When Erika emerged from Marsh’s office, Woolf was waiting for her in the corridor.
‘I didn’t grass you; he got a call from the landlord at The Crown. Then he demanded the logbook from the front desk.’
‘It’s okay. Thank you.’
As Woolf went off to get changed and go home after a long night shift, Erika wondered who else from London’s criminal underworld was able to pick up the phone and call Chief Superintendent Marsh.
By mid-morning, the incident room at Lewisham Row was hectic. Phones rang, faxes and printers churned, and police officers rushed in and out. Erika and Sparks were sitting in a corner with Marsh and Colleen Scanlan, the stern and rather matronly police media liaison officer. They were working through what was going to be covered at the press appeal.
‘So I finish with my introduction and then we’ll hear from Sir Simon,’ said Marsh. ‘I think he wanted to use autocue for this, if we can arrange that?’
‘That shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll need his final text within the next couple of hours to get it emailed over and loaded up,’ said Colleen.
‘Okay,’ said Marsh. ‘So, Sir Simon will say: “Andrea was an innocent, fun-loving twenty-three-year-old with her whole life ahead of her . . .” Then we’ve got her picture flashing up on the screens behind us. “She never hurt anyone, never caused anyone pain, and yet here I am, a heartbroken father, making an appeal for witnesses to a horrific crime, the murder of my daughter . . .” Shouldn’t that be “an” horrific crime?’
‘“An” would actually be incorrect,’ said Colleen. ‘Although it’s a common misconception. You only use it as an indefinite article when the following word begins with a vowel sound…’
‘We want this press conference to be an open, down-to-earth line of communication to the public’, snapped Erika. ‘Let’s not waste time debating the correct bloody grammar!’
‘Okay, so, “a horrific crime”,’ said Marsh.
It pained Erika that the press conference was being built around evidence she felt was circumstantial, and that the team who she thought she’d bonded with had seized upon Sparks’s weak theory with such zeal. She had to admit that to an outsider, the Rivoli Ballroom theory had more credence. She cursed herself for being so stupid and going off on her own to pursue the Glue Pot barmaid and Ivy Norris. She should have taken Moss or Peterson. She looked over at them both working the phones, trying to track down Marco Frost.
She turned the Frost theory over in her brain, and a sliver of doubt flashed through her – but then her gut instinct kicked in. Her gut was telling her she was on to something with Andrea meeting the dark-haired man and blonde girl in The Glue Pot. Even if her two witnesses had been unreliable, was it likely that they would be unreliable in exactly the same way? Both Ivy and Kristina were people who existed uncomfortably on the wrong side of the law. It would be easier for them to say they knew nothing, that they hadn’t seen Andrea . . . Erika suddenly realised that Marsh was talking to her.
‘DCI Foster, what do you think? Should we mention the Tina Turner video? Colleen thinks yes.’
‘The Rivoli Ballroom. It’s a very famous old venue, and Colleen thinks a fact like that will stick in the public’s memory, make them remember the appeal, and it could lead to increased word-of-mouth.’
Erika still looked nonplussed.
‘Tina Turner filmed her Private Dancer video at the Rivoli Ballroom back in 1984,’ said Colleen.
‘She did?’ asked Erika.
‘Yes. So shall we put that in with the appeal, with the photo of the venue?’
Erika nodded and looked down at the itinerary they were compiling. ‘Where are we going to say that Andrea was in Forest Hill? Her clutch bag was recovered on London Road.’
‘With media appeals we need to narrow things down, present a clear concise message. If we say she was in one place and then another, people will get confused; they need continuity,’ explained Colleen, a little condescendingly.
‘I understand how these things work, thank you. But this appeal is a great opportunity to gather information. This skates over vital clues as to how Andrea went missing,’ said Erika.
‘We’re aware that she may have been in the location in question, but we have no hard evidence. There is no CCTV footage, or witnesses. The killer must have used a car; he could have thrown that bag out of the car window on London Road,’ stated Marsh.
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