The Sous-chef was on the floor. I left the knife where I found it, in a red puddle beside his foot. Its blade pointed towards the door, as if indicating the escape direction of the guilty party. The stainless steel worktop dripped and I noticed more splatters up the wall, behind the sink. A saucepan had overturned, spilling its now-smoking contents over the hobs.
A constable came in. “We have him sir; he was outside the rear entrance, behind some dustbins,” his face registering shock as he looked around at the scene.
“Where is he now?”
“In the car, sir.”
“Keep him there.”
The constable backed out slowly as I turned around, taking in details. A handprint, red and smudged, hailed me from the fridge door. I felt something drip onto my left shoulder. I knew what it was even without looking up, but I looked anyway – curiosity is like that. Then I heard a muffled voice behind me.
Knee joints clicked as the Sous-chef rose to his feet, a look of triumph on his face as his arm withdrew from under the fridge with his prized wooden spoon, a gift from Keith Floyd apparently.
“So much for Hell’s Kitchen eh, officer?”
“Well, when the Maître announced Gordon Ramsay’s arrival the chef became agitated, to say the least. Then, while he was plating Mr Ramsay’s Penne al Pomodoro, I happened to mention he’d forgotten the basil and then …” He waved his spoon around the kitchen.