[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.She looked grey.She sighed, as if talking was an effort, but she answered freely enough.‘It was very strange.I mean, that sort of thing just isn’t like Dad.He’s the straightest person I know.And as for sharing anything with Sid Andrew – he’d as soon lick the pavements.He had a very low opinion of him.’‘Why do you say that?’‘Oh, he told me more than once that Sid was a waste of space, a complete liability in the department.He’s the sort of man Dad always despised – a time-serving career politician, who got on by being lobby fodder and a cabinet lickspittle.He was punching well above his weight at the DTI – the Permanent Secretary practically had to guide his hand when he signed things.But then, look what happened when the scandal broke: Sid Andrew does a couple of months in purdah and then he’s Lord Andrew of Leuchars.Now he’s sitting pretty – directorships, quangos, committees, you name it.’‘So what do you think really happened?’ Slider asked.‘I don’t know,’ she said in frustration.‘Dad would never talk about it.I was out of the country at the time, of course, but I read all the British papers and I watch the BBC so of course I saw everything that was in the news.It was taken up by one or two of the American papers, because Dad had been Washington correspondent for a while, but they didn’t run with it past one issue.We have our own sex scandals over there, much fruitier ones, and no-one had ever heard of Sid Andrew so it wasn’t interesting enough.But I phoned Dad straight away, of course, and asked what was going on.I said I know it isn’t true, and all he said is, “It’s pointless for me to deny it.You’ve seen the photos.” I said to him, “Dad, I know you wouldn’t do something like that.” And he said, “The evidence is irrefutable.” And then he changed the subject and wouldn’t talk about it any more.And when I next came over, it was a forbidden subject between us.’‘So what’s your theory?’ Slider asked.She looked at him, and he gave a faint smile.‘I’m sure you must have a theory, a thinking woman like you.’She shrugged off the compliment.‘I suppose he must have been tricked into it somehow.But I can’t think how.What was he doing with that girl in the first place, when he and Candida were so close? Maybe he was drunk,’ she added, as though anticipating that he would say it, ‘but being drunk doesn’t excuse bad behaviour.’‘Was it so very bad? I mean, these days, don’t men have these little flings now and then?’She looked disappointed in him.‘Other people, maybe, but not Dad.And not like that.Anyway, the government thought it was serious enough to sack him and Andrew.’‘Why do you think your father wouldn’t talk about it to you?’She looked down at her hands.‘Maybe because he was ashamed,’ she said quietly.‘That’s what I’m afraid of.I could bear it if he did it and was defiant and said, “Mind your own business,” to everyone.But I couldn’t stand it if he did something he was ashamed of.Not Dad.’It was quite a pedestal, Slider thought.Was Stonax really that virtuous? They were silent until they turned into Riverene Road, and then she said, ‘You don’t think that old stuff has anything to do with.with this?’‘I don’t know,’ Slider said.‘Probably not, but I like to know everything I can in cases like this.And I was born curious.’‘I thought you said it was just a robbery?’‘It looks that way,’ Slider said.‘I’m just being thorough.’‘Well, I suppose I should be glad about that,’ she said bleakly.Swilley walked down Queen’s Gate a little way and came back into the mews from the other end, and then stationed herself in the shadow of a fire escape to wait.Soon enough Shawna Weedon came scuttling across the road from the office.Swilley made herself visible and the girl almost flung herself into the hiding place as if the Feds were after her.‘I can’t stay long,’ she said, fumbling in her handbag for a cigarette.She offered them to Swilley, who took one in the interests of the case, though she hardly ever smoked any more.Shawna lit them both and savaged the weed as though it was her last.‘She doesn’t like me smoking,’ she said, ‘and of course I can’t do it in the office, but it’s in my contract, two ten minute breaks as well as lunch-hour, and she can’t stop me taking them.But I daren’t be a minute late.’‘All right, what did you want to tell me?’ Swilley asked calmly.‘Only to set the record straight, that’s all, because it’s so shocking about poor Ed Stonax.He was such a lovely man.He often used to come into the office, and always so polite and friendly.Not like some people, who think they’re better than everyone else.But he was a complete gentleman.’‘Well, up to a point,’ Swilley said.‘There was that three-in-a-bed stuff last year.’‘Oh, that!’ Shawna said with robust scorn.‘Well, if you want my opinion, there was something fishy about that.I said so at the time.He just wouldn’t do a thing like that.If you want to know what I think, I think he was drugged to make him do it.Because there was no way he would have if he was in his right mind.’‘But then why didn’t he complain about it afterwards?’She shrugged.‘Oh, well, you know how these things go.Once something’s been in the papers no-one ever believes you again.He’d have just looked like a fool to argue.And according to what I heard they gave him a big settlement, so unless he wanted his job back he was better to leave sleeping dogs lie [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]