When Claire met Maeve

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What happens when the protagonists from two brilliant crime series collide?! Here we see Sinéad Crowley's DS Claire Boyle in an imagined encounter with Jane Casey's police detective Maeve Kerrigan.

Posted on June 1, 2017 in Partner in Crime
Tags: Jane Casey, claire boyle, maeve kerrigan, one bad turn, sinead crowley

Jimmy had no time for guards. Not that he’d turn them away, Christ no. It was hard enough to fill the pub midweek, there was no way he couldn’t welcome a group so clearly bent on a session. Still though. Bloody coppers.

“Could I have a gin and tonic please?”

At least this one was good looking. Nice voice too, one of those posh English accents, the nice clear type. Jimmy handed over her drink and waited while she counted out the money, peering at each coin in turn.

“Sorry, not used to euros. Here –“

She smiled at him.

“Keep the change.”

Yep, a lovely looking bird. Jimmy returned the smile, and nodded towards the gang in the corner, who were getting even louder now as the level of the beer in their glasses sank.

“Are youse celebrating, or what?”

“Something like that.”

It was a clear dismissal, but she was so pleasant about it that he didn’t take offence. She didn’t join the others, however, moving instead along the bar to where another, older woman was sitting, staring at her phone. Jimmy didn’t mean to listen into their conversation. It was just that bit of the bar needed cleaning, that was all.

“Hi Maeve! Sorry, I was miles away. You okay for a drink?”

The younger woman raised her G and T.

“Fine thanks. God, it’s nice to be in a place where people can pronounce my name straight off! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it!”

The older woman grinned.

“Irish grandparents?”

“Parents, actually, yeah.”

Jimmy had to move away again then to rack up another row of pints but bits of their conversation filtered through to him, something about summers in the west and rain on caravan roofs, and by the time he had everyone settled the women were sitting together, deep in conversation like the best of buddies.

“You were a great help”, the older woman was saying. Actually, she wasn’t that old, Jimmy could see now. Probably not 40, even. Just hassled looking. The prettier one clinked her glass.

“Thanks Claire. I wasn’t sure it would work when the boss first said it to me, our procedures are pretty different. But I guess when you have a suspect living between two countries it helps to share information.”

“And we got him.”

“We did.”

A roar came up from the group at the other side of the bar and the two women raised their heads.

The younger one, Maeve, raised her eyebrows.

“They seem pleased.”

“Sure.”

Claire shrugged.

“It’s not every day the daughter of a former ambassador is found dead. Getting the guy, and so quickly – everyone is on a bit of a high. I’m sure it would be the same in London?”

Maeve drained her drink.

“Of course. Would you like another one?”

Even standing where he was Jimmy could see the Claire one had a goo on her for another drink but she pulled her phone towards her first.

“I’d love to but I’m not sure – my husband is at home with my little girl, I have to see if he has any plans.”

She tapped at her phone and the other woman gave a fleeting smile.

“You have a daughter? What age is she?”

Jimmy had to stop himself from laughing out loud. He’d heard that tone of voice before, usually on a first date, with one half of the couple trying to sound interested in football or musicals or whatever the hell the other had just declared a passion for. But Claire saw right through it too and didn’t go down the whole  ‘yeah she’s gorgeous do you want to see some pictures’ route. Instead she tapped out a quick text message, then put the phone down again.

“Yeah, she’s nearly two, she’s great. What’s that, a G and T?”

She beckoned Jimmy over and he took his time over filling the order. He was interested in them now. Best part of the job, really, getting a look into other people’s lives.

The older woman was still talking.

“I’m guessing you don’t have any?”

Maeve shrugged.

“Not on the radar, to be honest with you. Maybe someday but –“

Claire smiled.

“Didn’t occur to me either until I was well into my 30s. You’ve no rush.”

“Was it hard?”

Jimmy put the fresh drinks down on the counter and was close enough to see the genuine interest on the younger woman’s face. Claire grinned.

“What, having her? The epidural is your best friend, and you can quote me on that!”

But the younger woman didn’t return the smile.

“No, I meant coming back to work, after. Was it hard?”

Claire handed over her credit card and Jimmy read the name before inserting it into the machine. Claire Boyle. Rang a bell, He thought he’d seen her on the news alright. Bit of a high flyer where guards were concerned. She was shaking her head now, deadly serious.

“Hard? Not really. I love my job Maeve, you know how that feels. I liked being at home with Anna but I loved going back too, it’s what we do, you know? It’s hard to leave that –“

Jimmy took the credit card out of the machine, handed it to Boyle who was still talking.

“I’ll tell you what though Maeve, you have to be careful about one thing. Who you have the kid with.”

She took a large sip of her drink and looked down at her phone again.

“This ‘having it all thing’ is a load of shite, there’s no such thing as ‘it all’, what does that mean anyway? You can work and have a kid, of course you can. You can’t do it on your own though, so whoever the Dad is, chose wisely. Sorry to come across all Yoda on you, but that’s my two cents worth.”

“I –“

Maeve started to speak but a huge roar came from the gang of cops and the women grinned at each other instead. It was a grin that Jimmy, one of five brothers reared by a single mother recognised only too well.

“They’re delighted with themselves.”

“Yeah.”

Claire took the credit card back, put it in her wallet.

“It came together fairly handy in the end.”

Meave nodded.

“Mobile phones. Best thing ever happened to the force. Once we proved Paul Clarke’s phone was in the area where Aoife was found, well, there wasn’t much to argue about.”

Claire shook her head.

“No. Didn’t make him crack though, did it? He’s still claiming he had nothing to do with it, even after being charged.”

“Wasn’t just the phone though, was it?”

Maeve took a quick look around the bar then lowered her voice.

“Aoife’s brother swore he saw his car in the area too. I mean, he’s her brother, why would he lie about something like that? So you have a witness, and the mobile phone evidence – there was plenty there to charge him.”

“Yeah.”

Both women fell silent, and the Claire spoke again.

“They weren’t close though were they? Aoife and the brother. They hadn’t spoken in years according to her mate. So it was surprising really, how upset he was. I mean, I know he was her brother but…”

“And he inherits the lot, now.”

It was as if Maeve had finished the other woman’s sentence and they stared at each other.

“What time’s your flight in the morning?”

“Not till 12. Why, do you want another drink?”

“No.”

Claire put her phone in her pocket.

“I was thinking, actually of heading back to the office for an hour. Tidying up a few bits.”

Maeve glanced over at their colleagues, now discussing the match that was flickeringly soundlessly  on the TV.

“I might come with you. If you don’t mind.”

The others didn’t notice as they slipped on their coats and headed out a side door. They left a decent tip for Jimmy too. But even if they hadn’t, he wouldn’t have minded.

One Bad Turn by Sinéad Crowley, the third in the DS Claire Boyle series is out now

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