Just One Evil Act

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Book: Read Just One Evil Act for Free Online
Authors: Elizabeth George
where she’d end up. She said reluctantly, “I s’pose you have.”
    “Good,” Isabelle told her. “Now get back to work. And work consists of a meeting you have with the CPS. You can speak to Dorothea about it. She’s set it up.”
    VICTORIA
    LONDON
    Dorothea Harriman was not only the departmental secretary but also the fashion plate upon whose image Barbara had been supposed to model her makeover. But from the first Barbara had failed to see how Dee Harriman managed to be so gorgeously done up on her paltry Met salary. She’d declared more than once that it was just a matter of knowing one’s colours—whatever that meant—and knowing how to accessorise. Plus, she’d revealed, it did
help to keep a record of where the best consignment shops were. Anyone could do it, Detective Sergeant Havers. Really. I could teach you if you like.
    Barbara didn’t like. She reckoned that Dee Harriman spent every free moment hiking up and down each high street in the capital, prowling for clothes. Who the bloody hell wanted to live like that?
    Upon seeing Barbara on her way into Isabelle Ardery’s office, Dorothea had been kind enough not to say a word about her head and the ski cap covering it. She’d been an ardent admirer of the cut and the highlights that Barbara had received at the hands of a Knightsbridge stylist. But after wailing “Detective Sergeant Havers!” she’d seemed to read on Barbara’s face that the road to interpersonal hell was going to be paved with any questions she might ask about what Barbara had done to herself.
    She’d come to whatever terms she needed to come to with regard to Barbara’s appearance when Barbara stopped at her desk. She’d obviously overheard the row in the superintendent’s office, and she was ready with the information that Isabelle had said she would hand over.
    She was supposed to ring the number on this message, Harriman told Barbara. That clerk from the CPS that she’d been meeting with when she skipped out to help Detective Inspector Lynley up in Cumbria . . . ? He was waiting to take up business again. Those witness statements needed going over. The detective sergeant remembered, surely?
    Barbara nodded because, of course, she did. The Crown Prosecutor was a Silk with chambers in Middle Temple. She would, she told Harriman, make the call and get on to this business without delay.
    “Sorry.” Harriman tilted her head towards Isabelle’s office. “She’s not altogether herself today. Don’t know why, exactly.”
    Barbara did. God only knew how many times a week Isabelle Ardery and Thomas Lynley had been doing their mutual knicker-trawling. But with that at an end, she wagered things round the Yard were going to get tense.
    She went to her desk and plopped into its chair. She looked at the phone number Dee Harriman had handed to her. She picked up the handset of the phone and was about to punch in the number when she heard her name spoken—a simple “Barb”—and she looked up to see her fellow detective sergeant Winston Nkata towering over her. He was fingering the long scar on his cheek, the one that marked his formative years spent ganging on the streets of Brixton. He was, as always, impeccably groomed, a man who looked like someone who did his shopping with Harriman hovering at his side. Barbara wondered if he removed his shirt every half hour or so for a spot of pressing in a back room somewhere. Not an inch was wrinkled, not a seam was rucked.
    “I had to ask.” His voice was soft, his accent a blend of his background, with its Caribbean and its African history.
    “What?”
    “DI Lynley. He told me . . . your . . . the difference. I ’spect you know what I mean. No big deal to me, ’course, but I reckoned something happened, so I asked him. Plus”—with a tilt of his head towards Isabelle’s office—“there was that.”
    “Oh. Right.” He was talking about her hair. Well, everyone was going to be doing that, either to her face or

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