Blackstone and the New World

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Authors: Sally Spencer
the top drawer – and now he was staring mournfully into it.
    ‘Empty!’ he cried. ‘Completely empty.’
    He slid open the second – lower – drawer, and found the same.
    He tried the drawers in both desks, and when he got the same result, he sat down into what had probably been Inspector O’Brien’s chair and buried his head in his hands.
    ‘How could I have been so damn stupid ?’ he moaned. ‘I should have known that this would happen. I should have come here the moment that I heard about Patrick’s death.’
    ‘Perhaps his sergeant has removed the files for safe-keeping,’ Blackstone suggested.
    Meade shook his head despairingly. ‘If Sergeant Saddler had done it himself, he’d only have removed the files that really mattered. But these thieving bastards didn’t know which of the files mattered and which of them didn’t – and that’s why they took everything .’
    He was right, Blackstone thought. Like burglars – which was, in fact, exactly what they were – they hadn’t dared waste time sifting through the documents, so they had simply taken the lot.
    ‘So now we have no way of finding out what case Patrick was working on when he was killed,’ Meade said. ‘And since we don’t know that, a second thing we don’t know is who had the strongest motive to have him murdered by the Five Points Gang.’ He paused. ‘You do believe I’m right, now, don’t you, Sam? You do believe that it was a policeman who ordered his execution?’
    Blackstone nodded. He didn’t want to think that any policeman would have a comrade murdered, but the further they got into the investigation, the more likely it seemed that that was the only possible explanation.
    ‘Sergeant Saddler will know what cases Inspector O’Brien was working on,’ he said, in an effort to cheer Meade up. ‘If he’s anything like me, all the files will be in his head.’
    ‘Yes, they will, won’t they?’ Meade agreed bleakly. ‘And you can’t take files out of a head like you can take them out of a filing cabinet, can you? When they’re in a man’s head, the only thing you can do is kill him.’
    ‘You think he’s dead?’
    ‘I don’t know. But isn’t it likely that he is? They didn’t hesitate to kill an inspector. Why would they even think twice about doing the same thing to his sergeant?’
    Why indeed? Blackstone agreed silently.
    ‘Wait a minute!’ Meade said. ‘There’s one other person who may have known about the case Patrick was working on. And they won’t have dared to kill her, however desperate they were to shut her up – because even sons-of-bitches like them have some standards – even they would baulk at killing a lady.’
    ‘Who are you talking about?’
    ‘Have you ever discussed any of your cases with a woman, Sam?’ Meade asked.
    ‘Yes, I have,’ Blackstone said, as the memories – most of them painful – came flooding back to him.
    He’d discussed his cases with all three women who’d become an important part of his life – Hannah, Agnes and Ellie Carr – and each time it had been a mistake.
    ‘I’d certainly discuss my cases with Clarissa – if I had the opportunity,’ Meade said, a little wistfully. ‘Do you see what I’m getting at here?’
    ‘You think that Inspector O’Brien might have discussed his cases with his wife?’
    ‘I do!’ Meade replied, his natural enthusiasm breaking through to the surface again.
    ‘Then it might be a good idea to go and see her,’ Blackstone suggested.
    ‘Just what I was thinking,’ Meade said.

    P leasant brownstone houses lined the quiet, leafy street. The houses had probably originally been built as private dwellings for single families, Blackstone thought. But that was clearly not the case now – the number of bell-pushes he had observed by every front door suggested to him that while this might still be seen as a desirable area, it was not quite as desirable as it had once been.
    ‘One of the few regrets that I ever heard

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