Gently Between Tides by Hunter Alan

Gently Between Tides by Hunter Alan

Author:Hunter, Alan [Hunter, Alan]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9781472117045
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Published: 2016-06-29T16:00:00+00:00

SEVEN

‘WHAT TIME WILL your missus be back, Mr George?’

It was the thought that Gently had woken up with: that, in twelve hours’ time, he would be standing on a platform, waiting for the train bringing Gabrielle home.

Sunday morning at Heatherings was one of those moments that he was learning to savour, a time of perfect leisure whose signature was the chime of the bells in the village. When they stopped, you could hear a bell more distant, probably that of the church across the Walks; and when, shortly after, that ceased too, Mrs Jarvis would be knocking on the door with the tea tray.

‘Expect us at nine . . .

‘Will she want a meal?’

Almost certainly, Gabrielle would. One of the first things Gently had noticed about her was her ready and eager appetite. How she kept her figure was a mystery perhaps known only to the French; it was because, she claimed, that unlike the English she didn’t stuff herself at breakfast . . .

‘It’s going to be a fine day, Mr George.’

He had only to open his eyes to see that. From the windows in their room in the east wing the prospect of the Walks folded away. The heather was dark now, past its prime, but still purplish as it smoked in steady sun; birches that edged it had turned auburn, the distant poplars a delicate yellow.

He sipped his tea and glanced at the papers, as usual thumbing through them from back to front. From the bathroom came the sound of water being run, while below, in the garden, a blackbird was sounding its silly alarm.

A long way from London . . .

Why had he listened to that cajoling Chief Constable and his troubles?

‘Your bath is ready, Mr George.’

In a sulky mood he took his bath and afterwards went down to breakfast. Sun was peering through the breakfast-room window and lighting up a corner of the table. It was Sunday for all the world, so why not Sunday for him . . .? Mrs Jarvis, for instance, was already dressed smartly, and smelling of violets, to go to second service.

‘Are you in for lunch today, Mr George?’

‘I’ll see . . .’

Still chewing it over, he strolled down the garden, noticing that the gardener had pruned the rose bushes and tied up the Michaelmas daisies with orange twine. The martins had left, and only yesterday he had heard the harsh notes of passing fieldfares . . . here, these were the things he wanted to be occupied with, not the guilt and fear of wretched people!

But it wouldn’t do. He could feel himself a truant, even in enjoying the fresh, cool air. In the end he strode back to the house and the lounge still smelling of Claydon’s cigarettes. He rang the police station.

‘Anything fresh?’

He thought he could detect relief in Leyston’s voice.

‘Yes . . . the colour of the car. It was white. And I’ve got a couple of fresh statements . . .’

He lit his pipe and went to look for Mrs Jarvis, but she had already left for church.



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