‘PC Packer? OK. He’s been released from hospital, but he has quite severe burns on his face and hands.’

Grace thanked him for the information, then called Loretta Leberknight. When he told her what had happened she laughed sympathetically. ‘I’ve known that before,’ she said.

‘There’s one thing that’s bothering me, though,’ Grace said. ‘His first two names, Norman John. When we spoke originally, you told me that adoptive parents change their names, or perhaps move the birth name to a middle name. In this instance he has both names. Is there any significance?’

‘None,’ she said. ‘Most parents change but some don’t. Sometimes if a child isn’t adopted for a while they go to a care home – foster parents – and then they’ll probably end up keeping their birth Christian names.’

Grace bumped straight into Glenn Branson as he headed across to his office.

‘What you looking so pleased about, old-timer?’ Branson asked.

‘I’ve got some good news. And hey, you’re in a pretty sunny mood yourself today,’ Grace said.

‘Yeah, well, I’ve got some good news too.’

‘Tell me.’

‘You first.’

Grace shrugged. ‘You remember that nasty social worker in the adoption services?’

‘The one with the pink hair and bright green glasses? Face like roadkill?’

‘The very one.’

‘Got a date with her, have you? She’d be well fit. So long as you take a paper bag to put over her head.’

‘Yes, I have got a date with her. And her boss. At three o’clock this afternoon. Remember I told her that if she was withholding information that could be helpful to us, I would hang her out to dry?’

Branson nodded. ‘Yes.’

‘Well, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to hang the bitch out to dry.’

‘Not that you’re a vengeful sort of person.’

‘Me? Vengeful? Nah!’ Grace looked at his watch. ‘I’ve just had an interesting time down at the town hall and the reference library. You’re going to like this a lot. I think we are game, set and match on Norman Jecks. Fancy a lunchtime jar, and I’ll tell you about it?’

‘I would – but I have to dash out.’

‘So what’s your good news?’

The DS beamed. ‘Actually, you know what, it’s probably good news for you too.’

‘The suspense is killing me.’

His beam broadening into the happiest smile Grace had seen on his friend’s face in many months, Glenn Branson said, ‘I’ve gotta go see a man about a horse.’

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