Sir John sat alone in the Church of the Artists. Miss Henderson and Morag were out walking and the vampires were huddled in their lair, trying to work out where the final key piece lay. Sir John had dropped the mask of enthusiasm he had been wearing and stared vacantly ahead. Occasionally he sighed. There was a knock at the door, and he pulled himself up and walked to it, opening it slowly. Outside were two men in police uniforms.
“Madame Bellvoix est-elle ici?” said the taller one.
“I’m sorry,” said Sir John. “My French is… Je parle seule un peu Francais.”
“Anglais?” asked the Policeman. “Parlez Anglais?”
“Oui, yes,” said Sir John. “Both.”
The Policeman looked puzzled.
“I am English and I speak English,” Sir John said. “What is the matter?”
“Is Madame Bellevoix here?” said the Policeman.
“Er, no,” said Sir John. “She went out… I don’t know when.”
“But she lives here?” said the Policeman.
“As much as she lives anywhere…” said Sir John. “Has something happened?”
“Do you recognise these?” said the Policeman and held up a set of keys with a fob. Written on the fob was Sabine’s name. “Do these belong to Madame Bellevoix.”
Sir John squinted at the keys.
“Maybe,” said Sir John. “I couldn’t swear to it. Did you find them somewhere? I can keep them and see if they are hers when she returns?”
The two policemen glanced at each other then spoke quickly and quietly in French. Sir John couldn’t quite keep up. The shorter man stepped forward.
“We want to speak to her as a witness to a suspected murder,” he said. “The keys were found at the scene, so we cannot let you have them. But we would like to know if you see her. Can we take your name please?”
“Yes, of course,” said Sir John. “It’s Sir John Jennings. I live in London but we are visiting here.”
“We?” said the Policeman.
“My wife and I,” said Sir John. “She’s French.”
“May we speak with her?” said the Policeman. “She may know something.”
“Er…no,” said Sir John. “She is away.”
“She will be back later?” said the Policeman.
“Not today, not… well I don’t know when,” said Sir John and looked down.
The policemen glanced at each other.
“Does anyone else… stay here?” said the short policeman.
“My maid…” said Sir John, “ and… er… some friends, some times, but they are out too.”
“May we come in?” said the taller policeman.
“It’s not very convenient at the moment,” said Sir John.
The policemen spoke quickly in French again.
“Do you know an Emile Planquette?” asked the short man.
“Yes, yes,” said Sir John. “He is a friend of mine. But he’s not here either.”
“We are aware of that,” said short policeman.
“How do you kn…” started Sir John. “Wait, is it Emile? The victim?”
“Yes,” said the short policeman.
Sir John moaned, tipped back and held on to the door frame.
“Dead?” he said.
“Yes” said the policeman.
“How?” said Sir John. “What happened?”
“We believe he was poisoned in his home, from the condition of the body. We found these keys next to his corpse. So naturally we are keen to speak to Madame Bellevoix.”
“Sabine?” said Sir John. “They were… they were very close… they were…”
“Lovers?” said the policeman.
“Something like that,” said Sir John. “I don’t believe it.”
“That she killed him?” said the policeman.
Sir John shot the policeman a sharp look.
“That he’s dead!” shouted Sir John. “I’m sorry she is not here, but Sabine would never hurt him.”
He slammed the door on the police.
“Would she?” he said.