So there I was, sitting on the floor, leaning toward the television, trying to keep track of what was going on. Morse was in his office, sitting at his desk, pondering, frowning, trying to work out whodunit. Dreamy music was playing in the background.

Suddenly, he sat up straight and blinked. Something had occurred to him. Something crucial. He got up and opened his door and called down the corridor for Lewis: Lew-is!

And then Dad started. Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is!îHe wouldnÍt stop. Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is!îAnd all the time he was snorting with laughter as if it was the funniest thing in the world. On the television Morse was talking to Lewis, explaining his crucial idea, but I couldn't hear a thing. All I could hear was Dad's crazy braying in my ear: Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew-is! Lew...


I'd got to my feet and was facing him across the room. For God's sake, Dad, just shut up! It's not funny, it's pathetic. You're pathetic. Why can't you just shut your mouth and let me watch the television for once?

He stared at me, stunned. I stared back at him. He put his beer can down on the table. What did you say?

Nothing. It doesn't matter.

My anger had gone. I turned away.

I sensed, rather than heard, the movement behind me, and I turned just in time to see him bearing down on me with his fist raised above his head and drunken madness burning in his eyes.

My reaction was automatic. As I jumped to one side the downward surge of his fist missed my head by a whisker. Then, as his momentum carried him past me, I shoved him in the back. That's all it was, a shove. Just a shove. An instinctive defensive gesture. No more. I didnÍt hit him or anything. All I did was push him away. I barely touched him. He must have been off balance, I suppose. Too drunk to stay on his feet. Legless. I don't know....All I know for sure is that he flew across the room and smacked his head into the fireplace wall then fell to the hearth and was still. I can still hear the sound of it now. That sickening crack of bone on stone.

I knew he was dead. Instantly. I knew.