"Dead?"



"He committed suicide-he was found hanging in the showers."



"How do you know?"



"It's on page seventeen of the Evening Standard. He even left a suicide note, so that's the end of our problems."



"Not while that tape still exists," Payne reminded him.



"No one is going to be interested in a tape of one dead man talking about another."



***



The cell door swung open and Pascoe walked in. He stared at Danny for some time, but didn't speak. Danny looked up from the diary; he'd reached the date of Nick's interview with Hurst from the Parole Board. The same day his appeal had been turned down. The day he trashed the cell and ended up in segregation.



"OK, lads, grab a meal and then get back to work. And, Moncrieff," said Pascoe, "I'm sorry about your friend Cartwright. I for one never thought he was guilty." Danny tried to think of a suitable reply, but Pascoe was already unlocking the next door cell.



"He knows," said Big Al quietly.



"Then we're done for," said Danny.



"I don't think so," said Big Al. "Fur some reason he's gon' along wi' the suicide, an ma bet is that he's no the only wan who's got his doubts. By the way, Nick, whit made ye change yer mind?"



Danny picked up the diary, flicked back a few pages and read out the words: If I could change places with Danny, I would. He has far more right to his freedom than I do.



CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE



DANNY STOOD AS inconspicuously as possible at the back of the churchyard as Michael raised his right hand and gave the sign of the cross.



The governor had granted Nick's request to attend Danny Cartwright's funeral at St. Mary's in Bow. He turned down a similar application from Big Al on the grounds that he still had at least fourteen months to serve, and had not yet been granted parole.



As the unmarked car had swung into Mile End Road, Danny looked out of the window, checking for familiar sights. They passed his favorite chippie, his local, the Crown and Garter, and the Odeon, where he and Beth used to sit in the back row every Friday night. When they stopped at the lights outside Clement Attlee Comprehensive, he clenched his fist as he thought of the wasted years he had spent there.



He tried not to look when they passed Wilson 's garage, but he couldn't stop himself. There were few signs of life in the little yard. It would take more than a fresh coat of paint to make anyone think about buying a second-hand car from Wilson 's. He turned his attention to Monty Hughes's place on the other side of the road: row upon row of gleaming new Mercedes with smartly dressed salesmen displaying cheerful smiles.



The governor had reminded Moncrieff that although he had only five weeks left to serve, he would still have to be accompanied by two officers, who would never leave his side. And if he were to disobey any of the strictures placed upon him, the governor would not hesitate to recommend to the Parole Board that they rescind their decision for an early release, which would result in him having to serve another four years.



"But you already know all this," Michael Barton had gone on to say, "because the same strictures were placed on you when you attended your father's funeral just a couple of months ago." Danny didn't comment.



The governor's strictures, as he called them, rather suited Danny, as he was not allowed to mix with the Cartwright family, their friends or any members of the public. In fact, he was not permitted to speak to anyone other than the accompanying officers until he was back inside the prison walls. The possibility of another four years in Belmarsh was quite enough to concentrate the mind.



Pascoe and Jenkins stood on either side of him, some way back from the mourners who surrounded the grave. Danny was relieved to find that Nick's clothes might have been tailor-made for him-well, perhaps the trousers could have been an inch longer, and although he had never worn a hat before, it had the advantage of shielding his face from any curious onlookers.



Father Michael opened the service with a prayer while Danny watched a gathering that was far larger than he had anticipated. His mother looked pale and drawn, as if she had been weeping for days, and Beth was so thin that a dress he well remembered now hung loosely on her, no longer emphasizing her graceful figure. Only his two-year-old daughter, Christy, was oblivious to the occasion as she played quietly by her mother's side; but then, she had only ever come into contact with her dad briefly, followed by month-long intervals, so she'd probably long forgotten him. Danny hoped that the only memory of her father wouldn't be of visiting him in prison.



Danny was touched to see Beth's father standing by her side, head bowed, and just behind the family, a tall elegant young man in a black suit, lips pursed, a look of smoldering anger in his eyes. Danny suddenly felt guilty that he hadn't replied to any of Alex Redmayne's letters since the appeal.



When Father Michael had finished intoning the prayers, he bowed his head before delivering his eulogy. "The death of Danny Cartwright is a modern tragedy," he told his parishioners as he looked down at the coffin. "A young man who had lost his way, and so troubled was he in this world that he took his own life. Those of us who knew Danny well still find it hard to believe that such a gentle, considerate man could have committed any crime, let alone the slaying of his closest friend. Indeed, many of us in this parish," he glanced at an innocent constable standing by the entrance to the church, "have still to be convinced that the police arrested the right person." A smattering of applause broke out among some of the mourners encircling the grave. Danny was pleased to see that Beth's father was among them.



Father Michael raised his head. "But for now, let us remember the son, the young father, the gifted leader and sportsman, for many of us believe that had Danny Cartwright lived, his name would have echoed far beyond the streets of Bow." Applause broke out a second time. "But that was not the Lord's will, and in His divine mystery He chose to take our son away, to spend the rest of his days with our savior." The priest sprinkled holy water around the grave and, as the coffin was lowered into the ground, he began to intone, "May eternal rest be granted unto Danny, O Lord."



As the young choir softly chanted the "Nunc Dimittis," Father Michael, Beth and the rest of the Cartwright family knelt by the graveside. Alex Redmayne along with several other mourners waited behind to pay their last respects. Alex bowed his head as if in prayer, and spoke a few words that neither Danny nor anyone else present could hear: "I will clear your name so that you may finally rest in peace."



Danny wasn't allowed to move until the last mourners had departed, including Beth and Christy, who never once looked in his direction. When Pascoe finally turned to tell Moncrieff that they should leave, he found him in tears. Danny wanted to explain that his tears were shed not only for his dear friend Nick, but for the privilege of being one of those rare individuals who discover how much they are loved by those closest to them.



CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX



DANNY SPENT EVERY spare moment reading and rereading Nick's diaries, until he felt there was nothing left to know about the man.



Big Al, who had served with Nick for five years before they were both court-martialed and sent to Belmarsh, was able to fill in several gaps, including how Danny should react if he ever bumped into an officer of the Cameron Highlanders, and he also taught him how to spot the regimental tie at thirty paces. They endlessly discussed the first thing Nick would have done the moment he was released.