She continued to fill in the form as if she was alone in a room somewhere and reception was a problem to be dealt with someone else. He coughed again and she glanced up, her horn-rimmed glasses making her look to be a product of the sixties who'd decided fashion was a state of mind. “Can you not read?”
White frowned. “Madam. I'm a police--”
She'd already returned to her form.
White could feel his blood pressure rising. This was why he preferred being out catching blaggers. Bureaucratic people in little offices gave him the pip. Sergeant Peters raised his eyebrows and White gave him a curt nod and withdrew. Peters went up to the window but ignored the buzzer, knocking directly on the glass instead. “Hello, love. You're just the person I need to talk to.”
“Oh yes?” She put down her pen and smiled. Smiled.
Peters showed her his warrant card. “We're worried about two lads that might have gone missing. Could you do us a huge favour and see if they've been in college this week?”
“Oh the poor loves.” She pulled a keyboard towards herself, pressing a key to bring the monitor to life. “What are their names?”
“Dillard Farthing and Samuel Trubshaw. They live at Chervil Court.”
“That's right.” She typed the names in. “They're both on the computer tech course. No, neither have been in since last Friday. Oh dear. Do you think something might have happened to them?”
“That's what we're afraid of.” Peters made a note in his book then winked at her. “Thanks for your help, love. I don't know what we'd do without you.”
“Any time.” She smiled again. “Is there anything lse you need?”
“Not for the moment.” Peters smiled back. “Thanks though.”
White headed for the door and waited outside for him. He remembered when such tactics worked for him, too.”