Scorched Earth: The 7th DS McAvoy Novel by David Mark

Scorched Earth: The 7th DS McAvoy Novel by David Mark

Author:David Mark [Mark, David]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: 2018-01-24T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter 16

Somehow, the surface of the water looks blacker than the sky that presses down upon it. The pond is roughly the size of a decent back garden and it reflects the moonlight in a way that makes him think of demons and nightmares. It is hard work to stop his imagination from expressing itself. He can imagine the splash a body would make upon cracking the still surface. Can all but hear the revolting sucking sound that the mud would make as it took a young girl’s body into its dark embrace.

‘Pretty spot. Think she’s in there?’

McAvoy turns. The man who addresses him looks like an unfinished drawing of something vaguely humanoid. His blue protective suit covers his entirety and the part of his face that is not entombed in the flimsy material is covered with a breathing mask. It feels like being addressed by a loquacious Jelly Baby. Were it not for the bushy eyebrows that seek fresh air like weeds bursting through the gaps between paving slabs, McAvoy would not recognise forensic scientist and Hardeep’s boss, Brian Drew.

‘We don’t even know if she’s missing,’ admits McAvoy again. ‘But we have to be sure.’

‘Divers on their way?’

‘I’ve made the request.’

‘They won’t like it.’

‘No. But it’s important.’

Drew looks at him, as if considering an interesting new specimen of barnacle. ‘Wish I had your confidence about what constitutes important.’

McAvoy is standing like a statue. A knobbly footpath leads through a landscape stitched together from different shades of green – all stained charcoal and grey by the dark sky. This is where a black, vaguely rectangular vehicle parked up for long enough for Primrose Musgrave to notice it. It could be anything from a 4x4 to a particularly sombre ice cream van. Standing here, trying to make sense of his thoughts, McAvoy cannot help but admit that the location appears nothing like the drawing that the child had sketched in the nearby pub.

‘Crystal is a young woman who loves horses and makes a little girl smile,’ says McAvoy. ‘She might have been harmed. That constitutes important.’

Drew examines him again. He shakes his head gently. ‘Hard to put that on a budget sheet.’

‘I don’t worry about budget sheets. I worry about missing people.’

‘I thought you’d be too busy for this palaver,’ says Drew, pulling on his latex gloves and waving at the two other officers who are backing their white van down the pitted bridleway. ‘Body stuck in a wall off Beverley Road? You were there, am I right?’

McAvoy did not know he was on such good terms with the middle-aged, heavily bearded man who served as the collections officer on the private unit used by Humberside Police whenever a case hinged on forensic evidence. Drew is pushing fifty and his accent is from somewhere in the Borders. McAvoy would have asked the large, ebullient science officer exactly where he comes from but he does not want him thinking that, as a fellow Scotsman, the two should automatically be friends.

‘It’s Pharaoh’s budget, yes?’ muses Drew.


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