TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
Hiding the Elephant – Chapter 27
Grant was theorising in a big way. On Thursday, 17. October, he speculated, Lennie Unsworth went to see Humberside at the Old Mill while Frances was at work. They hatched a plan to get Humberside out of the country. Lennie phoned Frances at the office.Frances approved of the plan and noticeably brightened up. Lennie was going to help Humberside find a safe place where he can stay until the dust settled. Like her parents’ retirement home at the coast of Montenegro? Probably. Beside Serbia, Montenegro was the only other remaining member of the extinct Yugoslav Federation. The international community had just broken off diplomatic and other ties with the pariah state. Yes, Montenegro was a very good place to head for.
After his return from London last night Grant spent hours at the station, catching up on Balkan politics. With Matthew’s help at the other end of the phone. The boy was getting his info off something called the Internet that Grant had flatly refused to have explained to him. Matthew never seemed to need any sleep.
So, assuming he was on the right track, how much did Unsworth know about all that? Did he drive both his wife and Humberside to London? Was that why they had called at the Old Mill? To collect Humberside? And what part if any did another old friend, Dominic Hale, play in it?
Of course, that fresh theory made a big, gaping hole in his first half baked, never really seriously considered conjecture that Humberside tried to pay off his debt to Boyson by acting as his hitman. If the man in Split was Humberside there was no way he could have killed Frances Swan. The convoy had left the country long before the young woman died.
Lock Up Your Daughters – Chapter 27
‘Look here, son. It’s worked out for you this time, but next time you want to follow a hunch, make sure it’s based on good, solid information, there’s a good lad.’ DS Spitfire. Real name Charlie Mason, and the origins of the nickname long lost in the mists of time. Along with any fire that he once may have been spitting.
Grant had hardly been with the Wiltshire police a year, probably less. A rookie, a greenhorn if there ever was one, straight out of the police training college. On an impulse he’d followed a woman into a department store, and from there, through the goods entrance into a shopping arcade where he nearly lost her and had to go back on himself because she’d turned into a small news agency but only to get herself a packet of crisp, then from there into a pub where she went straight past the bar and towards the toilets. At that point he was certain he was onto something. He stayed at the bottom of the narrow wooden stairs, listening to her climbing to the second floor, and radioed for backup. Sure enough, she was visiting her brother who had, with four others, escaped from a medium security prison a fortnight before.
‘What made you follow her in the first place, son?’ asked DI Lichfield. The accepted wisdom in the CID was that the fugitive was going to steer clear both of his home town and his relatives and known associates. The others did.
‘Don’t know why I followed her into the department store at first, Sir. But when I saw her buying the tooth brush and the shaving gear, I knew she was up to no good.’
Lichfield smiled, a rare occurrence, and exchanged glances with DS Spitfire. ‘I’d better warn my wife. She buys my Brill cream and my Colgate every month, regular as clockwork. You know that woman is married and has two teenage sons?’
Grant didn’t actually know that but he wasn’t going to admit to it. ‘Yes, Sir, but it was the way she went about it. Women …’ Eve would have had a fit, ‘er… people I mean, people usually look at what they buy, check the brands and sizes and prices, turn things around in their hands. She did no such thing. She just threw the items into the basket, whatever happened to be there…’
More exchanges of glances. More half smiles. ‘We’d better watch ourselves, Sergeant. We’ll be out of a job soon with so much young talent about.’
The DI bought them all a pint later but couldn’t hang about, and that was when Spitfire delivered his famous line.
‘ Next time you want to follow a hunch, make sure it’s based on good, solid information.’
That wasn’t the only good advice Grant had repeatedly ignored over the years, but it was probably the best one.
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