Death of a Valentine

Death of a Valentine by MC Beaton

Book: Death of a Valentine by MC Beaton Read Free Book Online
Authors: MC Beaton
pockmarked moon. The streetlights were switched off to save energy. The great stars of Sutherland blazed overhead.
    He walked through the town and up the grassy hillock where the war memorial stood, black against the starry sky. He glanced at the luminous dial of his watch. Five minutes to go. He looked up at
the sky and saw that the northern lights had started to blaze in all their swirling glory. He had only seen them once before. What was it they called them in school? The aurora borealis, that was
it. He felt the very heavens were celebrating the soon-to-happen escape of one Mark Lussie. Then he heard the town clock strike midnight and tore his gaze from the magnificence of the heavens and
looked down the hill to watch for anyone approaching.
    He never heard the step behind him. A knife was thrust savagely into the back of his neck. Rough hands searched his pockets after he had slumped to the ground and took his mobile phone. Then his
assailant crept away.
    Mark lay dying as the lifeblood pumped out from the wound in his neck. As the lights of the aurora borealis moved and swirled across the sky, Mark Lussie finally went on his last great
journey.
    Roger Burton, Barry Fitzcameron’s hit man, crouched behind the sheep shed up on Hamish’s croft. He had instructions to make it look like an accident. But he planned
to wait until Hamish Macbeth was asleep, get into the station, and simply shoot him. It would be easy to get into the police station. He had noticed one of the fishermen knocking at the door,
carrying two fish. When he didn’t get a reply, he had felt in the guttering above the kitchen door, taken down a key and unlocked the door. Then he had come out a few moments later, relocked
the door and put the key back up in the gutter. Because Barry had thought Roger meant to stage an accident and because the person to be killed was a police sergeant, he had paid him generously up
front. Roger meant to do the deed and clear off to Glasgow.
    He waited until Hamish came back and then waited until finally the lights in the police station went off.
    He was just about to make his move when the northern lights began to blaze across the sky. He suddenly felt he should leave it – just take Barry’s money and run. But he was a
professional and he had a reputation to keep. No one in the criminal fraternity of Glasgow would mind that he hadn’t staged an accident.
    He softly made his way towards the kitchen door.
    Sonsie awoke and pricked up her tufted ears. Because of the odd telepathy between the two animals, Lugs awoke as well. Sonsie sprang down from the bed where she and the dog had
been sleeping and went to the kitchen door. Her fur was raised. Hamish was to wonder afterwards why Lugs had not barked.
    They heard the key in the door. Roger loomed up in front of them. When he saw the two animals he raised his gun but Sonsie, the wild cat, flew up at his face and tore her sharp claws down it
while Lugs bit his leg. He howled and dropped the rifle.
    Hamish came running in. He picked up the rifle and ordered, ‘Stay there or I’ll shoot.’
    He scrabbled in the pocket of his coat hanging on the back of the door and produced a pair of handcuffs. ‘Over on your back,’ he shouted.
    Roger rolled over, yelling, ‘I can’t see.’
    ‘It’s the blood,’ said Hamish, clipping on the handcuffs. He grabbed his mobile from the kitchen table and called for help.
    It was to be a long night. The deep scratches on Roger’s face were tended to by the medical officer before he was judged fit for questioning. But Roger remained silent apart from saying he
was going to sue Hamish Macbeth for the damage to his face. He would not say that anyone had hired him to kill Hamish. Hamish waited in the detectives’ room because Blair would not allow him
to be part of the interview. He had asked them to find out Roger’s address so that the place could be searched before anything was destroyed but Blair had snarled at him that

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