TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
Hiding the Elephant – Chapter 16
In the middle of the road, and in full view of Debbie Jones, the heavily breathing Leon Lewis who’s just catching up with her and several dozen armed response officers, Sergeant Tully holds her as no one has held her since Mother died. Her sobs are muffled by his chest, and his arms are firm and generous around her. He smells of stale sweat, tobacco and Branton Estate fires. The coarse fibre of his coat is rubbing her cheek raw but she doesn’t dare leave its rough comfort.
‘There, there. You have yourself a little cry. It’s been a long day. Here.’ Tully detaches her face off his front enough to wipe it with a handkerchief. ‘Go on, take it. You can blow your nose better if you do it yourself.’
And Emma does, blows it properly as she was taught, first one nostril then the other. Then the final swipe, just in case.
‘That’s the girl. Come with me. You’d better see for yourself.’ Tully moves her on, off the road and into the ploughed field.
‘I’ll go and square it out with the Super, shall I?’ Debbie’s question is rhetorical, for she’s already gone, dissolved in between the shrubs, and Emma wonders how so many people manage to turn invisible at will.
They are skirting the hedge, meandering a long way round. Emma stumbles a couple of times, her high heels sinking into the soil. The hedge is alive with uniformed bodies leaning against tree trunks and squatting in between bushes. Scared, or bored or impatient? Please God, don’t let them be impatient.
Lock Up Your Daughters – Chapter 16
The back room of The Pen and The Wig smelled of cat pee and furniture polish. There was a dining room table pushed into one corner with three wooden chairs around it. It probably wasn’t used for dining much because the tabletop was covered end to end with sixpacks stacked three tiers up.
Tully led them through to the three-piece suite at the other end. Debbie and Warner sat side by side on the wooden two-seater with removable Regency striped cushions. Grant was ushered into the matching armchair after Tully had shaken a large tabby cat off it and turned the cushion to the other side.
He scattered a number of crisp packets on the glass-topped occasional table and opened the fridge. ‘Name your poison.’
‘Just some mineral water for me, please,’ Grant looked at his watch. ‘I’ve got to drive to Leicester tonight. I’ve got to be there for eight thirty or else I’ll be skinned alive.’ In fact, the agreed time was nine, but he was playing it safe.
The two Constables talked Tully into bringing them draught Carlsberg from the bar.
‘And some pork scratchings,’ said Debbie.
‘And some cashew nuts. The salted ones,’ added Warner. ‘If I may be so bold, Sarge.’
‘More like brazen.’
Tully left the door to the bar open and the heat, the smoke and the noise all rushed in together in one crushing blow. Debbie opened the back door, but the air outside was still and humid, like an insult added to injury.
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