There was a scratching noise on the inner door.
Michel jumped to his feet. “What is that noise?” he asked, fearfully.
For answer, I opened the door. A small ball of orange fur ran in and leapt on the desk. Michel squawked.
“Relax,” I said. “Meet Yankee.”
“Ah, a cat! I see!”
Nothing got past Michel. However, I was pleased to see how he fussed my cat.
“And what is that room?” he asked, pointing to the door from where Yankee had made his entrance.
“That’s my flat. I have a suite of rooms here and have had one redecorated as an office. Come through and take a look.”
Michel was very complimentary as I showed him round. I was quite proud of my little home, and had gradually improved it over the five years I’d been here. The proportions of the rooms helped, with their calm space, well lit from the large, balconied windows, and airy due to the high, ornate ceilings.
“It is fantastique, a beautiful apartment.”
“I’m glad you like it. Well, back to the drawing board. I’ll bring you up to date with the case while you make some notes for your own reference, and then we’ll discuss our next move.”
Michel looked elated.
“You are employing me, then?”
“Well, I’ll give you a go, Michel. And you may as well start now.”
I told him everything I knew about the de Vonnerai case, finally showing him Antrime's photo. His face was expressionless as he perused it.
“He does actually look like a villain, does he not?” He gave a mirthless laugh. I took the photo and looked again.
“I suppose he does.”
I traced the line of Antrime’s jaw with my fingertip. With his designer stubble and hard chin, he did look quite formidable.
“A Bond villain,” I said softly. I could even have fallen for him, if I hadn’t been so determined to bring his ass to justice.
I hope the book does well. Watch this space!