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.The Park Circus brothel was closed.It wouldn’t have mattered if Sneddon had put a caretaker in and kept it open: the papers were full of lurid headlines about Arthur Parks’s death.That meant that the punters it had served wouldn’t be seen near it.It also meant that no number of brown envelopes would stop the police being forced to take action and close it down.It was a tense few days for me, not least because the papers had carried a description of a tall man in a brown suit seen in the area immediately after the murder.That was as far as the description went.But it was enough for me to sweat about.I just hoped that Sneddon had gotten his incinerator fired up.But I was edgy for another reason.In the same paper that had carried the news about Parks’s murder there had been another, smaller article about a death in Edinburgh.In this case, no foul play was suspected, at least from a third party.A leading Edinburgh surgeon had tragically taken his own life.He had shot himself in the head with his former service revolver.He had been one of the leaders in the field of maxillo-facial reconstructive surgery, the article stated.Alexander Knox.Coincidence three.Within a day or so of Parks being topped, a leading plastic surgeon who had been amenable to doing Tam McGahern a favour or two had just decided to blow his own brains out.It was over a week after Parks’s death that the police did come calling.I was in the Horsehead Bar when Jock Ferguson appeared at my elbow.He accepted my offer of a whisky.A good sign.There’s a kind of etiquette with coppers: they don’t tend to drink with you before they work you over.‘You got something to tell me?’ He raised an eyebrow.I raised my pulse.Maybe he wasn’t here to socialize.‘Like what?’‘Come off it, Lennox, you must be up to your eyes in all of this shite.’‘Shite?’He turned to face me full on, placing his glass down in a businesslike way and leaning on the bar’s brass rail.‘Don’t fuck me about, Lennox.There’s no way that Willie Sneddon hasn’t hired you to look into Arthur Parks’s death.’‘Oh, that …’ I said and tried to wipe the and-I-thought-you-were-talking-about-me-being-a-prime-suspect-for-this-murder expression from my face.I didn’t think I had succeeded that well because Ferguson’s broad forehead creased in a suspicious frown.‘What else did you think I was talking about?’ he asked.‘I wasn’t sure, that’s all,’ I smiled and took a withering slug of the Scotch I’d ordered because Big Bob was out of CC.‘The problem with working in the sewer is that there’s a lot of shite to choose from.’My act of self-deprecation seemed to do the trick and he leaned both elbows back on the bar.‘Willie McNab is trying to tie this one up fast.He has a theory.’‘Oh?’‘We had a discussion about homosexuals.’ Ferguson grinned, uncharacteristically.‘McNab finds the whole concept beyond understanding.I don’t think he likes to admit that there are any in Scotland.’‘I’ve heard that theory before,’ I said.‘That like all the snakes being driven out of Ireland by St Patrick, St Andrew drove all of the queers out of Scotland and they became …’‘… the English,’ we said in unison and laughed.‘I’m being serious though,’ said Ferguson.‘McNab has all of these theories about Parks’s killing.He thinks it was some kind of sado-masochistic homosexual thing.The only thing he knows about homosexuality is that it’s illegal and those guilty of it usually display excellent clothes-sense.His theories are beginning to border on science-fiction.Like they’re Martians or something.Do you know, he’s like Queen Victoria … he really doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as lesbianism.“How’s that going to work?” he said.“All sockets and no plugs.”’‘Why does he think Parks’s murder is sado-masochism?’ I asked.‘How did he die?’ Clever Lennox.‘Not nice, Lennox,’ Ferguson grimaced.I couldn’t tell if it was the memory or the Bells that was doing it.‘Someone had beaten seven shades of shite out of him.Tied him to a chair first.His face was battered to fuck.’‘I take it you don’t go for the bondage-buggery theory?’‘I knew a guy in the war.A decent guy and a good fucking soldier.He blew his brains out because it came out he was homo and he was going to be court-martialled.Don’t get me wrong, I don’t swing from those branches myself, but I don’t feel the need to persecute people because of the way they were made.And it pisses me off the amount of police and court time that goes into persecuting them [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]