by Trevor Hopkins

Inspector Harriett Luncardy narrowed her eyes and glared at me, distracted only momentarily from the important task of fixing her cigarette into her holder.

"You're playing games again, Gask," she snorted, fumbling with her lighter.

"I'm doing no such thing," I protested, "I came straight here to tell you what I learned. Just like you asked."

"Hmm, Okay," she acceded grudgingly, "Maybe you did. So Argaty knows where her granddaughter is, does she?"

"Uh, no. I truly believe she doesn't have a clue. But she told me that Clathy had been there, at the apartment, very briefly. Said she was going away for a few days. Staying with friends" - I made quotation marks in the air with my fingers - "she said. She was in a tearing hurry, barely had time to say goodbye to her favourite grandmother."


"So, Clathy left, then came back a moment later to collect something. Something important to her. Her sunglasses."

"And so? Get on with it, Gask." Luncardy was getting impatient.

"So, Clathy's gone to the surface," I explained as if to a child, "No Goblin would ever willingly visit the surface without something to protect their eyes."

"Well? The surface's a big place," she objected, "They could be anywhere up there, or down here for that matter."

"Maybe. But, few Goblins feel comfortable on the surface: the open skies, the constant presence of humans and the risk of an embarrassing discovery."

"Huh. Humans. What do they know?"

"True enough," I continued placatingly, "But we know of one place on the surface linked to this case. I know what its like. I've been there, twice. A place carefully constructed to make a Goblin feel comfortable."

"Garrick's place," Luncardy exclaimed, finally getting it, "A real Goblin hideaway. All the comforts of home."

"Right," I agreed, "I could be wrong, of course, and it's quite a gamble. But it sure sounds like a good bet to me."

The Inspector stood quietly for a few moments, lost in thought, her tall angular figure motionless, like a heron in a pond, while the smoke from her ignored cigarette trailed lazily to the ceiling.

"Okay, let's do this," she said eventually, striding over to the table I was sat at and reaching for the telephone.

"Are you going to check with Wester first," I asked, putting my hand on the receiver before she could reach for it.

"No, I am not," she replied, a trace of irritation in her voice, "This is my investigation, not Wester's - and not yours, either."

She took a deep drag on her cigarette and breathed smoke at me through her nose.

"Although I do appreciate your cooperation," she continued more calmly, a touch of warmth in her eyes. Perhaps she could show some graciousness sometimes after all.

I sat back in my chair, reaching into my pockets for my own cigarettes. While I fiddled with the packet and the matches, the Inspector picked up the phone and dialled a short sequence of numbers from memory.

"It's Luncardy," she said into the microphone, "My office, five minutes. Bring the rest of the squad with you."

She returned the receiver to its rest with a clatter and looked directly at me.

"Time to go and organise another raid," she said simply.

Part 80 Part 82