Not being invited in is one of the boxes on the “suspicious behavior” bingo form that every copper carries around in their head along with “stupidly overpowerful dog” and being too quick to supply an alibi. Fill all the boxes and you too could win an all-expenses-paid visit to your local police station.
The Metropolitan Police Service is still, despite what people think, a working-class organisation and as such rejects totally the notion of an officer class. That is why every newly minted constable, regardless of their educational background, has to spend a two-year probationary period as an ordinary plod on the streets. This is because nothing builds character like being abused, spat at and vomited by members of the public.
You put a spell on the dog," I said as we left the house. "Just a small one," said Nightingale. "So magic is real," I said. "Which makes you a...what?" "A wizard." "Like Harry Potter?" Nightingale sighed. "No," he said. "Not like Harry Potter." "In what way?" "I'm not a fictional character," said Nightingale.
If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you've broken the news, so that you're forced to be there when someone's life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn't bother them - such people are not to be trusted.
What frustrated me was the thought that with three thousand years of history someone in China, some monk in a monastery halfway up a mountain, must have developed a magic kata, a physical expression of formae. Or at least have got close enough to explain all those legendary swordsmen and their inexplicable desire to roost on the tops of bamboo trees.
Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.
My Dad says that being a Londoner has nothing to do with where you're born. He says that there are people who get off a jumbo jet at Heathrow, go through immigration waving any kind of passport, hop on the tube and by the time the train's pulled into Piccadilly Circus they've become a Londoner.
What's the biggest thing you've zapped with a fireball?' I asked. 'That would be a tiger,'said Nightingale. 'Well don't tell Greenpeace,' I said. 'They're an endagered species.' 'Not that sort of tiger,' said Nightingale. 'A Panzer-kampfwagen sechs Ausf E.' I stared at him. 'You knocked out a Tiger tank with a fireball?' 'Actually I knocked out two,' said Nightingale. 'I have to admit that the first one took three shots, one to disable the tracks, one through the driver's eye slot and one down the commander's hatch - brewed up rather nicely.
Landscaping is the great cardinal sin of modern architecture. It's not your garden, it's not a park - it's a formless patch of grass, shrubbery and the occasional tree that exists purely to stop the original developer's plans from looking like a howling concrete wilderness.
The general public have a warped view of the speed at which an investigation proceeds. They like to imagine tense conversations going on behind the venetian blinds and unshaven, but ruggedly handsome, detectives working themselves with single-minded devotion into the bottle and marital breakdown. The truth is that at the end of the day, unless you've generated some sort of lead, you go home and get on with the important things in life - like drinking and sleeping, and if you're lucky, a relationship with the gender and sexual orientation of your choice.
If you just warn people, they often simply ignore you. But if you ask them a question, then they have to think about it. And once they start to think about the consequences, they almost always calm down. Unless they're drunk, of course. Or stoned. Or aged between fourteen and twenty-one. Or Glaswegian.