Whispering Death

Whispering Death by Garry Disher

Book: Whispering Death by Garry Disher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Garry Disher
Tags: FIC000000, FIC050000
women streaked and bruised with mascara and lipstick. The men wore stained jeans and tight shirts over T-shirts, the buttoning hit-and-miss, and the women wore crumpled, tugged-about little dresses over holed tights. As they stood, stretched, yawned and looked around at the house, the view, Challis caught an eddy of alcohol, cigarettes and dope.
    â€˜Long night?’
    â€˜Any of your business?’
    The boyfriend touched Larrayne’s forearm as if to calm her. He was a tall, skinny, sweetly smiling boy, probably good for Larrayne and probably doomed. ‘Semester break,’ he told Challis.
    Challis nodded.
    â€˜We were hoping,’ Larrayne Destry said, ‘to spend a few days here.’
    Meaning what did Challis think he was doing there, and did he intend to stick around all week, and, generally, what gave him the fucking right?
    Challis gave her a high-wattage smile for the pleasure of it and said, ‘I’ll be out of your hair in just a moment.’
    â€˜Are you living here now or something?’
    Challis shook his head, still with the smile. ‘Just doing some odd jobs around the place. Be careful of wet paint.’
    Larrayne frowned over his words as if looking for lies and loopholes. Finding none, she wheeled around and opened the boot of the car. Without the scowl, she was simply a twenty-one-year-old student, ordinary in a fair-haired, fine-boned, Ellen-Destry’s-daughter kind of way.
    Challis stuck one of his cards under her windscreen wiper. ‘If you need anything.’
    â€˜We won’t.’
    Sunday was not a day of rest for Grace. She’d spent the afternoon at an Internet café in Geelong, downloading a few megabytes of Google Earth onto a flash drive. Inconvenient, but untraceable. Now, late afternoon, she was at home in Breamlea, examining the maps on her own laptop. By dusk she knew the exact location of a house in South Australia’s Clare Valley owned by a man named Simon Lascar, knew it in relation to his neighbours and the town itself, knew her best escape routes.
    As for knowing about Lascar and his house, she thanked her collection of clippings from Home Digest , Home Beautiful , Décor and similar magazines. In her view, these publications existed to allow people with more money than sense to tell the world about how much money they had in the house they’d built, bought or refurbished—in full colour, over several pages, including close-ups of small, pricey belongings.
    What Home Digest didn’t say—but various websites did—was that Mr Simon Lascar had built his Clare Valley monstrosity on the site of a colonial-era cottage of historical importance, using two million dollars embezzled from pensioners’ savings. The magazine did say that he was an eclectic collector of Australiana: an Adelaide gold pound worth $300,000; a 1930 penny—unfortunately not one of the six proof pennies still in existence but one of the two thousand that had found their way into circulation—worth $25,000; a 1620 Dutch rijksdaalder worth $1500 from the wreck of the Batavia ; a third watermark, two shilling stamp (a kangaroo superimposed upon a map of Australia) worth $4000; a first edition of J. J. Keneally’s 1929 The Inner History of the Kelly Gang , worth $2000; a two shilling note issued for use in the Hay internment camp during the Second World War, worth $5000; and a $30,000 Holey Dollar struck from a 1794 Spanish dollar.
    And his wife liked to collect silver. Sterling, not plate: flatware, teaspoons, demitasse spoons, toddy ladles, fish servers, sugar bowls, napkin rings and candlesticks. Grace was betting there’d be some crap too—mass-produced plate, or pieces with no maker’s mark—but she knew how to separate it from the good stuff. In the past two years, since escaping from Galt, she’d spent hours on the Internet and in libraries, studying makers’ marks, vintages, hallmarks and other

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