Dead at First Sight by Peter James Read Online (FREE)
Dead at First Sight by Peter James
Originally published: May 14, 2019
Author: Peter James
Preceded by: Dead If You Don’t
Followed by: Find Them Dead
Genre: Police procedural
Monday 24 September
Life may not be the party we’d hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance, Gerald Ronson used to say. It was Gerry who had put him up to this, the reason he was standing in the arrivals hall of London’s Gatwick Airport. A bit difficult to dance at this particular moment, but inside him, boy, was his heart pounding away!
She would appear at any moment.
His upright military bearing, conservative tweed suit, suede brogues and neat grey hair barbered earlier today were at odds with the sheer, utter childlike joy on his face. His whole body was jigging with excitement. With anticipation. His stomach was all twisted up. He felt like a teenager on a first date, except he was approaching sixty, and he knew it was ridiculous to be like this, but he couldn’t help it. And, hey, this day had been such a long time coming – almost a year – he could scarcely believe it was finally here – that she was finally here!
Most of the people massed alongside him were chauffeurs, holding up placards bearing the names of their pick-ups, peering hopefully at the throng emerging through the sliding doors. But Johnny Fordwater, instead, clutched a massive bouquet of pink roses, so big he needed both arms to hold it. Normally the former soldier might have been embarrassed about carrying a bunch of flowers, he wasn’t really a flowers kind of guy, but today was different. Today he didn’t give a monkey’s what anyone thought. He was walking on air. And he only had one thought.
Ingrid. She would be coming into the arrivals hall any second. The love of his life. Who had told him she loved pink roses. And rosé champagne. A fine bottle of that was on ice, awaiting her, back in his flat in Hove. Laurent Perrier, vintage. Classy.
For a very classy lady.
The wait was tantalizing. The butterflies were going berserk inside him. Butterflies he’d not felt since that first date with Elaine, over forty years ago, when as a teenage student he’d nervously climbed out of his rust-bucket of an old Mini and walked up the garden path of her parents’ house close to Brighton seafront.
A cluster of people emerged through the doors. An elderly couple being driven on a buggy, their luggage stacked behind them. A large Middle Eastern family, accompanied by a porter with a loaded flatbed trolley. A mother wheeling a suitcase with a small boy trailing behind her, pulling a little suitcase striped like a tiger. A group of serious-looking suits. Two nuns. A man in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops with a woman wearing a sombrero the size of a tepee, each pushing along gaudy wheeled cases.