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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)

The doorbell rang, rousing me from my thoughts. It wasn’t a common occurrence, an evening visitor, not since we moved to Surrey; I couldn’t even remember the last time we’d had friends over.

“Are you expecting someone?” I called out, but there was no reply. Kathy probably couldn’t hear me over the TV.

I went to the front door and opened it. To my surprise, it was Chief Inspector Allen. He was wrapped up in a scarf and coat, and his cheeks were flushed.

“Good evening, Mr. Faber.”

“Inspector Allen? What are you doing here?”

“I happened to be in the neighborhood and thought I’d pop in. A couple of developments I wanted to tell you about. Is now convenient?”

I hesitated. “To be honest, I’m just about to cook dinner, so—”

“This won’t take long.”

Allen smiled. He clearly wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so I stepped aside and let him enter. He looked happy to be inside. He pulled off his gloves and his coat. “It’s getting bloody cold out there. Cold enough to snow, I’d bet.” His glasses had steamed up and he took them off and wiped them with his handkerchief.

“I’m afraid it’s rather warm in here,” I said.

“Not for me. Can’t be too warm for my liking.”

“You’d get on with my wife.”

Right on cue, Kathy appeared in the hallway. She looked from me to the inspector quizzically. “What’s going on?”

“Kathy, this is Chief Inspector Allen. He’s in charge of the investigation about the patient I mentioned.”

“Good evening, Mrs. Faber.”

“Inspector Allen wants to talk to me about something. We won’t be long. Go upstairs and have your bath, and I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” I nodded at the inspector to go into the kitchen. “After you.”

Inspector Allen glanced at Kathy again before he turned and went into the kitchen. I followed, leaving Kathy lingering in the hallway, before I heard her footsteps slowly going upstairs.

“Can I get you something to drink?”

“Thank you. That’s very kind. A cup of tea would be lovely.” I saw his eyes go to the bottle of vodka on the counter.

I smiled. “Or something stronger if you prefer?”

“No, thank you. A cup of tea suits me just fine.”

“How do you take it?”

“Strong, please. Just enough milk to color it. No sugar, I’m trying to give it up.”

As he spoke, my mind drifted—wondering what he was doing here, and if I should be nervous. His manner was so genial it was hard not to feel safe. Besides, there was nothing that could trip me up, was there?

I switched on the kettle and turned to face him.

“So, Inspector? What was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Well, about Mr. Martin, mainly.”

“Jean-Felix? Really?” That surprised me. “What about him?”

“Well, he came to the Grove to collect Alicia’s art materials, and we got talking about one thing and another. Interesting man, Mr. Martin. He’s planning a retrospective of Alicia’s work. He seems to think now is a good time to reevaluate her as an artist. Given all the publicity, I daresay he’s right.” Allen gave me an appraising look. “You might want to write about her, sir. I’m sure there’ll be interest in a book, or something like that.”