'Terrific' Ian Rankin
Some victims leave clues to their killers...
A Hidden Clue
A victim leaves a note for the SIO who will investigate her death. This not what DCI Kate Daniels expects to find concealed at a crime scene.
A Desperate Plea
The note contains a last request: 'Find Aaron'. But is Kate searching for a potential second victim, or a killer?
The Countdown is on...
Following the clues, Kate becomes the obsession of her adversary who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will she find Aaron before he does?
Release date: September 30, 2021
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Print pages: 416
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Listen to a sample
Her Last Request
Friday, 10:45 p.m.
We all want to escape sometimes, even you. The difference between us is that my life depends on it. No, wait! If you’re reading this, that sentence should be framed in the past tense because by then it’ll all be over. If that’s what’s happened, you’ve already found this note. My days were numbered from the moment I set eyes on HIM.
Does red mist cover this note?
Has he read it too, you’re wondering. I wonder that also, though there’ll be no bloody fingerprints for CSIs to lift. He’s savvy. Meticulous in everything he does. I wonder about other things too – about YOU mostly. I feel you rather than see you, if that makes sense. I wonder who you are and what you look like. I wonder if you’re one of the murder detectives I’ve seen on TV. I wonder if you feel guilty scrutinising my thoughts, my note. No need – it was written for you.
You did well to find it.
Or did HE get to it first? If that is the case, he’ll have torched the van with me in it, though I choose to believe that this note will reach you, otherwise there’s no point. I really hope it has. I don’t want your pity, but I feel your heart race as you read on. Bizarrely, even though we’ve never met in person, I feel I know you. When I think of you, you’re in silhouette, backlit by a bright light. Immobile. Moved by what you see. You didn’t expect to hear from me . . .
Not like this.
I picture your eyes bearing down on me. As you turn your head away, I imagine your sadness. Your outrage. I second-guess the many questions my death has raised in your subconscious. Mentally you’re processing the scene, wondering what went on here, trying to figure it out. I’ve asked myself over and over how you sleep nights, why you put yourself through it. I’ve wondered how often you’ve yearned to walk away, as I have. You won’t. I know you can’t. Not now you’ve seen what’s left of me.
Not easy, is it?
You’re as trapped by circumstances as I am.
Darkness isn’t new to either of us, is it? We’ve both hidden in the shadows, hearts pumping, watching, waiting for the red flag. HIS triggers were visible only to me, so be warned.
This single sheet of paper is enough for one day. Still, I feel a need to communicate with you, though I’m in no doubt that you’ll find the key to what went on here.
There you go again, unable to tear your eyes away.
Are you searching for clues?
You won’t find any . . . from HIM.
I guarantee it.
He warned me the end would be slow and painful, that it would eclipse my worst fears – and some. Is it everything HE said it would be? Messy, I imagine. I told myself I wouldn’t plead for mercy. He’d get a kick out of that. I suspect I did it anyway. With every blow, I probably begged him to spare me.
As you can see, he didn’t.
I feel as if you and I are now one, joined by an invisible and dangerous thread; life at one end, death at the other – a space familiar to both of us. Take a good long look, because if you go after him, he’ll come for you too. I’m begging you to take care. Does that give you pause for thought? It should. Do you still want to get to know me? On the one hand, I doubt that. On the other, I know you won’t be able to help yourself.
You’ll discover that I’m not entirely innocent.
Which of us is?
Are you judging me? Are you? Can’t say I blame you. I imagine it comes as second nature. The fact that you’re blameless doesn’t make me guilty. The fact that you’re strong doesn’t make me weak. Do you think I had any choice in the matter? Calling you earlier would have signed my death warrant, so I fought back in the only way I knew how.
Please don’t criticise without investigating the facts – all of them.
Make no mistake, I dreamt of a better life. I dream of YOU often, intangible though you are. I tried my best. It wasn’t enough. I prayed that I’d get lucky, that I’d manage somehow to slip away, for good this time. I did, often. He found me.
HE always does.
He’ll find you too, so watch your back.
I have one last request: find Aaron.
As an experienced Senior Investigating Officer, Kate Daniels was unflappable, ready for any eventuality, but the contents of the note had kicked a hole in her heart from the inside, delivering a sharp pain to her chest. She was boiling up, gasping for air inside her mask, pulling at the neck of her forensic suit, feeling hot and clammy in the small, claustrophobic space. Who and where was Aaron?
She glanced briefly at the victim, then shut her eyes tightly. She’d seen the results of excessive violence many times, but this was off the scale. The message passed on from the control room in no way prepared her for what was to come.
It wasn’t this.
The shell of the caravan closed in around her. Dealing with shit like this was hard enough at the best of times. When it came off the back of a fourteen-hour shift, when Kate was wrung out and emotionally vulnerable, keeping it together was almost impossible. Her heart was pumping fast. Too fast. The rhythm wasn’t right. Palpitations were not something she’d experienced before.
The ringing in her ears stopped, replaced by Detective Chief Superintendent Bright’s voice, calm and reassuring. Steady your breathing, Kate. That’s it. In. Out. Gently does it. First impressions are vital. Assess the scene. It holds many clues. What’s it telling you?
It was telling her to rip the mask from her face and get the hell out. It was telling her that she didn’t have to wait for her professional persona to kick in. It was telling her that if she didn’t want to do this fucking job anymore, she was free to leave at any time, had it not been for the fact that the author of that note had nailed her to the floor.
She was right too: Kate couldn’t help herself.
Her mentor was no longer sitting on her shoulder.
The words she was hearing were her own. She reminded herself to breathe, to take as much time as required. The victim was in no hurry and neither was she. She was ready to take a look . . .
You got this.
Forcing herself to concentrate, Kate looked down at the transparent evidence bag she was holding in her gloved hand. Instinctively, she knew that the single sheet of cream-coloured paper inside would temporarily become more important than the dead woman whose handwriting flowed seamlessly across the page . . .
Assuming she was the author.
Desperate to know if there were other notes secreted there, potential clues to a brutal killing, Kate summoned her colleague, Crime Scene Investigator Paul O’Brien, asking where he’d found it.
‘Almost missed it . . .’ His voice was muffled through his mask. ‘It was taped to the underside of the shelf beneath the sink.’
‘It’s quality stationery with a watermark.’
‘Yeah, possibly from the writing pad I lifted from the seat over there.’
He pointed to a perfect oblong shape, the only space on the seat not covered in blood. The profile of the flowery fabric against a red background would haunt Kate, a symbolic and indelible reminder of what had gone on here. How desperate must the victim have been for the attack to end?
For a long moment, Kate couldn’t speak.
She cleared her throat, holding up the note. ‘Keep your eyes peeled. There may be more of these.’
‘There are none, guv. I swept the place twice.’
Despite his confident claim, that wasn’t what the first paragraph of the note implied, Kate thought, but didn’t say. Knowing O’Brien to be thorough, with twenty-five years’ experience, she didn’t challenge him. Instead, she photographed both sides of the page, an ice cube slithering its way down her spine. Shivering involuntarily had nothing to do with her imagination, or the uncomfortable narrative running through her head, though there was that too. It was zero degrees in the van, even colder outside, the weather closing in, heavy snow expected across north Northumberland – and yet the victim wore no outdoor clothing.
Kate bent down to examine a gas fire, the only heating appliance in the room. ‘Did you see this, Paul? The valve regulating flow is turned on and the temperature dial is on its highest setting.’
O’Brien nodded. ‘It was like that when I arrived, guv. It must’ve run out . . .’ He thumbed toward the door. ‘I asked one of my lads to check the LPG cylinder outside. It’s empty.’
She didn’t answer.
Her eyes had drifted to the Canada Goose coat hanging on a self-adhesive peg beside the door – a thousand quid’s worth or more. It looked new. In her head, Kate imagined the IP wearing it, entering the van, perhaps lighting the fire, allowing the place to warm up before taking off her outdoor gear, which would rule out her being pushed inside by someone lying in wait.
Her attention was on O’Brien. ‘Did you check her coat yet?’
Another nod. ‘I found a key that fits the door, a few quid and some loose change in the right-hand pocket.’
‘Not enough to live on,’ she said.
‘No, but I recovered in excess of five grand in a pocket sewn into the hood. Whoever searched the place was in a hurry.’ He blushed. That was her territory, not his. He was there to collect evidence that might identify the victim and perpetrator, not interpret the scene. ‘There’s blood on and in the drawer of the bedside table. We have photographs of everything. Don’t hang your hopes on prints. It’s no more than a smudge. Looks like gloves were worn. There’s so much blood here, it would be almost impossible not to transfer some of it.’
Kate turned her head, avoiding eye contact.
Her pulse was racing, her mouth dry. She wasn’t ready to study the victim, though the ‘invisible thread’ mentioned in the note was securely attached, set to become unbreakable. It was tugging at Kate’s heart, pulling her in a direction she didn’t want to go. She felt tethered by it, like a prisoner in rigid handcuffs, unable to break away.
Her internal dialogue was interrupted by O’Brien’s voice. ‘I’ll bag the coat now you’ve seen it. Guv, I found no bag, purse or credit card.’ He went on to explain what he did and didn’t have. ‘I’d show you, only I’ve been passing the exhibits out to my crew.’
Kate could see why. There was no surface completely free of blood where he could set them down for collection later.
Through the window, O’Brien’s colleagues were working under arc lights, blue flashes lighting up the night sky. They had reached the scene before her, discovering tyre tracks, evidence that two vehicles had recently been parked outside; one next to the caravan where deep grooves suggested a regular parking spot, presumably the victim’s car, the other further away. On arrival, the Crime Scene Manager had told her that they had both been driven away at speed, tearing up the grass.
An accomplice then . . .
‘I’m done with the note,’ she said.
In reality, she was undone by the note.
She fought hard to keep her composure. ‘It’s top priority. Get it processed. I need a replica in my hand urgently. Give everything the full works. Whatever you need to do, do it. Check the writing pad for indentations in case she or anyone else has written other notes in or on it. We need categorical proof that it was written by the deceased and not her killer.’
O’Brien bagged and sealed the exhibit. Kate watched him make a note of when and where it was found, adding his name and lastly the date, Tuesday, 18 February 2020. He put his pen away, prompting her to ask if he’d found one that might’ve been used to write the note. He’d found two, a Sonnet ballpoint and an Elmo rollerball. Expensive. Only one with blue ink.
‘It’ll all be in my report.’
Kate studied him. He’d said “my report”, not the report, personalising the comment. Owning it. Her mind flew to the victim’s note, a phrase she’d used that jumped out at her. Was she overthinking this? She didn’t think so. She’d double-check when she got to base and, if still of the same opinion, raise it with her team.
Her mobile rang, pulling her attention away.
Lifting it to her ear, she listened a moment, then hung up, her focus on O’Brien. ‘How much longer will you be? Stanton is ten, fifteen minutes away.’ As pathologists go, he was the best.
‘Should be done by then.’
‘Good. Hank’s outside. As soon as we can move the body, I want the caravan uplifted. Left here, it’s vulnerable to a break-in. Tell him to set it up for me. You can finish the job off-site, right?’
‘That would be perfect. I’d rather examine it on our own premises, away from the prying eyes of the press, any inquisitive locals and the finder, in case he’s in any way involved.’
‘I don’t envy you this one, Paul. The sooner I can get out of here the better.’
On the one hand, Kate didn’t want the case. On the other, there was no way anyone else was having it. Her relationship with the woman on the floor began the minute the note was found.
As far as Kate was aware, she didn’t know her.
She did now.
The victim represented every murdered female the DCI had ever come across. Crime scene images scrolled before her eyes, hideous injuries to every part of the female form: broken bones, smashed skulls, stab wounds numbering one to fifty. These women had endured months, if not years of unimaginable pain and suffering. Their screams kept her awake at night.
She swung round, unaware of how long she’d been reliving those cases, some solved, some not. Then there were the women who’d seemingly vanished off the face of the earth and were never found, the most deplorable of all.
‘I’m off,’ O’Brien said.
When he’d gone, Kate took in every inch of the scene, trying to work out what else it might tell her. Everything in her eyeline was covered in a fine spray of blood. Small items of crockery, cutlery and food lay smashed on the mini-draining board and in the sink where it had been scooped out of the cupboards by whoever had searched the place. O’Brien had all he needed for now. The entire contents, including the caravan itself, would be forensically examined in due course.
There was no rush.
‘Who were you hiding from?’ Kate whispered. ‘You don’t belong here.’
She crouched down to examine the victim more closely, taking pictures even though the crime scene photographer had already taken plenty. The injuries to her hands were proof that she’d put up a fight, deep nicks where the knife had caught her, a broken fingernail. Kate hoped she’d managed to scratch her attacker, collecting DNA.
The woman was well-dressed, one shoe missing, a classy watch, a gold locket Kate was desperate to open, hoping to expose an image of Aaron. Was he a brother, work associate or key witness? she wondered. Or was he someone the victim was determined to protect, her kid perhaps? The pathologist would confirm if she’d ever given birth. If it turned out to be her offspring, Kate was on the clock, looking for a potential second victim.
Scenarios came and went as Kate concentrated on the body. Find Aaron was a plea – or as the deceased had put it, a request. Her last request. If O’Brien hadn’t found the note, Kate would have been hoping that death had come quickly. She didn’t need it to work out that the opposite was true. The evidence was staring her in the face. Whoever was responsible had beaten the victim first and enjoyed doing it.
The extent of her injuries would fill a very long list.
Kate wandered into the bedroom. No blood here beyond the smudge O’Brien had referred to. The bed was upended, the covers strewn across the floor, including a pair of warm Liberty pyjamas O’Brien would send off to the forensics lab. In the tiny, adjoining shower Kate found costly toiletries scattered on the floor tiles, tossed out from a small cupboard over the sink, but no cosmetics. If there had been a hairbrush and toothbrush, the CSIs had taken it.
Wondering how a woman of obvious wealth had ended up here, Kate moved into the main room, glad of overshoes and small tread plates that raised her blue plastic overshoes off the sticky floor surface. She stood a moment, immobile, trying not to look at the deep gash to the IP’s neck. Closing her eyes gave brief respite from the scene facing her. It was impossible to think in a horror chamber.
A rush of cold air hit her as the door swung open.
‘Oh Jesus!’ The familiar voice of her second-in-command.
It was safe to turn around.
DS Hank Gormley was more than her 2ic. He was her long-standing professional partner. Steady. Reliable. Trustworthy. The only copper she could be totally open with. More brother than colleague. He was standing in the entrance looking down. They would normally view a crime scene together. With O’Brien moving around, there wasn’t sufficient room for two detectives in the van. Kate had asked him to wait outside, but Hank being Hank, with the CSI gone, his natural curiosity had taken over.
He’d be wishing he’d stayed away.
When their eyes met, Kate could see how moved he was by another man’s rage. His weren’t the only eyes on Kate. In her peripheral vision, she was aware of the victim’s head turned at an odd angle. She appeared to be staring up at Kate, the connection between the two women already established. Her clothing was intact, though her shirt was torn, two of the buttons gone, possibly when she was grabbed by her attacker.
‘Stanton won’t require a rape kit,’ Kate said. ‘The motivation is personal, not sexual. This is about control, pure and simple.’
Hank’s eyes were on the ceiling.
Kate followed his gaze.
Looking up she saw a large bloodstain. Directly beneath it, beside his right foot, was a round spot of blood with tiny splashes radiating from a central point. The size, shape and distribution of blood at a scene was a job for others to analyse but, in a moment of deep sorrow, Kate was overcome with grief. She couldn’t afford to allow images like this to affect her, but they did. This one had shaken her to the core.
Now she’d seen it, she couldn’t unsee it.
At every crime scene, there was always one thing that stuck in her mind: a child’s toy, an old man’s pipe, a shoe, the eyes of the dead. Those were the images that drove her on to seek justice for victims. On this occasion, that perfectly formed starburst pattern would act as a permanent reminder, a flashback to haunt her, day and night.
Until she got her shit together, she had nothing to say.
Already Hank was suspicious. ‘Is there anything helpful in that note O’Brien took out of here?’ He rarely missed a trick.
‘The ramblings of a terrified woman.’ It was at times like this that Kate hated her job. She knew he felt the same. ‘It’s the only thing we have of evidential value. O’Brien found no ID. No invoices, photos, passport or payslips. No devices, computer, iPad or mobile phone. A person who lives like that is in hiding.’
‘Or she didn’t live like that and the killer removed them,’ Hank said.
Kate was shaking her head: he hadn’t read the note she hoped had more to give.
He spread his hands. ‘You don’t think so because . . . ?’
‘Tell you later.’
‘Your face says you should tell me now.’ He grimaced. ‘You know her?’
‘No . . . she seems to know me though.’
‘You’re talking in code again—’
‘The note was written for me, Hank. Or someone very like me.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Not now. I want to process it first. Call Jo. She’s entertaining tonight. I hate to spoil her fun, but put her on standby. The three of us will put our heads together later. We need a handle on the victim. Our priority is the finder. He’s the site manager, right?’
A nod. ‘His name is Jack Shepherd.’
Kate and Hank walked to Shepherd’s place, behind one another, rather than side by side, keeping to the southern edge of the path as directed by the Crime Scene Manager. It was pitch black on the dirt-track road, clouds obliterating the moon. The further they got from the caravan, the more eerie it became, trees on either side blacking out the surrounding landscape.
Without a flashlight, it would have been impossible to see.
Shepherd’s stone-built single-storey cottage was located on the south-west corner of what had obviously once been a smallholding. Kate had passed it on the way in, all police vehicles, including her Audi, having been left on the main road, ensuring no contamination of the route in. Keen to get to the crime scene, Kate had taken little notice of the place.
Now she did so.
It reminded her of her father’s home where she grew up. The curtains of the cottage were closed, though lights were on inside, the flickering of a TV visible through the thin fabric. Ignoring the dwelling once more, she used her torch to scan the immediate area. When she’d arrived, she’d noticed the name Shepherd’s Gate Caravan Site and a sign indicating the months of the year when caravans were available for rent. For the site – and Kate’s unidentified victim – the season was definitely over.
‘I’d like to take a look around before tackling Shepherd,’ she said.
Hank stopped walking. ‘Looking for . . . ?’
‘We won’t know till we find it, will we? Check the entrance.’
They split up.
Kate stood a moment, listening to the waves crashing to land beyond the perimeter of the smallholding. Taking a much-needed gulp of sea air, she set off to examine two separate outbuildings, one large structure, one small, both locked and bolted, awaiting the spring. One was a shower and toilet block, the other a modest wooden chalet with a single shuttered window, the sign on which had faded over time.
She could just make out Breakfast Hut.
This, presumably, was a money-making sideline for the owners, a perk for those who preferred to camp under canvas and not in a tin tube. The hut was less than fifty metres from the house and neither building had a rear entrance.
The spot where Kate was standing suddenly lit up, casting a long shadow on the ground in front of her. She swung round and was blinded by the beam of a torch. Shading her eyes with her hand didn’t help.
She called out to Hank.
The torch was lowered, illuminating a pair of legs and the muddy ground on which they stood. Kate wasn’t easily spooked, but having seen the state of her victim, she was taking no chances. Switching off her torch, making herself less of a target, she took cover.
The beam of light shifted from one side to the other, scanning the ground.
She held her breath.
‘Kate, where are you?’
‘Fuck’s sake!’ She turned her torch on, lifting her arm, pointing it in his direction. He was standing at the side of a rotting five-bar gate. It stood open, as it had been when they arrived. She made her way across the soggy ground toward him. ‘Why didn’t you answer when I called out?’
‘I didn’t hear you. Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.’
He had. ‘Find something?’
He indicated a light patch on the gate. Hoping for a clue, she bent down to study it, finding two large chunks of wood missing. Corresponding splinters were on the ground a few metres away. The damage was recent. Bumper height. She noticed three sets of tyre tracks, presumably Shepherd’s and two more. It didn’t require a genius to work out that the gate had been hit by a vehicle taking the bend too fast.
She didn’t need to ask.
Hank was already on the blower to alert the Crime Scene Manager.
Call complete, Hank followed Kate towards the single-storey cottage, asking no questions as she knocked on the door. He knew that she’d been deeply disturbed by what she’d seen in the caravan which was, he suspected, why she’d been so jumpy outside. He felt guilty for that.
It was his job to protect, not scare her.
He was concerned that she’d withheld the contents of the note O’Brien had found. Unusual. Normally, they collaborated on everything, in real time. His thoughts on what might be holding her back were interrupted by the sound of a key turning in the lock.
An arc of light flooded an overgrown front garden as the door was pulled ajar.
Shepherd was short, a stocky man with bushy eyebrows and the weathered skin of someone who spent a lot of time outside; a former smallholder, according to first responders, diversifying in retirement to make a crust on land extending to forty-five acres.
Kate held up ID. ‘Detective Chief Inspector Daniels and DS Gormley. May we come inside?’
Shepherd stepped away from the door.
Hank noticed no alarm on the property as Kate entered the hallway but, as the front door closed behind them, he took in heavy-duty bolts on the door, top and bottom. Catching her attention, he flicked his head and eyes downward, indicating the stock of what looked like a twelve-gauge shotgun. The weapon was propped up against the wall beneath a coat rack, the magazine and barrel partially hidden under a long, waxed coat. The gun was not cocked and he wondered if it was loaded. On the wooden stool beside it was the coil of brown leather, a cartridge belt.
Two were missing.
The house was unbearably hot, even though the fire in the grate was dying in the cosy living room. Shepherd introduced the detectives to his wife, Peggy, a small woman with white hair tied in a bun. Using a remote, she turned off the national news. Behind her gold-rimmed specs, her eyelids were red, a telltale sign that she’d been crying.
‘Is this going to take long, DCI Daniels?’ She was looking at Hank. ‘We were just off to bed.’
‘Detective Sergeant,’ he corrected her.
Assumptions on who was in charge were not new. It happened a lot, especially with the older generation. Though it irritated Kate, she made nothing of it. No apology was forthcoming, except from her.
‘We’re sorry to keep you up, Mrs Shepherd—’
‘Not at all,’ her husband said.
Peggy bristled. ‘You’re tired, Jack.’
‘Stop fussing, woman. Go to bed. I’m fine.’
‘Actually, I’d like to talk to both of you,’ Kate said.
Peggy Shepherd remained seated, though she had more to say. ‘Jack’s not been well. We told the uniformed officer all we know—’
With no time to debate it, Kate cut her off. ‘Mrs Shepherd, I’m aware that you’ve already been spoken to, but a very serious incident has occurred on your property. I need to hear what you have to say, in case the officer you spoke to earlier missed anything. I appreciate the time of night and won’t keep you any longer than is absolutely necessary.’
Peggy caved, getting up to move a pile of freshly ironed washing from an armchair, inviting the detectives to sit. They did. Jack Shepherd bent down, picked up a log and threw it on the fire, then took a seat on the sofa beside his wife. He cleared his throat, repeating the events of that evening without being prompted. ‘We’d been out for an early dinner with our son. We arrived home around nine to find the front gate swinging open. It was closed and on the latch when we left.’
‘Did you notice it was damaged?’ Kate asked.
‘Didn’t look. I checked the house, then went to make sure we hadn’t lost anything. Last time it was an off-road quad bike, worth six grand. Rural areas are unprotected. No offence, but we rarely see your lot up here. Anyway, that’s when I noticed Helen’s light on. Her car was missing and the door was ajar. I knocked. She didn’t answer. I looked in.’ His lips formed into a thin hard line. He was struggling to keep his composure. ‘What kind of animal would do such a thing?’
Peggy slid a hand in his and gave it a squeeze. Her gesture suggested they were normally close. He pulled away. Kate felt that something other than shock and a police presence was upsetting them both. The atmosphere between them was unbearably tense.
‘What kind of vehicle did she have?’ Hank asked.
‘A Fiat. Dark blue. 16 Reg.’ Shepherd’s expression was apologetic. ‘I don’t know the full registration number. I think it began with YA.’
‘That’s a Yorkshire plate,’ Kate said. ‘Does that fit with her accent?’
‘She didn’t have one. It was cosmopolitan, posh compared to our usual clientele.’
No surprise there, Kate thought, given the expensive kit found in the van. ‘How long has she been here?’
‘Do you recall her having any visitors during that time?’
‘Have you?’ Hank asked.
‘No, we never get anyone here. No central heating. They’re always cold.’
Kate couldn’t imagine that. She was perspiring. She studied Shepherd closely. ‘Have you seen anyone hanging about recently, anyone you didn’t like the look of? Strange cars, people you hadn’t seen before?’
‘No, I’m always on the lookout. As I said, we’ve been robbed before.’
Kate took a moment to think. ‘We couldn’t help noticing that the other caravans are empty. The campsite is closed, isn’t it?’
‘Well, either it is or it isn’t.’ Kate’s tone was harder than before. ‘Are you telling us she just rocked up here on the off-chance, knocked on the door and you made an exception?’
‘I have an advert in the phone book.’
‘She called you?’
‘Yeah, I said no at first. She offered me cash, six months upfront at twice the going rate—’
‘The call . . . did it come in on the landline or mobile?’
‘Who’s your provider?’
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