TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
HIDING THE ELEPHANT – Chapter 45
Grant made a fast turn and drove to Pychley House.
‘I don’t understand.’ Soaked through, Unsworth was walking up and down the wooden porch at the back of the house. ‘Why are they doing this? They’re ruining the garden. What are they looking for? What bloody credit card?’
‘The officers are acting on information received, sir,’ said Debbie. ‘The Inspector and I are here on a completely different business.’
‘Your wife’s credit card, Mr. Unsworth. It’s been used.’ Grant would have preferred to conduct the conversation indoors, but Unsworth wasn’t offering.
Unsworth stopped in his tracks. ‘That means she’s alive and well. Where is she? Where was the card used?’
‘We don’t know where Mrs. Unsworth is.’ Grant produced a photocopy of the statement. ‘There’s a little problem, I’m afraid. The card’s been used in London, in Tower Hamlets to be exact, just before one o’clock in the afternoon of Friday, 16th October. If the convoy left at eleven in the morning as you’ve said, they should have been inDoverby that time, waiting for the ferry. Possibly even on the ferry if they’d planned it properly.’
Unsworth’s face was reddening in stages.
‘You told me you’d waved them off.’ Grant added when the vet failed to answer.
‘I wish I had. I wish to God I had.’ Unsworth resumed his walk, pacing around in a small, irregular circles.
‘Shall we go in? You could do with a cup of tea, sir,’ Debbie suggested quietly.
Unsworth nodded but continued his roaming at the same pace. ‘I didn’t wait. I was going to, but they were buggering about, waiting for someone, Lord knows who or what. Lennie knew I was pressed for time. She insisted that I should leave. She insisted.’
LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS – Chapter 45
Dressed in light brown trousers made of heavy Shantung and a dark brown, short-sleeved noil shirt among a sea of dinner jackets and black ties, the gargoyle stood in the middle of the terrace, finishing a glass of red wine. The wavy, grizzled hair was collar length at the back, nonexistent at the top. The deficiency turned the once oval-shaped face into an asymmetrical triangle, with the eyebrows dominating over the button nose and large, full lips.
‘Ah,’ he raised the empty glass, ‘the prodigal returns. And,’ he bowed deeply to Pippa, getting hold of her hand and bringing it to his lips, ‘with a trophy wife on his arm. If I were les well mannered I’d say you two emitted an unmistakeable post-coital glow.’
‘We’ve got to talk, Alex.’ Somewhere along the way Grant had decided on start-as-you-mean-to-go-on approach.
Carroll winked at Pippa. ‘You’ll be glad to hear that his charm school has been closed down. Whatever’s made you marry a policeman, my lady?’
‘The prospect of a pension and long, lonely nights in front of the telly was too attractive to resist.’ Pippa took her time over freeing her hand, but free it she did. ‘I assume the padlock has been taken off the drinks cabinet by now?’
‘You assume right. Follow me.’
Simon let them walk off. Dr. Bennett in a black dinner jacket and a hat that looked dangerously like a boater appeared at the door and was heading in his direction in short, mincy steps and with a thin smile on his face. He had people with him, though, so Simon changed his mind and caught up with Alex and Pippa. Half way across the lawn Alex offered to re-introduce him to his soon to be ex-wife and her baby boyfriend. Angel, dressed in something much too short and embarrassingly low cut, and with a magnificent crown of hair surrounding a pasty, olive-shaped face, replied angrily that Casper Ransome was neither a baby nor her boyfriend. She stretched herself on her toes for a long, wet kiss on Grant’s cheek, and gave Pippa an undisguised once-over while waiting for introduction.
Several people, taking it in turns to shake his hand, pat him on the shoulder or plant kisses somewhere on or in the vicinity of his face, people who expected to be recognised, addressed him as HG, an abbreviation generated in the early years by Kevin Corrigan that had been generally accepted as Grant’s student identity. He was also told he looked well and wasn’t his wife lovely, absolutely lovely. The lovely wife was first hanging on his arm, repeating pleased to meet you and oh, I’ve heard so much about you to faces and names Grant was at pains to link and make sense of. Then she ebbed away and he was hearing himself say yes, it’s wonderful to be back, and you don’t seem to be doing badly yourself and returning backslaps and kisses as appropriate.
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