Tobi was down in the Chief’s office when he came in, talking with Chief Rikau and Cole. The door opened behind him, and Tobi turned around and saw him. While the detective had been hearing a lot about Clyde dé Crozon for years, he hadn’t seen the man’s face before, and had told Cole to Google him some pictures so he would know what exactly the investigator they were expecting looked like.
With all the photos he had seen, it wasn’t difficult at all to recognize him when he came in. He was tall, had smooth black hair with only a little bit of white, clean-shaven, and he himself was white. Cole had told him that he was from France.
Tobi had seen a picture the man took shaking hands with Barrack Obama. For God’s sake, this man had stood in the same room and taken a picture with the President of America, and not just was he here under LIPD’s roof, but inside the Chief’s office itself.
“That’s all, Cole. You may go,” Tobi said, giving him a look that said they would see later to finish what they had been talking about. Cole nodded and then left, his eyes almost never leaving Clyde dé Crozon’s face.
“Good morning, Mr de Crozon,” the Chief said, on his feet. Chief Rikau, the Chief of police himself, standing up to greet another person, and not the other way around. It was more than a little bit of a shock, and Tobi would definitely have stood as well if he hadn’t been in a wheelchair he couldn’t stand up from.
And the Chief had badly mispronounced the man’s name, calling his surname “Corzun” or something, Tobi wasn’t even sure.
“Good morning,” the man replied, then drew out a chair and sat, beside Tobi. He nodded at Tobi, and Tobi nodded back.
He was a detective, but he honestly couldn’t believe he was meeting Clyde dé Crozon in person. Or that they were sitting just beside each other.
“We have been expecting you for almost a week, what happened?” Rikau asked, resuming his seat.
The man smiled a little. “Let us say I wanted to form a first impression of the country on my own. I actually stayed in a hotel.”
“Okay, if you say so. I am Rikau Abdul, Chief of Police here at LIPD,” he said, gesturing to himself. “And this is Detective Tobi Akano, the detective in charge of the case,” he said with the air of someone presenting an important trophy. Tobi bowed, flattered that the Chief could introduce him with that much regard in his voice.
“Ah, yes, how do you do?”
“Fine, thank you sir,” Tobi replied.
“I must say, I have been very interested in this case from the day I heard about it first. You are on this wheelchair today because of service to your country, and I daresay there’s no better sacrifice you could make.”
If Tobi had been flattered before, it couldn’t hold a candle to how happy he was to receive compliments from someone of such international repute. The Chief could not have looked more proud.
“I followed the case details on the web. Killing your Minister for Defense. I suppose your country has seen nothing as sophisticated as these two attacks, non?”
Tobi shook his head slowly, wondering if that was the correct answer. Even the Chief leaned across the table a little to try and hear properly. Clyde dé Crozon had just said no, in a way that sounded like “nor?” Tobi wanted to answer that, yes, the country hadn’t seen any attacks like that before, but in one sentence the lead detective of the LIPD’s Homicide Division had lost track of whether the correct answer to a question was yes or no.
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“In the first instance, he killed a woman from outside her house. My research people” which was Kunle “told me that it’s only a sniper that could shoot and kill somebody like that, but. . . ” Tobi shrugged.
Clyde dé Crozon fixed him a look of mild disbelief. Tobi didn’t know what that was about.
“You have been named the “city’s greatest detective”, do you know? Tell me, detective. Do you feel worthy of such praise?”
Tobi merely shrugged his shoulders. “I wasn’t aware that was what they were calling me.”
That was the truth, but he also supposed it was his prowess as a homicide detective that had earned him that status in Lagos, and he was very happy to hear it from the mouth of someone like the man sitting beside him. Even though he had no idea what all these questions were about.
“Hmmm. I also observed that the investigation made into the case is very minimal. I don’t see how you can possibly hope to nab a criminal without investigation. I have handled cases, the mere relating of which can make your blood curl. You won’t know anything about anything, detective, if you don’t investigate.”
Tobi sat up. He was not going to take this criticism lying down.
“You must also understand, sir, that between both attacks was just a week’s interval. For the second one, we weren’t even sure that the call we received here wasn’t a prank. We had just three days between that call and the minister’s murder. We couldn’t even convince the ministry to take the call seriously. This is what I received when I drove to the ministry to continue investigating,” he slapped the arm of his wheelchair. “So yes, sir, I gave this case the regular amount of investigation— ”
Clyde dé Crozon laughed, cutting him off. Tobi frowned.
“Detective, come on, are you not the police? Were you able to determine if the criminal in the first murder was a man or a woman during the seven days before the call?”
“No, but— ”
“You had no information at all, and you let a felon determine the duration of your investigation, such as it is, the extent of your planning. . . But identifying flaws won’t do us a large amount of good now, yes? So, detective, please tell me anything you know about the perpetrator of these murders.”
The room became silence