J enny was signing for a letter when Nightingale arrived back at the office. A cycle courier in skin-tight black Lycra leggings and a fluorescent green top nodded at him.
‘Aren’t you cold out there?’ asked Nightingale. ‘It’s brass monkeys.’
‘It’s fine so long as you keep moving,’ said the man. He had a New Zealand accent and sun-bleached hair that suggested he was more at home on a surfboard than pedalling around the streets of London. Jenny handed him back his receipt pad and thanked him.
‘It’s the DNA results, I had them do a rush job,’ said Jenny as the courier headed out. She smiled brightly at him and held up the envelope. ‘Do you want to open this or should I as part of my secretarial duties?’
‘You go ahead,’ he said.
She opened the envelope and took out a sheet of paper. ‘And the winner is…’ She frowned as she read the letter, then looked up. ‘I’m sorry, Jack. She’s not related to you.’
Nightingale shrugged. ‘Nothing to be sorry about, kid,’ he said. ‘She killed herself, remember. If she’s not related to me then my sister’s still out there somewhere.’
Jenny reread the letter and then gave it to Nightingale. ‘I don’t understand this,’ she said. ‘Why did the Ouija board tell you to go to Abersoch in the first place? What was to be gained by sending you to see a girl who’d just killed herself?’
‘I wish I knew,’ said Nightingale. ‘But I think that pretty much proves it wasn’t Robbie talking to us.’ He read the letter from the lab. It confirmed that there were no matching sequences in the two DNA samples.
‘Well, if it wasn’t Robbie, who was it? And who would want to tell you that your sister is going to Hell? Do you think it might be Proserpine?’
Nightingale didn’t say anything.
‘You look like a kid who’s just been caught stealing sweets,’ said Jenny.
‘I do not.’
‘You’ve been up to something.’
Nightingale held up his hands. ‘Guilty as charged,’ he said. ‘You should have been a cop.’
‘What did you do, Jack?’
He sighed. ‘I called up Proserpine.’
Jenny’s eyes widened. ‘You did not!’
‘Why ask if you don’t believe me? I summoned her, and it isn’t her behind the messages. And it wasn’t her down in the basement. She said that my sister’s soul was nothing to do with her.’ He took off his raincoat and hung it on the rack by the door.
‘And you believe her?’
‘I don’t think there’s any reason for her to lie. Maybe it’s like Barbara said and it’s our subconscious at work.’
‘You mean we were pushing the planchette? Because I wasn’t. Were you?’
‘Not deliberately, of course. That’s the whole point of the subconscious, isn’t it? It works without you knowing why or how.’
‘But at one point it was moving on its own, Jack. And the spinning globe? The books? I didn’t tell Barbara about that, but we saw what we saw. Something was down in the basement with us, and it wasn’t Robbie. And if it wasn’t Robbie last time, maybe it wasn’t Robbie before. Which means that someone or something wanted you to go to Abersoch.’ She flashed a smile. ‘But at least now we know for sure that Connie Miller wasn’t your sister.’
‘Yeah, Thomas was telling the truth after all,’ agreed Nightingale.
‘So what are you going to do?’ asked Jenny.
‘I’m going to find her,’ said Nightingale.
Nightingale grinned. ‘I’ve got a plan,’ he said. ‘I’m a private detective, remember? Finding missing people is what I do.’
‘By the way, I looked at the DVD with the files from Connie Miller’s computer.’
Nightingale shrugged dismissively. ‘You can leave that now. There’s no connection to me.’
‘Jack, there could be a serial killer out there.’
‘That’s the police’s job.’
‘I’m serious, Jack. She spent a lot of time on sites about depression and suicide. And she was getting a lot of email from a guy in Caernarfon. He wanted to meet her. His name’s Craig. Caernarfon Craig he calls himself.’
Nightingale frowned. ‘The cops should have followed that up.’
‘I don’t think so. She was using a separate email account that she’d set up just to log on to some of the darker sites.’
‘How did you find that out?’
‘One of the files you downloaded had her passwords.’
‘The cops would have found that, surely?’
‘I don’t think so. It was tucked away in one of her correspondence files. She was pretty good at covering her tracks. I think she wanted to talk to people without them knowing who she was. There’re a lot of weirdos on the internet.’
‘Send it to the cops, Jenny. Let them follow it up.’
‘And how exactly would I explain away the fact that I’ve got copies of her personal emails?’
‘Okay, what do you want to do?’
She smiled. ‘Like you, I’ve got a plan.’