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By Peter Corris

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Sample text

Alarm flared in George’s bloodshot eyes. ’ I went past him, closing my nostrils against his frowsy, sweaty stink. ’ he said. * * * * You can trace names from telephone numbers if you’ve got the right connections. I put through a call and got the information I needed. I knew from the prefix that the service was to the Richmond district-the subscriber was Mark Scammell of Lot 1, Brewer’s Lagoon Road, Richmond. If I hadn’t encountered the SOS woman at the school gate an hour earlier, the name wouldn’t have meant a thing to me.

I drove to the station. The sergeant behind the desk looked old enough to have been in the force in Ron Fisher’s time and I took the risk of mentioning his name. Coppers are clannish and whatever it was that had led to Fisher’s expulsion hadn’t tarnished his name among his fellows. The sergeant clicked his tongue, muttered ‘Poor bugger’ and obligingly sent a constable to fetch a record book dating back to the time in question. When it arrived the book was both dusty and damp but it yielded the information: the personal effects of Ernest and Josephine Macquarie had eventually been handed over to the drowned woman’s sister, Mrs Isabel Ozal.

I shot him in the right shoulder; he yelled, the gun flew from his hand and he bounced off the wall before falling, slowly, awkwardly, to the bottom of the stairs. * * * * After that, it was a matter of cautious approaches and you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. We convinced each other that we were PEA Hardy and policemen Allen and Blake. Kelo was bleeding badly and in shock. Blake was phoning for help when Frank Harkness came storming down the stairs. ‘What the fuck’s going on here? ’ He confronted Allen and for a minute I thought he was going to plant one on him.

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