“What? Here?” Janet Parkes made a face of utter shock, apparently for his benefit. “How can we sleep safe in our beds if a defenceless old man in assaulted in his own home?”
White scowled. She'd outmanoeuvred him and they both knew it. There was nothing he could do to get out of the trap. “Mr Cotman was not injured here but during the course of his duties as a night watchman.”
“Then why are all the police officers here?” Janet Parkes now wore a self-satisfied smirk. If only there was a law against smirking at police. White would happily cuff her in front of all her friends for that one.
“Mr Cotmon's house has been left in state I can only describe as hazardous to his health. As a matter of civic duty my officers are assisting with the removal of some hazardous materials.” Check.
“What sort of hazardous materials.” This was from Mr. Pullman, obviously her second in command. “Are we, the public at large, in any danger?”
“Only if you cross the police line.”
“Bombs, I'll bet.” Janet Parkes – White couldn't see a wedding band – gave a single nod of her head as punctuation. “He was a terrorist, a sleeper for the KGB.”
“I can assure you all there are no bombs or chemicals that would cause a danger to the public.” White took a deep breath and blamed the recent adaptaion of a John Le Carre novel for the paranoia. “Now if you'll excuse me, I do have a great many reports to deal with.”
“Is there anything we can do to help?” Erica Bright seemed genuine, at least.
White smiled. “That's kind of you, Miss. Tea for twelve would be appreciated.” He saw Eric Chambers pull up across the road with his assistant. “Make that fourteen.”