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Guy Bishop arrived at the home on Wednesday morning to find D. I. Parsons already there, her Starbucks latté in one hand, and police tape cordoning off the garden outside his father's room. Guy jogged over to Parsons, shrugging off an officer's attempt to move him back. He skirted the tape and hailed her. "Detective Inspector! Detective Inspector Parsons!" When she didn't immediately turn, he cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, "PAULA!"

She turned around, shading her eyes in the morning sun, mouth set in a grim line. "Mr Bishop, stay behind the line, please."

"That's my dad's room!" Guy tried again to duck under the tape, but was pulled back. "What's happened? Where's my dad?"

"Go around the front, Guy, Harry's fine," Parsons said, trying to keep the ice out of her tone and partially succeeding. It came out mildly frosty. "We'll need to talk to you anyway."

Guy frowned. "What's happened?"

"Did you know a Miss Dewser?" Parsons asked him. "She was part of your History Society, wasn't she?"

Guy nodded. "Maddie, yeah. Yeah she was." He smiled, warming the hazel flecks in his eyes. "You look good, Paula."

"See her recently?" Parsons asked.

Guy scratched his trimmed beard, shaking his head. "We were meant to be having a meeting tonight, to talk about... some sort of memorial for Mr Domov. It's been a complete shock. Is she alright?"

Parsons brought her latté up to her chest, holding it like a shield. She shook her head slowly, allowing a little kindness to break through her veneer. "I'm sorry, Guy. Your father said that something came through the window and attacked them both. Miss Dewser wanted to talk to him about Mr Domov - he mentioned there was a memorial service or something being planned. He's alright, but... Miss Dewser tried to fight off whatever it was and succeeded. It was too much for her, though. She collapsed from her injuries, and I'm afraid she's no longer with us."

Guy shook his head. "It's... incredible. I don't know what to say." He looked lost. "Is dad alright? Can I see my dad?"

"Sure." Parsons motioned with her head. "Go around the front, he's in the living room with the other residents."

Guy nodded, and rubbed his hands together with nervous energy. "Thanks, Paula. Detective Inspector." He gave her a sheepish grin, and jogged off around the corner. The garden was well kept and tended largely by the more active residents, but no one was outside this morning. That was odd in itself. Every time Guy came to visit his father there was someone ankle-deep in fertilizer or hedge trimmings, and a cheerful old lady he had never properly spoken to would always stop weeding to wave to him with a bright smile. Without these familiar faces, the flowerbeds seemed bare.

The receptionist was subdued as he entered, sensing a definite pall over the place. "Hi, Glen. I'm here to see my dad."

Glen nodded, pushing the visitor's book at him across the desk. "Sure, mate." Guy didn't know Glen socially, but Glen was the sort of friendly guy who called everyone 'mate', and meant it.

Signing his name and noting the time, Guy missed out the car registration box and just headed for the lounge. The corridor felt longer, even though he picked up his pace, dodging around a carer. The lounge was a large, spacious room, warm brown wood panels giving it the feel of a luxury room in some stately home, the walls lined with bookcases and the leather sofas and high-backed armchairs always putting Guy in mind of a Victorian Gentleman's Club. The shelves were stocked with folio editions of the Classics and the full series of Encyclopaedia Britannica; there was even a large antique globe with gold and mahogany settings in one corner near a stack of collectable maps. The Home had, in fact, been the recipient of many house clearances and donations over the years, including Harry Bishop's private collection which had been impossible for him to leave behind in his old flat above the shop. Guy recalled his father's collection with fondness, and was only to happy to see it here, displayed alongside other collections, still pored over and giving others joy.

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