The clouds were looking menacing as D.I. Rhys-Morgan’s Mondeo rolled into the police car park. Despite the threat of rain, however, Rhys-Morgan sat in his car for a few moments after turning the engine off. He wanted some time to collect his thoughts before facing the news that his troops would bring him.
The address that Butterworth had given him had taken the policeman to a flat above “Peter’s Pet Shop”, a small business specialising in birds and reptiles but covering the standard array of small mammals too. No one had answered either when he rang the bell or banged the doorknocker.
There were many innocuous explanations for this: Wendy may have been at the doctor’s, or may have even been too unwell to answer the phone. Indeed, if she was too ill to phone in sick it was unlikely that she would be able to accept visitors. Alternatively, Mr Smeg’s fears may be justified and she may be off somewhere with young Anthony. Then again, Anthony Smeg covered the case of Frank Jackson and Dave Lloyd. Wendy, meanwhile, was a relative, albeit by marriage. If someone had a score to settle, they all made good targets.
The shop itself had been shut, or he would have asked in there if Wendy were about. This was not especially unusual as many shops shut early on a Wednesday but the overall feeling of emptiness and quiet it produced put Rhys-Morgan’s detective hackles up. With nothing more to be learnt from that location, he had taken the precaution of radioing ahead the names of the two absent workers before heading back, so he was expecting a full report on both of them to be sitting on his desk when he got in.
He would just have to wait and see when they turned up. The only real question was whether they would walk in through the front door or were already in the morgue.