By Barry Maitland

ISBN-10: 1741148170

ISBN-13: 9781741148176

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Oh, sorry. Listen, Anna’s just told me you’re hitched. ’ He grinned. ‘Thanks. ’ ‘Lauren. Look, I’m sorry, but I can’t stay long. ’ I paid for his drink and we made our way between the gesticulating combatants to our table. I noticed that Damien, too, seemed unsure how to greet Anna, then braced himself and bent to kiss her cheek. They exchanged brief compliments about how they both looked, Anna reserved and Damien expansive, trying to gauge her mood. ’ ‘The funeral got us talking about Luce’s death, Damien,’ I said.

It must have been terrible for you, but at least you can feel you did what you could. ’ He glanced pointedly at his watch. ‘We’d like to get hold of the police report to the coroner. The full report. ’ He looked startled. ‘Really? Well, I suppose you could apply—’ ‘We don’t have a direct interest,’ Anna broke in. ‘I mean as far as the coroner’s concerned. ’ This sudden display of homework, delivered in a low rapid voice, was rather jarring, and undermined my attempt to sound casual. ‘I don’t think we’d be successful,’ she went on.

But . ’ ‘Maybe. ’ 22 Bright Air text 22 16/6/08 10:26:14 AM Bright Air ‘She doesn’t really know. ’ ‘I always liked Anna. The quiet plain one, but very loyal, I always felt, to Luce especially. ’ ‘She had her moments, but yes, today I’d say . . ’ What I was thinking was that Anna had seemed almost weighed down now by being sensible, the old flights of fancy firmly in check. ‘Yes. I remember wanting to slip a bottle of shampoo into her bag that day they came here. But when I met her a few weeks ago she was very smartly turned out.

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Bright Air by Barry Maitland

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