Authors: Katherine Pathak
Tags: #International Mystery & Crime, #Mystery, #Thriller & Suspense, #Police Procedurals
A DCI DANI BEVAN NOVEL
THE GARANSAY PRESS
Books by Katherine Pathak
The Imogen and Hugh Croft Mysteries:
The Only Survivor
The Woman Who Vanished
Memorial for the Dead
(Introducing DCI Dani Bevan)
The Ghost of Marchmont Hall
DCI Dani Bevan novels:
Against A Dark Sky
On A Dark Sea
A Dark Shadow Falls
Dark As Night
The Garansay Press
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems - without the prior permission in writing of the author and publishers.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
© Katherine Pathak, 2015
Edited by: The Currie Revisionists, 2015
Cover photography Catacol Bay Images, 2015
he couple stood on a stretch of flat sand which seemed to spread out for miles into the distance. The pair were huddled in the shelter of a system of dunes, to protect them from the sharp easterly wind which was whipping across the deserted beach and out into the sea.
Holding the woman’s hand tightly, the man said, ‘why don’t you come home with me? You know I love you and would take care of you.’
His companion kept her gaze fixed on a container ship, just visible along the horizon. ‘What would be the point? I’ve got absolutely nothing to give.’
He put his gloved fingers up to her face, smoothing away the wayward strands of her straight, dark hair. ‘I don’t want anything from you. When are you going to understand that, my darling?’
She turned to look at him. ‘Is that really true? How long will you be willing to wait for me to recover from this terrible state I’m in? You say it doesn’t matter now, but in the months and years to come it will begin to.’
He shook his head violently. ‘If you were with
then you wouldn’t be so unwell. That is the truth of the matter and I
wait. You do me a disservice to suggest otherwise.’
The woman put out her arms and pulled him close. ‘You are a good man, Rhodri. I know your words are genuine.’ She tipped her face upwards and stared into his eyes. ‘It’s my daughter that I’m thinking of. I cannot walk out on her, whatever happens.’
Tears were slowly escaping onto the man’s lined cheeks. ‘I would take her in too and love the girl as if she were my own.’
The woman nodded, as her body shuddered with sobs. ‘Yes, I realise that you would. But she loves her father better than she loves me. For that reason I cannot ever leave them, because if I go it will mean leaving her behind forever.’
The man said nothing more. He simply held her to him, soothing his lover as she gently wept, hoping and praying there might be some way in the future that he could change her mind.
CI Bevan walked slowly around her office. At times, it was a bit like working in a goldfish bowl. Unless she pulled down the blinds, she could be observed from every single desk on the floor of the serious crime division.
It was late July. The sun was streaming in through the tall windows, making the building which housed the headquarters of Police Scotland stiflingly hot. Yet Dani was smiling as she inspected her domain. The senior detective was in her late thirties, lean and youthful, with a short crop of naturally dark hair. Bevan had only been a detective chief inspector for a couple of years. Now, she was contemplating another step up the ladder. Her performance in a recent case had brought her to the attention of the bosses upstairs. DCS Nicholson had suggested this was a good moment for the DCI to go for promotion, whilst Dani’s star was in the ascendant.
A superintendent at City and Borders in Edinburgh was up for retirement. Nicholson had already suggested Bevan’s name for the post. She probably only had a few months to decide. It could be many years before an opportunity like this one came up again for her. But Dani wouldn’t find it easy. She had many friends in Glasgow. One in particular who she wasn’t sure could manage in the job without her guidance.
As if on cue, DC Andy Calder appeared in the doorway, his one-time considerable girth transformed into upper body muscle. He grinned at his boss before entering the tiny room. ‘Afternoon, Ma’am. I’ve just finished the duty rota for the weekend. We seem to be fully manned.’
‘Good. Nicholson has agreed to send in some bodies from central division to help us out. We’ll need as many uniforms out there on the street as possible come Friday night.’
It was the final weekend in July, when the city celebrated the Glasgow Fair. This year, the council had revived the old practice of setting up stalls and a fairground on Glasgow Green. The festivities would culminate in a peaceful march through the streets of the city centre. As far as Dani was concerned, the entire venture amounted to a total policing nightmare.
‘And you’ll definitely be needing me for the whole weekend?’ Andy looked almost gleeful at the prospect.
‘Of course. I’ll need everyone.’
Calder rubbed his hands together. ‘I’m glad to hear it. Carol’s mum wanted us to troop ‘doon the watter’ to her sister’s place in Troon. They’ll have to go without me now.’
‘Would it really have been
bad to join them?’
‘Oh, aye. Amy gets spoiled to bits and I’m completely surplus to requirements. My mother-in-law can have the job of putting her granddaughter to bed when she’s had two days being pumped full with sweeties and ice-cream.’
‘What about Carol, it can’t be much fun for her either?’
‘It’s Carol’s family though, isn’t it? She’s got a higher tolerance for them than I do. I’ll make it up to her when they get back.’ Calder turned on his heels and headed out to his workstation.
Dani watched him depart, hoping her friend wasn’t being too blasé about the importance of this trip. She sighed. It made no difference anyway. The DCI couldn’t possibly have spared Andy this weekend. It was shaping up to be the busiest of the entire year.
Dani woke suddenly. Glancing at the bedside clock, she saw it was 2am. She levered herself up into a sitting position and swung her legs round to rest on the cold floor, recalling the vivid dream she’d just been having. It was about her mother.
Moira Bevan had committed suicide when Dani was eight years old. She’d been suffering from severe depression ever since giving birth to her daughter. There were never any more children. Moira had battled with alcoholism, a side effect of her condition, finally giving up the fight when she was only 37 years old. She took a handful of pills and washed them down with neat gin, just after her husband had left for work one morning.
Huw Bevan moved Dani away from the Welsh village where they’d lived as a family, a matter of months after his wife’s death. Dani had never returned since. The memories were too painful.
Only very occasionally did Dani dream about her mum. Usually, it was if she had worries on her mind, due to work or relationship stress. The DCI suspected that on this occasion it was the prospect of policing the upcoming Glasgow Fair weekend which had prompted the spectre of Moira Bevan to return to her consciousness. Whatever the reason, the thoughts were unwelcome. She padded through to the kitchen and poured out a glass of water, leaning against the sink to drink it, staring out of the patio doors into the darkness shrouding her little garden.
There was only one photograph of Moira in the house. When the glass was empty, Dani walked along the hallway to the front sitting room. She picked up the small frame which sat on the mantelpiece, noting how dusty it was. Pale blue eyes stared back at her from within a pale face, framed by perfectly straight, dark hair. Moira had been very beautiful.
For the first time in many years, the image before her evoked an immediate emotional response. Dani put up her hand to touch the tears which had begun to roll down her cheeks. Why she was experiencing such powerful feelings now, after so much time had passed, the detective had absolutely no idea.
lasgow Green, a park on the east side of the city, was milling with folk. It was early yet, but the stallholders were busy setting out their wares. Dani stood and watched as a huge fairground ride was wheeled up close to the concreted area which encircled the Doulton Fountain.
Calder strode across the dewy grass to join her. ‘Should we cordon off the fountain, Ma’am? We don’t want some drunk drowning in it later.’
‘Good point. Can you ask a couple of uniforms to get onto it?’
The air was crisp and damp, but the orange tinted sunrise indicated it would be a very warm day. This incongruous swathe of greenery, positioned amongst the buildings and warehouses of the city, with dense rows of tenements and post-war housing just visible across this narrow section of the Clyde was the traditional home of the Glasgow Fair celebrations.
The DCI wouldn’t usually object to a handful of merrymakers dipping their peely-wally, light deprived legs into the water of the Doulton Fountain, but today was different. There would be thousands of people on this green in a few hours. Dani couldn’t risk anything going wrong.
She turned to her DC. ‘We’ve got barriers up alongside the agreed route the marchers will take. We need to keep the crowds moving along Argyle Street at a brisk pace. They will stop and congregate in Princes Square. The traffic division are primed to close the road to vehicles between 12 and 3pm.’
Calder furrowed his brow. ‘Let’s just hope that everyone sticks to the agreed plan. Sunshine and alcohol have a strange effect on the good folk of Glasgow.’
Dani smiled thinly. ‘Aye, so it does. But a strong police presence should help to calm things down.’
‘What about the river? It has been known for the occasional idiot to jump off the St Andrew’s suspension bridge in hot weather. A group of students did it a couple of years back.’
Bevan sighed. ‘We’d better have a few men stationed over there, just in case. But it’s a bloody big park. We can’t possibly cover every inch of it.’
‘No, Ma’am. We’ll simply do what we can. The rest will have to be down to lady luck, I’m afraid.’
The mid afternoon sun was beating down mercilessly on the unmarked police van that DCI Bevan was standing next to. When she rested her hand on the sliding door to lean inside, Dani winced at the burning heat of the shiny black metal. ‘Any sign of the girl, Gary?’ She asked the young detective constable who was hunched up within. He was sweating in front of a monitor connected to CCTV cameras positioned at various points across the Green.
The man shook his head. ‘There are thousands of people out there, Ma’am.’
Bevan sighed heavily, turning back towards the distraught couple who were propping each other up a few metres away, near to an overfilled litter bin encircled by wasps, though neither of the pair seemed to have noticed. She pushed back her sunglasses so that they rested on top of her head. This way, the DCI could make proper eye contact when she spoke with them.
‘I’m sorry, Mr and Mrs Hendricks, none of the cameras have picked up anything yet. But I promise that all our officers are on the lookout for Lily. Her description has been circulated.’