Winter suited Willesden. Its trees were created to drip, its canal to wear a muffler of mist, its pavements and roofs to reflect the lights of winter streets and the cloudy winter moon; few daytime things decorated the north-west London sky more poetically than the steam clouds from the power station cooling towers flying from the hair of God. The simile was not of Davies' making—he was of simpler stuff—but from the imagination of Mod, his friend, the philosopher of the dole queue.
'Winter becomes Willesden,' he repeated in a literary whisper, surveying both from the public library window. 'In the way that mourning becomes Electra.' He turned his bulbous eyes on Davies. 'If you get my drift.'
'Of course,' replied Davies. 'Totally.' He glanced at the reading-room clock. 'Isn't it time you knocked off,' he suggested.
'You wouldn't be the detective you are if you did not possess such powers of observation,' nodded Mod deeply.
'The little hand's on five and the big hand's nearly on twelve,' added Davies.
Ponderously Mod began to fold his books. 'Opening time,' he agreed sagely. 'What deduction!" He rubbed his eyes. It had been a long day in the reading room. He made a ritual of the closing of covers and Davies sat down, damp in his mackintosh, and waited while he completed it.