Gently Heartbroken by Hunter Alan

Gently Heartbroken by Hunter Alan

Author:Hunter, Alan [Hunter, Alan]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9781472117021
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Published: 2016-06-29T16:00:00+00:00

SEVEN

HE TOOK THE B861 back to Inverness, a road that opened great prospects of the town and its hills. By the time he reached it the rain had slackened, though still the wrack was dark and low. At the bridge he hesitated, drove on and turned, traversed the one-way and parked at the police station. He went in and knocked at Guthrie’s office: found it occupied only by Empton and his man Curtis.

‘Where’s Guthrie?’ Gently asked.

Empton was laying down the phone. His vulturine features had a flush and his eyes were mean with anger.

‘So what’s it to you, old man?’ he snapped. ‘Or are you helping out now with the amateur connection?’

‘What amateur connection?’

‘Ask around. But he’s taken bloody manpower I need here.’

‘What amateur connection?’ Gently asked Curtis.

‘A job at Aviemore, sir,’ Curtis said bleakly. ‘A bird was raped and strangled. The Chief Super’s gone out there.’

‘And that’s what you call an amateur job?’

‘Ha, ha,’ Empton said. ‘Don’t make me spit.’ He got up from Guthrie’s chair and came to stare into Gently’s face. ‘Old man,’ he said, ‘I could kill you, and that’s not a figure of speech. I’ve just had the top man trampling on my goolies for pussyfooting around with Petrie. The Frogs have been at him. They’re screaming for blood because I’ve cut McGash’s line with Paris. The Frogs are soft, they want to deal, but the Arabs won’t play till they reestablish contact. My head’s on the block, and who’s to blame? Old man, pick your moment, but drop dead.’

Gently stared back at him. ‘You knew the risk.’

‘Risk, risk,’ Empton said. ‘I could have had it out of Petrie last night and never left a mark on him. That’s why they pay me, what I do. We could have been back in London, old man. Instead we’re just a wolly short and me up the creek without a paddle.’ His teeth showed in a snarl. ‘And the Frogs still love you,’ he said. ‘Don’t think I didn’t try to drop you in it. One day you won’t be made of asbestos.’

‘So when is Guthrie due back?’ Gently asked.

‘To hell with Guthrie,’ Empton said. ‘I want that Frog of yours. I want him here. If he knows something he’s going to spill it.’

‘He knows nothing further.’

‘Lovely boy,’ Empton said. ‘And if he did would you tell me? But he’ll spill what he does know. He had a tip from somewhere, and that somewhere I want my hands on.’

‘He is entitled to protect his source.’

‘Listen,’ Empton said, ‘before I throw up. There’s only one source he could get a grass from, and that’s your fancy bit in Rouen. Who was in Rouen. Who isn’t in Rouen. Because I made it my business to check. So guess where she is now, at this very moment, and what she’s doing, and who she’s reporting to. Go on, have a guess on me – then get that Frog round here double quick.’

‘He brought information,’ Gently said. ‘He has no further information.



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