Ada carried Lucy, still chewing the packet of biscuits, back into the dining area and sat her in one of the pine chairs she'd had ever since Harold could remember. She transferred Harold's bags from the table to the floor and sat next to the child. “Now then, Harold. What's happened?”
“I just felt like coming to see you, mum.”
“The number of times you've come to see me without it being Mother's Day, my birthday or yours I can count on the fingers of two fingers.” She held them up to him. “So out with it, lad. What's going on?”
“We've been asked to vacate the Manor for a day or two.”
“What?” Ada clicked her fingers. “Demon? Bring my coffee.” She returned her attention to her son. “By whom?”
Jasfoup appeared at her left. “Your coffee, Ada.” He retreated. He didn't like being ordered about by anyone who wasn't at least a level seven demon but Ada was an exception. Partly because he'd rather not feel the sharp edge of her tongue and partly because she was still the part-time mistress of Lucifer, Lord of Light and Darkness, Father of Lies and Inventor of the Integrated Teapot Strainer.
Harold sucked air through his teeth. “Inspector White. He wants to treat the house as a crime scene.” Even Jasfoup could tell the laughter was forced.
“A crime scene?” Ada wasn't stupid, but she seemed to have difficulty believing her son was.”What sort of crime?”
“Ha-ha. He thinks there might have been a murder committed. Would you believe that? Preposterous.”
“That rather depends upon who's been murdered.” Ada narrowed her eyes. “What aren't you telling me?”
“It wasn't a murder at all. It was a complete accident and a result of pursuing the investigation into Legion's missing children. The one you begged me to look into?”
“I didn't beg, Harold. I asked you nicely. Who died?”
“It was an accident. She got horrible burned when an inferno spell went off prematurely and then her mind snapped and then she got possessed and then she got a case of rapid depossession and died and it wasn't my fault and I'm sure Lucy didn't mean it and Felicia had an argument with Gillian and ran off and now everything's gone pear shaped.”
“Lucy?” Ada looked at the child who was a picture of chocolate-faced innocence. “Harold? Who's dead?”
Harold swallowed, glancing at Jasfoup for courage. “Julie.”