The Death of an Irish Tradition

The Death of an Irish Tradition by Bartholomew Gill

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Authors: Bartholomew Gill
chit on Sean Murray’s MG.”
    “I don’t have it.” Not, whose car? Or, what day? Or, an MG? No—Doyle had a record, and Murray had gone to work on him. Why? And how?
    “Where is it?”
    “The office.”
    “Who worked on the car?”
    “I did.”
    “Brakes?” O’Shaughnessy caught Doyle’s eyes and held them.
    “No—clutch.”
    “What was wrong with it?”
    “An adjustment.”
    “Difficult job?”
    Doyle looked away and his shoulders seemed to say, hard enough.
    “Where’d you work on it?”
    Doyle paused. He seemed to be pondering something, weighing possibilities. His jaw firmed again and he turned to O’Shaughnessy. “In Phoenix Park, right in front of the Taoseaich’s palace.”
    “Suit yourself.” O’Shaughnessy knew it was senseless to question him further, there.
    Of the other men, two said they had seen Doyle working on the MG during the midafternoon. The car did not leave the garage until half four or thereabouts. O’Shaughnessy took their names, and went into the dealer’s office.
    There the young sales manager, O’Reilly by name, went through the service slips of the day before and found the Murray bill. £12, 30p., and paid in full.
    “What’s the problem? Mister Murray’s one of our best customers.”
    “Did you see the car?”
    “No.” O’Reilly was tall and slim, with an easy flow of speech. He spoke with his hands in his pockets, informal, as though making a sale didn’t really matter to him.
    They were standing by the side of a long, cream-colored car with light brown seats that gave off the rich and mellow reek of tanning fluid and leather dressing. And other odors came to O’Shaughnessy—new tires and new material and all the recently manufactured components that comprised the exquisite machines in the showroom—and formed a mix that was unmistakable and communicated power, quality, luxury, and great expense; and in a way the Garda superintendent felt uncomfortable there. Bright sunlight through the windows made the shiny lacquer gleam, and outside on the street other cars were passing in fiery blurs.
    “Did you see the son?”
    “No.”
    “Do you know the son?”
    “Yes, I think so. Really, what’s this all about? Mister Murray—”
    “Did you see him yesterday?”
    “Well—no, but—”
    “Isn’t it unusual for this garage to be servicing an MG?”
    “Yes and no. After all, Mister Murray—”
    “Had you ever serviced it before?”
    “I don’t know. I couldn’t say. I manage the overall operation, but service—”
    “Were you here in the showroom yesterday afternoon?”
    “Yes, from time to time.”
    “Did you see Sean Murray here?”
    O’Reilly paused. A hand came out of a pocket. “A sort of short young fellow with long hair and…a kind of crook in his nose?”
    O’Shaughnessy nodded.
    “Yes—I saw him.”
    “What was he doing?”
    “Ah—” now both hands were out of the pockets, “—poking about. Looking at the cars.”
    “You spoke to him?”
    “Ah—” with a finger he stroked his brow, “—not actually.”
    “Why not?”
    “Well—the price of this convertible is sixteen thousand pounds and most fellows his age just don’t have that sort of money to chuck about. I can’t talk to everybody.”
    “Do you have a place to sit down?”
    O’Reilly pointed to a window beyond the cars. There were several chairs and a couch of modern design clustered around a glass cocktail table. On it were some magazines.
    O’Shaughnessy walked him toward it. “And you saw him sitting here?”
    “Yes.”
    “Reading one of those magazines?”
    “Yes. He was, now that you mention it.”
    The magazines were indeed about automobiles, Mercedes automobiles.
    “I don’t know the lad myself, personally, but he does bear a certain resemblance to the father. I’m sure it was him.”
    Another liar, O’Shaughnessy thought, although he could be wrong.
    “Much trade yesterday?” O’Shaughnessy asked as the other man went through the stack of

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