I felt sorry for the poor bastard as I rifled through everything I could find about him back at the office. His name was Christian Bell, he was forty-five years old and as far as I could tell, he didn't have any enemies who would want him dead.
'This is useless,' I moaned, pushing myself away from my desk and sighing. 'Have you got anything?'
'Zilch,' Charlie replied. 'This guy is as clean as they come. Nothing to suggest a motive for murder.' I grabbed a pile of paper desperately and began flicking through them at a fast pace.
'Bills, all paid on time. Mortgage, paid off. No loans, no unexpected influx of money to suggest he was involved in something dodgy.' I threw the papers back down. This can't be murder or we are missing something big.' Charlie was remaining her calm, stony self as I ranted on, not even looking away from her computer screen to watch the expression on my face. 'OK then, I'm going to have to talk to his wife.' I stood up from my chair, clearing all the papers into a sort-of neat pile. 'Are you coming?'
'Mrs Bell?' The woman at the door nodded. 'My name is DI Harrison and this is DI Broker.' I handed her my ID and watched her face carefully as she studied it. 'May we come in?'
'What's wrong?' The woman's eyes took on a mad quality. 'What's happened?'
'Please, let us come in.' She paused. I could see the thought process going through her head before she nodded and held the door open for us. I nodded to Charlie and we stepped over the threshold and into the house.
'First door on the left,' she called ahead of us. I opened the door and walked into a clean but small kitchen and stopped and leant against a counter. 'Do you want to sit down?'
'Thank you Mrs Bell.' Charlie took a chair at the table and I moved to sit next to her. 'Could you join us?' Mrs Bell seemed reluctant to sit with us but pulled out a chair all the same.
'I'm sorry to have to tell you this Mrs Bell but your husband was found dead this morning.' Her eyes closed and she took a sharp intake of breath.
'No, it's not true.' She shook her head, eyes still closed. 'It can't be true, it just can't.'
'I'm so sorry for your loss Mrs Bell,' I said as sincerely as I could, trying to make the situation better. Unfortunately it didn't seem to help.
'Stop saying that! He isn't dead.' She opened her eyes and I could see a mixture of anger and sadness in her eyes. 'I'd like you to leave. Now!'
I stood up and took a card out of my jacket pocket. 'We need to speak to you urgently Mrs Bell. When you feel you are ready, give us a call.' I held out the card and when she refused to take it I put it on the table. 'We'll see ourselves out.' She didn't say anything as I left with Charlie.
I felt a release of tension as I shut the front door behind me. 'I hate doing that,' I said to Charlie as we walked back to my car.
'I can't think of anyone who doesn't hate it,' she replied blandly. 'Anyway, seeing as that hasn't taken us any further, I suggest we catch up with what the others are doing.'
'Good idea,' I said as I climbed carefully into my car.