Death of a Valentine

Death of a Valentine by MC Beaton Page A

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Authors: MC Beaton
he was not in
charge of the case and to type up his report.
    When Jimmy finally appeared, Hamish said desperately, ‘Have you an address? We’ve got to get round there. There may be something in his place that connects him to Barry
    Jimmy rubbed the bristles on his foxy face. ‘I’m tired. We’ve been up all night, Hamish.’
    ‘Let’s just do it ourselves,’ pleaded Hamish.
    ‘Oh, all right. It’s a house in Boroughfield, that suburb at the edge o’ the town.’
    But when they got there, it was to find the blackened shell of what had been Roger’s home being checked by a fire inspector.
    ‘I’m sorry, Hamish,’ said Jimmy wearily. ‘We should ha’ listened to you. Go home.’
    Before he went to bed early that evening, an exhausted Hamish locked the door. As he fell asleep, he was dimly aware of Josie shouting through the letter box.
    Josie was alarmed when she did not get a reply. She phoned police headquarters and learned of the attempt on Hamish’s life. Then she was told to hold on. Police Sergeant Mary Southern came
on the line.
    ‘Get over to Braikie right now and we’ll join you. A body’s been found at the war memorial.’
    Josie scribbled a note to Hamish and pushed it through the letter box before driving as fast as she could to Braikie. Trails of dark cloud were streaming in from the Atlantic, and the wind had
begun to rise.
    She stopped in the main street, asked for directions to the war memorial, and then set off again. As she climbed the hill to the memorial, she could see that a small crowd had gathered. She
pulled a roll of police tape and some posts out of the car and set off up the hill, shouting, ‘Get back! It’s a crime scene.’
    The little crowd backed away as she secured the site. Then she went forward and looked down at the body. Here was no horror such as she had seen when she had viewed Annie’s body. Mark
Lussie lay as if at peace, his sightless eyes staring up at the windy sky.
    ‘Who found the body?’ asked Josie, walking back to the crowd.
    A tall man stepped forward. ‘That’s me,’ he said.
    ‘Alec Templar. I wass up the brae looking after my sheep and I saw what I thocht was clothes by the memorial and went for a look. Poor wee laddie.’
    Josie felt the experience of being in sole charge of a murder case was very exciting, but it was short-lived. Police, detectives and SOCO headed by Superintendent Daviot came hurrying up the
    Daviot glared at Josie. ‘Why aren’t you suited up?’
    ‘I was rushing to secure the crime scene,’ said Josie.
    ‘Don’t ever make such a mistake again. Where’s Macbeth?’
    ‘There was an attempt on his life last night and –’
    ‘I know that. So where is he?’
    ‘I think he must be asleep.’
    ‘Then get over to Lochdubh and wake him up. I need him here.’
    ‘I know the deceased,’ said Josie tremulously. ‘We interviewed him yesterday.’
    ‘Name and address?’
    Josie gave them to him. ‘Shall I go and tell the parents?’
    ‘Just get Macbeth here!’
    Josie drove miserably back to Lochdubh and hammered on the police station door. She jumped as a voice behind her said, ‘He keeps a spare key in the gutter or under the doormat. He used tae
leave it in the gutter, but he changed it. He telt it tae me the ither day. He often moves it around.’
    She swung round. A small man in a very tight suit stood looking at her. ‘I’m Archie Maclean,’ he said. ‘Friend o’ Hamish’s.’
    ‘I’ve got to wake him up,’ said Josie. ‘He’s wanted over at Braikie.’
    ‘I’ll leave you to it,’ said Archie. ‘I only came for a wee crack.’
    Josie found the key under the doormat and let herself in. She decided that instead of shouting to wake him, she would go into the bedroom and gently shake him by the shoulder. It was an intimate
    She went into the bedroom. The dog and cat were at the end of the bed. The large cat arched her back and hissed while her yellow

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