Perfect Sins

Free Perfect Sins by Jo Bannister

Book: Perfect Sins by Jo Bannister Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jo Bannister
Sperrin’s current employer and longtime friend—to break the dogged silence.
    â€œYou saw your mum, then, David?”
    Sperrin nodded tersely.
    â€œHad she heard about what we found?”
    â€œA good job you went over, then.”
    â€œWhy?” Sperrin looked at Ash pugnaciously. “It’s nothing to do with her.”
    Byrfield sighed long-sufferingly. “Ash was only concerned that she might be upset. That someone might say something to her in the village and she might be upset.”
    Sperrin swiveled in his chair to give Byrfield the benefit of his searchlight gaze. “You’ve met my mother, have you? She doesn’t get upset. She gets angry. If anyone in Burford got smart with her, she’d rip their ears off.” He didn’t add, though he might as well have done, Instead of mine.
    Byrfield shrugged. “I still think it was best. If there’s talk in the village, sooner or later the police will hear it and they’ll want to talk to her. Better if it doesn’t come out of the blue.”
    â€œSo she can think up a plausible story, you mean?” Sperrin’s tone walked the knife edge of objectionable. “Instead of admitting that she murdered my brother, buried him beside your lake, and told people he’d been taken to Ireland?”
    But Byrfield had known him a very long time and, in spite of his prickliness, liked the man. “Nobody’s thinking any such thing,” he said wearily.
    Hazel chose that moment to come in and so missed the start of the conversation. That may have been why she said what she did. Or she may just have been tiring of Sperrin’s bad manners. “When did you last see your brother?” In the fraught silence that followed, she poured herself coffee from the pot.
    Sperrin stared at her as if he couldn’t believe her impertinence. But in the end he had to either answer or refuse to, and he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of a refusal. “I haven’t seen my brother since I was a child. But my mother gets a card from him every Christmas and every birthday. That’s how I know he’s in Ireland, not under the mud down by the mere.”
    Hazel nodded, apparently accepting the answer at face value. “You’ve never wanted to go and look him up? It’s a sad thing when families lose touch.”
    â€œI don’t know where he is ,” snarled Sperrin. “They’re travelers, yes? They travel. That’s why they’re called travelers. The clue’s in the name, really.”
    At which point Byrfield judged that if he didn’t change the subject, they were going to witness the top of an archaeologist’s head blow off and steam come out. “Okay. Well, we can’t do any more digging until we get the all clear from Inspector Norris. Agriculture beckons—anybody want to help me move some cows?”
    Predictably, Hazel volunteered, and Sperrin grunted, “In a parallel universe,” and disappeared into the library. Ash caught his dog’s eye and raised an inquiring eyebrow, but Patience simply turned around and settled deeper into the sofa. Ash was only grateful that Byrfield used the kitchen, with its well-worn leather chairs, as a casual don’t-worry-about-your-boots sort of snug for his guests. He was horribly afraid that if they’d been offered the priceless antiques in the drawing room, Patience would still have appropriated the sofa with the thickest cushions.
    â€œWe’ll give it a miss, if you don’t mind,” he said, as if the decision had been his.
    As a result, when a car drove into the courtyard behind the kitchen, Ash was the one who saw it, recognized Detective Inspector Norris, and went out to greet him. “I’m afraid Lord Byrfield isn’t here. He’s out doing something with his cows. Hazel’s with him—I have her mobile number, somewhere.…” He was patting

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