Both he and the Chief had taken to calling Clyde dé Crozon by his first name. It wasn’t as if he didn’t know the spelling. Tobi could spell his full name, but it was the pronunciation that was the real issue. The name wasn’t even English. When he asked Cole why the name sounded like that, Cole had told him it was because the name was French.
And after witnessing the horrible way the Chief had mispronounced his name when he first came to the department, Tobi for his part had decided to stick to the one he could pronounce, instead of calling the man’s name as if he was swearing for him.
“I would start by mentioning that the Eel paid me a visit at my apartment last night.”
Both Tobi and Chief Rikau sat forward at that. The Eel? Was this man serious?
“Are you saying he entered inside your house?” Tobi asked. “How did he even know where you’re staying?” And what would even make a criminal like that go and present himself to the person the President had brought to make sure he was arrested? Tobi couldn’t even bring himself to understand what Mr Clyde was saying.
“Detective, this isn’t your everyday criminal. Calling the police to inform them in advance that you will kill a minister is not common in Nigeria, yes?” Tobi shook his head, dumbfounded. The Chief just adjusted himself in his seat, looking from Tobi to the man across his table as if he wanted to be sure he had heard the correct thing.
“If it is not common, then I don’t have to remind you that. He knows where I live, oui, but I dare to say I know more about him than he thinks: he didn’t bother to walk into the house on tip-toe, and he wore a flat-soled shoe, presumably made of fabric or suede. A sensible decision, since it would give less volume to his footsteps.”
The Chief had a bewildered expression on his face. “You saw him?”
“Goodness me, no! My work here would have been done if I had. You see, he stole in while I took my bath and left me this note,” he said bringing out a piece of paper. Tobi looked at that paper, and as he did, his mind seized on one word: fingerprints! “He left you a note in your office as well the day he called, no?” he nodded at the Chief.
“Yes,” Chief Rikau answered. Tobi deflated as he himself remembered. They had dusted that note for prints as well, and they had found none. What was now to say that they would find any on this one?
“I did not see who paid me a visit, messieurs, or whether it was even a man, but I took it upon myself, after discovering this note, to search the rug in my parlour for footprints. It is a given for me that, no matter how stealthy anyone might be, no human has been able to defy gravity. He must have walked. Once I had established that, it wasn’t difficult to find depressions in the rug, since the one I was furnished with had the good fortune being rather soft. The depressions I saw were those of full-size feet, not just big toes, as they would have been if he tiptoed. You follow my deductions, gentlemen, yes?”
“Yes, I understand,” Tobi said. He was a detective, after all, and that was straightforward enough. “But how did you know what kind of shoe he was wearing?”
“Oui oui, that too. You see, with a heeled shoe, like a loafer, the prints of the side of the foot do not reflect on the floor, because they are suspended above the heel. That means depressions made by those shoes are in the exact shape of the sole of the shoe. But they did in this case, resulting in wider foot depressions, as is normal with flat-soled shoes.
“And by the lucky mistake of his clothing getting caught on my door handle, I also know he wore a material of black silk, the type too light to be worn without anything else. So unless the Eel goes about dressed in female nightwear, I’ll say a safe deduction is that he dresses in a black cloak when he is on duty. I rest my case.”
Tobi’s mouth seemed like it had stuck open. The first one had been easy to understand, but this man had him completely lost with this one.
“When you get to a height in your career like mine,” he said dryly, “you find that things like these come naturally, and in this case, I presume, that since explaining my methods may prove too tiresome, inference alone shall suffice.”
Tobi looked at the Chief, and the Chief looked at him. Things were moving too fast for either of them to track.
“But you’re saying the Eel came to your house,” Tobi said slowly.
“I said, detective. He did, I did not see him, he is gone, and now we have to find him. You saw those young men I brought here, yes? They are former acquintances. You remember the first murder the Eel took responsibility for?”
“Mrs Durojaiye’s own?”
“Yes. He committed that murder with the use of a sniper rifle, no?” Tobi nodded. “Well, I have a lot of investigate experience, gentlemen, but those gentlemen downstairs have exclusive knowledge of the usage of firearms. You say the fact the woman was killed from outside her house stumped your investigation, no? These men I brought with me can help us move it forward.”
“Who is he talking about?” the Chief asked.
“Two guys like these, downstairs,” Tobi replied.
Those guys he had seen could help them unravel the mystery of what happened in Ms Felicia Durojaiye’s bedroom? There was only one thing Tobi could say to that.
“Then let them help us. If they have knowledge of those things, we have to see if we can work with them.”
“Have you asked them yet?” Chief Rikau asked.
“Non. I have not.”
“So what are we waiting for?” Tobi asked, already wheeling himself out from behind his table.