TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
Hiding the Elephant – Chapter 24
‘Risk is our business. Sooner or later such characters turn up somewhere, wanting more money,’ Boyson got up to leave even though Grant had in no way indicated that the interview was over. ‘If the police can’t find him, what chance do we stand?’
Grant beat him to the door. ‘What makes you think we’re looking for him?’
There was a flinch. Only a small, momentary one, but Grant was sure it was there. The eyelids dropped for a split second, the fingers of the left hand twisted the rim of the brown suede hat that was still speckled with raindrops gathered on the way from the car park.
But the amused gaze returned, the mouth twisted into a another unshakable grin. ‘I did my homework, Mr. Grant. DS Loveland had the decency to warn me I was going to be interviewed by your good self. I’m usually not much into provincial news, but I felt I had to look you up. A week ago a child in your village was run over by a big, unidentified white car. A large, white Mercedes was found in the garage of the girl murdered over the weekend. And you come all this way in person to ask me questions about Cedric Humberside, the keeper of a large, white Mercedes.’ Boyson chuckled and quickly patted Grant on the arm with his hat. ‘Give me some credit. Bookmakers may not be on the top of anyone’s trustworthiness list, but we can always be trusted to put two and two together.’
Bloody Carlton and his passion for press releases. The man didn’t know where to stop.
Loveland waited for Grant. ‘Any luck?’
‘Damn all. Don’t know what I’ve expected. But, I’m sure he’s been paid. Someone’s paid off Humberside’s debts. And I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t Humberside himself. Can’t prove any of it, of course. Not yet.’
‘I’m looking into some rumours that are flying about at the moment. Apparently, Boyson and his son-in-law are expanding into contract market,’ said Loveland. In spite of the rain he walked Grant out to the car park.
‘Contract as in contract killing?’ Grant threw his briefcase into the boot and slammed it shut. That piece of information opened up mind-boggling possibilities.
‘Anything that’s going, I shouldn’t wonder.’Lovelandpulled up his collar and moved closer to the wall of the station building for some dubious protection from the rain. ‘Insurance fraud, child snatching, big business that, child snatching, a lot of demand, and yes, I suppose contract killing as well. I’ll let you know if something turns up.’
Lock Up Your Daughters – Chapter 24
‘No one does that any longer,’ laughed Angel.
‘No one does what any longer?’ If Sara had stayed around or if Angel had some other woman friend, someone older and with taste and style, she wouldn’t be wearing those embarrassingly tight whatdoyoucallthem? – leggings – over her ample thighs with both her bottom and her stomach sticking out like two split-level halves of a water melon at the front and the back of her. The cropped top, low cut and sleeveless, did little to cover the excess flesh above the waist either.
‘Open the letters with a paper knife.’
‘There are certain advantages in being a dinosaur. You get to touch a lovely object like this one.’ He stretched his arm to show her the finely carved ivory of the handle.
She stepped back quickly and brought her right hand up to her throat. ‘Does it need to be that sharp?’
‘Angel’s afraid of you,’ Sara had said years and years ago. Twenty-six years ago. Angel was only nine then. Sara said it just once and quickly apologised, insisted it didn’t mean anything. Then she went off and married Max Buxton. She was still limping as she walked on Dr. Bennett’s arm down the isle. That broken ankle had never fully recovered. ‘It would have been a damn sight worse if it was my neck,’ she’d said cheerfully.
He shrugged. ‘This is hundreds of years old. Made not far from Tito’s home village. Somewhere near Zaragoza my research and Sotheby’s experts tell me. It may not have been originally meant for cutting paper.’ He smiled slowly when she stepped even further away.
‘How many will be coming?’ Patches of red had spread from the tip of Angel’s breastbone, across her neck and to the lobes of her ears.
Whatever she was after had to be seriously important to her or else she would have left by now. ‘We should expect thirty to forty. That includes the spouses.’ He carefully fitted the knife back into its slot in the tray.
‘Partners, Father, partners. Not spouses. Not these days. Partners or significant others.’ She laughed a little.
Dr. Bennett lifted his pale eyebrows. ‘Whatever. The invitations say so’n’so and guest. As they’ve always done. The regulars almost regularly arrive with someone new in tow. Someone we haven’t seen before. Or if we have seen them, they were with someone else on the previous occasion.’ The “we” and “us” were deliberate. Dr. Bennett and Daughter. Nothing to be afraid of, Angel. Nothing at all. Your father would never harm you, Angel. ‘None of our business.’ He unfolded another letter. ‘Superintendent Spriggs will be joining us. I’m surprised she took the trouble to write back. It would have been more her style to phone or have someone else do the phoning for her. She’s a big fish now.’
‘Who’s she bringing along? PC Plod and a pair of handcuffs?’
‘She doesn’t seem to be bringing anyone with her,’ he smiled, ‘and there’s no mention of handcuffs either. But, who knows, maybe she’ll entertain us with a party trick or two that will involve the use of handcuffs and a caution. You have a right to remain silent…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…’ he completed the phrase he wasn’t entirely sure of with a wave of his hand. ‘And talking of entertainment, Rufus will be joining us again.’ He cast a cautious glance at her.
‘Milking it, isn’t he?’
That was an answer he hadn’t expected. ‘Well, my dear,’ he procrastinated, wondering whether to continue down that line, ‘I wouldn’t quite call it that. Not at all.’ Oh, what the heck. It had to be said. ‘This is Marcus’ tenth anniversary, after all.’
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