J enny brought her Audi to a halt across the road from the bungalow. The curtains were open and there was a Renault saloon parked in the driveway.
‘Looks like they’re in,’ said Nightingale.
‘What are you going to say to them?’ Jenny asked.
Nightingale shrugged. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘I’ll probably wing it.’ He pulled his pack of Marlboro from his raincoat pocket.
‘Not in the car,’ she said.
‘It’s a non-smoking car?’
‘I was joking,’ said Nightingale. He opened the door and climbed out. He lit a cigarette as Jenny got out of the car and locked it. Nightingale blew smoke up at the sullen grey sky. ‘I want to know if they knew Gosling, or if they got my sister through an intermediary. And if there was an intermediary, I need to know who it was.’
‘And if there wasn’t?’
‘Then I want to know if Gosling said anything to them.’
Nightingale took a long drag on his cigarette, held it deep in his lungs, and then exhaled slowly. ‘That’s where the winging it comes in. It’s like any good interrogation: you go where it takes you. If you go in with a fixed line of questioning you can miss the point.’
‘They’re not going to want to talk to you, you know that?’
‘They might. I’m her brother, remember?’
‘The brother of the woman who murdered five children,’ said Jenny. ‘Remember?’
‘I’m sensing a lot of negativity,’ said Nightingale. ‘Does this mean that you don’t want to come with me?’
‘Jack, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,’ she said. She nodded at the house. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing the master at work.’
‘Watch and learn,’ said Nightingale, flicking what was left of his cigarette into the road. ‘Watch and learn.’
Jenny followed Nightingale to the front door and watched as he pressed the doorbell. There was a buzzing sound inside the house.
Nightingale stamped his feet on the doorstep. ‘It’s bloody cold, isn’t it? he said, his breath feathering in the air.
‘They’re saying it might snow over the next few days.’ Nightingale grinned. ‘So much for global warming.’ He pressed the doorbell again. ‘Come on, come on,’ he muttered. ‘We’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ He pressed the doorbell again and kept his finger on it.
‘Jack!’ said Jenny, jabbing him in the ribs. ‘You can’t do that.’
‘If they’re not in, it doesn’t matter; if they are in, they shouldn’t be ignoring us.’
‘I said we should have called first. At least we’d have known they were in.’
Nightingale took his finger off the doorbell. He pushed the door but it was locked.
‘Jack, you can’t do that.’
Nightingale grinned. ‘Just checking,’ he said. He stepped back from the house and sighed through pursed lips. ‘Let’s have a look around the back.’
‘Let’s not,’ said Jenny.
‘Just a look,’ said Nightingale. ‘What harm can it do?’