‘The fact that Barbora was in a sexual relationship with Igor Kucerov and that she went into the witness protection scheme and committed suicide is not redacted,’ said Erika. She noticed that Linda was shaking, her eyes filling with tears which spilled down her cheeks.

‘How did she do it?’ asked Linda.

‘She hung herself. She was terrified. So now do you see how important it is that we find out the truth about Igor Kucerov? He is linked directly to Andrea.’

Linda wiped away her tears. ‘I met him a couple of times, at a club in Kensington and a pub in Chiswick. As I’ve said before, Andrea got loads of male attention; she was always stringing them along. Andrea used men like tampons: she was happy to have them up her for short time, but then she flushed them away.’

There was a silence. The solicitor couldn’t hide his distaste. Erika opened a folder, took the note she’d received, and placed it in front of Linda.

‘What can you tell me about this?’ asked Erika, watching Linda’s face.

‘It’s the same note you showed me before. When you came by the florist.’ She looked up at Erika. ‘It was sent to you?’

‘Yes. You can see that as well as being personal to me, it taunts the police about the death of Andrea, and the other murder victims.’

‘And why are you showing me?’ asked Linda, icily.

‘Linda, we’ve seen your record. You’ve made it quite a habit, sending threatening mail. You’ve previously sent letters to Giles Osborne, and others. Teachers, a doctor, Andrea’s friends. You even sent letters to Barbora. She spoke of it in her interview, which we have on record.’

‘Again, DCI Foster, this is all circumstantial,’ said the solicitor. ‘You are crudely attempting to connect the dots, and trying to trick my client into talking. She won’t.’

‘Well, she can talk, or her silence can be just as damning. Linda, it’s you, your father, Giles, Barbora, Igor. You are all connected. We have your laptop and the hard drive is being searched. We’ve seized computers from your father and Giles. It’s only a matter of time before we link it all together. Talk to me, Linda; I can help you.’

‘No. I won’t,’ said Linda, sitting back in her chair. She picked some fluff from her jumper, and then regarded the officers. She now seemed in full control of her emotions. Erika could barely hide her frustration.

‘You like cats?’ asked Peterson.

‘Oh dear, we are desperate, aren’t we?’ Linda smiled, flirtatiously. ‘Mr Lloyd should I go ahead and answer that? I wouldn’t want to implicate myself in a cat scandal too.’

The solicitor rolled his eyes and nodded.

‘Yes, DI Peterson, I like cats.’

‘Do you have a cat?’

‘Not right now,’ she said, stiffly.

‘Do you have any other relevant questions?’ asked Mr Lloyd.

‘No. That’s all for now,’ said Erika, trying to save face. When they came back outside into the corridor, Woolf was waiting.

‘What?’ she snapped.

‘It’s Marsh.’

‘Not now. I’ll call him back.’

‘He’s here, in his office, and he wants to speak to you.’


Marsh was pacing up and down in front of the window when Erika knocked on the door of his office. When she entered, he stopped and stared at her. He wore crisp white chinos, an open-necked shirt, and had an arty flat cap on his head. Despite everything, Erika had to suppress a smile.

‘Are you going for the David Beckham look, sir? Or is that your painting outfit?’

‘Sit down,’ he said, pulling off the hat and chucking it on the papers piled high on his desk. ‘Are you out of your mind, DCI Foster? Do you know the shit storm you’ve stirred up, arresting the Douglas-Browns? I’ve had calls coming in from the cabinet office.’

He seemed weary, fed up of the whole situation.

‘Sir, if you’ll listen . . .’

‘No. I’m ordering you to release Sir Simon, Linda, Giles Osborne and Igor Kucerov from custody, do you understand? You’ve exposed someone in the witness protection scheme, you’ve been openly discussing the details of a criminal trial marked CMP . . .’

‘Sir, Barbora Kardosova killed herself, which means she is no longer in witness protection.’ Erika went on to explain the money transfer between Simon, Giles and Igor, and the statement from Barbora, linking Igor to the trafficking of Eastern European women. She left out the doubt about him being in the UK at the time of Andrea’s murder. ‘You’ve got to admit, sir, even as a coincidence all this stinks.’


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