Inspector White awoke with a start at a little after one AM. On the television an American chat-show host stood in the middle of a tiered audience while several people dressed as dogs simulated sex on the raised chat area. He felt for the remote to turn it down or off but it was on his wife's lap several feet away in the other chair. They'd got rid of the sofa when the springs went a couple of years ago. Neither of them were as slim as they used to be.
He struggled forward until he was sat upright, his bum on the edge of the seat, and yawned, revelling in the luxury of not having to close his mouth. What had woken him? He reached across for the remote and muted the television.
With the house silent, he could hear the drip...drip...of water and got up to investigate. A vase had been knocked over in the kitchen, spraying water and daffodils across the table and floor as it fell. He'd have shrugged and blamed the cat if they had one, but with no cat, who was to blame for knocking over the vase.
A sudden buzzing drew his attention to the mobile on the table. He'd left it on silent and the vibration had been transferred to the antique pine surface and the vase in turn. He looked at the caller ID. Sergeant Peters owed Beryl a bunch of daffodils.