Read the rest of the story in Stained Glass Lives.


There’s a kind of freedom in having nowhere to go. The interview room is perfectly plain and untouched by distraction, as bland as weak tea without milk or sugar, the sort the trainees make when they don’t really give a damn.

Sitting here opposite DCI Wine, I view my interior gallery of memories and pluck one out. Chloe running into the sea in a red swimsuit, the white foam at her legs, barking at her flesh to get wetter. I watched under my blue sunhat. It was June.

My terrace house, 47 Tribune Crescent, is on a small estate, tucked away behind the arcades, just a short walk from Talacre beach and the rise and fall of the sand dunes. Chloe loved pelmets, curtains, blinds, wind chimes and bird feeders. It seemed to me that she spent all her time either dressing the house or feeding the birds; there was never enough time for simple things, like a cup of sweet tea and a bourbon.

Now there is nobody to close the curtains or pull the blinds shut against the dark; their slit-like eyes watch me through till morning. The fabrics wait. How do you tell a house to stop mourning? Her touch is everywhere, in the sway of the pelmets, the surge of the curtains and the tap of the blinds. The wind instruments from outside join in with the cruellest lament inside – she is gone, gone.

The wind was throttling the wind chime for hours last night, a long, painful death. There was so much fabric moving and remembering her in the storm that I decided to come here to talk to DCI Wine. I’ll see what she has to say. You see, I haven’t been arrested but have come here of my own free will. The truth is, I’m in no rush to return to the folds and pelmets. The wind will come whether I want it to or not to tap tap tap on the windowpanes.