Anne still hadn’t looked up. Carol said, “Mark knows about my personal life, Anne, so this isn’t a surprise for him.”

Carol realized, as Anne finally met her glance, that it was anger, not embarrassment or disdain, reflected on the young constable’s face. “It isn’t fair. That little bastard shouldn’t be able to use it against you.”

Carol could hear the resignation in her own voice as she said, “It had to happen one day.”

“How do we handle it?” said Bourke.

Carol had thought this through. “People in the Service will know, and that means there’s a good chance the fact I’m a lesbian will go further. And, of course, there’s Raeburn and his daughter, the private detective they used…”

“You could deny everything.”

“I could, Anne, but then I’m just reactive, and at a disadvantage. I want to have some sort of control here. The Commissioner knows, and so will my other superiors after this meeting. Aside from that, I’m not making any statements to anyone, but if I’m asked a direct question, I’ll answer it directly.”

“What do you want us to do?”

She sighed. “Mark, what do I say to you? It’s up to you what you say or don’t say.”

Anne said, “What about the media?”

Carol smiled grimly. “I haven’t quite decided. Frankly, I hope I don’t have to, but I’m inclined to think that ‘yes, so what?’ may be the way to go.”

Bourke stood. “I’m off to intimidate Kenneth Raeburn,” he said cheerfully, rubbing his hands together. “And believe me, I’m looking forward to it.”

Carol called the college where Sybil taught part-time. After an interminable delay, she felt her heart jump as she heard Sybil’s familiar voice. “It’s me.”

“Carol? What’s wrong?”

“Does something have to be wrong?”

“For you to ring me at work-yes.”

As she told her what had happened, Carol was conscious that Sybil might welcome what she, herself, dreaded. What might represent freedom to Sybil meant loss of control to Carol.

Sybil said, “I’ll come back home.”

“No, don’t,” she said involuntarily.

There was a long pause, then, “You don’t want me there?”

“It’s not that-”

“What is it, then, Carol? Worried that my presence will confirm the gossip? That people will come round to see for themselves?”

“I don’t need this!”

Sybil was immediately calm. “No, you don’t. I’ll stay away, Carol, but we need to talk. Do you agree?”

“Yes, of course.”

Sybil’s voice was husky. “I love you. I don’t want you hurt, and I don’t want to cause you any more problems. Call you tonight, okay?”

Carol shut her eyes, confused by guilt, love and misery. “Okay,” she said.


Early on Wednesday morning Bourke bounded into Carol’s office. “We got Berringer. A little worse for wear.”

“He put up a fight?”

“Hardly. What he did do was try to shake Kenneth Raeburn down over Collis’ homosexuality. I’d say Raeburn wanted to flush Berringer out of the woodwork, so he arranged to pay him off. Berringer won’t say how much it was, and he didn’t have it long. He had time to boast a bit about how smart he’d been, then two very large gentlemen gave him a very painful going over and, to add insult to injury, took the money back. That was enough to send Berringer straight into hiding.” He grinned with obvious pleasure as he added, “Our Kenneth didn’t take at all kindly to my visit yesterday, so I imagine he’s going to be even more unhappy today after I mention including him in possible assault charges when we pick up his goons.”

Carol showed her doubt. “What credibility would this Berringer character have in court against someone like Kenneth Raeburn?”

“Very little,” said Bourke agreeably, “but I’m going to have fun suggesting it’s a possibility. This should shut Raeburn up quite effectively.”

“Anne called in a few minutes ago. She’s found a cub reporter on the Sentinel who fielded a telephone inquiry about whether Collis Raeburn was dead, but it was on Sunday, before his body’d been found. The journalist was just a kid, and didn’t realize there might be something worth following up.”

“Don’t suppose the person left a name?”

Without pleasure Carol said, “No, Mark, but it was a woman. Also, I called Pat at work this morning and asked her some questions about the Saturday night reception at the Museum of Modern Art.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Helpful?”

“I think we’re near an arrest. I’d like you and Anne in my office at two.”

“Come in, Inspector. We’ve been waiting for you.” Carol felt like an interloper, guarded on one side by Mark Bourke and by Anne Newsome on the other. She said formally, “Thank you for agreeing to a joint interview.”

Alanna went to stand beside Lloyd Clancy. Behind them, through the open balcony doors, the blue water of Manly Cove shimmered in the afternoon sun. Carol felt a pang of pity and compassion as she saw Alanna take Lloyd Clancy’s hand and hold it tightly.

Lloyd Clancy gestured, the thoughtful host. “Please, make yourselves comfortable.”

Alanna and Clancy sat beside each other on a couch, still holding hands. Carol thought of all the roles these two had taken, where intense, flamboyant emotions were translated into glorious music. She remembered Aida where, as now, they were doomed lovers. This was an anticlimax, this real drama ending so mundanely in a harborside apartment.

“You know why we’re here,” Carol said with quiet authority.

Alanna looked at her steadily. “Yes, we do.”

“Do you object to us recording this interview?”

Alanna shook her head slowly, and Bourke efficiently set up the tape recorder on the coffee table. He nodded to Carol to indicate he was ready. She took no pleasure in reciting the formal words of the caution, adding to make sure they understood, “You don’t have to say anything now if you don’t wish to.”

“It’s quite all right,” Alanna said. “It’ll be a relief, actually.”

Bourke said, “Collis Raeburn didn’t kill himself. He was murdered in a way that was intended to look like suicide.”

Lloyd Clancy sighed. “I’ll save you the trouble of spelling it out. I can’t imagine how to say this without sounding overly dramatic, but I killed Collis. No one helped-it was just me.”

Carol said with real regret, “That’s not true.”

“Sweetheart, don’t,” Alanna said to Clancy. “I’m sure the Inspector knows.”

Lloyd was haggard, but his look to Alanna was so full of love that Carol almost winced. She said, “You went to a lot of trouble to make people think you hated each other.”

“We thought it would stop any suspicion that we might be working together,” said Alanna. She looked embarrassed. “The idea of threatening to sue Lloyd was my idea, but it was over the top, I see that now.”

“Why did you make the phone calls to check if Raeburn was dead? You knew he was.”

Lloyd knew,” said Alanna, “but I didn’t. We couldn’t be seen anywhere near each other at the reception, that would have been too dangerous. And we’d agreed not to use the telephone because there might be a record of the calls. I kept on thinking that Collis might be lying there, still alive, and if he were to recover…” She made a face. “It was stupid, but I had no idea when the hotel would open

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