The Dark Fear
child any longer, he’s sixteen.’
                  Andy thought that made it even more likely the lad could have been digging around, but didn’t say so. Instead, he put a hand up to placate her. ‘I’m not making any accusations, here. It’s just that the phone call to Galloway is a pretty powerful rung in the case against your husband. If there’s any way he didn’t actually make the call then it goes in Stuart’s favour.’
                  Kate took a sip of her drink, as if trying to calm herself down. ‘Yes, I know. It’s just the thought of the kids being dragged into all of this.’ She looked up, catching Andy’s eye, ‘and I genuinely can’t imagine any circumstance in which Colin would tamper with that phone. He knew it was police property. If you ever meet our son, you’ll see how gentle and law-abiding he is.’
                  ‘Okay, I’ll not say any more on the subject.’ Calder wondered if Kate Lamb was one of those parents who were utterly blinkered when it came to their own offspring. He’d have to meet this sainted lad to be sure. ‘I just need to confirm one last thing.’ He took a deep breath. ‘On Wednesday night, after 7pm, Stuart claims he was at home with you. Can you verify that for me, Kate?’
                  Her pupils became tiny dots of jet black. Her lips set firm in a grim line. ‘Yes, he certainly was. We had dinner, watched TV and went to bed. I’ve already told Bob Gordon this. You can’t possibly think that Stuart murdered Alex Galloway?’ She was practically seething.
                  ‘It’s something that City and Borders will have to investigate. The evidence points to the fact that your husband may have been involved in some kind of mutual arrangement with Galloway. Now Stuart’s job is on the line. It gives him a motive.’
                  ‘Stuart has worked for that division for twenty seven years . This whole thing is crazy, it’s madness.’ She stood up, lifting her jacket from behind the chair. ‘I’m going home to my family now DC Calder, if you don’t mind.’
                  The woman had already swept out of the door, allowing it to bang shut behind her, before Andy had any chance to reply.
     
     

Chapter 13
     
     
    T he rain had cleared. Shafts of sunlight were cutting through the trees; a couple had even reached the kitchen window of Oak Lodge. James filled the coffeemaker with water.
                  Dani had left a couple of hours earlier. She was returning to her Glasgow flat that evening. He sincerely hoped she’d be back soon. Right now, James couldn’t really tell what his girlfriend was thinking.
                  He heard the crackle of twigs breaking underfoot outside the back door, followed by a brisk knock.
                  Aiden Newton was standing on the path, a shotgun draped un-cocked over one arm. ‘Morning, Mr Irving. I wanted to check that everything was okay with the house.’
                  ‘Please call me James. Come inside, I’ve just made some coffee.’
                  Newton entered the property, bringing his weapon with him and placing it, rather disconcertingly for James, on one of the worktops. ‘I need to keep the gun in my sight,’ the man explained. ‘You can’t be too careful with firearms. The terms of the licences we have are very strict.’
                  James nodded. ‘I can imagine. Do shoots take place then, here on the Langford Estate?’ He couldn’t keep the concern out of his voice.
                  ‘Yes, they do, but the events are very carefully supervised. We set up on the hills beyond the Hall, at least a couple of miles from here. It won’t affect you at all.’
                  Unless I’m out for a walk, he thought to himself. ‘Do you live in one of the cottages by the stables?’ He asked,

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