"Is zere a cargo manifest?" DeMaurier asked, walking into the evidence room. "For zee Armored Car murders?"
"I put it on your desk, Detective," one of the officers told him.
"Zank you, Darla," he said. "Were zere any security cameras around the scene of crime?"
Darla replied, "I'm working on pulling the footage now, Sir."
"Excellent," DeMaurier replied, heading for his desk to look through what cargo the armored car was carrying.
He leaned back in his scarcely cushioned chair and studied the manifest.
Date and time for pick-up: Tuesday, October 15, 2009; 6:00 am
Customer name: John Smith
Customer address: 135 Parkingtin Way
Package destination: Bedford Heights First National Bank, 7183 Grontase Street
Package identification number: 09346298
"Gehrig?" DeMaurier asked his partner. "Care for anazer interview?"
"Always, Sir," Gehrig replied eagerly, putting down his notes from the Sunnydale interviews. "Who are we talking to?"
"Zee owner of zee package being transportated by zee armored car."
"I thought armored cars were only for bank jobs?" Gehrig asked as he quickened his pace to keep up with the Frenchman.
"Zee package was ‘eading for a bank," DeMaurier explained. "And it was zee only package being picked up by zat car."
Gehrig's brow furrowed. "So, he's a rich guy?"
"By zee name of John Smith."
"But nobody's named John Smith!" Gehrig argued. "That's always a faked name."
"Monsieur Gehrig," DeMaurier began, starting up the sedan and pulling into traffic, "zat is precisely zee reason we are paying him a visit."
Gehrig was silent for a few minutes during the car ride; deep in thought. "Sir?" he began tentatively.
"What is it, Gehrig?" DeMaurier asked.
"Well, Sir, I was just thinking, about the interviews at the apartment."
"What about zem?"
Gehrig bit his lip before responding. "Mrs. Latimer, Number 4C, she said that she was out walking her dog early this morning, and wasn't home."
"I remember. Does zat bozer you?"
"A bit, yeah. I thought I saw a "No Pets" sign outside on the building. Did you see it, Sir?'
"I did not notice one," DeMaurier admitted. "What do you propose to do?"
"After this Smith feller, perhaps we can swing by Sunnydale and re-question Mrs. Latimer?"
DeMaurier nodded and smiled. "You are thinking like a proper copper, Gehrig. Good job."
"Thank you, Sir."
DeMaurier pulled up in front of a vast, empty field and parked the car.
"What are we doing here, Sir?" Gehrig queried. "I thought we were going to that Smith guy?"
"We are," DeMaurier replied with a furrowed brow. "Zee address was 135 Parkingtin Way, was it not?"
Gehrig nodded. "Think so."
"And zees is 135 Parkingtin Way, is it not?"
The officer looked out of the window and turned his gaze up and down the deserted street. "Looks like it." Turning to DeMaurier, Gehrig continued, "What d'we do now, Sir? We can't interrogate someone at a place that doesn't exist."
"What I'd like to know," DeMaurier said thoughtfully, "is how the armored car drivers made the drive from here to zat alleyway in about twenty minutes."
"They couldn't," Gehrig supplied. "Even if no-one was on the road, it would take them at least thirty-five."
DeMaurier smiled. "And what do you make from zat knowledge?"
"They came early?" Gehrig guessed helplessly. Suddenly, his jaw dropped open and his eyes widened in realization. "Or the package was picked up somewhere else!"
"Monsieur Gehrig," DeMaurier began, clapping the other man on the shoulder, "we'll make a proper DS out of you yet."
"A what, Sir?" he asked.
"Detective Sergeant, Monsieur."
Gehrig looked at the Frenchman curiously. "Isn't that a British thing, Sir?"
"Oui," DeMaurier responded, starting up the sedan again and turning around to head back to the station. "Don't you Americans have somezing like zat?"
"Don't think so," Gehrig told him.
"Strange," DeMaurier commented.
Gehrig spoke up, "Don't forget about Mrs. Latimer at Sunnydale."
"Why would I forget such a possibly important clue, Gehrig?"
"Just making sure," Gehrig replied quietly.
"There it is!" Gehrig exclaimed pointing to the large orange sign pasted to the side of the apartment complex. "‘No Pets Allowed' all in big block letters."
"Very good, Gehrig," DeMaurier complimented. "Let us go and speak with Madame Latimer."
The two men took the three flights of stairs at a run, and approached Number 4C.
"Shall you, Monsieur?" DeMaurier asked, gesturing for Gehrig to knock on the door.
"Ar-Are you sure?" Gehrig asked. "Remember what happened last time?"
"Zees is your lead, Gehrig," DeMaurier told him forcefully. "You can do it."
"Okay," Gehrig nodded, taking a deep breath and knocked on the door.
The door opened seconds later, to reveal a middle-aged woman with long dark hair. "You again?" she asked in a bored tone of voice. "What happened this time?"
"Mrs. Latimer," Gehrig said, lapsing into a Cockney accent and flashing his badge quickly, "I'm DS Gehrig of Scotland Yard, and I have a follow-up question or two for you."
She raised a thin eyebrow. "You weren't British this morning. Do you change nationalities after every meal?"
Gehrig ignored her comment and continued with his faux-accent. "You said this morning you were out walking your dog during the time in question. But you don't have a dog, do you?"
"Of course I do," Mrs. Latimer responded sharply. "Why would I lie about that?"
"There's a sign, outside your building, that expressly prohibits the having of pets, Mrs. Latimer," the officer explained. "How are you in possession of a dog to walk?"
"You caught me in my own web of lies, Sir," the woman said flatly. "I wasn't walking my dog, because, as you so aptly pointed out, pets are not allowed."
"Then where were you?"
She sighed. "I was with my lover. From six last night ‘til half-past seven this morning when I came back here."
"And he'll back up your tale?"
"Only too happy to do so," she replied.
"Mr. Latimer doesn't know about this lover?"
She smirked. "There hasn't been a Mr. Latimer since 1992. He died."
"I'm sorry for your loss," Gehrig replied. "I couldn't imagine losing my wife like that."
DeMaurier cleared his throat loudly.
"Oh, right," Gehrig fumbled for a new page in his notebook. "I need your lover's name and address, Mrs. Latimer."
"Jo Plonkinstein, 572 Rongdise Lane."
Gehrig scribbled the information in his notebook. "I think that's it, Mrs. Latimer," he said, slipping his pencil behind his ear and closing his notebook. "Nope, I have one more question: Why did you lie about your whereabouts and your lover? You've only implicated yourself."
"My lover is married, Officer," she told him. "I didn't want to cause any more trouble."
"Have a good day, ma'am," Gehrig said.
She replied the same, and closed the door.
"How did I do, Sir?" Gehrig asked DeMaurier as they left Sunnydale.
"Lose the accent, Monsieur," he informed his junior partner. "You sound like a far-too-happy chimney sweeper."
Gehrig nodded and resumed his normal speaking voice. "But besides the accent?"
DeMaurier nodded. "Very nice, Gehrig. Straight, to zee point, and trés informative."
"Shall we go and question the lover?"
Before he could answer, DeMaurier's cell phone rang out.
"Is that La Marseilles?" Gehrig asked.
"Oui," he responded proudly. Pulling over to the side of the road, DeMaurier answered the call. "Alloa?"..."Ah, oui?"..."Merci, Doctor. On zee way."
"What was that about?"
"Doctor Miller has finished zee postmortem on zee armored car drivers," DeMaurier responded. "And she ‘as some information for us."