Quint Dalrymple 01 - Body Politic by Paul Johnston

Quint Dalrymple 01 - Body Politic by Paul Johnston

Author:Paul Johnston [Johnston, Paul]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
ISBN: 9780312202798
Google: daFgHQAACAAJ
Goodreads: 1425208
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 1957-08-12T22:00:00+00:00

Chapter Eleven

I WALKED AWAY from the infirmary into the night. The breeze still carried the smell of smoke, though the fire at the hotel had been out for hours. I tried to make sense of what was going on. In the afternoon I had checked Adam Kirkwood’s flat and found it exactly as it had been. Was he the transvestite his sister had seen? I had no evidence, but I had bugger all evidence for anything. That’s why I was reduced to following up marginal leads.

A car braked and stopped just in front of me on Lauriston Place. It was Billy Geddes’s Toyota.

“Get in, Quint.”

“What are you doing around here?” I got in without any show of enthusiasm. “No sex clubs in this part of the city.”

Billy accelerated away. “Looking for you.” His hands gripped the steering wheel hard.

“Oh aye.” I was instantly curious. “Need to get something off your chest, maybe?”

“You don’t make things easy, do you?” He shook his head. “Fucking smartass. As it happens, I have got something to tell you.”

“Come home for a nightcap. I’ve got some unusually good whisky.”

“Wonder where you came by that. Spare me your pit. I’ll take you to my place.”

“Great, Billy.” At least it would be interesting to find out if his years in the Finance Directorate had left him with any understanding of what telling the truth entails.

I wasn’t much the wiser after my first hour in Heriot Row. Billy had led me up the ornate Georgian staircase to his apartment on the first floor. From the high windows I looked out over the lights in the street below. The voices of a group of auxiliaries jogging on the all-weather track in the gardens beyond floated up in the still night air. Well, it wasn’t that still. From the gaming tents in Charlotte Square came the pounding of music, interspersed by the raucous yells of the winners.

Although even senior auxiliaries are supposedly issued with the same furniture as us ordinary citizens, their residences in the streets near Council members’ accommodation aren’t checked by Supply Directorate inspectors. I recalled the Latin question my father came up with all the time in the early years of the Enlightenment: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” It didn’t look like anyone was keeping an eye on the next generation of guardians.

“Look at this.” Billy nudged me and took me over to the polished Regency table that stood in the centre of his large sitting room. “It’s a first edition of Hume’s Treatise.”

“Bloody hell.” I ran my hands over the stiff pages of the old book carefully. “Where did you get it?”

Billy raised a finger to his nose. “Contacts, Quint. That’s what it’s all about.” He went over to the drinks cabinet by the Adam fireplace and raised a decanter. “This is from Jura.”

I was seriously tempted to taste the whisky. Brands like it had disappeared from the city when relations with the unstable states in the north and west were cut after independence. The whisky available to ordinary citizens was a low-quality blend from the few distilleries around Edinburgh.


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