Date of Birth:. These days more and more people had none. She had no sympathy for them but congratulated herself on her own initiative. Two mornings a week she cleaned for Mrs. Wexford, two mornings for Mrs. Crocker, afternoons for two other Kingsmarkham women, did gardening and cleaned cars for Mr. Wexford and Dr. Crocker and babysat every evening where she was wanted for those young enough to need a baby-sitter.
Cleaning she did for the women and gardening and car-washing for the men because she had never believed in any of that feminism or equality stuff. Maxine charged maximum rates for baby-sitting except for her son and his partner, who got her services for free.
As for the others, those who had kids must expect to pay for them. She was a good worker, reliable, punctual, and reasonably honest, and the only condition she made was payment in cash. Wexford, who after all had until recently been a policeman, demurred at that but eventually gave in the way the tax inspector up the road did.
She had one drawback. She talked. She talked not just while she was having a break for a cup of tea or while she was getting out or putting away the tools, but all the time she was working and to whoever happened to be in the room or upstairs in the kitchen. The work got done and efficiently while the words poured out on a steady monotone. As for the smack and what do they call them, description drugs—mind Mr. No, it was my Jason had her out of her cot before the first peep was out of her.
Mind you, that Nicky never showed no gratitude. Wexford was sitting in a cane armchair in autumn sunshine doing what many a man or woman plans to do on retirement but few put into practice, reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He had embarked on it expecting to find it heavy going, but instead becoming fast enraptured and enjoying every word. Here starts your tour of duty.
Going there on your holidays, are you? Me and my sister took in Rome on our Ten Italian Cities tour. She raised it. It was all over the papers and on the telly. She always left the back door open and I popped in to collect the money she owed me and it gave me a terrible turn.
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No blood, of course, not with strangling, but still a shock. Still, I reckon you had to think of things like that, it being your job. You must be relieved getting all that over with. Maxine was startled from her monologue. This season of obscurity, which cannot surely be compared with the preternatural obscurity of the Passion, had already been celebrated by most of the poets and historians of that memorable age. His mobile was ringing. Detective Superintendent Burden, known to the phone-contacts list as Mike. A bath at a. The vacuum cleaner still roaring, he escaped out the front door, closing it after him by an almost silent turning of the key in the lock.
Taking an interested member of the public—that, after all, was what he was—on a call or calls that were part of a criminal investigation was something Wexford had seldom done while he was himself an investigating officer. This visit, this opportune escape from Maxine, was undergone, he knew, because, once senior and junior officers, over the years they had become friends.
Burden knew, none better, how much Wexford would wish to be involved in solving the mystery of who had killed the Reverend Sarah Hussain. And seen of course when passing the vicarage. He could have seen more online, but he had cringed from its colourful headlines. Sarah Hussain was far from being the only woman ordained priest of the Church of England, but perhaps she was the only one to have been born in the United Kingdom of a white Irishwoman and an Indian immigrant. All this had been in the newspaper along with some limited biographical details, including information about her conversion to Christianity.
There had been a photograph too of a gaunt woman with an aquiline nose in an academic cap and gown, olive-skinned but with large, deep-set, black eyes and what hair that showed a glossy jet-black. She had been forty-eight when she died and a single mother. Her origins, her looks—striking but not handsome—her age, her single parenthood, and, above all, that conversion made him think that her life could not have been easy. He would have liked to know more, and no doubt, he soon would. The vicarage was some distance away and he had no need to pass the church to reach it.
As industrious as his mother if not as vociferous, he must be having a day off from his job as a supermarket manager. Curious to see the child whose father worshipped the ground she crawled on, Wexford looked under the buggy hood and saw a pretty, pink-cheeked blonde, her long-lashed eyes closed in sleep. No doubt the man was wary of any male person eyeing his little girl. Quite right too, he thought, himself the parent of girls who were now middle-aged women.
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He was a little early and by design. In his position it was better for him to be waiting for them than they for him.
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But Burden was seldom late, and the two of them appeared almost immediately from the high street. Where did he learn to dress like that? But here was Burden today, his abundant but short hair now iron grey, his beige jacket surely cashmere over white shirt with beige-and-blue-figured tie, his beautifully creased trousers of denim, though discernibly—how?
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Val McDermid. Snow Kills. The Ghost Fields. Elly Griffiths. The Corpse Bridge. Deadly Focus. Too Good To Be True. The Soul of Discretion. Susan Hill.
No Man's Nightingale
Buffalo Jump. Howard Shrier. Splinter the Silence. Watching the Dark.