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Pashazade by Jon Courtenay GrimwoodThe sound of fountains came in stereo A deep splash from the courtyard below and a lighter trickle from the next room where open arches cut in a wall that over-looked the courtyard had marble balustrades stretched between supporting pillars It was that kind of house Old historic near derelict in places Ambient temp 81 Fahrenheit humidity sixty-two percent The American spoke clearly reading the data from the face of his watch then glanced through a smashed window to what little he could see of the sky outside Passing cloud no direct sunlight Dropping clumsily onto to one knee Felix Abrinsky touched the marble floor with nicotine-stained fingers confirming to himself that this statement was correct The tiles were warm but not hot No latent heat had been stored up from that mornings sunshine to radiate back into the afternoon air Bizarrely it took Felix less effort to stand than it had done to kneel though he needed to pause to get his breath all the same And the silver-ringed hand that came up to wipe sweat from his forehead only succeeded in smearing grease across his scalp and down his thinning ponytail Police regulations demanded he wear a face mask surgical gloves and - in his case - a sweat band to stop himself from accidentally polluting biological evidence But Felix was Chief of Detectives and so far as he was concerned that meant he could approach the crime scene how he liked which was loose casual and lateral Not to mention semi-drunk All the virtues that first got him thrown out of the police in Los Angeles Besides if you wanted to talk about should have been he should have been on holiday and would have managed it too if this particular buck hadnt been bumped up the line so fast it practically hit the wall parking itself right outside his office door The body in the chair was
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