Today's Reading

"Sir?"

"Where?" he asked, not bothering to hide his irritation.

"Brinken Wood."

There was another silence, but this one wasn't deliberate. He felt knocked off balance.

"Recent remains?" he asked in the end, though he thought he knew the answer.

"No. DCS says not," said the sergeant, who was too young to understand.

His day of cycling was over, but Jonah suddenly felt too old for it anyway. He couldn't remember ever feeling old before.

"Send a car to pick me up in Godshill. Bring the kit bag from behind my desk. And find someone to lend me a deodorant."

"Yes, sir," Lightman answered, his voice as level as ever.

Jonah slotted his phone back into the pocket of his technical top. There was sweat already cooling on him and leaving him chilled. He ought to get cycling again. It was a few more miles to Godshill.

He stayed there, unmoving, for a full minute, then swung his leg off the Cannondale and started to walk it slowly up the hill.

***

Hanson was in such a hurry to climb out of the car that she caught the sleeve of her expensive new suit on a protruding piece in the door and pulled a thread. It gave her a slightly sick feeling. She hadn't really been able to afford it in the first place. She'd bought three others in her first two weeks as a DC, having previously owned only jeans, tank tops, and sweaters, and a few dresses for going out. Suits were bloody expensive, and she resented the money she could have been spending on her unreliable car. Or maybe on an actual social life, which she seemed to have forgotten about somewhere along the way.

She tried to smooth down the plucked sleeve while she made her way inside. She wondered if she could get her mum to take a look at it, if she managed to make it to her mum's anytime soon. A potential homicide might mean working through the weekend. Late nights and living off caffeine while they caught the killer. The thought made her smile.

She let herself into CID and saw Lightman's head bent over his screen. She wondered how long he'd been here, and whether he did anything else with his life. Whether there were a Lightman wife and kids that he hadn't yet mentioned. He somehow had the look of an unfaithful husband about him. Too pretty, and too closed-off. Unless that was more her own recent experience warping her expectations.

Lightman caught sight of her and gave a small smile. "I got hold of the chief. He's going to need picking up and taking to the crime scene."

"On it," Hanson answered immediately.

"Where is he?"

"Godshill," he said. "He's on his bike."

Hanson nodded. She pretended she knew the place well, and that she wasn't about to punch it into her GPS. Two weeks into the job and she basically knew the route from home to the station and the supermarket, and from there to the dockside, where they'd been looking at some potential fraud. She missed the certainty of zooming around Birmingham, where she'd grown up and then worked as a constable for two years. Though she had to admit that the New Forest was a lot prettier.

"You'll need this," Lightman said, and lifted a dark-gray kit bag from the floor. "And despite the time constraints, I'd take him a coffee. He's not going to be that happy at having his day off interrupted."

"OK. Just...a filter coffee? Not a latte or something?"

Lightman laughed. "God, no. Have you not had one of his rants on coffee menus yet?"

"No, but I'm sure it'll be great." She put the kit bag onto her shoulder. "OK. Anything else? Do you know what it's about yet?"

Lightman shook his head. "Local sergeant will hand over to the chief at the scene. You'll both get a rundown, though if it's not recent, there won't be much so far."

Hanson nodded and tried not to smile. You shouldn't smile at news of a murder, even if it had been ages ago. But the truth was, she was delighted.

***
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