Prudence North snatched her arm from the young constable’s steely grip.
‘Sit, miss,’ he said, his tone gruff, his eyes darting in the dim light. He shook a finger towards three chairs around the only table in the middle of the stuffy room.
Too big for your boots, mister. Indignant, she tested for the least soiled, least rickety of them. What sort of muck would need to be cleaned from her dress? Not happy, she sat on the dirty upholstery of one that faced the door. Not. Happy.
Weak shafts of sunlight filtered through the mildewy window, drawing attention to the oily, dust-caked splotches on the table. Dingy. Hardly conducive to calming the nerves.
‘Mr Bankston won’t be long,’ the man said sharply. He pulled the door slightly ajar and couldn’t get out fast enough as he slid through the barest opening. The door shut loudly and ominously. A thin stream of cool air had managed to slip inside but did nothing to cut the thick fustiness.
Her heartbeat was throbbing in her head as she waited. The room—the interview room she’d been told—was nothing but a shabby structure out in the yard somewhere behind the main buildings. And not for the faint-hearted: the whiff of vomit and other effluvia hung in the stale air.
Earlier, two officious, arrogant young constables had arrived at her home insisting that she accompany them quietly to the Bourke Street West police station…