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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Uncoiled Lie by Liz Mistry extract

Uncoiled Lies Extract 1 The Good Guys (The McGuires, father and son, DS Alice Cooper and Ds Sadia Hussain)






Gus closed his eyes and mumbled ‘Shit!’, before turning with a forced smile to greet the
huge man who lumbered over, swinging his medical case by his side. Gus would have preferred
almost any other pathologist to his dad. As he watched the older man approach, he said in a
strangled voice, ‘What the fuck is he wearing?’
‘Looks like a kilt to me, Gus.’ Alice raised one hand to her brow in an exaggerated
manner and peered through the gloom. ‘Yep, definitely a kilt.’
When the pathologist, kilt undulating jauntily, reached them, Alice turned to him and
said, ‘Well, don’t you look handsome, Doc?’
Gus snorted as the man’s already ruddy face glowed even pinker at the compliment.
‘Ah, the lovely Alice,’ Dr McGuire said smiling. ‘Always ready with a compliment and the good grace to make an old man feel welcome.’ He pursed his mouth and glowered at Gus who stood, shoulders slumped, with a grudging half-smile on his face.
‘As you can see, Alice, I was at my Scottish country dance club when I got the call.’ He
turned to Sadia and smiled. ‘Hallo my dear, you do look lovely tonight.’
Almost spluttering, Gus interrupted. ‘It’s not a bloody fashion parade you know. What
the hell’s going on? You can’t come to a crime scene dressed like that!’ He glared at the kilt as if it was infectious.
Dr McGuire smoothed his kilt with a paddle-sized hand. ‘Och, don’t worry, Angus ma
lad, ah’ll be careful. It’ll dry clean, you know?’
Gus’ mouth fell open, ‘I’m not bloody worried about your damn kilt! I just don’t think
it’s appropriate for the pathologist to trundle up to a crime scene dressed like Bonnie Prince
Bloody Charlie.’
Doc McGuire lowered his voice, leaned towards Gus and jerked his head towards the
body. ‘Ah hate tae tell ye Angus, but the lassie’s already deid. So, ah doubt she’d be bothered if
ah wore ma damn birthday suit.’
As Alice turned a giggle into a cough and lowered her mouth into the folds of her scarf,
Gus realised he’d hurt his dad’s feelings. He felt a momentary pang of guilt which dissipated
when he glanced back at his dad and once more saw the offending article of clothing. How long
would it have taken him to pull a pair of damn trousers on? Two seconds that’s all, just two
bloody seconds! But no! He’d got to turn up like some tartan avenger in a Braveheart spoof.
His scowl deepened as Dr McGuire continued, ‘I’m not a bloody eejit, Angus. Like
always I’ll suit up, kilt or no bloody kilt.’ And he marched off to examine the body.
‘Well done there, Gus,’ said Sadia, trying not to laugh, ‘If you’d upset him any more that
kilt of his would be swinging high enough for us all to see if he’s a true Scot.’
Gus let out a puff of air and slouched further into the coat. ‘Course he’s a bloody true
Scotsman. He doesn’t do owt by half, does he?’
Alice patted him gently on the arm, ‘I’m sure he didn’t put it on just to annoy you, Gus.’
Gus looked at her, scepticism shining in his eyes. ‘You think not, Alice? I’m not so sure.
I think my father’s main aim in life is to humiliate me in every way imaginable.’ He exhaled
loudly and rubbed his hand through his hair. ‘Bloody silly auld goat!’
Alice laughed. ‘Why don’t you suit up and join him? At least you’ll be able to hold his kilt down for him. After all, it is a bit breezy over there.’
Gus raised an eyebrow. ‘Yeah, right.’ Trying to throw off his annoyance with his dad,
Gus, shoulders hunched, turned towards the skinny girl who was now watching his dad don his
white suit. Arms wrapped round her frame, she looked so alone and frail; as if a slight breeze
would knock her off her feet. He felt sorry for her, knowing from personal experience that the
numbness she felt right now would soon give way to something much worse. He sighed and
nodded to one of the PCs. ‘Get her a cup of coffee or something and a seat. Make sure she’s
okay.’

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