Read Online Alex by Pierre Lemaitre - Free Book Online

Book: Alex by Pierre Lemaitre Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pierre Lemaitre
Tags: Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Crime
Brooks Brothers suit, Louis Vuitton tie, a pair of Finsbury loafers; sober as always. Camille can’t comment on the socks yet, and besides he knows nothing about socks. Louis looks elegant but, though he’s perfectly shaven, he looks like shit.
    They shake hands as if this is just an ordinary morning, as if they never stopped working together. Since meeting up for the first time again last night, they haven’t really talked. Haven’t even referred to the four-year break. Not that it’s a big secret, no, this is about embarrassment, about grief – besides, what is there to say about loss? Louis and Irène were fond of each other. Camille thinks that, like him, Louis felt responsible for her death. Louis did not lay claim to the same grief as Camille, but he grieved just the same. Grief that was beyond words. Deep down both men were devastated by the same tragedy and it left them speechless. Of course everyone had been shaken, but these two should havefound a way to talk. They never did and gradually, though they still thought about each other, they stopped seeing each other.
    The preliminary report from forensics is not encouraging. Camille flicks swiftly through it, passing the pages to Louis as he reads. The rubber from the tyre tracks is the most common of all kinds and would be found on five million vehicles. The van, too, is the most common make. As for the victim’s last meal: mixed salad, beef, green beans, white wine … It’s not promising.
    They set themselves up next to the big map of Paris pinned to Camille’s office wall. The telephone rings.
    “Hey, Jean,” Camille says, “perfect timing.”
    “Yeah, and good morning to you too,” Le Guen says.
    “I need fifteen officers.”
    “No chance.”
    “Mostly female officers, if possible.” Camille thinks for a moment. “They’ll be needed for at least two days. Three, if we haven’t found the girl by then. Oh, and one more vehicle. No, make that two.”
    “Listen – “
    “… and I want Armand assigned to me.”
    “O.K., well, that I can do. I’ll send him over now.”
    “Thanks for everything, Jean.” Camille hangs up.
    He turns back to the map.
    “So, what are we likely to get?” Louis says.
    “Half of everything I asked for. Plus Armand.”
    Camille keeps his eyes fixed on the map. With an arm at full stretch he could just about touch the sixth arrondissement. To reach the nineteenth, he would need to stand on a chair. Or use a pointer. But a pointer would make him look like a priggish schoolteacher. Over the years, he’s considered a number ofsolutions. Pinning the map lower down on the wall, spreading it on the floor of the office, cutting it into various sectors and pinning them side by side … He’s never actually implemented any of them, since any solution that compensated for his height would simply make things difficult for everyone else. Besides, just as he has at home or at the mortuary, Camille has a battery of equipment here in the office. When it comes to stools, steps, ladders, Camille is a connoisseur. For files, archives, stationery and technical documentation, he uses a small, narrow aluminium stepladder; for the map of Paris a library step-stool, one of the models with wheels that lock when you step on it. Camille rolls it across and stands on it. He studies the main roads that converge on the site of the abduction. Teams will be despatched to do a fingertip search of the whole area; the question is where to fix the boundaries of the search area. He points to an area, suddenly looks down at his feet, thinks for a moment, then turns to Louis and says: “I look like some douchebag general, don’t I?”
    “I’m guessing ‘douchebag general’ is a tautology in your book?”
    They banter back and forth but neither is really listening. Each is pursuing his own line of thought.
    “But still …” Louis says broodingly, “there’s been no van reported stolen in the past few days. Unless he’s been planning this

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