In the early afternoon the phone rings and the future introduces herself.

Chief Inspector Clare Allison, now attached to the case. The voice sounds friendly, no hint of accusation. That may be a bad sign.

We’re in the kitchen again, Claude has the phone. His first coffee of the day is in his other hand. Trudy stands close and we hear both sides. Case? The word packs a threat. Chief inspector? Also unhelpful.

I gauge my uncle’s anxiety by his zeal to accommodate. ‘Oh yes. Yes! Of course. Please do.’

Chief Inspector Allison intends to visit us. Normal practice would be for both to come to the station for a chat. Or to make statements, if appropriate. However, due to Trudy’s advanced condition, the family’s grief, the chief inspector and a sergeant will come by within the hour. She’d like to take a look at the site of the deceased’s last contacts.

This last, innocent and reasonable to my ears, puts Claude into a frenzy of welcome. ‘Please come. Marvellous. Do. Take us as you find us. Can’t wait. You’ll—’

She hangs up. He turns towards us, probably ashen, and says in a tone of disappointment, ‘Ah.’