He had also written to Beth. He would have liked her to be the first to learn that Mortimer had made a full confession, and Big Al had recorded every word of it on Danny's tape recorder. The tape was now secreted inside his mattress, and he would hand it over to Mr. Redmayne during his next legal visit. Danny wanted to let Beth know they now had the evidence they needed, but he couldn't risk putting anything in writing.



Big Al didn't try to hide the fact that he was pleased with himself, and even offered to appear as a witness. It looked as if Nick had been right. Danny was going to be released before he was.



CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX



THE CHURCH WARDEN was waiting for Sir Nicholas in the vestry. He gave a slight bow before accompanying the new head of the family down the aisle to the front pew on the right-hand side. Pascoe and Jenkins took their places in the row behind.



Nick turned to his left, where the rest of the family were seated in the first three rows on the other side of the aisle. Not one of them even glanced in his direction; they were all clearly under his uncle Hugo's instructions to ignore him. That didn't stop Mr. Munro joining Nick in the front row. The organ struck up, and the local parish priest, accompanied by the regimental chaplain, led the choir down the aisle to the words of "The Lord is My Shepherd."



The trebles filed into the front row of the choir stalls, followed by the tenors and basses. A few moments later a coffin was borne in on the shoulders of six squaddies from the Cameron Highlanders, then placed gently on a bier in front of the altar. All the colonel's favorite hymns were sung lustily during the service, ending with "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended." Nick bowed his head in prayer for a man who did believe in God, Queen and country.



When the vicar delivered his eulogy, Nick recalled one of his father's expressions, which he invariably repeated whenever they had attended a regimental funeral in the past-"The padre did him proud."



Once the chaplain had offered closing prayers and the priest had administered the final blessing, the congregation of family, friends, representatives of the regiment and locals gathered in the churchyard to witness the burial.



For the first time, Nick noticed the massive figure of a man who must have weighed more than twenty-five stone, and who didn't look at home in Scotland. He smiled. Nick returned his smile and tried to recall when they had last met. Then he remembered: Washington, D.C.; the opening of an exhibition at the Smithsonian to celebrate his grandfather's eightieth birthday, when his fabled stamp collection had been put on display to the public. But Nick still couldn't recall the man's name.



After the coffin had been lowered into the grave and the final rites administered, the Moncrieff clan departed, without a single member offering their condolences to the deceased's son and heir. One or two of the locals whose livelihoods did not depend on his uncle Hugo walked across and shook hands with Nick, while the senior officer representing the regiment stood to attention and saluted. Nick raised his hat in acknowledgment.



As he turned to leave the graveside, Nick saw Fraser Munro talking to Jenkins and Pascoe. Munro came across to him. "They've agreed that you can spend an hour with me to discuss family matters, but they'll not allow you to accompany me back to the office in my car."



"I understand." Nick thanked the chaplain and then climbed into the back of the police car. A moment later Pascoe and Jenkins took their places on either side of him.



As the car moved off, Nick looked out of the window to see the large man lighting a cigar.



"Hunsacker," said Nick out loud. "Gene Hunsacker."



***



"Why did you want to see me?" demanded Craig.



"I've run out of gear," said Leach.



"But I supplied you with enough to last six months."



"Not after a bent screw's taken his cut."



"Then you'd better visit the library."



"Why would I go to the library, Mr. Craig?"



"Take out the latest copy of the Law Review, the leather-bound edition, and you'll find everything you need taped to the inside of the spine." Craig closed his briefcase, stood up and headed toward the door.



"It won't be a moment too soon," said Leach, not moving from his seat.



"What do you mean?" asked Craig as he touched the door handle.



"Aunt Maisie's friend has signed up for a detox program."



"Then you'll have to wean him off it, won't you."



"That may not solve your problem," said Leach calmly.



Craig walked slowly back to the table, but didn't sit down. "What are you getting at?"



"A little bird tells me that Aunt Maisie's friend has started singing like a canary."



"Then shut him up," spat out Craig.



"It may be too late for that."



"Stop playing games, Leach, and tell me what you're getting at."



"I'm told there's a tape."



Craig collapsed into the chair and stared across the table. "And what's on this tape?" he asked quietly.



"A full confession... with names, dates and places." Leach paused, aware that he now had Craig's undivided attention. "It was when I was told the names that I felt I ought to consult my lawyer."



Craig didn't speak for some time. "Do you think you can get your hands on the tape?" he eventually asked.



"At a cost."



"How much?"



"Ten grand."



"That's a bit steep."



"Bent screws don't come cheap," said Leach. "In any case, I bet Aunt Maisie doesn't have a plan B, so she hasn't got much choice."



Craig nodded. "All right. But there's a time limit. If it's not in my possession before May thirty-first, you won't get paid."



"No prizes for guessing whose appeal will be coming up that day," said Leach with a smirk.



***



"Your father made a will, which this firm executed," said Munro, tapping his fingers on the desk. "It was witnessed by a justice of the peace, and I have to advise you that however you feel about its contents, you would be unwise to dispute it."



"It would not have crossed my mind to oppose my father's wishes," said Nick.



"I think that is a sensible decision, Sir Nicholas, if I may say so. However, you are entitled to know the details of the will. As time is against us, allow me to paraphrase." He coughed. "The bulk of your father's estate has been left to his brother, Mr. Hugo Moncrieff, with smaller gifts and annuities to be distributed among other members of the family, the regiment and some local charities. He has left nothing to you except the title, which of course was not his to dispose of."



"Be assured, Mr. Munro, this does not come as a surprise."



"I'm relieved to hear that, Sir Nicholas. However, your grandfather, a shrewd and practical man, who incidentally my father had the privilege of representing, made certain provisions in his will of which you are now the sole beneficiary. Your father made an application to have that will rescinded, but the courts rejected his claim."



Munro smiled as he rummaged around among the papers on his desk until he found what he wanted. He held it up in triumph and declared, "Your grandfather's will. I will only acquaint you with the relevant clause." He turned over several pages. "Ah, here's what I'm looking for." He placed a pair of half-moon spectacles on the end of his nose and read slowly. "I leave my estate in Scotland, known as Dunbroathy Hall, as well as my London residence in The Boltons, to my grandson Nicholas Alexander Moncrieff, presently serving with his regiment in Kosovo. However, my son Angus will be allowed full and free use of both of these properties until his demise, when they will come into the possession of the aforementioned grandson." Munro placed the will back on his desk. "In normal circumstances," he said, "this would have guaranteed you a vast inheritance, but unfortunately I have to inform you that your father took advantage of the words full and free use, and borrowed heavily against both properties up until a few months before his death.