Today's Reading

"The good news," said DCI Lamont, "because you're not going to enjoy my latest report on the diamond smugglers."

"Let me guess," said Hawksby. "They saw you coming and have all escaped."

"Worse than that, I'm afraid. They didn't even turn up, and neither did the shipment of diamonds. I spent an evening with twenty of my men armed to the teeth, staring out to sea. So do tell me the good news, sir."

"As you all know, DC Warwick has passed his sergeant's exam, despite kicking one of the anti-nuclear protesters in the—"

"I did nothing of the sort," protested William. "I simply asked him politely to calm down."

"Which the examiner accepted without question; such is your choirboy's reputation."

"So what's the bad news?" asked William.

"In your new role as a detective sergeant, you're being transferred to the drugs squad."

"Rather you than me," said Lamont with a sigh.

"However," continued the commander, "the commissioner, in his wisdom, felt a winning team shouldn't be broken up, so you two will be joining him as part of an elite drugs unit on the first of the month."

"I resign," said Lamont, leaping to his feet in mock protest.

"I don't think so, Bruce. You only have eighteen months left before you retire, and as the head of the new unit, you'll be promoted to detective superintendent."

This announcement provoked a second eruption of enthusiastic banging on the table.

"The unit is to work separately from any of the existing drugs squads. It will only have one purpose, which I will come to in a moment. But first, I wanted to let you know that the team will have a new DC added to its complement, who may even outshine our resident choirboy."

"This I want to see," said Jackie.

"Well, you won't have to wait long. He'll be joining us in a few minutes. He has an outstanding CV, having read law at Cambridge where he was awarded a blue in the Boat Race."

"Did he win?" asked William.

"Two years in a row," said the Hawk.

"Then perhaps he should have joined the river police," said William. "If I remember correctly, the Boat Race takes place between Putney and Mortlake, so he'd be back on the beat." This elicited more banging on the table.

"I think you'll find he's just as impressive on dry land," said the commander, after the applause had died down. "He's already served for three years with the Regional Crime Squad in Crawley. However, there's something else I ought to mention before—"

A sharp knock on the door interrupted the Hawk before he could finish the sentence. "Enter," he said.

The door opened and a tall, handsome young man entered the room. He looked as if he'd stepped straight off the set of a popular television police drama, rather than just arrived from the Regional Crime Squad.

"Good afternoon, sir," he said. "I'm DC Paul Adaja. I was told to report to you."

"Take a seat, Adaja," said the Hawk, "and I'll introduce you to the rest of the team."

William watched Lamont's face closely as Adaja shook hands with an unsmiling superintendent. The Met's policy was to try and recruit more officers from minority ethnic backgrounds, but to date it had been about as successful in that ambition as it had been at arresting diamond smugglers. William was curious to find out why someone like Paul had even considered joining the force, and was determined to make him quickly feel part of the team.

"These SIO meetings are held every Monday morning, DC Adaja," said the commander, "to bring us all up to date on how any major investigations are progressing."

"Or not progressing," said Lamont.

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