve been invited to a club celebration at West Royd this evening, but I don’t think I’ll bother.’
    ‘Oh, you should go,’ Mower said, wishing he could just tell his boss to lighten up for once. But he knew that would be taking a liberty too far. ‘You could combine business with pleasure and ask their Nigerian star whether he knows our victim.’ Mower was joking but to his surprise Thackeray seemed to take him seriously.
    ‘Okigbo? I might just do that,’ he said.

    The bar and reception area at the West Royd club was heaving at six o’clock that evening when Thackeray and Laura arrived for the celebration party. Laura was wearing a short low-cut black dress, which she knew did her a lot of favours, and had brushed her hair into a froth of copper curls under Thackeray’s watchful, and she hoped lustful, gaze.
    ‘Who are you trying to impress?’ he asked, as she picked up a wrap and inspected his dark suit and the silk tie

Similar Books

Servant of the Empire

Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts

Dangerous to Hold

Elizabeth Thornton

2 Dead & Buried

Leighann Dobbs

The Bad Seed

William March

Empty Nets and Promises

Denzil Meyrick

Flood Friday

Lois Lenski

Deadly Vows

Shirlee McCoy