Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon

Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon

© Morris Kenyon. March 2013.

McTeague's once trusted friend and associate !heelan has bro"en off #art of the older
$obster's cri$e e$#ire around the east Midlands. %ar &orse !heelan has also ta"en McTeague's
$uch younger second &ife 'laire a&ay &ith hi$.
Kno&ing the rest of his e$#ire &ill fall a&ay or defect to !heelan if he fails to act McTeague
sends his trusted and lethal enforcer (ennessy to Sleaford to sho& !heelan &ho is chief and to
ta"e 'laire bac" ho$e. So (ennessy starts a ca$#aign of )iolence until !heelan has no choice but
to return 'laire. *ut that is only the start of both gang boss's #roble$s...

+ !,-N.N/0 This boo" contains scenes of gra#hic )iolence. .t is not intended for the easily
offended. 1ou ha)e been &arned so if you read on don't bla$e $e.

+ The na$es characters #laces and e)ents in this boo" are #roducts of the &riter's i$agination
or ha)e been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. ,ny si$ilarities to real #ersons
li)ing or dead actual e)ents locales or organisations is #urely coincidental and not intended by the

+ 2icense Notes: Than" you for do&nloading this e3boo". This boo" re$ains the co#yrighted
#ro#erty of the author and $ay not be scanned re#roduced co#ied or distributed for co$$ercial or
non3co$$ercial #ur#oses &hatsoe)er &ithout &ritten #er$ission fro$ the author e4ce#t in the case
of brief 5uotation e$bodied in critical articles and re)ie&s. .f you en6oyed this boo" #lease
encourage your friends to do&nload their o&n co#y &here they can also disco)er other &or"s by
this author. Than" you for your su##ort.


. first heard Sleaford called Slea7eford in a $oc" Tudor gastro#ub out on the ,18 high&ay. The
&o$an had iron3grey hair and had co$e straight fro$ the golf course. ,t first . thought the &o$an
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
&as 6o"ing $e. Then . thought .'d $isheard her. ,lthough not drun" she and her friends had si##ed
on a fe& gins already that afternoon and had reached the stage of laughing too loudly. Much later .
realised she'd hit the nail dead centre on the head.
1eah . "no& &hat you're thin"ing. (o& could this slee#y little 2incolnshire to&n deser)e to be
called Slea7eford9 The $ean streets of /unchester Shottingha$ or e)en 2ondonistan it isn't. That's
&hat . thought then.
%ull fro$ $y dinner . &al"ed out of the gastro#ub and sa& t&o youths right ne4t to $y &hite
,udi ,8 cou#:. They straddled t&o *M; bi"es< their lo& riser 6eans sho&ing the &hite band of
their 'al)ins. . gri##ed $y car "ey &ith the serrated teeth stic"ing out through $y "nuc"les. *ut .
"e#t $y hand in $y #oc"et.
=1ou (ennessy9= the taller youth as"ed &ith a grunt. (is face &as half $as"ed by his hoodie
but the roll3u# dangling fro$ his lo&er li# ga)e hi$ the loo" of a $uch older $an.
=Might be. !ho &ants to "no&9=
=Turn your car round and go ho$e. !e don't &ant you here.= (e #ushed a&ay fro$ $y ,udi.
,s he did so a #oc"et "nife a##eared in his hand. *efore . could sto# hi$ the yobbo ran the blade
do&n the side of $y car in a 6agged line. The blade $ade a terrible screeching sound on the
$etal&or" that set $y teeth on edge. (is s"inhead $ate follo&ed and gobbed in $y direction > the
#hleg$ landing centi$etres fro$ $y shoes.
. shouted and ran to&ards the$ but they &ere already out the car #ar" and #edalling do&n the
road. So $uch for arri)ing under the radar.
No &ay &as . ha)ing that. . ran to $y disfigured ,udi. The scratch loo"ed li"e a scar on a
lo)er's face. . turned the "ey in the ignition and #ulled out of the car #ar". The t&o youths &ere
cycling do&n the ,18 li"e they &ere co$ing do&n the 'ha$#s ?lys:e on the final s#rint stage of
the Tour de %rance &ith the 1ello& @ersey still u# for grabs. . gunned the engine and #ressed the
#edal to the $etal. The t&o litre turbo ho&led and the re) counter needle s&ung o)er into the red.
*ut the ,udi's #rotesting engine hurled the car for&ard.
The rear yobbo loo"ed bac" and shouted so$ething to his $ate. . had al$ost reached their bi"es
but they "ne& the local area better than $e. They loo#ed off the high&ay and into a little #ublic
#ar". . turned to follo& the$ but couldn't. , double3line of concrete bollards guarded the #ar" fro$
6oyriders. .nstantly . sla$$ed on the bra"es and $y ,udi sle&ed round to a dead sto#.
The t&o youths s#un their *M;s round on the concrete under a rusting s&ing fra$e. The
s&ings had gone as had the rubber $atting and the bare fra$e loo"ed li"e a gallo&s &aiting for
the e4ecution #arty. The yobs sa& .'d #ulled u# hard by the bollards. They both fli##ed $e the
finger. The taller one the scu$bag &ho'd scarred $y ,udi grabbed his crotch and thrust his groin
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
in $y direction. . &ondered if they'd ha)e done that if they "ne& . had a *eretta A2 se$i3auto$atic
#istol hidden in a custo$ $ade secret co$#art$ent in $y car. So$eho& . didn't thin" they &ould.
So . didn't bother getting out $y cou#: but instead re)ersed into the traffic on the ,18 and a
$inute later .'d left the #ar" behind $e and &as heading into Sleaford. . thought about calling $y
boss McTeague on $y *lac"*erry to let hi$ "no& that so$eone in his organisation had been
tal"ing to !heelan's $ob. *ut in the end . didn't bother. McTeague trusted $e to get the 6ob done
and . &asn't about to let hi$ do&n. .t 6ust added an e4tra layer of co$#lication. That's all.
.f it &as late at night if there &as no traffic on the ,18 and if . #ut $y foot do&n< .'d ha)e
blo&n through Sleaford in fi)e $inutes flat. .t's a one horse to&n built 6ust south3east of the
crossroads of the north3south ,18 high&ay and the east3&est ,1B &here the t&o 6oin at the
(oldingha$ roundabout. .t too" $e longer than that but not by $uch.
My SatNa) directed $e to an u#$ar"et 'lose on the other side of Sleaford. No& !heelan's
$ob "ne& .'d hit to&n . had no reason to &aste ti$e. . turned into a s&ee#ing bric" #a)iour
dri)e&ay laid in a herringbone #attern that dre& the eye to a large 1A30s $oc" Tudor $ansion.
They see$ed to li"e their $oc" Tudor in Sleaford.
The detached house had been e4tended since then &ith a &ing o)er the double garage and
dor$er &indo&s high in the roof follo&ing a loft con)ersion. . #ulled u# before a large entrance
#orch $a"ing sure the ,udi's scratch &as on the o##osite side so it couldn't be seen fro$ the house.
. got out and rang the bell.
Nothing ha##ened. So . #ressed the bell again longer this ti$e< letting the tune ring through the
house. ?)entually a light ca$e on in the hall and the door &as o#ened by a schoolgirl. The girl &as
sensible enough to "ee# the door on the chain.
She &as $aybe fourteen or fifteen years old. She had dyed her hair red &ith #in" strea"s
running through it and had long co&3li"e fa"e eyelashes. !e &ouldn't ha)e got a&ay &ith that at
school in $y day. ,#art fro$ that she &as 5uite #retty des#ite ha)ing the #ro$inent !heelan ears.
The crest of her #ri)ate school too" u# her bla7er #oc"et. The girl ga7ed i$#assi)ely at $e.
. searched $y $e$ory for !heelan's daughter's na$e. ,lice9 No it &asn't &ho the % is ,lice.
,le4andra9 No that &asn't 5uite right. ,le4a > that &as it.
=.s 'laire McTeague in9= . as"ed.
The girl shoo" her head. =No= she said around a $outhful of gu$.
. &aited for a $o$ent. The girl leaned on the door fra$e. . heard $usic in the bac"ground >
#robably so$ething fro$ the current to# ten. Not that .'d "no&.
=Co you "no& &here she is ,le4a9=
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
. felt li"e "ic"ing o#en the door and sla##ing her. That &ould "noc" the sullen e4#ression off
,le4a's face. *ut . don't agree &ith hitting girls or &o$en so . "e#t $y hands to $yself. *ut &hat
&as 'laire McTeague to this girl9 Nobody. ?4ce#t 'laire McTeague &as a &o$an &ho could bring
do&n her father's #etty e$#ire crashing do&n around her !heelan ears.
=Than"s for your hel#= . said. The girl didn't re#ly but started closing the hea)y oa" door. .
stuc" out $y foot bloc"ing it. ,le4a loo"ed u# sur#rised. %or a $o$ent she sto##ed che&ing.
=.f you see 'laire before . find her tell her (ennessy's loo"ing for her. D"ay9=
The girl nodded and this ti$e . let her shut the door.
. &al"ed bac" to $y ,udi dee# in thought. . "ne& 'laire McTeague but . didn't "no& Sleaford
that &ell. *ut as it &as a to&n &ith only one ti$etable . thought .'d find her fairly 5uic"ly. So .
dro)e bac" along the bric" dri)e&ay $ade a right and &ithin a fe& $inutes &as bac" in Sleaford's
to&n centre.
'laire McTeague &as a &o$an &ho al&ays too" a great deal of #ride in her a##earance. That
&as ho& she'd snared McTeague hi$self in the first #lace. .'d tried to &arn $y boss the &o$an &as
no good but at that #oint the $an &as thin"ing &ith his &hat he "e#t bet&een his legs and . &as
&asting $y breath. So . shut u# before he beca$e angry &ith $e "no&ing he'd find out the hard
Df course it &ouldn't be the first ti$e he'd fallen for the &rong &o$an after the $arriage to his
first &ife bro"e u#. *ut he fell further for this 'laire McTeague than he'd fallen for any of his other
bi$bos or floo7ies. (e actually $arried her. Enbelie)able . "no&.
The first salon . dro)e #ast &as co$#letely unsuitable. The e4terior &as scruffy there &as a
tac"y #oster of a bi"ini3babe and there &ere signs in Folish in the &indo&. (o&e)er e)en . "ne&
that abo)e the salon &as a $assage #arlour that offered all the 'e4tras' a des#erate $an $ight need.
?)ery to&n has a #lace li"e that if you "no& &here to loo". 'laire $ight not be bothered about
sharing &ith Folish far$ &or"ers but there &as no &ay she'd enter a #lace also offering those sorts
of ser)ices.
The ne4t #lace see$ed $ore u#3$ar"et and also ad)ertised itself as a *eauticians. .
re$e$bered it &as also controlled by !heelan $a"ing it a $uch better bet. .gnoring the #ar"ing
restrictions outside . #ulled u# behind a buttercu# yello& Forsche A11. . #ressed the bell and a
rece#tionist released the electronic door loc". ,s soon as the bu77ing sound started . &as inside.
There &as a s$ell of acetone fro$ nail #olish re$o)er. , young $anicurist &as sitting at a nail
table filing and #olishing the nails of a &o$an in her $id3t&enties &ho had elegant hands. (ands
that had ne)er done a day's hard &or" in their life. Ms. ?legant (ands &as chatting about her
holidays in the Seychelles. . thought soon she'd start on about the Forsche &hich . guessed &as
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
.gnoring the$ . crossed to the rece#tion des" and the girl greeted $e &ith a #rofessional s$ile.
Those teeth had to be ca##ed > they &eren't a #roduct of *ritish National (ealth dentistry.
=/ood afternoon. Co you &ant to boo" an a##oint$ent9= she as"ed.
=.s 'laire McTeague here9 Dr she $ight be using the na$e !heelan no&9=
The girl closed the leather bound a##oint$ent boo" and loo"ed u# at $e &ith a &orried
e4#ression. That told $e all . needed to "no&. . &al"ed #ast the rece#tion des" and along to a
corridor running behind it. The rece#tionist laid a hand on $y ar$ but . shoo" it off. The corridor
&as lined &ith nu$bered &hite #ainted doors behind &hich &ere the sunbeds or s#ray tan booths.
=!hich one9= . said turning bac" to the rece#tionist &ho &as follo&ing $e. (er &orried loo"
had been re#laced by scared. /ood. Sho&ed she &as brighter than she loo"ed at first sight.
=.... ....=
. #ushed her against the first door. The fli$sy #anels shoo" and it echoed &ith a hollo& sound.
=!hich one9= . re#eated $y face only centi$etres fro$ hers.
(er #retty face scre&ed u#. Scared no& u#graded to terror. =S... s... si4= she sta$$ered.
. #ushed the girl a&ay. She staggered bac" and one of her flatties fell off her feet. . &al"ed
do&n to door si4. %or a $o$ent . thought of a ga$e sho& on the TG that . used to en6oy &hen the
&inning contestant had to choose &hich door to o#en. The doors all hid different #ri7es< so$e &orth
ha)ing li"e a holiday to Ma6orca but behind others &ere 6ust a chea# *iro or so$ething. There &as
only one #ri7e . &anted today. The 6ac"#ot.
. turned the handle and #ulled o#en the door. 'laire McTeague &as standing there na"ed e4ce#t
for a #air of &hite #a#er #anties and a #a#er hat co)ering her hair. Their &hiteness stood out bright
against her tanned s"in. (er ar$s &ere s#read out &ide as if she &as $a"ing a se$a#hore signal
&hilst the beautician coated her underar$s. The s&eet biscuity s$ell of the s#ray tan filled the air.
.$$ediately 'laire s5uealed and flung an ar$ across her boobs. The &o$an needn't ha)e
bothered > she had a tri$ al$ost boyish figure. . "ne& 'laire had &anted a boob 6ob but McTeague
&ouldn't allo& her that. (e #referred his &o$en natural. The girl o#erating the s#ray turned to loo"
at $e o#en $outhed &ith astonish$ent. . ste##ed bac" to a)oid the s#ray until her finger released
the trigger.
=Dh it's you (ennessy. Should')e e4#ected you'd sho& u#= 'laire McTeague said dro##ing
her ar$ to her side.
%or a $o$ent &e all stood there at the #oints of a triangle > 'laire McTeague the beautician
and $yself. Entil . snatched do&n a fluffy &hite bathrobe that &as hanging u# behind the door and
tossed it o)er to 'laire McTeague.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
=/et dressed and co$e &ith $e= . said.
=*ut . ha)en't finished here > the s#ray's not dry yet= she said not really gras#ing the situation.
.n res#onse . ste##ed for&ards and #ulled her for&ards. My hand felt stic"y fro$ the s#ray still
co)ering her s"in.
=D"ay don't bother getting dressed. . don't care you can co$e as you are.= That grabbed the
&o$an's attention. She 6er"ed her ar$ out of $y gras# and shrugged on the robe belting it around
her &aist.
The tanning lady stared at us as . half led half dragged 'laire McTeague bac" do&n the
corridor. *ac" out in the rece#tion area the $anicurist and her client stared at us as &e #assed. This
afternoon's action &ould gi)e Ms. ?legant (ands so$ething to tal" about &ith her $iddle3class
boo" club friends. (o&e)er the rece#tionist &as s#ea"ing 5uietly on the #hone. . crossed to her
des" too" the recei)er fro$ her hand and set it do&n.
=Naughty naughty )ery naughty= . said. She flinched.
. #ushed 'laire McTeague out of the salon door and an instant later .'d unloc"ed $y ,udi.
=!ho's "eyed your car9= 'laire McTeague as"ed &ith a little s$ile on her face. .t's 6ust as &ell .
don't hold &ith hitting &o$en or .'d ha)e "noc"ed that s$ir" right off her face.
=/et in= . contented $yself &ith saying. ,s 'laire s&ung into the #assenger seat being careful
to "ee# her "nees together . ran round the front bonnet and dro##ed into the dri)er's seat. ,s .
#ulled a&ay fro$ the "erb . noticed the &o$en in the *eauticians #arlour all standing and #eering
out the &indo& at us.
. hadn't arri)ed in Sleaford under the radar and . &asn't lea)ing under it neither.


Turning into the flo& of traffic $y ai$ &as to hit the ,18 southbound and "ee# going until .'d
brought 'laire McTeague bac" ho$e to $y boss< her husband. ,fter that &hat ha##ened &as out of
$y hands.
The traffic &as hea)ier than . e4#ected along the *181B "no&n as /rantha$ -oad &ithin
Sleaford but a glance at the dashboard cloc" told $e it &as rush hour > or &hat #asses for rush
hour in a #lace li"e Sleaford. . thought 'laire McTeague &ould cry or argue &ith $e but instead she
sat 5uietly &ith her hands in her la# 6ust loo"ing out the side &indo&. ,t least she'd ta"en off that
ridiculous #a#er ca#.
. tuned into the local radio station **' 2incolnshire 10H.B %M 6ust for so$ething anything to
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
brea" the silence bet&een us. ,ll &as going &ell until a beat u# builder's )an #ulled out of a
suburban side road ,ncaster Cri)e ahead of $e. The side #anel said '(ansen and Sons: ,ll
Fro#erty -eno)ations' abo)e a cell #hone nu$ber and untraceable hot$ail e3$ail address. The )an
dri)er sta$#ed on his bra"es causing $e to #ull u# suddenly in an abru#t sto# that $ade $y seatbelt
catch across $y chest. .$$ediately t&o $en lea#ed out the bac" of the )an.
,t that #oint . recalled that !heelan laundered so$e of his under the counter cash through
#ro#erty de)elo#$ent. That and ga$bling beauty #arlours restaurants. The usual stuff > any
business &here cash is "ing and you can start and close co$#anies at a faster rate than the .nland
-e)enue or 'usto$s and ?4cise can follo& the #a#er trail.
,ny fool could see &hat &as going do&n and $y $other raised no fools . can tell you.
.$$ediately . flung the gear stic" into re)erse. *ut one glance in the $irror sho&ed there &as no
easy esca#e that &ay. . &as bloc"ed by a &o$an in a Slo)a"ian registered S"oda Dcta)ia. The
&o$an bee#ed her horn at $e. Trust $e $ada$ if . could get out this situation then . &ould.
*efore . could engage central loc"ing both doors of the ,udi &ere &renched o#en at the sa$e
ti$e letting in a chill draught. The t&o $en &ere &hat you'd e4#ect. They both had solid $uscles
built u# by &or"ing on building sites. They &ore #aint s#attered #added shirts filthy 6eans and
rigger boots. Dne had on a hi3)i7 6ac"et e5ually dirty. . s$elled s&eat tobacco and clay earth.
The $an by $y door said =out= as the second $an leaned o)er 'laire McTeague's body and
uncli##ed $y seat belt. The first then grabbed a fistful of $y 6ac"et and hauled $e out of the ,udi.
(e then #ushed $e out of his &ay to&ards the &aiting )an. . stu$bled o)er the #a)e$ent
unbalanced fro$ the force of his sho)e. ,ll this too" less ti$e to ha##en than for $e to tell you
about. They &ere that good. The $an ga)e $e a second #ush harder than before and . to##led into
the )an's cargo bay. . &as out of $y ,udi and in the bac" of the )an in under a fe& seconds flat.
The second $an ran round the ,udi's boot bet&een $y car and the Slo)a"ian S"oda and di)ed
into the dri)er's seat > still &ar$ fro$ $y body. . sa& this 6ust as the first $an ste##ed u# to the
bac" of the )an and sla$$ed the doors cutting off $y )ie&. , slic" al$ost #rofessional 6ob.
. &ondered if the Slo)a"ian &o$an &ould blo& this incident in to the co#s. .t's not e)ery day
you see so$eone bundled out of their car and into the bac" of a )an. . thought it de#ended on ho&
good her ?nglish &as.
,s soon as the rear doors sla$$ed shut the )an dri)er dro##ed the handbra"e and shot
for&ards. . sat u# on the cargo area's floor. My suit &as ruined no& fro$ the $ud and ce$ent dust
on the floor of the )an. *ut all the sa$e . brushed so$e of the &orst off &ith $y hands.
=Thin" about it. 1ou're $a"ing a big $ista"e here -iordan= . called for&ard through a s$all
hatch into the dri)er's cabin. =1ou're going to seriously annoy McTeague. 1ou sure that's &hat you
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
&ant to do9=
=Shut u# (ennessy= -iordan said.
=That goes for you too= . called u# to the dri)er. . didn't "no& his na$e.
-iordan $ade a fist. So . shut u#.
The )an turned around in the ne4t road &e ca$e to and then headed bac" east to the centre of
Sleaford. The traffic &as e)en hea)ier no& but as the )an s&ung around . sa& $y ,udi still
follo&ing us. !e carried on through the to&n centre #ast the still o#en sho#s. . "ne& &here &e
&ere going. !heelan's crib. No sur#rises there.
. felt the change beneath $e as the )an's tyres ru$bled o)er !heelan's bric" dri)e&ay but the
dri)er didn't #ull u# in front of the house. .nstead &e dro)e #ast the side of the $oc" Tudor &here
there &as a range of bric" outbuildings. The )an sto##ed.
-iordan told $e to get out. .t &as good to 6u$# do&n fro$ that cluttered stin"ing )an but $y
i$$ediate future didn't loo" $uch better at this #oint. No #oint $y shouting as !heelan's house
&as a fair &ay fro$ any neighbours and surrounded by thic" tree3lined hedges. . loo"ed around at
the business$an's e4tensi)e gardens. There &ere so$e children's toys out on the la&ns.
=.n there= -iordan said #ointing to a shed that loo"ed li"e it had doubled as an old &arti$e air3
raid shelter in its ti$e.
. ste##ed into its dan" gloo$y interior. The shed &as e$#ty of anything useful. There &ere a
cou#le of children's bicycles &ith #in" tassels dangling fro$ the handlebars leaning against the &all
ne4t to a s"ateboard. , deflated #addling #ool half filled &ith enough footballs to su##ly the
Fre$ier 2eague. There &as a bro"en bas"etball hoo# and a folded u# table tennis table. 2i"e . say
nothing ob)iously useful li"e a baseball bat so unless . &anted to #lay so$e s#orts &hilst . &aited .
&as stuffed.
-iordan shut the door behind $e and . heard the "ey turn as he #adloc"ed it. The only light
ca$e fro$ an arro&3slit &indo& far too narro& for $e to cli$b out of. . set u# the s"ateboard and
sat do&n on it and &aited as the light outside faded to night.
. &aited. . &as good at &aiting.
2ater &hen . &as cold and hungry . heard footste#s and then the "ey inserted in the #adloc".
*y the ti$e the door crea"ed o#en on rusted hinges . &as standing on the balls of $y feet and
&aiting for the$.
-iordan ste##ed bac" fro$ the door and !heelan too" his #lace. *ut he didn't enter the bric"
shed. Gery &ise.
Security lights on the side and rear of his house lit the scene &ith a harsh brilliant glare that
$ade the shado&s e)en dee#er and dar"er. . $ust ha)e been standing in #itch blac"ness to
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
The so3called business$an &ore a na)y #olo shirt &ith so$e logo on the breast #oc"et and
"ha"i chinos. !heelan &as tall > si4 t&o so$ething li"e that > and his ar$s had gy$ honed
$uscles. ,lthough only in his early to $id thirties he &as already balding so he'd ta"en to sha)ing
all his head. .n $y o#inion this &as a $ista"e as it $ade his ears a##ear to stic" out further fro$ his
head than they did.
*ehind !heelan &as -iordan and the other $an fro$ the $an. The one &ho'd dri)en $y ,udi.
!heelan glanced bac" to his t&o thugs.
=2et's send a $essage bac" to McTeague. *ut . &ant (ennessy's $essage to reach $y old boss
> not the hos#ital or the $orgue. 1ou &ith $e9= he said to the$.
-iordan crac"ed his "nuc"les. ,t that #oint . heard 'laire McTeague call out fro$ the big
house. !heelan turned a&ay and crossed the #atio area bac" to the "itchen.
-iordan crac"ed his "nuc"les again &aiting for his boss to lea)e.
=. don't li"e hittin'...= -iordan said #ushing for&ard. That &as all he $anaged to say before .
"ic"ed hi$ s5uare in the balls. (ard and faster than a stri"ing rattlesna"e. -iordan gas#ed and bent
for&ard the stuffing "noc"ed out of hi$. @ust the o#ening . &as loo"ing for. . "arate cho##ed hi$
straight in the throat s$ashing his )oice3bo4 against his s#ine. (is hands didn't "no& &hat to do >
go for his crushed testicles or his nec". Elti$ately that &as his #roble$ to &or" out and deal &ith.
Not $ine. -iordan colla#sed on the floor $a"ing strange strangulated sounds.
Dnly one $an at a ti$e could enter the shed. The other ste##ed o)er -iordan's t&itching body
his fist dra&n bac" ready to #ul)erise $e. So$e $en ne)er learn. . grabbed his ar$ dra&ing hi$
dee#er into the dar"ened interior. (e s&ung &ildly but had no real idea &here . &as. Esing his
e4tended ar$ . sla$$ed hi$ into the bric" &all. . #ounded a 5uic" one3t&o into his "idneys before
the $an #ushed a&ay.
(e started to turn as . "ne& he $ust. . hoo"ed a leg around his calf #ushed $y hi# into his<
t&isted and turned and the $an staggered and al$ost fell. . $ust ad$it . had a little luc" at this
#oint. *ut you use &hat fate hands out. ,s he stu$bled for&ards he trod on the s"ateboard lost his
balance and fell for&ards. . #ushed hi$ do&n hel#ing hi$ on his &ay until gra)ity too" o)er and
he fell. . heard a crash as he hit the concrete floor. . #ic"ed u# the folded table tennis table and
s$ashed it do&n on the $an's head. . heard a sic"ening crunch. , second blo& finished the 6ob.
. couldn't see $y &atch in the dar" but if the fight had lasted $ore than fifteen seconds . &as
losing $y touch.
%eeling glad to lea)e the shed . ste##ed out into the night air. The #adloc" &as still dangling
fro$ its has# so . loc"ed the$ in and thre& the "ey as far as . could into the bushes. . didn't see it
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Kee#ing to the #itch blac" shado&s . 6ogged around the side of the house. . heard !heelan
gobbing off to so$eone on the #hone. My ,udi &as still out on the dri)e&ay near the double
garage. .ts "eys &ere still in the ignition. . su##ose !heelan's ai$ &as to lea)e $e 6ust ca#able of
dri)ing bac" to McTeague's. !ith $y face $essed u# $inus $ost of $y teeth a bro"en nose
crac"ed ribs and #issing blood fro$ $y "idneys for the ne4t &ee" or so.
That &as the $essage !heelan &anted to send > that nobody $esses &ith hi$.
Not &anting the hood to "no& .'d gone . didn't s&itch on the ,udi's lights until . had dri)en out
of !heelan's and &as bac" on the road. !hat had 6ust ha##ened $ade $e thin". !heelan $ust be
feeling su#re$ely confident if he thought he could ta"e McTeague's &o$an for his o&n and gi)e
$e a beating. 'onfidence racing o)er the dial to&ards arrogance.
2i"e . say . &as still hungry so . dro)e out of Sleaford until . sa& the golden arches abo)e a
dri)e3thru shining bright in the 2incolnshire dar"ness. . say . ga)e $y order to the Fole &or"ing the
&indo& but the guy $ight ha)e been a 2ithuanian for all . "no&. (e s#o"e as $uch ?nglish as .
s#ea" Folish. Dr 2ithuanian.
?)entually . collected $y food dro)e round the bac" of the restaurant out of sight of the road.
*ehind the #ar"ing lot the flat e$#ty 2incolnshire fields stretched all the &ay to the North Sea. The
&ind ble& against the side of $y car but inside . felt all &ar$ and secure inside li"e . &as snug in a
cocoon. The burgers filled $y ,udi &ith sa)oury aro$as increasing $y hunger ten3fold. (ungry
li"e a &olf . tore the #a#er bags o#en and ate. The hot greasy food hit the s#ot. ,s . &as on $y
o&n . belched long and loud after . finished. . s$iled to $yself. 1ou can't do that in #olite co$#any.
,fter eating . &added the #a#er and #olystyrene and tossed the bundle in the trash on $y &ay
o)er to the rest roo$s. There . &ashed $y face and brushed do&n $y dirty suit under the driers and
tried to $a"e $yself loo" #resentable at least. So$eone &ho follo&ed $e in &ith their toddler in
to& loo"ed at $e strangely as . tidied $yself u#. They &ere glad &hen .'d finished . thin". .f it
&asn't for the 5uality of $y suit . $ust ha)e loo"ed li"e so$eone &ith $ental health issues to the$.
Ne4t to the dri)e3thru &as a 2H hour garage &ith a $ini3$art attached. !ith &hat . &as going to
$a"e ha##en later tonight< there &as no &ay . &anted $y face a##earing on any ''TG ca$eras.
So . sli##ed $y o)ersi7e grey hooded chain store s&eatshirt o)er $y 6ac"et before dri)ing across to
the garage and filling u# $y ,udi's tan". .t co)ered $y face nicely. No &ay could anyone ..C. $e
,fter re#lacing the blac" no77le . &al"ed into the $ini3$art to #ay. ,t this hour there &asn't
$uch ha##ening but . sort of guessed . could &al" in at any hour and there &ouldn't be $uch
ha##ening. . strolled along the aisles and #ic"ed u# a fe& things fro$ off the shel)es .'d need later
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
2i"e you . thin" it's a$a7ing that these #laces stoc" so $uch boo7e. (a)en't #eo#le heard
there's la&s against drin"ing and dri)ing9 ,ll the sa$e . bought half a do7en bottles of chea# &hite
&ine > the sort of stuff only one ste# abo)e the industrial cider the #ar" bench al"ies drin" > a bo4
of su#er absorbent e4tra large Ta$#a4 ta$#ons $ints and a lighter. The &o$an behind the glassed
in counter ga)e $e a funny sy$#athetic loo" as she bagged the$ all u#.
-eaching into $y #oc"et . #aid using a credit card that had been cloned fro$ one of !heelan's
of course. .t see$ed a##ro#riate in a &ay > $a"ing !heelan #ay for the de)astation co$ing his
&ay. ,fter all he should ne)er ha)e ta"en 'laire McTeague. (e $ust ha)e "no&n &hat &ould
co$e his &ay.
1eah . "no& &hat you're thin"ing. !hat about $y )ehicle nu$ber#lates9 They'd be recorded
by the ''TG ca$eras. ?4ce#t they &ere cloned #lates of course. ,fter the ordure hit the air
conditioning unit so$e #oor ,udi dri)ing &o$an in Sutton 'oldfield< a #illar of the co$$unity no
doubt > ha)e you noticed they al&ays are9 > &as going to lose a fe& hours of her life being s&eated
in so$e base$ent #olice cell until the co#s established her innocence. She'd #robably loo" bac" on
the e4#erience as the high s#ot of her year. .t &ould gi)e her so$ething to tal" about at her no doubt
$ind nu$bing dinner #arties. Ma"es a change fro$ tal"ing about house #rices stable fees or her
"ids' #ri)ate schools.
. dro)e bac" to the diner's car #ar" and sto##ed furthest a&ay fro$ the glassed3in building. Dne
of the security lights &as out and that #art of the tar$ac e4#anse &as al$ost as dar" as the field on
the other side of the &ire fence. /etting out . noticed the &ind had got u# and ble& in a flat &hine
o)er the field and it cut though $y clothes.
'rossing to the nearest drain . #oured a&ay the chea# #lon". 1ou didn't thin" .'d drin" it did
you9 . then unloc"ed the gas tan" before #ushing a length of #lastic tubing into the tan". /ri$acing
&ith disgust at the foul taste and stin" as . suc"ed #etrol into $y $outh . then si#honed off enough
gasoline to fill the si4 bottles. . then stuc" the ta$#ons into the bottles' nec"s. They $a"e great
&ic"s. .t too" $ost of the tube of $ints to $as" the #etroche$ical taste filling $y $outh.
Then . carefully #ut $y Moloto)s in the #assenger foot&ell and co)ered the$ fro$ )ie&. Not
that anyone &as li"ely to see the$ in the dar"ness in the $iddle of no&here.
Dnce again . used the rest roo$s in the diner. Dne of the Folish or 2ithuanian girls recognised
$e as . left and ga)e $e a loo" as &e #assed but really &hat interest is so$eone luc"y to scra#e by
on the $ini$u$ &age and doesn't s#ea" the language too &ell e4#ected to ta"e9 !hy should they
care if so$eone uses their boss's nearly e$#ty #ar"ing lot to crash out for a fe& hours during the
night9 . nodded to the girl as she entered the 2adies in turn.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
*ac" in $y ,udi . set $y cell #hone's alar$ #ushed the seat all the &ay do&n &ra##ed $yself
u# in $y hoodie and fell into a thin do7e for a fe& hours.


1ou're ne)er #ro#erly aslee# and . &as a&a"e although un$o)ing at least ten $inutes before
$y *lac"*erry's alar$ shrilled into life. . stretched and rubbed $y chin. ,t least . didn't ha)e to
sha)e. . rolled out of the diner's #ar"ing lot at three a.$. #recisely. ,bout the 5uietest ti$e of the
night. . turned the ,udi's front to&ards Sleaford and a fe& $inutes later . &as dri)ing through its
deserted streets.
.'$ fro$ the city $yself and . can't ta"e these slee#y little to&ns &here nothing ha##ens fro$
one year to another. .t &ould dri)e $e cra7y. !hat &as going to ha##en tonight &ould $a"e the
headlines. /i)e the$ all so$ething to tal" about ho& the &orld &as going to hell in a hand3cart.
Maybe that's true $aybe the &orld has sold its soul for $oney but !heelan &as about to find
out a little about hell.
The other side of Sleaford on ?ast -oad . #ulled u# o##osite a co$#le4 of $id3si7ed industrial
units. 1ou')e seen the sort of thing > they')e s#rung u# all o)er the country li"e $ushroo$s o)er the
last fe& decades. Se)eral huge $etal hangars clustered together all s#ray coated a sort of greyish
green. Maybe &hoe)er built it thin"s that &ill hel# the estate blend into the countryside. Dr $aybe
they 6ust don't care and greyish green is the chea#est o#tion. Nothing to $e either &ay.
Dne of these sheds &as !heelan's. The units &ere fenced off fro$ the road &ith a sliding
electric gate at the front controlling the access road. Ne4t to the gate stood a little fibreglass security
hut. . closed $y ,udi's door as 5uietly as #ossible and crossed the road. .nside the hut a radio tuned
to **' -adio 2 finished #laying a song fro$ the 1AI0s . hadn't heard since the 1AI0s and then the
distincti)e )oice of ,le4 2ester hi$self ca$e on.
The guard &as ti##ed bac" in his chair his feet u# on the des" and &ith his ar$s folded o)er his
chest. . ta##ed on the glass. The guard 6er"ed a&a"e his feet dro##ing to the floor. (e blin"ed and
then #eered at $e his eyes ta"ing a $o$ent to focus.
=(el# you9= he $uttered thic"ly as . held u# a large #added en)elo#e.
The guard slid his glass &indo& #anel to one side and leaned out into the night air. (e blin"ed
again in the chill.
. too" $y *eretta A2 fro$ out the en)elo#e and sho&ed hi$ the gun. That grabbed his attention.
=Enless your hut's bullet #roof< o#en u#= . said.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
The guard blin"ed and thought. Not easy &hen you')e only 6ust &o"en fro$ slee# and
so$eone's threatening your life.
=(urry= . said tightening $y finger on the trigger.
The guard #ressed a red button on his des" and the electronic gate slid along its groo)es. .
&al"ed #ast and o#ened the security hut's door. The interior &as cluttered &ith a ban" of ''TG
$onitors attached to obsolete loo"ing co$#uter ter$inals. Ne4t to the$ stood his Tu##er&are
lunch3bo4 Ther$os and radio. ,le4 2ester's )oice &as going on about his cross3dressing truc"ers.
=Coesn't anyone e)er clean this #lace9 .t's filthy= . said to hi$. The guard bac"ed a&ay into a
corner. Fointing to his s&i)el chair . told hi$ to sit. (e did so.
%ro$ $y #oc"et . too" a roll of duct ta#e and ri##ed off a length. This &as the dangerous #art
&hen . &as u# close and #ersonal &ith the guard. (e $ight ta"e it into his head to fight bac" and
catch $e &hen . &as $ore )ulnerable. ,d$ittedly he didn't loo" li"e he could #ut u# $uch
resistance being in his $id3fifties and o)er&eight fro$ a diet of late night co$fort eating. (is
unifor$ &as scruffy ill3fitting and &ell &ashed &ith a frayed shirt collar. (e s$elled of chea#
deodorant. No . didn't thin" it li"ely he'd ris" his life o)er a dead3end $ini$u$ &age 6ob.
. dragged the guard's ar$s behind his bac" and ta#ed the$ to the chair bac". No& . felt $uch
safer . ta#ed his an"les to the chair base.
The guard glanced u# at the cloc". =The &agons start co$ing in at fi)e thirty or so= he told $e.
=The dri)ers'll see $e tied u# &hen they can't get in.=
=Than"s for the ti#. *ut .'$ not here to rob the #lace so .'ll only be a fe& $inutes.= . thought for
a $o$ent. ='an you o#en unit nu$ber three fro$ here9=
The guard shoo" his head. =No. The o&ners of the units all ha)e their o&n "eys and things.=
='an you silence the alar$9=
=No that's inde#endent as &ell.=
. than"ed the guard for his hel# and then ta#ed his $outh closed. . gently #ulled his chair o)er
and laid hi$ flat on the floor out of sight of the hut's &indo&. .f any early arri)ing truc"ers > cross3
dressing or other&ise > sho&ed u# they $ight thin" the guard &as in the attached toilet. . left the
hut returned to $y ,udi and collected &hat . needed.
?arlier McTeague had told $e unit three belonged to !heelan. .t &asn't in his na$e of course
but held by an offshore shell co$#any. That $uch !heelan had learned fro$ McTeague< that it
&as &ise to "ee# yourself se)eral ste#s a&ay fro$ anything dodgy. The directors of the shell
co$#any &ere #robably a cou#le of residents in an old fol"s ho$e &ho'd sign anything that &as
#laced in front of the$ in return for a litre bottle of *ristol crea$ sherry each.
, fe& $inutes later . stood in front of unit three. .t &as identical to the other fi)e units in this
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
#art of the industrial co$#le4 e4ce#t for the shell co$#any's sign abo)e the door. There &ere t&o
doors > a large one for )ehicular access &ith a s$aller one for #edestrians set into it. The #edestrian
door's loc" &as nothing that couldn't be #ic"ed.
So . guessed !heelan &as relying on the fencing and guard to #ro)ide security. .f that &as the
case he &as $a"ing a big $ista"e. . crouched on the da$# tar$ac before the door #ushed in $y 2
sha#ed #ry .'d brought &ith $e and after thirty seconds or so . heard a clic" as the door unloc"ed. .
stood brushed $y suit #ants do&n and then . &as in.
,s . e4#ected a ro& of light s&itches &ere on the &all by $y right. 'losing the door behind
$e . sna##ed one ro& of lights on. The o)erhead hi3&atts flic"ered on di$$ed and then ca$e
onto full brilliance. ,ll the illu$ination . needed. Near the ban" of light s&itches &as the alar$
#anel's "ey#ad. The nu$ber in the dis#lay scrolled do&n e)ery second: 1I0 1BA 1BI... . too" no
notice after that.
2oo"ing around . sa& the unit &as far larger than !heelan needed. Enless he &as stu#id
enough to thin" that McTeague &as a busted flush and &as about to roll o)er and gi)e u# all his
2incolnshire and ?ast Midlands o#erations. ,nd it &ould ta"e so$eone &ay stronger than !heelan
to grab the$ fro$ McTeague's hands. 1JB 1JJ 1J8...
The unit s$elled li"e a distillery. !hich &asn't sur#rising as that's e4actly &hat it &as. ,n
illegal distillery #roducing hundreds of gallons of $oonshine )od"a to su##ly the needs of the
thirsty ill3#aid ?ast ?uro#eans in the to&ns all around the ?ast Midlands. (o&e)er there &as a
nasty undertone of industrial alcohol si$ilar to the nail #olish re$o)er .'d s$elled in the
*eauticians earlier.
To one side . sa& a &ash still standing o)er an unlit furnace. ,n angled s&an nec" fro$ the
&ash still led do&n to a condenser and that in turn led onto a s#irit safe. The units &ere cold and
dead at the $o$ent. 2oo"ed li"e !heelan didn't ha)e enough custo$ yet to 6ustify ta"ing on a
night shift.
Me . &ouldn't let a dro# of it #ass $y li#s but $aybe the ?ast ?uro#eans' sto$achs &ere $uch
stronger than $ine. . re$e$bered reading about a teenage girl &ho &as found dead in a /rantha$
#ar" after drin"ing a bottle of this stuff. The #a#ers &ere full of it for a cou#le of days until the ne4t
scandal ca$e along. Then it &as 5uietly dro##ed and the dead girl faded bac" to obscurity $issed
by no3one e4ce#t her fa$ily.
The s&eet s$ell of fer$enting #otatoes &as $i4ed in &ith che$ical undertones. D)er by one
&all &ere crates of e$#ty bottles ne4t to a bottle3ca##ing $achine. !heelan $ight as &ell ha)e
sourced the bottles fro$ the local recycling bottle ban"s rather than buying the$ in. That's all his
rot3gut &as fit for . thought as . &al"ed o)er to the bottle3ca##er.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Ne4t to the ca##er &as a bo4 filled &ith #rinted labels > the labels $ar"ed u# as /ooKKe 2a"e.
There &ere #lenty of differences bet&een these labels and those of a high end )od"a of a )ery
si$ilar na$e. Maybe !heelan thought he'd get around trading standards that &ay. . doubted it but
you ne)er "no&. *ut if you're a Fole or 2ithuanian &anting to get blotto after a long day's graft on
the $ini$u$ &age then !heelan's "noc"3off rot3gut did the 6ob. ,nything to dull the $isery of
&or"ing in this &retched rain3soa"ed country.
. #ut the labels bac".
.f it hadn't been for the clic" of it's cla&s on the #ainted ce$ent floor it &ould ha)e been on $e
before . could react. . s#un round fast as a s#inning to# as a (ell3hound trotted round the corner of
the fer$enting )at. .t $ust ha)e been attracted by the lights or $y scent.
So !heelan &asn't 6ust relying on the contract security guard.
The dog &as a huge tan and blac" rott&eiler &ith huge bone crunching hyena3li"e 6a&s. .t too"
one loo" at $e and .'$ sure it grinned. Me being here $ust ha)e $ade its day. The guard dog
tensed coiled its bac" legs li"e a s#ring and then raced to&ards $e. Slobber and foa$ dro##ed
fro$ its ga#ing 6a&s and . sa& its e)il red eyes li"e fire la$#s. .ts si$#le doggy brain had )isions of
blood on the floor. Mine.
Enfortunately for the hell3hound it &asn't u# against so$e teenage #un" or crac"3head 6un"ie
loo"ing for so$ething to rob to score their ne4t fi4. .t &as u# against $e. McTeague's to# enforcer.
!ith one fluid $otion . dre& $y *eretta A2 and shot it. The hollo& #oint Farabellu$ nine
$illi$etre bullet sla$$ed into its chest. The gunshot echoed around the )ast s#ace of the unit
bouncing off the $etal &alls $ulti#lying its loudness $a"ing it sound as if an ar$y of gun$en had
#ulled the trigger. %or a $o$ent the tang of cordite "illed the s&eet s$ell of boo7e.
The hollo& #oint ri##ed into the rott&eiler's broad chest. The dog s#un bac"&ards al$ost head
o)er heels and crashed onto the ce$ent floor. .ts fore legs t&itched beneath it as the dog tried to
stand. .t raised its great hyena li"e head and bar"ed fiercely but after a $o$ent ga)e it u# and
ho&led #iteously.
.ts legs &ere scra$bling no longer strong. .ts eyes no longer e)il and red loo"ed u# at $e. The
dog's brain couldn't understand &hat had ha##ened e4ce#t that it &as in a lot of #ain and couldn't
$o)e its body any $ore. *lood s#read out to for$ a #ool under its body. The hollo& #oint $ust')e
ri##ed through its insides > the bullet e4#anding and $ushroo$ing as it tra)elled through the dog's
body de)astating e)erything in its #ath.
. &ould ha)e li"ed to #ut the rott&eiler out of its $isery but . didn't &ant to ris" a second bullet
on the ani$al. Dnce .'d finished here . didn't thin" the #olice forensics unit &ould notice one tiny
lu$# of $olten lead under the dog's body but t&o9 2oo"ing around . s#otted the brass shell casing
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
lying bright in the o#en so . stoo#ed to #ic" it u#.
,nd then the alar$ sounded > its shrill bray adding to the dog's ho&ls of #ain and fury. The
noise &as deafening. .'d &asted too $uch ti$e already but . thought . still had enough. !e &ere on
the edge of to&n. ,nd after all !heelan &ouldn't ha)e lin"ed this factory's alar$ syste$ to the
local co# sho#. Not &ith &hat he &as #roducing here.
Nearby &ere t&o stac"s of #allets all loaded &ith cases of )od"a a&aiting distribution. The
#allets had all been $u$$ified in layer after layer of shrin"3&ra#. , for"lift &as connected u# to its
charging unit 6ust ne4t to the stac". . s$iled to $yself. This &as getting better and better.
So . 6er"ed out the electrical lead dro##ing it onto the floor and then engaged re)erse raising
the for"s to &aist height. . bac"ed a&ay fro$ the stac"s then thre& the gear into for&ards. The
for"lift crashed into the first stac" of #allets. .t s&ayed and then to##led o)er. The stac" crashed to
the concrete floor the bottles s$ashing into a $illion #ieces the shrin"3&ra# holding its sha#e for a
$o$ent before deflating and colla#sing in on itself. %or a $o$ent the crash dro&ned out the
alar$'s bray.
,fter the noise of the crash the #lace sounded 5uiet for a $o$ent until $y ears #ic"ed u# the
alar$ again. , la"e of boo7e s#illed out fro$ the shrin"3&ra# flooding out fro$ the i$#act
s#reading out o)er the floor to&ards the in6ured rott&eiler. .t o#ened its 6a&s and ho&led. , tric"le
of blood lea"ed fro$ its $outh $i4ing in &ith the $oonshine )od"a staining it #in".
,gain . re)ersed and "noc"ed o)er the second stac". This crash see$ed e)en louder than the
first. There's so$ething dee#ly satisfying about $a"ing a lot of noise destroying crates and crates of
bottles. The floor &as an inch dee# in $oonshine &ashing around the furnace's base the #oor
rott&eiler trying to bac" a&ay the fu$es of chea# $oonshine )od"a filling $y nose and $a"ing $e
. ste##ed do&n fro$ the for"lift and &al"ed through the la"e of )od"a. The rott&eiler didn't
e)en bother sna##ing at $e as . #assed. ,s if it "ne& &hat &as co$ing its &ay. . &al"ed to the
entrance and loo"ed around at the scene of de)astation before $e. ,t the door . lit the ta$#on &ic"
of $y first #etrol bo$b. . #aused for a second en6oying the feeling of #o&er of destruction in $y
hand. . felt li"e so$e $ale)olent god.
Then . lobbed the Moloto) straight into the la"e of boo7e. .t caught &ith a dull &hoo$#f. *lue
fla$es lic"ed u# fro$ the )od"a as the alcohol started to burn. The rott&eiler ho&led and
des#erately tried to scrabble a&ay as it felt the heat and fla$es s#read to&ards it. . &atched the fire
ta"e hold until the heat beca$e too $uch. Dnly then did . ste# outside of the unit and closed the
door behind $e.
@ogging #ast the security hut . crossed the road and a $o$ent later &as bac" inside the safety
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
of $y ,udi. No rest for the &ic"ed . thought as . dro##ed the handbra"e engaged first and dro)e
out of the industrial estate. Shortly after . &as bac" in Sleaford's to&n centre.


Cri)ing slo&ly #ast !heelan's betting sho# rather i$aginati)ely called '!heel an' Ceal' . sa&
that #articular target &as out of $y reach. ,n ar$oured $etal shutter closed off its front and
although . "ne& . could ha)e #ic"ed the loc" it &ould ha)e ta"en too long and . didn't fancy
crouching on the #a)e$ent fiddling about &ith the loc" &ith se)eral Moloto)s in the car behind $e.
.t &ouldn't ta"e e)en the di$$est co# to &or" out &hat &as going on > or to connect $e to the
recent fire3bo$bing on the industrial estate.
So . carried on through the to&n centre and #ast so$e large buildings that belonged to so$e
#ri)ate schools and then follo&ed a Folish registered articulated lorry as it thundered do&n
Southgate before . $ade a left along ?astgate. .n front of $e &as the *eauticians .'d snatched
'laire McTeague fro$ earlier. Maybe !heelan thought that as this #lace &as on a $ain road it
&ould be safe. .t &asn't. , large #late glass &indo& too" u# $ost of the front. Feering inside the
*eauticians . sa& a stac" of to&els #iled u# on the rece#tionist's des" and all the $aga7ines neatly
stac"ed u# on a side table all ready for to$orro&. ?4ce#t there &ouldn't be a to$orro&. Not for this
one of McTeague's businesses.
. fetched the tyre iron fro$ out of the ,udi's trun" too" a s&ing and s$ashed the iron into the
#late glass. The &indo& e4#loded in&ards shards of crystal shattering and scattering into the sho#
and onto the #a)e$ent around $y feet. .$$ediately the alar$ added its &hoo#ing rising and
falling high #itched din dro&ning out the late night L early $orning street sounds. , $o$ent later
.'d lit the ne4t fire3bo$b and thre& it through the 6agged hole in the &indo&.
No& the fla$es scattered o)er the tiled floor and lic"ed u# the rece#tionist's des". . chuc"ed
another gasoline bo$b o)er the seating area 6ust for fun. No& the fire s#lashed u# the &alls raced
along the ceiling and too" hold on the settees. . &ondered if McTeague &as insured against this
carnage. . could ha)e stood hy#notised and &atched the fire do its &or" of destruction but already
there &ere lights co$ing on in the flats abo)e the sho#s. So . s#rinted bac" to $y ,udi and dro)e
Dnly one $ore 6ob to do before .'d finished tonight. This &as the 6ob . didn't &ant to do. .'d
argued against it but McTeague hi$self insisted so . had no choice. ,t first . &as sur#rised that
McTeague &anted it doing. (e &as one of the last of the so3called 'old3style' )illains and li"e $e
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
he'd al&ays left #eo#le's houses and fa$ilies alone. Sure he'd &rec" businesses brea" e)ery bone
in your body if needed and . "ne& for a fact there &as $ore than one body feeding the fishes under
the North Sea &a)es that &as do&n to hi$.
*ut until no& fa$ilies had been off3li$its e)en sacrosanct &ith McTeague. *ut . su##ose that
in ta"ing McTeague's second &ife > e)en if McTeague &as in the #rocess of getting a di)orce > the
boss thought that !heelan had crossed the line.
,s . dro)e . thought about McTeague's first &ife Melissa. She "ne& the score all right and
since her di)orce she "ne& $en &ere strictly off li$its for the rest of her life. Dr McTeague's >
&hiche)er ca$e sooner. ,lthough McTeague had finished &ith Melissa he didn't &ant any other
$an en6oying &hat he'd had.
(as to be said McTeague had been )ery generous &ith the di)orce and bought Melissa a nice
house u# in the Cu"eries area of north Nottingha$shire. 2i"e a -o$an e$#eror of old McTeague
had banished Melissa to the far3flung edge of his e$#ire. So$e&here he could control her but far
enough a&ay that he &ould ne)er ha)e to see her. !hen he last as"ed $e to chec" u# on his e4 she
&as "ee#ing herself to herself.
She'd found a #art ti$e 6ob in a gift sho# and "e#t herself busy &ith charity &or". *ut . bet she
still $issed ha)ing a $an in her life. Melissa hadn't let herself go and she "e#t herself tri$ &or"ing
out se)eral ti$es a &ee" at a gy$ in the nearby larger to&n of !or"so#.
*ut 'laire &as of a younger generation $ore free3s#irited and had bro"en McTeague's rules.
She'd left the older $an and ta"en u# &ith !heelan. There &as no &ay McTeague could tolerate
that sho& of disres#ect. McTeague had )isions of e)eryone laughing behind his bac" e)en &hile
they did business together.
. tried to tell McTeague that it didn't $atter so $uch these days > although their di)orce hadn't
co$e through as long as 'laire &as discreet she should be allo&ed to do &hat she li"ed. *ut
McTeague said fro$ $en laughing it &as only a short slide before they thought he &as &ea" and
decided to hel# the$sel)es to his e$#ire. Ferha#s he had a #oint.
So McTeague felt he had no choice e4ce#t to ta"e her bac" and sla# do&n !heelan. Sho& hi$
&ho &as to# dog in the ?ast Midlands. *ut it &as $e carrying out the old gangster's instructions
and so it &as u# to $e as to ho& they &ere e4ecuted. The #lans > not the fa$ily . sincerely ho#ed.
. dro)e along *oston -oad before turning off into an u#$ar"et cul3de3sac called Dld Flace.
Maybe this &as #art of an older Sleaford but . &ouldn't "no&. The large houses &ere all in dar"ness
although so$e had carriage la$#s $ounted onto their gate #osts or #orches. . &ondered if !heelan
&ould ha)e one of his $en on guard but fifteen $inutes of 5uietly &atching con)inced $e there
&as no3one about. Sure the alar$ bo4 &as flashing its blue light at regular inter)als and . sa&
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
''TG ca$eras $ounted o)er the #orch and gates. *ut a#art fro$ ha)ing loc"ed the electronic
gates there see$ed to be no e4tra security #recautions. !heelan's confidence &as about to be
?4ce#t . &asn't going to do e4actly &hat McTeague &anted. 2ea)ing the engine on . ste##ed
out of the ,udi's &ar$ interior and crossed o)er. ,s &ell as an eight foot high $etal fence to##ed
&ith s#ear #oints McTeague had also ta"en a leaf out of the #olice's cri$e #re)ention boo"lets
&hich so$eti$es co$e through the door and #lanted a barrier of #ric"ly shrubs behind the fence. .
don't "no& &hat they &ere as . don't &atch /ardener's !orld but e)en in the dar" . could see their
shar# )icious thorns.
Feering through the railings the house loo"ed aslee#. !a"ey3&a"ey . thought as . returned to
$y ,udi and fetched the ne4t t&o of $y Moloto)s. . lit the ta$#on &ic"s and lobbed the$ high
o)er the fence to&ards the front door. The bottles shattered on i$#act the noise sur#risingly loud in
the 5uiet suburban night. The fire s#read out o)er the bric" #a)iours the orange fla$es reaching out
to&ards the garage doors.
, light ca$e on in the neighbouring house so . ran bac" to $y ,udi and &as half &ay do&n the
road before the nosy #ar"er had ti$e to dra& the curtains. Turning the corner bac" onto *oston
-oad . #ulled u# at the "erb and then slo&ly &al"ed bac" in ti$e to &atch the fun. *y this ti$e
so$e of the closer neighbours &ere ste##ing out of their dri)e&ays and onto the #a)e$ent.
They all &ore night&ear the &o$en had $ussed u# hair and one or t&o &ere still #ulling on
dressing go&ns. Dthers $ore #re#ared &ere already recording the scene on their s$art #hones. .
figured footage of the bla7e &ould all be u#loaded onto 1outube &ithin the ne4t half hour. 'hec" it
out if you &ant. ,s they fil$ed . slun" bac" into the dee#est shado&s out of sight of any
The fla$es soared higher into the night s"y. Dne elderly $an said to his &ife that they should
ha)e brought out a Ther$os of tea. 'o$ing round the side of the house . s#otted !heelan
clutching a fire e4tinguisher closely follo&ed by his $oody fourteen year old daughter ,le4a &ith
another girl . didn't "no& > #resu$ably a friend on a slee#o)er > and 'laire herself. *y the light of
the fire and !heelan's security halogen la$#s . sa& the girls loo"ed scared.
*y no& as they had no e4tra fuel the fla$es &ere starting to die do&n. ,ll the sa$e !heelan
ai$ed the e4tinguisher's no77le at the base of the bla7e and s$othered it &ith foa$. So$e of his
neighbours cheered and one $an as"ed if e)erything &as all right. !heelan ga)e the $an a thu$bs
u# sign but didn't say anything. !heelan and 'laire ins#ected the da$age > &hich &as confined to
a charred garage door burned bric"s and shrubs > &hilst the t&o girls stood together.
,le4a's friend &as crying. She #robably ne)er e4#ected to be fire3bo$bed during a slee#o)er. .
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
guessed it &ould co$e as a shoc". Ne4t ti$e she $ight choose her friends $ore carefully.
?)entually !heelan said so$ething to 'laire and she led the t&o girls bac" do&n the side #assage.
.n the distance . heard sirens. Ti$e to go.
Dne or t&o of the neighbours loo"ed at $e as . &al"ed bac" do&n the road to $y ,udi. Nobody
"ne& $e and . &as the only one fully dressed. *oth things $ade $e an ob6ect of sus#icion. *ac" in
the car . ya&ned &idely. . could ha)e done &ith a slug of caffeine or one of those high energy
drin"s but .'d forgotten to buy one. . shoo" $y head #ressed the button to lo&er $y &indo& and
dro)e a&ay.
.n $y rear )ie& $irror . sa& blue flashes fro$ an e$ergency ser)ices )ehicle. (o&e)er . still
had a lot to do tonight. /lancing at the dashboard cloc" . sa& . &as cutting it fine if . &as to
co$#lete tonight's last 6ob.
Cri)ing along *oston -oad no& the *181B heading out of Sleaford . &as soon out in o#en
countryside. . continued east until the *181B 6oined the $ain ,1B high&ay to&ards *oston and the
coast. . had no ti$e no& to deal &ith $y ne4t 6ob in *oston itself but could only ho#e to interce#t
the$ so$e&here along the ,1B. That &ould ha)e to do.
,s the lights of Sleaford d&indled a&ay in $y rear $irrors . 6ust ho#ed .'d recognise the truc"
&hen . sa& it. ?)en at this ti$e of night or )ery early $orning if you #refer there &as traffic in
both directions along the ,1B. 2i"e $e so$e heading to&ards *oston or S#alding others bac" to
Sleaford and then onto Ne&ar"3on3Trent.
Kee#ing $y &indo& do&n the cold sli#strea$ freshening $e u# . dro)e into the da&n. ?4ce#t
it still &ouldn't be da&n for another cou#le of hours or $ore. *y no& ,le4 2ester had finished his
sho& so . tuned into 2incs AJ.B %M for so$ething a bit li)elier. So$ething that &ould hel# "ee# $e
a&a"e. . turned u# the )olu$e.
The ,1B is a road &ith fe& cur)es or bends as it stretches across the flat 2incolnshire
countryside. No &onder they call this area (olland %en. .t really is as flat and featureless as the
2o& 'ountries. .n the distance on either side of the road . sa& a fe& lights co$ing fro$ early
rising far$houses but not $uch else. . gained on the ne4t set of tail lights and follo&ed a Gol)o
estate as &e carried on.
Dnco$ing headlights filled $y &indscreen. . loo"ed to $y left< no only a car. Not &hat . &as
loo"ing for. ,s . dro)e . &ondered about the #erson in the car ahead. , sales re# $ost li"ely .
thought hurrying to a #o&er3brea"fast &ith his client. No her client as $y headlights sho&ed the
dri)er had long hair and a sli$ build. ,lso she dro)e carefully. To "ee# $y $ind occu#ied .
&ondered &hat she &as selling > $aybe #har$aceuticals $aybe greeting cards $aybe a ne& ty#e
of soft&are #rogra$9 Dr $aybe she &as the area $anager for a chain of gastro#ubs9
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
, blare of an air horn a glare of hi3bea$ headlights. My ,udi filled &ith &hite light fro$ an
onco$ing hea)y goods )ehicle. .'d crossed the centre line and had strayed into the #ath of
onco$ing traffic. Ces#erately . hauled on the &heel and dragged $y cou#: hard o)er bac" to the
left. The (./.G. blasted #ast its &heels huge in $y sight. The dri)er leaned on his horn the sound
also filling $y car.
. &i#ed #ers#iration fro$ $y forehead. That &as close > far too close. . $ust ha)e do7ed off
behind the &heel > one of those $icro slee#s lasting only a fe& seconds but that's the sort of
inattention that can get you "illed. . &ound the &indo& do&n so$e $ore suc"ing cold air dee# into
$y lungs and turned u# the radio's )olu$e.
Ta"ing a rene&ed gri# on the &heel . stared ahead through the &indscreen concentrating on the
road ahead. !ithin a $inute . &as bac" behind the Gol)o. ,s . dro)e . also "e#t an eye on the
onco$ing traffic > the )ehicles dri)ing in the direction of Sleaford. ,ll the cars . could ignore but .
had to chec" out the licence #lates of e)ery truc". %ortunately there &eren't too $any. The first fe&
&ere all *ritish then a Cutch one. No interest to $e. Then a.. a... yes a Folish (./.G.
My interest #ic"ed u# as . sco#ed its #late. No no good. . dro)e on into the night. . ya&ned
again and shifted in $y seat. This &ouldn't do. !e ca$e to a for" in the road. The Gol)o carried on
along the ,1B to&ards King's 2ynn and Norfol" but . turned off along the slightly narro&er ,1121
to *oston.
. thought .'d ha)e seen the Folish truc" . &as loo"ing for by no&. Maybe the dri)er had been
delayed at custo$s. Maybe he'd had a brea"do&n. My $ind &as filled &ith all sorts of #ossibilities.
Then . thought . sa& it co$ing. , s$ile ca$e to $y li#s. Dnly to )anish again. -ight $odel > a
%ord 2uton bo4 truc" > right colour but &rong nationality. ,nother fe& $iles clic"ed u# on $y
odo$eter. . &as #ast the )illage of (ubbert's *ridge.
Much further and .'d be in *oston itself and then the North Sea.


1et another 2uton truc" a##roached and . scanned its licence #late. 1es0 1es0 1es0 The #late
started &ith 2-, B. ,ll $y fatigue all $y e4haustion &ashed a&ay and . sat u# straighter. *y no&
the truc" had #assed by and . sa& its red tail lights receding in $y $irror. , lay3by ca$e u# ahead.
So . s&ung in a)oiding a length of blac" shredded tyre and turned around follo&ing the 2uton
bo4 truc".
,ccelerating . &as soon u# behind it. . flashed $y lights but the dri)er too" no notice. .f
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
anything he s#ed u# and the lu$bering )an slo&ly gained s#eed. My foot #ressed the accelerator
do&n. Si4ty si4ty3fi)e. . flashed $y lights again and again. No res#onse. The )an &as no& u# to
se)enty. . thought these things &ere all fitted &ith s#eed go)ernors no&adays but this )an didn't
see$ to be.
There &as nothing co$ing so . #ulled out and s#ed u# alongside the )an. . #ointed at the dri)er
$a"ing gestures for hi$ to #ull o)er. . sa& the $an had a huge handlebar $oustache li"e it &as
1ABH all o)er again. (e ignored $e. So . $ade $ore gestures but then had to dro# bac" behind the
2uton as a %ord Mondeo &as bo$bing do&n the road to&ards us. ,s soon as the Mondeo #assed .
#ulled out and resu$ed #osition alongside the 2uton.
Dne last chance. More gestures< frantically urgently &a)ing to the dri)er. The $an glanced $y
&ay but then turned his head and loo"ed a&ay his eyes staring steadily at the road ahead. !ell if
that's the &ay he &anted it. . loo"ed both ahead and behind. There &as no3one near us only a fe&
headlights far off around the slight cur)e in the road. ,l$ost #erfect.
. leaned to one side and #ulled out $y *eretta A2 se$i3auto$atic. . then &ound do&n the
#assenger &indo& to its fullest e4tent before ta"ing ai$. %ortunately the ,1B &as s$ooth and &ide
at this #oint. . $atched s#eeds &ith the 2uton bo4 truc" and fired. T&o things ha##ened. The bang
in the enclosed s#ace deafened $e the after effects ringing in $y ears and . s$elled cordite s$o"e
before the &ind rushing in ble& it a&ay.
The other thing &as that the 2uton's front dri)er's tyre shredded as the nine $illi$etre
Farabellu$ hit shedding its rubber along the high&ay. That grabbed the dri)er's attention li"e
nothing else could. The $an gri##ed his &heel &restling &ith it to "ee# control. *y no& $y ,udi
cou#: had shot ahead. . decelerated dro##ing bac" but "ee#ing $y distance as the )an's dri)er
controlled his s&er)es. 2et's $a"e things $ore difficult.
. too" ai$ a second ti$e and shot out one of the rear tyres. No &ay could the dri)er control his
)ehicle no&. /i)ing in to the ine)itable the dri)er steered o)er to the hard shoulder by the side of
the high&ay. (e s&itched off the engine but didn't get out.
Fulling u# in front of the 2uton it &as $e &ho got out. . &al"ed o)er to the 2uton in &hat .
ho#ed &as a slo& and $enacing &ay and the dri)er &atched $e a##roach. (e clic"ed do&n the
door loc" and sat there slab3li"e. . sa& hi$ #ic" u# his cell #hone so . shoo" $y head at hi$. .
6er"ed u# $y *eretta's barrel in an un$ista"able sign for hi$ to unloc". (e $istoo" $y signal and
loo"ed at $e &ide eyed &ith fear. So . ai$ed the #istol at hi$ through the glass and tightened $y
finger on the trigger still sha"ing $y head. No $ista"ing $y intentions.
The dri)er dro##ed his cell and lifted the loc". . o#ened the )an's door. =Dut= . sna##ed. The
dri)er gabbled so$ething in Folish or 2ithuanian. (o&e)er . &as too tired to care. . "ne& the $an
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
$ust s#ea" so$e e)en if only a little ?nglish and . didn't ha)e the ti$e to $ess about. . stretched
u# too" a fistful of his 6ac"et and hauled hi$ out of his cab. (e stu$bled and al$ost fell at $y feet.
. sho&ed hi$ the *eretta A2 again $a"ing sure he got a really good loo" at its deadly sha#e.
Fushing the dri)er a&ay fro$ the 2uton . leaned in and too" the "eys out the ignition. Then .
tossed the "eys to the dri)er and #ointed &ith $y se$i3auto$atic to the cargo area of the )an. (e
got the idea and &al"ed bac" &ith $e. , car s#ed #ast its headlights &ashing us in colour before
)anishing. .f the car dri)er sa& the 2uton's shredded tyres he $ust ha)e thought .'d sto##ed to hel#.
.n the dar"ness at the bac" of the )an the dri)er fu$bled &ith the "eys. =(urry u#= . said. The
bac" had been #adloc"ed and the dri)er sna##ed o#en the loc" and lifted it fro$ the has#. (e then
slid u# the bac". ?)en in the near dar" . sa& the bac" &as 5uarter filled &ith #lain cardboard
Se)eral #eo#le sat a$ongst the bo4es. They loo"ed at $e as the 2uton's tailgate rolled u#. So$e
stood and #ic"ed u# ruc"sac"s suitcases and se)eral #lastic carrier bags.
=Dut. No&= . told the #eo#le.
The dri)er o#ened his $outh to s#ea". Entil . #lanted $y *eretta A2 in his ribs. Then he got the
$essage loud and clear and closed his $outh again. !e ste##ed to one side to let the #eo#le get off.
They &ere a $i4ed bag > a #etite 'hinese &o$an a )ery tall ,frican youth three young $en fro$
the $iddle east $aybe .ra5is or Syrians or Kurds or so$ething and lastly an older .ndian or
Fa"istani gent.
So !heelan &as $uscling in on the hu$an traffic"ing front as &ell. McTeague &ouldn't li"e
that. The #eo#le shuffled out of the bac" of the 2uton bo4 truc". The .ndian hel#ed do&n the
'hinese girl. The grou# stood loo"ing about the$ da7ed confused by the side of the road. This
&asn't &hat they e4#ected at all. They $ust ha)e been told they &ould be dro##ed off in a city not
du$#ed in the $iddle of no&here in the blea" &inds&e#t 2incolnshire countryside.
,nother fe& cars s#ed by. Dne of the dri)ers slo&ed do&n slightly to ta"e in the little scene.
The #eo#le the i$$igrants started tal"ing in their o&n languages. . didn't need to s#ea" the$ to
"no& that they &ere #rotesting that this &asn't &hat they had #aid for.
Dne of the$ the .ndian gent #ushed his &ay to the front. =?4cuse $e. !e &ere told &e &ould
be ta"en onto 2ondon= he said in #erfect if hea)ily accented ?nglish. =,nd . cannot see *ig *en.= .
turned to the $an. (e ste##ed bac" catching sight of $y #istol and a loo" of alar$ crossed his
=1our bus has bro"en do&n. 2ondon's that &ay. .f . &ere you .'d start &al"ing before the co#s
round you all u# and de#ort you.=
(e turned to his co$rades and tried to e4#lain. !ith angry sco&ls fro$ the $iddle easterners
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
and tears on the face of the 'hinese girl they shouldered their bags and started &al"ing. Not a good
deal but at least they'd arri)ed so$e&here in the #ro$ised land so they couldn't co$#lain too $uch.
. turned bac" to the Folish dri)er. (e bac"ed a&ay. =/et your bag and #ass#ort and you can start
&al"ing as &ell.= (e nodded returned to the cab and #ulled out a blue holdall. Maybe thin"ing he'd
be bla$ed by his i$$igrant #assengers &ho &ere no& &al"ing along the high&ay to&ards Sleaford
in a grou# the dri)er turned the other &ay and started &al"ing bac" to *oston. (e cast a glance
bac" at $e.
. 6ogged to $y ,udi too" out $y last Moloto) lit its ta$#on &ic" and tossed the bottle into the
2uton's cab. Drange fla$es lit u# the inside of the &indscreen. . raced bac" to $y car engaged first
gear and #ulled a&ay 6ust before the )an e4#loded.
,nother ya&n hit $e and . felt $y 6a&s crac". . &anted no . needed slee#< but no chance of
that tonight. .nstead it &as east&ards along the ,1121 to&ards *oston for $e. ,fter a fe& hundred
yards . #assed the Folish )an dri)er. (e shoo" his fist as $y ,udi s#ed #ast but didn't brea" his
. hit *oston 6ust as the earliest risers &ere out on the streets. There &ere a fe& deli)eries to
ne&sagents and a grou# of $en cli$bing into the bac" of a $uddy Transit )an #robably for a bac"
brea"ing day labouring on one of the local far$s. The $en loo"ed e4hausted and that &as e)en
before they'd started &or". . dro)e do&n to the harbour and &al"ed out along the 5uayside.
%or a #ort *oston is a long &ay inland. Maybe the coast has shifted since it &as founded9 Con't
as" $e as .'$ not fro$ around here. No& the harbour is sited along the ban"s of the ri)er !itha$.
The $uddy ri)er flo&s sluggishly bet&een concrete 5uaysides and &harfs. , rusting crane stood
nearby o)erloo"ing a nu$ber of barges and narro&3boats that &ere $oored to the 5uayside. ,
cou#le of $en &ra##ed in thic" #ea 6ac"ets leaned against the crane and $uttered in -ussian or
(eading a&ay fro$ *oston to&ards the o#en sea &as a s$all tra&ler or fishing boat to&ing a
dinghy its sailing lights roc"ing slightly as its diesel engine $o)ed it do&nstrea$. That $ust ha)e
been the boat that brought in the i$$igrants . thought as . $ade a note of the nu$ber #ainted on
its side. Dr should . say bul&ar"9 Con't as" $e. D##osite $e on the far ban" stood a grou# of grey
&arehouses their outlines shar# under the glare of industrial lighting.
,s the fishing boat $o)ed further do&nstrea$ along the ri)er . sa& the eastern hori7on shade
fro$ blac" to dar" grey and then a still lighter grey. The start of another day. No rest for $e. . too"
in se)eral dee# breaths of the oil and fish s$elling salty air before realising . &as star)ing.
(ands in $y #oc"ets . turned a&ay fro$ the ri)er !itha$ and &al"ed o)er to a doc"side
greasy s#oon diner. ?)en at that ti$e of the $orning the caf: &as #ac"ed &ith $en > truc" dri)ers
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
doc"ers fisher$en cabbies as &ell as the usual handful of runa&ays odd3bods the do&n at heel all
nursing a $ug of tea for an hour's &ar$th and those for &ho$ life dealt a bad hand. Con"ey
6ac"ets fluorescent hi3)i7 coats and cast off $ilitary gear see$ed to be the dress code here.
The $en loo"ed at $e as . o#ened the door and &al"ed into the stea$y heat inside. . heard
)oices tal"ing in se)eral different languages. No &onder the #lace is also "no&n as '*ostongrad'.
There &ere one or t&o &olf &histles. . #ut it do&n to $y suit as . don't su##ose $any #eo#le in
suits ate here. . &al"ed u# to the counter.
=%ull ?nglish > no blac" #udding > e4tra toast and tea= . ordered. The short3order coo" stared at
$e. Maybe because . "ee# fit and &or" out and don't loo" the sort &ho &ould nor$ally go for this
sort of grub. (o&e)er you can get a&ay &ith it no& and again and . really needed the calorie
infusion. .'d &or" it off later.
. #ic"ed u# a co#y of the Caily Star fro$ the end of the counter. ,gain not a ne&s#a#er .
nor$ally read > . #refer the %inancial Ti$es or Telegra#h as they re#ort the Test cric"et in far $ore
detail than 6ust the briefest highlights. (o&e)er not $uch chance of co$ing across those t&o
5uality broadsheets in a di)e li"e this. . too" the #a#er o)er to a nearby table.
,ll the tables &ere occu#ied. . nodded to a $an sitting by hi$self at one of the %or$ica to##ed
tables. =May .9= . as"ed dra&ing out a chair. The $an nodded and cleared a&ay so$e of the clutter
littering the %or$ica. There &ere a fe& $ore &histles and cat3calls fro$ so$e of the truc"ers but .
too" no notice. .nstead . shoo" out the Star and loo"ed through the full colour #ictures of celebs
$ost of &ho$ .'d ne)er heard of as &ell as ad)erts for cell #hones legalised loan shar"s and
lotteries. The s$all a$ount of actual te4t too" less than fi)e $inutes to read.
. flic"ed bac" through the #a#er on the off chance .'d $issed anything ending u# on #age three.
The large3breasted #age three babe a girl &or"ing under the na$e of Ni""ii ga7ed out at $e. =Nice
ba#s on that eh= one of the truc"ers said leaning bac" in his chair and loo"ing at $e. (e &ore a
blac" fleece hat against the cold. =!ouldn't say no.=
There &as so$e $ore laughter fro$ the other $en. ?)en the coo" &as grinning as he brought
out so$e $ore brea"fasts. . turned to Mr. %leece (at. =1ou e)er get an urge for a feel of so$e tits
&hy don't you 6ust #lay &ith your o&n $an boobs9= The others all laughed at hi$. The $an at $y
table called out =that told you $ate.= The laughter &as directed at Mr. %leece (at instead of $e
no&. The truc"er turned as red as the tinned to$atoes on his #late.
, fe& $inutes later $y o&n full ?nglish arri)ed. T&o 2incolnshire sausages bacon fried eggs
fried to$atoes beans $ushroo$s cou#le of hash bro&ns and hot toast the butter $elting into it.
,ll &ashed do&n &ith a $ug of hot tea. !ho says you can't get good cuisine in ?ngland9 . s5uirted
bro&n sauce onto $y brea"fast arranged $y na#"in and tuc"ed in.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Dne or t&o of the truc"ers &atched $e for a fe& $inutes a$a7ed that &ith $y sli$ build . &as
going to eat it all but by then $y no)elty had &orn off and the $en got bac" to their o&n
con)ersations or ne&s#a#ers. More &or"ing $en ca$e and left as . ate but . too" no notice of their
stares or co$$ents.
,fter . &i#ed u# the last of $y sauce &ith $y toast . stood and left a #ound as a ti# on the
%or$ica to#. Then . used the diner's toilets to freshen u#. They &ere sur#risingly clean if cold and
old fashioned &ith chi##ed tiles. Nobody follo&ed $e in and . had the$ to $yself.
*ac" outside . &al"ed o)er to $y ,udi. . leaned against its body&or". To be honest after that
huge brea"fast . felt full &ith a bloated feeling in $y sto$ach but the energy "ic" &ould "ee# $e
going for a &hile yet. 'o)ering $y $outh &ith $y hand . gently belched.
/lancing at $y &atch it &asn't too early no& so . called McTeague hi$self to "ee# hi$ u#dated
on #rogress. (e &as on his &ay for his early $orning &or"out. (e too" the call on one of his
dis#osable cells and . e4#lained &hat .'d done so far. =E# the ante. Ma"e hi$ hurt. ,nd $ost
i$#ortant get 'laire bac"= McTeague told $e. No roo$ for doubt there.
=No #roble$s boss= . said before dro##ing $y cell bac" in $y #oc"et. /lad to get
confir$ation fro$ hi$. . thought .'d be hearing fro$ !heelan any ti$e soon. ,nother loo" at $y
&atch. .t &as co$ing u# to se)en in the $orning so . lo&ered $yself into $y ,udi and s&itched on
the radio tuning into **' 2incolnshire 10H.B %M for the local ne&s.
Ensur#risingly the ne&s &as filled &ith a series of arson attac"s around Sleaford. There &asn't
$uch $ore than that at the $o$ent. Frobably the station's re#orters hadn't yet had ti$e to do their
digging and $a"e the connections. . thought there'd be $ore info at eight. Then . fired u# the ,udi's
t&o litre turbo engine #ulled a&ay fro$ the "erb and accelerated a&ay do&n the ,1121 bac"
to&ards Sleaford.
(o&e)er . had to slo& do&n as . a##roached the burned out 2uton. , co# in a hi3)i7 &as
directing traffic and a tailbac" had built u#. The &oodento# directed us onto the other side of the
road &hilst one of his colleagues held u# the onco$ing traffic. ,s . #assed the blac"ened shell of
the bo4 )an . sa& a full forensics tea$ gi)ing the area a fingerti# search &hilst a lo& loader stood
by &aiting to ta"e the )an a&ay.
. ga&#ed li"e any rubber3nec"er as . #assed the scene. Then . re6oined the ,1B and &as in
Sleaford an hour later. ,s . e4#ected the ne&s at eight &as $ore infor$ati)e. The burned industrial
unit and *eauticians &ere identified as belonging to a 'local business$an' &hose ho$e &as also
targeted but no na$es &ere gi)en out. .t also said #olice sus#ected arson attac"s. . figured that
those good #eo#le of 2incolnshire listening in &ould $utter to the$sel)es 'gangster' as that's &hat
$ost #eo#le thin" an unna$ed 'local business$an' &ho gets fire3bo$bed $ust be.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
,nd in !heelan's case they &ouldn't be &rong.


My *lac"*erry rang as . a##roached the outer suburbs of Sleaford. . #ulled the #hone fro$ $y
#oc"et but . didn't recognise the nu$ber so . let the #hone ring and ring until the caller ga)e u#. .
&as on the (oldingha$ roundabout &hen $y #hone rang again. This ti$e . too" the call. .
recognised the )oice of !heelan's friend and in #olice ter$s 'associate'.
, $an called Mulhearn. . thin" he &as so$e distant relation of !heelan > a second cousin or
so$ething li"e that. !hate)er the t&o $en had gro&n u# together on the sa$e estate< been friends
since #ri$ary school and &hilst !heelan had &or"ed for McTeague the old boss had ne)er ta"en
on Mulhearn.
Not that Mulhearn &asn't ca#able enough. D"ay through !heelan McTeague had thro&n
Mulhearn a fe& bones fro$ ti$e to ti$e a fe& scra#s fro$ his table $ade use of his talents but
the $an &as > &ell fla"y. (e didn't use )iolence strictly as a $eans to achie)e an end but used it
for its o&n sa"e. (e got off on )iolence &ay too $uch. Mulhearn &as trouble &ith a great big
ca#ital T< a $an &ho got you noticed > and not in a good &ay.
=Mulhearn. /ood to hear fro$ you= . said. %or a second . &ondered if !heelan had authorised
this call but on reflection . realised he $ust ha)e. ,lthough . &ondered &hy !heelan hadn't called
$e direct. Frobably he &as sho&ing $e he &as far too i$#ortant these days. ,bo)e $y le)el. .f that
&as the case !heelan &ould soon find out he &asn't. .'d bring hi$ do&n to earth in a hurry.
=1ou')e been a bit li)ely (ennessy= Mulhearn said.
=Me9= acting the innocent. =Con't "no& &hat you're tal"ing about.=
=Con't hand $e that (ennessy. !e "no& you')e been $a"ing things rather 'hot' in Sleaford.=
. didn't need to say anything. . let the silence s#in out bet&een us. .t &as Mulhearn #aying for
the call after all. ?)entually Mulhearn s#o"e.
=!e need to $eet (ennessy. /et this SN,%E sorted. The King's ,r$s (otel t&el)e hundred
hours. D"ay &ith you9= Mulhearn said. . re$e$bered Mulhearn had been the ar$y and still li"ed to
salt his tal" &ith $ilitary slang.
1ou'd thin" a $an &ith his record &ould ha)e tried to #ut his ar$y #ast behind hi$. (e dre& a
dishonourable discharge after so$e business &hen he and so$e others in his unit &ent too far
interrogating a bunch of ,fghan #risoners of &ar. . heard that at the ti$e the ar$y si$#ly &anted
to brush their $isdeeds under the car#et before ne&s hungry 6ournos found out. The &ay the &ar
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
&as going it &ould ha)e been too #olitically e$barrassing if that story e)er lea"ed out &hen &e
&ere su##osed to be &inning the ,fghans' 'hearts and $inds'.
!hich &as an i$#ossible tas" any&ay.
So the court $artial concentrated on his '$isa##ro#riation of $edical su##lies' instead.
*asically Mulhearn and others &ere stealing as $any $edicines and drugs and selling the$ on )ia
a ca$# orderly to the ,fghans. .t's not li"e Mulhearn and his s5uad &ere the only ones at it.
!ay . heard it the biggest 5uarter$aster for the insurgency in the area &as the *ritish ar$y.
*ody ar$our night sco#es boots rations you na$e it< e5ui#$ent flo&ed out of the ca$# gates.
So$e of it in the sa$e bo4es it had been deli)ered in earlier that day. .f our s5uaddies could')e sold
the ,fghans a 'hallenger 2 tan" then they &ould ha)e. *ut Mulhearn &as caught out dre& a year
at the 'olchester glasshouse and then $ade his &ay bac" north to tea$ u# &ith his old $ate
!heelan. .ne)itably a harder and $ore dangerous $an after lea)ing the ar$y than he'd been &hen
he'd signed u# as a roo"ie.
(o&e)er as far as . &as concerned it &as a 'Situation Nor$al ,ll %ouled E#' scenario. ,fter
$y 5uic" snatch fro$ the *eauticians had failed . "ne& .'d ha)e to u# the ante.
=Dnly thing to tal" about is 'laire McTeague. Ma"e sure you bring her along &ith you= . said.
=That's not going to ha##en (ennessy. *ut &e need to rende7)ous > $aybe co$e to so$e
alternati)e arrange$ents.=
. agreed e)en though . "ne& that the only &ay this &as going to finish &as &ith 'laire
McTeague bac" &here she belonged > at McTeague's side for as long as he &anted her.
'hec"ing $y &atch . had a fe& hours to "ill before the $eet so . dro)e to the $assi)e Tesco
?4tra su#er$ar"et o)er on Northgate. . &ent along *oston -oad loo#ed around Dld Flace and
slo&ly dro)e #ast McTeague's house. The gates &ere shut tight closed so . sa& no sign of $y fire3
So . turned around #ic"ed u# s#eed and a fe& $inutes later . &as #ar"ing outside the Tesco
?4tra. The car #ar" &as a &ide &inds&e#t e4#anse of grey as#halt stretching out to the hori7on
under the grey s"y. . #ar"ed as far as #ossible fro$ the store > and the gang of Foles offering to
&ash your car for a fi)er or )alet it for fifteen.
.nside the store the s$ell of fresh ba"ed bread filled $y nose. ,fter &hat .'d eaten in
*ostongrad the s$ell $ade $y sto$ach roll slo&ly inside. *reathing shallo&ly . #ic"ed u# so$e
toiletries under&ear and loo"ed along the rac"s until . found another grey suit that fitted. .t &asn't
designer or anything but it still loo"ed &ay better than the cru$#led soiled outfit . &as still
&earing. Dnce again . #aid using !heelan's cloned credit card.
='lubcard9= the s$iling blonde girl behind the till as"ed &ith an accent that ca$e fro$ &ay east
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
of the Dder ri)er.
. shoo" $y head. McTeague hadn't bothered cloning !heelan's Tesco clubcard.
=!here's the toilets9= . as"ed the girl. Still &ith a s$ile on her face she #ointed $e in the right
direction. The store &as so big . only got lost once before . found the$. ,nother &o$an fro$ so$e
)illage on the *altic Sea &as $o##ing the tiled floor. , yello& cart surrounded by yello& '&et floor'
signs filled the s#ace.
=2ater= . told her holding o#en the door.
=No > is $y schedule. . clean no&= she said gri##ing the $o# a little tighter.
. too" a fi)er fro$ $y #oc"et and held it out to the &o$an. She loo"ed at the note li"e it $ight
bite her. Entil . sho&ed her a cou#le of its sisters as &ell. She loo"ed u# at $e and then snatched
the notes fro$ $y hand.
=. clean other toilets first= she said.
=Ta"e your ti$e > t&enty $inutes= . told her as she left. . too" an 'out of order' sign fro$ her
trolley and #ro##ed it outside the toilet door. (o#efully .'d be left alone as . didn't &ant to be
disturbed. The cubicles &ere all i$$aculate and s$elled of #ine disinfectant. They didn't really
need cleaning but . a##ro)ed of the &o$an's attention to detail.
,fter .'d finished in the cubicle . had a stri# &ash s#rayed on deodorant and then changed into
$y ne& under&ear and suit ho##ing on one leg as . did so before bundling the old clothes into the
carrier bag. . brushed $y hair. 1es . loo"ed the #art no&. More businessli"e. . o#ened the toilet
door to see the cleaner $o##ing the corridor. . nodded to the &o$an as . #assed.
=!as a 5ueue but . send a&ay= she said to $e.
=Than"s= . said.
.t had started to rain as . left the su#er$ar"et. Dne of those fine dri77les that gets into your
clothes and soa"s you before you "no& it. . didn't &ant to ta"e $y ,udi to the $eet &ith Mulhearn
at The King's ,r$s so . strolled along the co)ered &al"&ay outside the su#erstore and too" the first
cab on the stand.
The dri)er an o)er&eight $an &earing grey s&eat #ants and #ur#le fleece< a $an &ho loo"ed
beaten do&n by life s&itched on his $eter flic"ed on his &i#ers and dro)e out of the e4#anse of
#ar"ing lot and $ade a right onto Northgate.
.$$ediately he launched into a diatribe about all the eastern ?uro#eans co$ing o)er here
ta"ing all the 6obs their #ri)ate hires "ee#ing all the fares do&n ho& you can't $a"e a li)ing any
$ore before $o)ing on to ho& $uch they drin" that decent local &o$en can't &al" about in safety
no $ore... . grunted in the right #laces and &as glad it &as only a short 6ourney into the centre of
Sleaford. ,t least the cabbie hadn't got ti$e to tell $e ho& he &ould '#ull the le)er $yself' or ho&
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
he &ould deal &ith all nonces e4ce#t all the #oliticians are...
Ste##ing out in front of The King's ,r$s (otel . told the cabbie to "ee# the change. . thought
about suggesting he use it to buy a co#y of The /uardian ne&s#a#er to get a different slant on life
but so$eho& . didn't thin" he'd a##reciate $y suggestion.
2oo"ing u# . sa& the King's ,r$s &as #erha#s ine)itably a $oc" @acobean building &ith
e4#osed blac" #ainted bea$s. The u##er floors &ere larger than the lo&er gi)ing the &hole a to#
hea)y a##earance. ,n ornate if faded heraldic royal coat of ar$s hung fro$ the inn sign. The
hotel's &indo&s &ere all leaded &ith s$all dia$ond #anes surrounding stained glass coats of ar$s.
!ar$ light shone out brea"ing u# fro$ the $yriad tiny #anes.
. ran in out of the rain #ushing through the hea)ily studded oa" doors. My footste#s died a&ay
on the dar" red dee# #ile car#ets inside the lobby. *y#assing a rac" of tourist leaflets . &al"ed o)er
to the lounge on the left #ast the rece#tion des". , 5uic" glance at $y &atch sho&ed . &as still
early. . found a corner seat but $ade sure it &as near to a side door.
The lounge &as done u# &ith hea)y baronial furnishings to $atch the @acobean e4terior. ,s
soon as . sat do&n a s"inny #ale blonde girl &earing a &hite blouse and burgundy s"irt ca$e o)er.
(er gilt coloured na$e badge told $e she &as called Morela. !ith barely a trace of an accent
Morela as"ed $e if . &anted so$ething to eat or drin".
,lthough . &as still full fro$ $y brea"fast in *ostongrad . ordered a #late of sand&iches and
coffee. The lounge &as $ostly e$#ty e4ce#t for a fe& cou#les ha)ing a brea" fro$ sho##ing. They
&ere &ell dressed elderly the $en &earing t&eed 6ac"ets and ca)alry t&ill trousers the &o$en
fa)ouring "nitted na)y t&in sets. -elics fro$ a bygone age. . &ondered if .'d see $y friend fro$ the
gastro#ub yesterday. My coffee and sand&iches arri)ed and . settled bac" to &ait for Mulhearn. .
ya&ned once...
Mulhearn stood in front of $y table. My coffee had gone cold &ith a $il"y s"in on its surface. .
sat u# straighter and blin"ed the slee# fro$ $y eyes.
=Gery la4. 'ould ha)e "illed you there (ennessy. Should ha)e done= Mulhearn said.
. loo"ed u# at Mulhearn. The $an &as of only a)erage height > fi)e eight or thereabouts but
#o&erfully built. (e had a broad ugly face dee#ly tanned as if he'd only 6ust co$e bac" fro$ a tour
of so$e $iddle eastern hell3hole. (o&e)er the tan $ust ha)e co$e fro$ the electric beach as
Mulhearn had been out of the ar$y for a fe& years no&. (e &ore a &hite shirt &ith the slee)es
rolled u# to sho& off regi$ental and other tattoos.
=Trying to "ill $e &ould be the &orst and last $ista"e of your life= . said #ushing a chair a&ay
fro$ the table &ith $y foot. Mulhearn sat and . called Morela bac" o)er and ordered t&o $ore
filter coffees. . felt fresher $ore alert after $y cat3na#.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
=!heelan's angry &ith you= Mulhearn said as soon as Morela &as out of earshot.
=(urt hi$ ha)e .9=
=No= said Mulhearn but his eyes told a different story. . doubted if the actual fire3bo$bings had
da$aged his e$#ire $uch but &hen ne&s of &hat .'d done ine)itably reached bac" u# the food
chain it &ould $a"e !heelan loo" &ea" to the big3shots of Nottingha$ and *ir$ingha$. The real
big3shots &ould sit bac" and &ait to see &hether this u#start !heelan could stic" or fold.
=Then .'ll ha)e to do so$ething that &ill hurt. T&ist the "nife a little. Maybe .'ll ta"e a tri# to
-otterda$ and go after !heelan's Cutch contacts. (e's still dealing &ith that e43Fro)o %innigan
isn't he9 2et the$ "no& they're only hurting because !heelan &on't gi)e u# McTeague's &o$an.=
Mulhearn lifted his coffee cu#. =That $ight be too hard an as" e)en of you (ennessy.
%innigan's #rotected by the -o$anian no&.=
. nodded. The -o$anian &as one bad $an and . didn't thin" e)en McTeague &ould &ant $e to
go u# against hi$ $erely for the sa"e of getting his runa&ay second &ife bac".
. loo"ed Mulhearn straight in the eye. They &ere $uddy as if his tan had lea"ed into the &hites
of his eyes.
=Then . ha)e no choice. .'ll ha)e to bring do&n !heelan > and anyone &or"ing &ith hi$ &ill be
so $uch collateral da$age. . can do it too. -e$e$ber &hat ha##ened to the Kir"ha$ brothers of
Mulhearn did. ?)eryone in our line of &or" "ne& &hat ha##ened to the late Kir"ha$ brothers.
The e4tre$ely late brothers. Dne died slo&ly. The other lingered for days. ,#art fro$ a $issing
#ersons re#ort in the local rag the story ne)er $ade the #a#ers.
=.t doesn't ha)e to be li"e that (ennessy= Mulhearn said. =!heelan's #re#ared to cut a deal
you "no&.=
=/o ahead.=
=(e's built his business u# $ore than McTeague e)er did. ,nd !heelan's o#ened u# so$e ne&
lines of &or". 2ines.= Mulhearn leaned for&ard o)er the table #ressed one nostril closed &ith his
finger and $i$ed snorting u# a cou#le of lines of co"e. That &as one of the -o$anian's s#ecialities
after all. 2oo"ing u# . sa& Morela and another &aitress glance our &ay. . s$iled at the$ to sho&
there &as nothing silly going on.
='ut it out. !hat's !heelan offering9=
Mulhearn's ans&er &as too 5uic". =%ifteen #er cent. Df e)erything. ?)en the ne& business.
?)en the lines.=
. laughed. This &asn't an insult. .t &as a 6o"e. !heelan $ust ha)e a sense of hu$our after all.
?)en Mulhearn loo"ed asha$ed. =T&enty #er cent then.=
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
No& &e &ere edging into the real$ of insult.
=,nd &hat about 'laire McTeague herself9=
=She stays. !heelan's not gi)ing her u#. ,nd she doesn't &ant to go bac" to your boss any&ay.
They're getting di)orced.=
,s if 'laire McTeague's &ants had anything to do &ith the situation.
. shoo" $y head. =No. 'laire McTeague's non3negotiable. She's going ho$e...=
=!hether she li"es it or not9=
=That's right. She's going ho$e. .f McTeague chooses later to gi)e her u# > $aybe e)en let her
shac" u# &ith !heelan > then that's his decision. 'ertainly not 'laire's or !heelan's.=
=.'$ sur#rised at you saying that (ennessy. . thought you of all #eo#le &ould ha)e $ore
sy$#athy &ith 'laire= Mulhearn said.
. shoo" $y head. =No. 'laire "ne& full &ell &hat she &as getting into &hen she $arried
McTeague. She can't change the rules of the ga$e no&.= . loo"ed Mulhearn full in the face again
getting the full attention of !heelan's lieutenant. Ma"ing sure the $an fully understood &hat . &as
saying. =,nd neither can !heelan.=
=,nd neither can you or $e (ennessy.=
=True. !e're 6ust #a&ns Mulhearn. Fa&ns &ith teeth and cla&s but that's all &e are at the end of
the day.=
=So there's no &ay you'll go &ithout ta"ing 'laire &ith you9=
. thought .'d already $ade that crystal clear but . shoo" $y head. =No.=
Mulhearn thought for a $o$ent and too" out his No"ia. =. need to touch base &ith !heelan.
/i)e $e a $o$ent9=
. nodded and stood to gi)e hi$ #ri)acy.


. left the lounge &ith its hea)y dar" furnishings and crossed the corridor to the toilets. The
la)atories &ere old fashioned but clean. So$eone had left little )ases of fresh flo&ers by the &ash
basins ne4t to bottles of scented hand lotion > a nice touch that. !hich is &hat you'd e4#ect in an
u#$ar"et #lace li"e the King's ,r$s.
Fulling the chain . ste##ed out of the cubicle and a $o$ent later &as &ashing $y hands. ,
$o)e$ent a sudden reflection in the $irror caught $y eye. . loo"ed u# a$a7ed that Mulhearn had
follo&ed $e into the toilets. (is #hone &as bac" in his #oc"et but no& he carried a yello& cloth in
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
his hand.
Mulhearn lea#ed for&ards annoyed that he hadn't been able to catch $e una&ares. The #ungent
sic"ly s&eetish scent of chlorofor$ ca$e fro$ the cloth as he clutched it. . raised $y eyes a&ay
fro$ the cloth. !heelan $ust ha)e told Mulhearn to bring $e in ali)e. Maybe as re)enge for the
fire3bo$bings or to use $e as a bargaining chi# &ith McTeague.
Mulhearn #ulled u# hard seeing that his sur#rise attac" had failed. . #aused &aiting for
Mulhearn to ta"e the ne4t $o)e. , grin crossed his broad face. .t &ould be a $ista"e to
underesti$ate Mulhearn's co$bat s"ills. The $an had ser)ed in both .ra5 and ,fghanistan and .
"ne& he'd fought se)eral straighteners &ith other soldiers out there.
Farticularly against the 6oc"s. %or so$e reason Mulhearn hated Scots. . ne)er found out the
reason &hy #erha#s it &as si$#ly their accents that grated on his ner)es. *ut a lot of Scots are )ery
tough #eo#le and together &ith their hatred of e)erything ?nglish the 6oc" s5uaddies al$ost held
their o&n against Mulhearn's ferocity. ,l$ost > but the &ay . heard it Mulhearn al&ays &on his
bouts in the end.
So . didn't dare do&n#lay Mulhearn's s"ills in one3on3one co$bat. ,ll the sa$e Mulhearn
should ha)e &aited until . left the toilets and grabbed $e fro$ behind in the corridor. The $an $ust
ha)e &anted the honour the glory of ta"ing do&n the infa$ous (ennessy face to face.
No& Mulhearn lea#ed for&ard ho#ing to use his hea)ier build and &eight to o)er#o&er $e.
The fu$es fro$ the chlorofor$ rag hit the bac" of $y nose $a"ing $e gag. . sideste##ed his
attac" and Mulhearn's body sla$$ed into the rac" of &ashbasins. (e #i)oted a&ay sur#risingly
light on his feet and launched hi$self at $e the rag clutched tight in his hand. . s#un a&ay and
caught Mulhearn's 6a& &ith $y fist. Dnce again he crashed against the &ashbasins.
Mulhearn bello&ed &ith rage and frustration. (e #ushed a&ay fro$ the &ashbasins and
attac"ed. . ga)e hi$ a s&ift one3t&o to his face but . $ight as &ell ha)e #unched the tiled &all as
his face. (e didn't e)en recoil. %or a $o$ent . felt a shudder of fear before #ushing that feeling
bac" do&n.
/rinning Mulhearn a##roached. (e &as no& bet&een $e and the door so . couldn't 6ust cut and
run. Not that . &anted to. (o& long &ould . last out on the streets if no &hen &ord got around that
.'d run fro$ Mulhearn9 2ess than a &ee". Not an o#tion. ,ny&ay . &anted to beat Mulhearn. (e'd
bro"en our truce and tried to attac" $e fro$ behind. The $an had it co$ing.
Mulhearn 6abbed at $e. , s&ift right straight to $y face. . bobbed out of the &ay &ith a fraction
of an inch to s#are and felt the airflo& as his fist sailed #ast $y ear. Then . brought $y "nee u#.
(ard. -ight u# bet&een his legs. My "neeca# connected s5uarely &ith Mulhearn's crotch.
=Doo#h= Mulhearn gas#ed. (e leaned for&ard gas#ing for air. (is left the hand holding the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
yello& cloth di)ed bet&een his legs. That &as too good an o##ortunity to &aste. . thought
Mulhearn &as better than that. . #lanted one dee# in his solar #le4us under his breastbone. (e
doubled o)er in #ain.
=Eu$$#h= Mulhearn said this ti$e.
=!hat's that9= . as"ed.
Mulhearn's hair &as cut short in a $ilitary bu773cut. Too short for $e to grab and #ull the $an
u#right. .nstead . ga)e hi$ an u##ercut to his nose. (e roc"ed bac" straightening u#. Shoc" and
rage in his eyes.
!ith an effort of &ill an effort . could a##reciate Mulhearn #ulled hi$self u#right again. (e
loo"ed far $ore dangerous no&. *lood lea"ed fro$ his &ide nose staining his chin and &hite shirt
collar. (is chlorofor$ soa"ed rag no& forgotten Mulhearn charged for&ard li"e a #ri7e
2incolnshire bull.
(is shoulder caught $e and using his hea)ier build he sla$$ed $e u# against the tiled &all.
My ribs s5uashed in further than they &ere $eant to contract. No& it &as $y turn to feel &hat it
&as li"e to ha)e all the breath "noc"ed out of $y body. . gas#ed dra&ing o4ygen dee# into $y
hurting lungs.
Mulhearn #unched $e in the gut. . gas#ed again cho"ing and felt $y gorge rise $y coffee and
sand&iches co$ing bac" u#. . forced the #artially digested food bac" do&n. . sa& Mulhearn grin
and no& he re$e$bered his chlorofor$ rag. (e #ressed the rag o)er $y $outh and nose.
. needed o4ygen . needed life. Mulhearn #unched $y sto$ach again #ushing $ore air out of
$y lungs forcing $e to inhale another dee# breath. The sic"ly stench of chlorofor$ filled $y
throat and lungs instead. ,l$ost instantly . felt strength lea)e $y $uscles. The crea$ tiled &alls of
the la)atories greyed. . felt &oo7y da7ed unsteady on $y feet. . s&ayed.
.n $y fading greying )ision . sa& Mulhearn's face loo$ing abo)e $e li"e a tanned fall $oon.
. struggled but his hand &as cla$#ed )ice3li"e o)er $y air&ays and there &as nothing . could do as
$y strength &aned. *lac" blotches s&a$ into )ie& and already the far side of the la)atories &as no
$ore than a grey blur.
Mulhearn said so$ething but . couldn't really tell &hat he &as saying. (is &ords sounded
$uffled indistinct )ague. Still "ee#ing his hand #ressed o)er $y $outh and nose Mulhearn
su##orted $y li$# body as . slid do&n the &all. The blac"ness &as ta"ing o)er $y )ision and . felt
light headed and out3of3it. My head slu$#ed to one side and the tiled floor filled $y re$aining
Maybe Mulhearn rela4ed the #ressure 6ust a fraction. !hate)er . had one last une4#ected
chance and . too" it bet&een $y teeth. 2iterally. T&isting $y head . bit do&n as hard as . could
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
through the yello& cloth. My teeth connected on the base of Mulhearn's thu$b. The $an cried out
but the yell sounded dull on $y drugged ears. (is left hand 6er"ed a&ay auto$atically the #ressure
on the rag bloc"ing $y breathing falling a&ay.
So . t&isted $y head further a&ay and dre& in a lungful of s&eet clean air. . suc"ed in another
breath and $y )ision started to clear and $y thoughts ca$e through 5uic"er and &ith $ore clarity.
There &ere blood s#ots on the tiles. Mine or his . didn't "no&.
. dre& $yself u# onto $y hands and "nees and retched. , string of bile dangled fro$ $y li#. .
s#at. Mulhearn stood and "ic"ed $e in the side. More #ain flared fro$ $y already bruised ribs. *ut
the agony #urged $ore of the effects of the chlorofor$ fro$ $y syste$. . felt shar#er a bit $ore in
control of $y o&n body no&. Mulhearn raised his leg to "ic" $e again. Enbalanced he &as easier
to to##le o)er. . grabbed Mulhearn's an"le lifted and t&isted and thre& hi$ o)er on his bac". (e
sla$$ed do&n onto the floor. . heard his s"ull crac" on the tiles.
The adrenaline surge through $y syste$ blasted e)en $ore of the chlorofor$ fro$ $y
bloodstrea$. Esing the shelf &ith the basins as su##ort . #ulled $yself to $y feet. Mulhearn turned
o)er leaning on his elbo&. (e'd dro##ed the yello& cloth and it lay ne4t to his body.
. &as on the $an before he had chance to get to his feet again. . di)ed onto his bac" crushing
hi$ do&n onto the tiles. Snatching u# the chlorofor$ rag it &as $y turn to #ress it o)er his air&ays
instead. Mulhearn buc"ed and &rithed beneath $e until . #ressed $y "nees and thighs against his
side holding hi$ in #osition.
2eaning for&ard . "e#t the da$# rag tight against Mulhearn's ugly face. (e shoo" his head
fro$ side to side trying to free his air&ays. . clung on for gri$ death. Mulhearn's struggles &ere
fierce at first but gradually the strength ebbed fro$ his body and his atte$#ts to free hi$self
beca$e slo&er sluggish losing their urgency.
(e lay still. . felt his energy lea)e his body.
. &asn't fooled by his stillness but held the rag tight against his face until . &as co$#letely sure
Mulhearn &asn't fa"ing it. 'arefully . stood and &atched Mulhearn's body for a $o$ent half
e4#ecting hi$ to rise to his feet and resu$e the attac" li"e e)ery )illain in the last reel of e)ery
$o)ie .')e e)er seen.
(o&e)er Mulhearn didn't $o)e but lay still on the tiled floor. . $ust be losing $y touch .
thought as . &as out of breath. 2eaning on the &ashbasin shelf for su##ort . chec"ed $y
a##earance in the $irror and 5uic"ly &ashed $y face and brushed $y hair until . loo"ed half &ay
#resentable again. ,nd not li"e so$eone &hose 6ust co$e fro$ a life or death struggle rolling about
on a toilet floor. %or good $easure . thre& a double handful of &ater onto the tiled floor near
Mulhearn's feet.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Stoo#ing . chec"ed on Mulhearn. %or a $o$ent . thought .'d "illed the $an. Not that . &as
bothered > it &asn't li"e Mulhearn's &ould be the first cor#se .'d left behind $e. Df course it &ould
be incon)enient ha)ing to deal &ith Mulhearn's body as . &ouldn't be able to call in the ser)ices of
McTeague's #rofessional 'cleaner' to tidy u# the scene for $e. Not here at a busy #lace li"e the
King's ,r$s. The big danger &as that so$eone &ould &al" in &hilst . &as dealing &ith Mulhearn.
/lancing u# at the door . half e4#ected so$eone to &al" in there and then. Mulhearn dre& in
breath > a ragged shuddering inhalation. (e $uttered so$ething thic"ly. . rolled Mulhearn o)er
onto his side in the reco)ery #osition.
,nother glance at the door. Ceciding to #ush $y luc" . chec"ed Mulhearn's #oc"ets. . too" his
car "eys and found a tightly sealed bro&n bottle labelled '(alothane'. That &as the chlorofor$. .
"ne& enough to "no& that re#eated doses of (alothane can cause so$ething called he#atoto4icity.
No .'$ not too sure &hat he#atoto4icity is either but one of McTeague's associates Cr. Nabi3Khan
told $e it is a serious blood disorder > it can gi)e you things li"e 6aundice.
. listened to Cr. Nabi3Khan M* 'h* %-', C.'M &hene)er he tal"ed to $e. That string of
letters after his na$e9 Means: *achelor of Medicine *achelor of Surgery > they are the degrees all
doctors ta"e at uni)ersity > and then %ello& of the -oyal 'ollege of ,naesthetists finishing off &ith
a Ci#lo$a of .ntensi)e 'are Medicine. ?)en other doctors regard the training to beco$e an
anaesthetist as the $ost difficult. .t ta"es a $ini$u$ of fourteen years to beco$e an 'onsultant
D)er the years .')e found it's al&ays &orth listening to #eo#le &ho are e4#erts. 1ou can #ic" u#
a lot of ti#s fro$ #eo#le &ho really "no& &hat they are tal"ing about. (o&e)er although he's )ery
"no&ledgeable Cr. Nabi3Khan &as a $an &ho ga)e $e a se)ere case of the cree#s. (e used to be
an anaesthetist at Nottingha$'s $ain 'ity (os#ital. *ut he got caught out once too often touching
u# the &o$en on the o#erating table. Not only the young #retty girls but older &o$en too. .n his
&ay Cr. Nabi3Khan &as an e5ual o##ortunity #er)ert.
No& he'd been struc" off Cr. Nabi3Khan $ade al$ost as lucrati)e a li)ing &or"ing for #eo#le
li"e McTeague and a nu$ber of other capos around the Midlands. (e &as the go3to guy if you
needed bullet &ounds treating &ithout troubling the authorities. Dr if you needed so$eone "ee#ing
ali)e for a &hile longer &hilst you find out &hat they "no&. 2i"e the Kir"ha$ brothers fro$ (ull.
*ut . still didn't li"e being alone in a roo$ &ith Cr. Nabi3Khan &ith his eyes cra&ling all o)er
$y body.
. unscre&ed the ca# off the bottle. ,gain the fu$es hit the bac" of $y throat and . felt $y
earlier &oo7iness co$e on as . #oured out a fe& dro#s of (alothane onto the yello& cloth and
#ressed it tight o)er Mulhearn's face until the $an subsided again. .f Mulhearn got this
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
he#atoto4icity thing later then that &as his #roble$. Not $ine.
. tried to lift Mulhearn's body. ,lthough .'$ strong for $y si7e and &or" out at the gy$
Mulhearn's dead &eight &as too $uch for $e to lug about. So . dro##ed hi$ bac" onto the floor.
(is head hit the floor &ith a dull thud. Duch.
Ste##ing out of the la)atories . had another stro"e of luc". Morela &as &al"ing do&n the
corridor holding a dust#an and brush. She glanced round at $e.
=Muic" hel# $e0= . called to her in distress. =My #artner's had a fit and he's colla#sed on the
Morela dro##ed the dust#an and brush and ran &ith $e bac" into the la)atories. She sa&
Mulhearn's body on the floor.
=!hat &as he doing in...= the stress $a"ing her Folish accent stronger. She sa& the cubicle's
o#en door and #ut t&o and t&o together to $a"e a nu$ber that &as no&here near four. (er #ale
co$#le4ion flushed red $a"ing the young &o$an e)en $ore beautiful.
=. call a$bulance= Morela said her accent )ery thic" no&.
=No ne)er $ind that< gi)e $e a hand to get hi$ u#. (e's had these attac"s before. . only need
to get hi$ ho$e &here he can rest 5uietly= . said.
Morela loo"ed at $e. Ensure. Enha##y &ith the situation. =Should get a$bulance= she said
again. Mulhearn stirred slightly and his tongue lolled fro$ his $outh. , string of drool lea"ed out
onto the tiles.
=Con't &orry he'll be o"ay= . reassured her. =?)en though he's banged his head. . 6ust &ant to
get hi$ to $y car.= 2oo"ing Morela full in the face . said those $agic &ords. =2oo" at this &et
floor. No &onder he sli##ed. Maybe . should sue the hotel for negligence9=
That decided her. No &ay did she &ant e)en the hint of a stain on her &or" records here. There
&ere lots of eastern ?uro#eans out there eager and &aiting to ta"e her 6ob. %ar better to get us out of
the King's ,r$s as soon as #ossible.
=Stay here. . get ,r"adius7 fro$ "itchens. (e hel# you ta"e hi$ to car= Morela said. She
dashed out of the la)atories and . heard her calling to ,r"adius7 before the door closed behind her.
.nstantly . ga)e Mulhearn another sniff of the chlorofor$.
, $inute later Morela burst into the la)atories closely follo&ed by ,r"adius7. (e &as a stoc"y
dar"er $an &earing "itchen &hites. They s#o"e together in Folish. ,r"adius7 crouched and hoisted
Mulhearn's body u# in one fluid $otion. Morela and ,r"adius7 s#o"e so$e $ore in Folish. The
only &ord . could $a"e out &as 'a$bulance' but Morela shoo" her head.
!ith Morela leading the &ay &e e4ited the la)atories &al"ed do&n the corridor until she
#ushed o#en a fire e4it and &e &ere out in the car #ar". Ta"ing out Mulhearn's "eys . #ressed the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
central loc"ing button and the lights flashed on and off a @ee# 'hero"ee. . ran for&ard and o#ened
the @ee#.
. su##ose Mulhearn thought it loo"ed $acho to "ee# his @ee# H4H as $uddy as #ossible. . "ne&
Mulhearn en6oyed off3road rallying of a &ee"end but he could still ha)e s&ung by a car &ash on his
&ay ho$e. Maybe he thought $ud and dirt &ent &ith his $ilitary hard3$an i$age as if he'd co$e
straight fro$ $anoeu)res. D#ening the door . e4#ected the 'hero"ee's interior to be as filthy as its
body&or" but the H4H &as sho& roo$ fresh inside &ith that ne& car s$ell.
'arefully &ith Morela's assistance ,r"adius7 slid and #ushed Mulhearn's body into the
#assenger seat and then leaned o)er hi$ to clun"3clic" the seatbelt. . than"ed the t&o Foles for their
hel# sli##ed the$ a tenner and then got behind the &heel. .n $y $irrors . sa& the$ &atch $e
dri)e out and turn onto Northgate.


My first sto# &as the tar$ac e4#anse of the Tesco ?4tra car #ar". . too" Mulhearn's SatNa) out
fro$ its &allet in the glo)e loc"er and s&itched it on. . chec"ed its list of #re3#rogra$$ed
locations. Mulhearn's ho$e address in /rantha$ ca$e u# and . stored that infor$ation a&ay for
future use. !heelan's house ne4t and then &hat . &as loo"ing for. The location of ,le4a !heelan's
daughter's #ri)ate school. ,s . e4#ected it &asn't far. No&here is in Sleaford.
The fresh air fro$ the car #ar" $ust ha)e re)i)ed Mulhearn because he shifted #osition in his
=!ha'...= he said thic"ly and tried to raise his ar$ to &i#e the slobber fro$ his chin. That
bought hi$ yet another dee# sniff of the (alothane and he &ent under again. .f anyone &as a
candidate for he#atoto4icity that day it &as Mulhearn.
'hec"ing $y &atch . sa& . had #lenty of ti$e. .'d tried to #lay it nice but !heelan and
Mulhearn hadn't left $e $uch choice so . had to #lay it nasty no&. .t &ouldn't be the first ti$e .'d
been #ut in that #osition. . carried on through the to&n centre and then out along ?ast -oad
follo&ing a bus $ar"ed as 'To&n Ser)ice 1'. Sur#rised as . &ouldn't ha)e thought a one horse to&n
li"e Sleaford &ould ha)e needed $ore than one to&n ser)ice bus.
. #ulled u# outside !heelan's daughter's #ri)ate school. , large green and gold sign told $e this
&as 'Sydenha$ Fri)ate /irl's School' founded in 1A82 together &ith the na$e of the head$istress.
The school loo"ed li"e ho& you &ould i$agine a #ri)ate school to loo" li"e. .t &as a large red3
bric" building set &ell bac" fro$ the road &ith tall t&isted chi$neys on either side li"e an
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
?li7abethan $anor house.
!hat is it &ith Sleaford and $oc" Tudor architecture9 .s that the only style #er$itted here9 .)y
co)ered $ost of one &all and abo)e the traffic noise along ?ast -oad . heard roo"s ca&ing a$ongst
a line of chestnuts. .f the girls' #arents &ere #aying e4tra for Sydenha$'s a##earance then they &ere
getting )alue for $oney.
2eaning o)er . #ulled Mulhearn's $obile #hone fro$ his #oc"et. . scrolled do&n through his
list of contacts until . ca$e to the na$e . &anted. .t &as near the to#. ,le4a. !heelan's $oody
fourteen year old daughter. 'hec"ing through Mulhearn's te4ts in the 'sent ite$s' folder in his cell .
sa& that he &as a $an of fe& &ords. /ood.
. sent ,le4a a te4t. 'Fic"ng u u# 2day. M' it read. , $o$ent later Mulhearn's $obile bee#ed at
$e. ,le4a &as also a girl of fe& &ords< at least to Mulhearn. 'DK.' No 444's 2D2s or anything else
on either side. . settled do&n in the seat to &ait for school to finish.
Tuning the radio to **' -adio H . listened to the #resenters of Moneybo4 2i)e e4#lain
co$#le4 financial #roble$s to #ensioners. Me . don't ha)e their difficulties as . "ee# $y $oney in
a series of nu$bered offshore accounts. . don't "no& &hy e)eryone doesn't do the sa$e. .t's the best
&ay to ban" as long as you don't forget your account nu$bers and #ass &ords.
%ortunately . didn't ha)e long to &ait before a security guard &earing a yello& and blue
contrast hi3)i7 6ac"et ca$e out and lounged against the stone gate #ost. The $an cast a glance u#
and do&n the street but then see$ed lost in his o&n &orld until an elderly teacher ca$e out and
rang an old fashioned hand3bell in the yard.
Shortly after one or t&o schoolgirls ca$e out follo&ed by a fe& $ore and then a torrent a
Niagara of girls. ?)en fro$ the other side of the road . heard the$ laughing and chatting.
Sydenha$'s unifor$ &as an unflattering bottle green &ith yello& tri$. Se)eral of the girls had
rolled u# their s"irts to &ay higher than any regulation length. That ha##ened in $y day too. The
security guard stood straighter too" his hands fro$ his #oc"ets and ad$ired their legs as they
#assed. Fer)ert. (e'd $a"e a good friend for Cr. Nabi3Khan.
. thought ,le4a &ould stand out &ith her dyed red hair but she &asn't the only schoolgirl
s#orting e4otic hair colours. ,t one #oint . thought .'d $ade ,le4a in the cro&d but it &asn't her. .
slu$#ed do&n in $y seat as $uch out of sight fro$ the road as #ossible lea)ing Mulhearn
breathing hea)ily still co$atose in the 'hero"ee's #assenger seat.
, gaggle of girls clustered around the bus sto#. , fe& #eered at one of their friends' s$art
#hones. There &as a little #ushing and sho)ing but all good natured and restrained. They &eren't
boys after all. Their giggles ca$e loud o)er the traffic along ?ast -oad.
2oo"ing in the $irrors . s#otted ,le4a in the cro&d. ,le4a stood by herself on the edge of the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
#a)e$ent loo"ing both &ays until she s#otted Mulhearn's @ee# 'hero"ee. She held a large bag.
Then . lost sight of the girl as a To&n Ser)ice 1 bus #ulled u# outside the school. . s&ore under $y
breath. No she &ouldn't get on the bus . told $yself not &hen Mulhearn &as ta"ing her ho$e.
*ut schoolgirls are erratic at the best of ti$es. Moody and hor$onal. Maybe ,le4a had changed
her $ind at the last $inute and had gone off &ith one of her friends instead. Ferha#s she &as going
round to her friend's house to do her ho$e&or" listen to $usic and tal" about celebs and boys.
. &as telling $yself to rela4 and ta"e it easy &hen the bus #ulled a&ay fro$ the "erb. There
&ere far fe&er schoolgirls by the bus sto# no&. Then . sa& ,le4a's )i)id red hair. She loo"ed both
&ays and then crossed ?ast -oad.
,le4a !heelan &as reaching out to the 'hero"ee's #assenger door handle &hen she noticed
Mulhearn's slu$#ed body. The $an &as only held in #lace by his seatbelt and his face &as loose
and slac". More drool tric"led do&n his chin and onto his shirt collar. The $an loo"ed seriously
un&ell at the $o$ent. Shoc" and confusion flashed across her face. She e)en sto##ed che&ing
*ut by then it &as too late. . &as already out of $y seat around the 'hero"ee's bonnet and
standing ne4t to ,le4a. . o#ened the rear #assenger door. She turned her bro&n co&3li"e eyes u# to
$ine. (er false eyelashes hel#ed &ith that bo)ine loo" she &as culti)ating. *ut ,le4a didn't loo"
scared only be$used.
=Mulhearn's ta"en sic"= . e4#lained as . held o#en the rear door. =1our Cad's as"ed $e to ta"e
you ho$e instead > and then .'ll ta"e this useless lu$# onto the /rantha$ and Cistrict (os#ital.=
,le4a thought for a $o$ent. . could al$ost hear the cogs turning in the girl's brain. She $ight
ha)e inherited her Cad's ears but not his brains.
=1ou're (ennessy aren't you9= ,le4a said her )oice rising. =1ou burned...= Ferha#s .'d
$is6udged !heelan's daughter. *ut that &as all she had ti$e to say. S&iftly . #ushed ,le4a onto
the bac" seat of the 'hero"ee. Mulhearn hi$self $ight ha)e been too strong but there &as no &ay
,le4a could resist. %ro$ $y 6ac"et #oc"et . &hi##ed out the yello& cloth and #ressed it hard o)er
the girl's face. %ro$ $y other #oc"et . too" out the bottle of (alothane unscre&ed the to# and
#oured so$e dro#s onto the cloth.
,s soon as the sic"ly s$ell hit ,le4a's nose the #oor girl struggled e)en harder. (er feet flailed
and dru$$ed on the 'hero"ee's floor and one shoe fell off. She $ade $uffled cries for hel# but
only succeeded in dra&ing $ore chlorofor$ dee#er and dee#er into her lungs. 'arefully . dri##ed
out a little $ore (alothane. . turned $y head slightly "ee#ing $y face clear of the fu$es filling the
,le4a &as only a fourteen year old schoolgirl. She &asn't so$e #sycho hard $an li"e Mulhearn.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
There &as only one &ay this &as ending. (er struggles ra#idly &ea"ened and her ar$s and legs
beca$e still. . re$o)ed the rag and &atched for a $o$ent but the girl &asn't fa"ing. She had
to##led o)er onto the rear seat so li"e any concerned #arent &ould . straightened her u# and
stra##ed her in. The &hole struggle had ta"en less than a $inute.
. loo"ed bac" o)er the road at the grou# of schoolgirls gathering around the bus sto#. .f they'd
noticed &hat had ha##ened .'d be in big trouble but the girls all see$ed &ra##ed u# in their o&n
little &orlds. ,ll the sa$e . &as glad &hen . #ulled a&ay fro$ the "erb and 6oined the traffic flo&
heading out of Sleaford.
.t &asn't too long before . &as &ell out of Sleaford and heading north east along the ,183.
Curing the dri)e both Mulhearn's and ,le4a's $obile #hones rang out se)eral ti$es. The high&ay
crossed a rail&ay line and . dro)e #ast the )illage of ,n&ic" before . turned off along a $inor
country lane. Nobody follo&ed $e and the flat &aterlogged fields under the )ast grey s"y let $e
see in all directions. ,#art fro$ the constant flo& of traffic along the ,183 . had the #lace to
$yself. There &asn't e)en a tractor in the fields today. The air s$elled da$# and cool. ?)entually .
#ulled u# in a little lay3by and then too" a roll of grey duct ta#e fro$ $y bag.
Mulhearn &as starting to co$e round again so . dealt &ith hi$ first. . &ra##ed ta#e around his
&rists and an"les and then sla##ed a length o)er his $outh. . didn't thin" he'd cho"e as . &as
staying &ith hi$. . also cut t&o s$aller #ieces and ta#ed his eyelids closed. *eing )ulnerable in the
dar" not being able to see &hat's going on is )ery disorientating. . should "no&. .t ha##ened to $e
!hen . &as sure that Mulhearn &as secure . did the sa$e to ,le4a. . felt a little sorry for ,le4a
!heelan as the only thing she'd done &rong &as ha)ing a &annabe capo hood li"e !heelan for a
father. She'd lose her co&3li"e false eyelashes &hen she #eeled off the ta#e closing her eyelids. That
&ould hurt but . rec"oned she'd soon get o)er it.
. straightened $y bac" after .'d finished &ith $y #risoners and loo"ed around. The light &as
starting to fail and the s"y &as a dee#er gun$etal grey. The cars heading along the ,183 &ere the
only sign of life a#art fro$ a ragged ! sha#ed s"ein of geese flying high o)erhead. Their hon"s to
each other sounded ghostly in the half light.
*ehind $e . heard a cho"ing sound co$ing fro$ Mulhearn. The $an &as gagging and hea)ing.
. turned to hi$ and ri##ed off the duct ta#e co)ering his $outh. (e leaned for&ard out of the
'hero"ee and retched and then )o$ited his lunch onto the $uddy lay3by. . ste##ed bac" until he'd
=%eel better9= . as"ed.
Mulhearn s&ore )iolently. . too" that to $ean he &as.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
=1ou &ant so$e &ater9=
Mulhearn s&ore again but nodded his head. . too" a litre bottle of $ineral &ater . found in the
door foot&ell unca##ed it and held the bottle to his li#s. Mulhearn s&allo&ed greedily.
=Dnly si# it= . ad)ised. =1ou don't &ant to get sto$ach cra$#s or anything.=
Mulhearn s#at. The gob of s#it landed near $y feet. . cut off another #iece of ta#e and #ressed it
o)er the $an's $outh. Turning to ,le4a . &as a little &orried. The girl see$ed as if she &as in a
co$a. . &atched her chest and then #laced $y fingers gently o)er her carotid artery. . felt her #ulse
fast and light throb 6ust beneath her s"in. Then her breasts rose and fell as the girl too" a shallo&
. guess being s$aller ,le4a &as $ore susce#tible to the effects of the (alothane than Mulhearn.
Dr $aybe .'d 6ust gi)en her a bigger dose. ,fter all . hadn't $easured it out &ith scientific accuracy
ta"ing into account body $ass li"e they do before an o#eration in hos#ital. *ut . thought she'd li)e
and that &as all . &as interested in.
*y ,le4a's feet &as her school bag. . ru$$aged through her bag. ,s &ell as the usual dog3eared
folders and te4t boo"s and a s$all toilet bag containing $a"e3u# and e$ergency sanitary #rotection
. found her s$art #hone. She'd treated it to a #in" case co)ered &ith #in" crystals. *ut all the sa$e
a crac" ran across the screen. The case s#ar"led in the fading light. %lic"ing through her a little
diary in the notes section . s#otted a four digit nu$ber surrounded by doodles of hearts and
flo&ers. . guessed that &as her #hone's F.N nu$ber.
S&itching it on . entered the F.N nu$ber and then scrolled do&n through her contacts. ,nd
scrolled and scrolled. (o& $any friends did this girl ha)e9 !as she on s#ea"ing ter$s &ith e)ery
girl at Sydenha$9 ,nd half the boys at the nearby 'arres /ra$$ar School9 .t see$ed li"e it.
?)entually . found the only nu$ber . &anted. !heelan hi$self. . #ressed the nu$ber and heard it
rang out.
!heelan ans&ered on the third ring.
=2oo" Sugar3a##le .'$ busy so...= !heelan started. Sugar3a##le9 ,le4a didn't loo" $uch li"e
a sugar3a##le no&. More li"e the usual $oody hor$onal teenage girl. Maybe she &as s&eeter &hen
she &as a little girl.
=This isn't your little Sugar3a##le= . cut in.
=!ho's this9 .s that you...9=
=1eah it's (ennessy. .'$ ta"ing ,le4a and Mulhearn for a little dri)e out in the country. Con't
&orry they're both safe although . don't thin" they're en6oying the ride )ery $uch.=
!heelan e4#loded &ith rage threatening $e &ith terrible re)enge. . too" no notice but let hi$
#urge his anger fro$ out of his syste$. (e finished &ith ho& he should ha)e started > by getting
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
confir$ation by as"ing to s#ea" to his daughter and Mulhearn. ,$ateur.
. turned bac" to the @ee# 'hero"ee. The engine &as tic"ing as it cooled in the ne)er ending east
&ind blo&ing o)er the %ens. Mulhearn &as sitting $ore u#right no& and had been trying to unt&ist
and free his hands. . tore off the ta#e o)er his $outh again ri##ing $ore s"in fro$ his li#s. (e
. held the cell #hone to Mulhearn's ear. =%riend as"ing ho& you are= . told Mulhearn. =2et hi$
"no& you're safe and &ell.=
!heelan s#o"e. . heard hi$ as" about ,le4a.
=. don't "no&= Mulhearn re#lied. =.'$ tied u# and blindfolded.=
/lancing bac" #oor ,le4a &as still out of it. . too" the #hone a&ay fro$ Mulhearn and crossed
to the bac" seat. .t &as only the seatbelt "ee#ing her u#right but she had slu$#ed for&ard against
the stra#. . #ushed her bac" and sla##ed the girl's face. No res#onse. . sla##ed her again harder
lea)ing #al$ #rints on her chee"s.
=!hat's going on9= !heelan shouted through the #hone his )oice distorted.
. returned to Mulhearn in the front #assenger seat and ri##ed off the ta#e co)ering his eyes. (e
cried out &ith shoc" and blin"ed se)eral ti$es.
='onfir$ to your boss .')e got ,le4a= . co$$anded. Mulhearn t&isted in his seat and loo"ed
behind hi$. (e sounded defeated &hen he told !heelan that ,le4a &as also in the 'hero"ee &ith
hi$. . snatched the #hone a&ay before Mulhearn could tell !heelan that his belo)ed daughter
didn't loo" in the #in".
=1ou should ne)er ha)e gone against $y fa$ily. 1ou'll #ay for that= !heelan shouted to $e.
=1ou started it > you shouldn't ha)e ta"en 'laire. 1ou $ust ha)e "no&n that &ould bring the
roof do&n.=
=.t &as 'laire &ho ca$e to $e in the first #lace. She &anted $e &anted &hat her old fella
couldn't gi)e her no $ore > not &ithout a load of blue dia$onds rattling around inside hi$.=
=!hate)er !heelan. %ran"ly . couldn't care less. .'$ only here to bring 'laire ho$e. 1ou')e
got to decide &hat's $ore i$#ortant to you right no& > ,le4a or 'laire.=
!heelan s&ore so$e $ore. =1ou of all #eo#le &ouldn't hurt ,le4a (ennessy. She's only a girl.
She's done no3one any har$.=
The second and third #arts of his state$ent &ere true. She &as only a girl and she had not hurt
=-e$e$ber &hat ha##ened to the Kir"ha$ brothers fro$ (ull9= . re$inded hi$. =. en6oyed
that 6ob.=

Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon

!heelan fell 5uiet so . too" ad)antage of his silence. =.'ll gi)e you ti$e to decide. !e $eet in
t&o hours= . said.
=Tell you nearer the ti$e= . said "illing the connection. This &as !heelan's turf and . didn't
&ant to gi)e hi$ ti$e to #re#are an a$bush.
!heelan hadn't argued though. . didn't "no& if that &as a good or bad sign.
=1ou'll ne)er get a&ay &ith this (ennessy= Mulhearn said.
=(a)e done so far= . said before #ressing $ore duct ta#e o)er his $outh and eyes and
tightening his &rists. (e &riggled but there &as nothing he could do.
Dnce again . chec"ed on ,le4a and &as #leased to see that the girl &as breathing dee#er no&. .
sla##ed her face not so hard and this ti$e she stirred a little. . &as glad about that as . didn't &ant
to #resent !heelan &ith a cor#se. .t &ould ha)e $ade $y night's &or" a &hole lot $ore difficult.
Not i$#ossible you understand but $ore difficult than it needed to be.
The light bled out of the s"y. .f it &asn't for the cloud co)er .'d ha)e had a great )ie& of the
constellations. The cars and lorries ne)er sto##ed along the ,183 $a"ing a strea$ of light. ,nd the
&ind ne)er sto##ed its flat dirge o)er the %ens.
.t &as getting colder but . didn't fancy sitting in the 'hero"ee &ith $y t&o ca#ti)es. So .
&ra##ed $y 6ac"et tighter around $y body and stood &ith $y ar$s crossed but the searching
fingers of the &ind found e)ery chin" in $y clothing $a"ing $e shi)er.
,ctually . &as glad to be disturbed fro$ $y thoughts by a "noc"ing on the glass behind $e.
,le4a &as ta##ing the side of her head against the &indo&. . o#ened the door. The girl &riggled
a&ay fro$ $e. . leaned in and carefully un#eeled the ta#e fro$ her $outh. She still &inced as the
fine do&ny hairs on her u##er li# &ere torn a&ay. ,le4a lic"ed her li#s but her tongue &as dry and
coated &ith &hite. . held the bottle to her $outh and the girl dran" greedily thirstily until . re$o)ed
=1ou all right ,le4a9= . as"ed trying to #ut so$e co$#assion in $y )oice. Sure . &anted
!heelan's daughter scared but not so terrified that she sto##ed being co$#liant. Dn the front seat
Mulhearn shifted #osition to face us. . don't "no& &hy as the $an &as still gagged and blindfolded.
Then . noticed tears lea"ing out fro$ under her ta#ed do&n eyelashes. . #ut $y hand on her
shoulder in a friendly $anner. She recoiled fro$ $y touch.
=F.. #... #lease don't "ill $e (ennessy. .'$ s... so scared= ,le4a cried.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
That &as a gi)en.
=2isten .'$ not going to &hac" you ,le4a< nor you neither Mulhearn. Not if your Cad decides
to be sensible and #lays along. 1ou thin" he'll do that9=
,le4a nodded furiously trying to con)ince herself. Mulhearn grunted so$ething but . ignored
the $an for the ti$e being.
=.f that's all= . said about to ta#e the girl's $outh closed.
=!ait... no= ,le4a blushed furiously her chee"s al$ost $atching her hair dye. . #aused. =.
really need a &ee. Flease . can't last out.= (er surly indifference all gone no&.
. loo"ed do&n at the girl sitting in the bac" seat so forlorn. She &as no threat to $e es#ecially
not tied u#.
=D"ay but be 5uic"= . told her. ,le4a s&ung her legs out of the 'hero"ee and . hel#ed her
stand. . loo"ed both &ays u# and do&n the country lane but nothing &as co$ing.
=.f you're not going to untie $e you'll ha)e to hel# $e= ,le4a $ur$ured her )oice little $ore
than a &his#er lost in the unending &hine of the &ind. . &as about to tell her to #ee &here she
stood #ee in her #ants and let it tric"le do&n her legs but that &asn't fair on the girl. ,ll the sa$e .
felt li"e her nurse $aid. Gery carefully not loo"ing . reached u# under her s"irt and #ulled do&n
her #anties by the sides before holding her s"irt a&ay fro$ her body as ,le4a s5uatted by the
'hero"ee and did &hat she had to. %inished ,le4a stood to let $e tug u# her #anties again.
=Than"s= she &his#ered before . closed off her $outh again. ,s . hel#ed ,le4a bac" into the
'hero"ee Mulhearn $ade $ore $uffled de$ands.
=.'$ not doing the sa$e for you Mulhearn. Tie a "not in it= . told hi$. =Dh you can't can you9
Ne)er $ind &e'll be finished soon.=
Mulhearn groaned. Tough. /lancing at $y &atch . rec"oned .'d gi)en !heelan enough ti$e. .
$ade the call.
=!heelan= he ans&ered.
=*ac" of the *ass Maltings. @ust you and 'laire. No3one else. /ot that9=
=Sure. *ass Maltings. ,le4a had better be fine= !heelan said.
=!hat do you thin" .'d do to your girl9=
!heelan didn't re#ly to that. *ut .'d heard the eagerness in his )oice as he confir$ed the *ass
Maltings )enue. !hich &ould be a big disa##oint$ent to !heelan as the last #lace . &anted to
$eet hi$ in the dar" &as Slea7eford's *ass Maltings.
%or sheer scale d&arfing the little to&n of Sleaford you can't beat the *ass Maltings. .t's li"e a
$odern day builder #lacing a Manhattan s"y3scra#er in the $iddle of Sleaford's to&n centre.
Totally out of scale > and totally unsustainable. !hich is &hy the *ass Maltings ha)e been closed
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
and left e$#ty since the 1AJ0s. . heard there's recently been tal" of restoring the Maltings and
con)erting the$.
.f you're not fa$iliar &ith Slea7eford the *ass Maltings are huge bre&ing $althouses that
re#laced all the other s$all bre&eries in the area. So$eti$e before the %irst !orld !ar this &as.
There is a line of eight huge detached bric" buildings together &ith a to&er and chi$ney in the
$iddle of the$ all. The total frontage is o)er three hundred yards. , really i$#ressi)e slab of
industrial architecture out in the $iddle of the #anca"e flat 2incolnshire countryside.
*ut li"e . say the #lace &ent bust in the 1AJ0s and is filled &ith rusting abandoned $achinery
dee#ly recessed door&ays and &indo&s and there are too $any #laces &here a $ar"s$an &ith a
sni#er rifle and night sco#e could hide and ta"e $e do&n. So no &ay &as . $eeting !heelan
any&here &ithin rifle shot of the *ass Maltings.
. &al"ed round to the dri)er's seat did a three #oint turn and turned the 'hero"ee around. *ac"
through Slea7eford. . sa& so$e young $an stagger across the road clutching a )od"a bottle. (e
lobbed the e$#ty at the @ee# 'hero"ee but it sailed #ast and shattered in the o##osite gutter. The
$an then turned a&ay and disa##eared do&n a dar" alley bet&een t&o sho#s.
=Nice #lace you ha)e here= . said to $y #assengers. =%riendly.=
Dnce &e had dri)en o)er the bridge #ast Sleaford's train station . rela4ed a little. ,lthough .
hadn't e4#ected any trouble fro$ !heelan but . $ight ha)e been eye3balled and follo&ed as . dro)e
through to&n. Dn the other side . turned off 2ondon -oad and onto /rantha$ -oad the *181B.
The traffic &as lighter no& at this ti$e of night.
=,l$ost there= . told $y #assengers to "ee# u# their s#irits. , fe& $inutes later &e turned
right u# 'astle 'ause&ay and onto $y intended destination all along. !here . could "ee# control of
the hando)er and not !heelan.
Sleaford 'astle.
1ou $ight be &ondering &hy . re6ected the *ass Maltings but chose Sleaford 'astle instead. .f
you're thin"ing Sleaford 'astle is li"e one of those huge $edie)al castles built to "ee# the !elsh
under control such as 'aernarfon or 'on&y or (arlech then you'd be $a"ing a $ista"e. Maybe
Sleaford 'astle &as li"e that once but no longer.
,ll that's left no& is so$e earth&or"s in a field together &ith a $oat and a section of rubbled
&all. ,t one end of the field is a co#se of trees and bushes. ,nd that's that. D)er the centuries the
locals #robably had it a&ay &ith the castle's $asonry to i$#ro)e their cottages. .t's funny to thin"
that &hat &as once so i$#ortant is no& barely a third rate tourist attraction.
. #ulled u# o##osite the site's entrance. ,s . e4#ected the $etal barrier &as #adloc"ed but a
$o$ent later .'d #ic"ed the loc" &ith $y 2 #ry and s&ung the gate o#en. Turning the @ee#
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
'hero"ee onto the castle fields . dro)e along the rough trac" and #ar"ed near the ruined &all.
Ferfect. Dnly one &ay in and out. No &ay could !heelan snea" in so$e of his hoods to blindside
$e. My ca#ti)es stirred the$sel)es and sat u# straighter. They "ne& they &ere nearly through.
Ste##ing out of the 'hero"ee . called !heelan a second ti$e.
='hanged $y $ind !heelan it's Sleaford 'astle.=
!heelan $ade so$e crac" about ho& it &as $y #ri)ilege to change $y $ind at short notice but
underneath . could tell the $an &asn't ha##y about the change. *ut . &as &hich &as &hat
Kee#ing an eye on the only entrance . stood and &aited. , train thundered by to the south of the
castle fields > a long tube of light and sound fracturing the night's dar"ness. .t too" longer than .
e4#ected for !heelan to sho&. So . guessed he had set u# a little '$eet and greet' #arty at the *ass
Maltings. .t's &hat . &ould ha)e done in his #lace after all. Then a large off3road H4H turned u# the
dirt trac" leading to Sleaford 'astle. The car flashed its lights the once. . got behind the 'hero"ee's
&heel and flashed $y lights in re#ly.
=1ou t&o. Ti$e to go. Dut no&= . told the$. . o#ened their doors and hel#ed the$ both out.
Mulhearn slightly hunched o)er groaning to hi$self. The $an $ust be absolutely des#erate by
no&. The chill air &ouldn't hel# his bladder any. Ta"ing a S&iss ar$y "nife . "nelt and cut the duct
ta#e binding their an"les.
=!al"= . told the$ gi)ing the #air a gentle sho)e in the right direction. They too" slo& hesitant
ste#s little $ore than a cautious shuffle as their hands &ere still bound behind the$ and their eyes
ta#ed shut. Strangely it &as the schoolgirl ,le4a &ho see$ed bolder than Mulhearn. ,le4a
stu$bled o)er a tussoc" of rough grass and . caught her ar$ steadying her. !hen &e &ere about
fifty yards fro$ !heelan's Mercedes M3class H4H . co$$anded that they sto#. My ca#ti)es did so
and stood tre$bling slightly in the e)er #resent &ind. ,le4a's s"irt rustling around her "nees.
Ta"ing out ,le4a's $obile . called !heelan again. No3one had yet got out of the Mercedes3
*en7 and . couldn't see inside the )ehicle.
=!e're here !heelan. 2et's get this o)er &ith.= ,s . s#o"e to !heelan . heard 'laire
McTeague's )oice carrying on in the bac"ground. Fleading and begging. .t sounded li"e the &o$an
&asn't ha##y about going ho$e.
='o$e on !heelan. . ha)en't got all night= . re$inded hi$.
The Mercedes door o#ened. . sa& !heelan's si4 foot t&o bul" as he crossed his headlight's
bea$s and o#ened the #assenger door. Ces#ite the cold !heelan &ore only a s"inny rib tee shirt
the better to sho& off his $uscles. (e leaned in and gently hel#ed 'laire McTeague out. The
&o$an &as &ar$ly dressed in a )elour trac"suit hoodie and &ore &hite trainers. (e s#o"e to her
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
and then both started for&ards to&ards $y grou#.
.$$ediately . called !heelan again. ?)en at that distance . heard his ringtone. !heelan
=Dnly 'laire McTeague !heelan. 1ou "no& the drill > they $eet half &ay and then "ee#
&al"ing. -e$e$ber . hold all the aces here. Co you need $e to s#ell it out9 .'$ ar$ed and
&hac"ing your daughter your lo)er and your second is less than nothing to $e. /ot that9=
!heelan got that loud and clear. To be honest . didn't need to re$ind hi$ but . 6ust &anted it
crystal to e)eryone. Foor ,le4a shuddered and sun" her head into her shoulders as if she could feel
the A$$ Farabellu$ blasting through her body #unching through her insides and sending her into
eternity. Mulhearn groaned.
Ste##ing for&ard . #ulled off the ta#e co)ering ,le4a's eyes so she could guide Mulhearn. (er
false lashes ca$e &ith it and she cried out. She blin"ed her eyes ad6usting to the di$ light and she
focussed on her father's M3class. !heelan &a)ed to her.
=1ou t&o can go no&= . said gi)ing the$ another #ush. =/ood luc".=
,s soon as they started &al"ing !heelan nudged 'laire McTeague. !ith a bac"&ard loo" at
her lo)er the &o$an started for&ard.
So far so good. Nice and easy. No dra$as.
My #hone rang. !heelan. . too" the call. =Flease (ennessy= he started. . hated hearing the
$an beg. =Flease it doesn't ha)e to be li"e this. 'laire doesn't lo)e McTeague no $ore > its $e she
&ants. 1ou $ust understand ho& she feels. 2isten one last chance thro& your hand in &ith $e and
.'ll $a"e you $y second instead...= . laughed at this #oint. .t &as #athetic. =... $y #artner then.
?5ual shares. 1ou and $e (ennessy together. !e're both younger than McTeague. (e's yesterday's
$an al&ays going on about the club scene of the ?ighties and Nineties. *attling the old Scouser
gangs. !hat does he "no& about the future9 Dutsourcing...=
. &asn't e)en te$#ted. McTeague had seen challengers li"e !heelan co$e and go. 2i"e an old
oa" he'd stayed the course.
=2isten !heelan. .'ll gi)e you one ti#. !ait for McTeague to cal$ do&n and then $a"e hi$ an
offer.= . finished the call. That &as good ad)ice. .t &asn't $y business but . rec"oned once
McTeague had li)ed &ith a &o$an &ho no longer lo)ed hi$ for a fe& $onths he'd be o#en to a
trade for her.
*y no& the three had $et in the $iddle of the castle field. 'laire McTeague s#o"e to Mulhearn
&ho nodded a cou#le of ti$es before they crossed #aths and then 'laire &as co$ing to&ards $e.
She &al"ed slo&ly carefully o)er the une)en ground. . loo"ed o)er the field. !hen she &as only a
fe& yards a&ay fro$ her father's M3class ,le4a forgot caution and ran for&ards into her father's
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
ar$s and he enfolded her in a bear hug. , touching sight.
'laire McTeague &as al$ost u# to $e by no&. . nodded #olitely and o#ened u# the 'hero"ee's
#assenger door for her li"e any good chauffeur should.
=,re you carrying9= . as"ed her before she got in.
. didn't thin" she &as as 'laire &as out of the life e4ce#t for the good things $en li"e McTeague
and !heelan &ere #re#ared to la)ish on her in order that they could ha)e her dra#ed o)er their ar$.
. couldn't see the attraction $yself.
'laire shoo" her head and sniffed. (er eyes &ere red and &atery. !hether fro$ the cold or
crying . neither "ne& nor cared. . #atted her do&n any&ay but the &o$an &as clean.
=.n= . said. *efore she sat do&n . sho&ed her Mulhearn's bottle of (alothane and told her .'d
ha)e no #roble$ &ith using it on her if that's &hat she &anted.
,gain 'laire shoo" her head her carefully coiffured hair re$aining in #lace.
=1ou &in (ennessy< you and McTeague. *ut it's &rong &hat you're doing.=
Dne sentence in and already . couldn't ta"e any $ore of this dri)el so . tuned into 2incs %M for
so$ething loud fro$ the charts and dro)e o)er the bu$#y field and then along the trac". !e #assed
!heelan &ho &as still cuddling ,le4a< and Mulhearn &ho &as #issing li"e a horse before
re6oining 'astle %ields road and then onto the *181B.
!e &ere lea)ing Sleaford on the ,18 before . allo&ed $yself to rela4. 'laire &as going ho$e.
She sat 5uietly a#art fro$ the occasional sniffle. (er hands rested in her la#. .'$ not telling you
&hich direction &e headed nor ho& far . dro)e as the Serious Drganised 'ri$e ,gency $ight find
that infor$ation of use.


Df course it all "ic"ed off big ti$e.
,lthough McTeague still had the far bigger e$#ire !heelan &asn't &ithout resources and a
cou#le of other capos sided &ith hi$ es#ecially the Norfol" %ar$ *oys ho#ing to #ic" o)er the
re$nants of McTeague's e$#ire after the older $an &ent do&n. ,nd $aybe they also genuinely
"ne& &hat it &as li"e to lose a &o$an they lo)ed and had so$e sy$#athy for !heelan.
,lthough in the case of the Norfol" boys that &o$an &ould ha)e been one of their close
relations. , )ery close relation. 1ou "no& &hat . $ean by that. (o&e)er the general consensus &as
that although !heelan &as out of order for ta"ing 'laire &ithout as"ing< McTeague &as bang out
of order for ta"ing her bac" by force. Strange ho& $en's $inds &or".
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Enless you're a her$it on the Duter (ebrides or Scilly .sles or so$e&here you'll ha)e seen on
the Ne&s or read in the #a#ers about &hat ha##ened ne4t. The gang &ar $ade headline ne&s<
#olice 'hief 'onstables &ere dragged blin"ing before the TG ca$eras and there &ere e)en
5uestions as"ed in the (ouse of 'o$$ons about the cri$e &a)e s&ee#ing eastern ?ngland. The
to#ic do$inated one Muestion Ti$e on -adio H &ith solutions ranging fro$ the usual 'bring bac"
the ro#e' fro$ the right &ing Tory rent3a35uote $e$ber of #arlia$ent to the e)en $ore #redictable
hand3&ringing 'they are all )icti$s of #oor u#bringing' liberalis$ of so$e #in"o 5uangocrat.
!ith $y s"ill set . &as $uch in de$and. 1ou re$e$ber that tourist fro$ Dtta&a &ho &as
stabbed to death by a $ugger in a hoodie thirty seconds after lea)ing ?ast Midlands ,ir#ort's
arri)als hall as he &aited for a ta4i9 There &as a lot of fuss $ade at the ti$e about ho& dangerous
*ritain &as beco$ing9 Gisitors not e)en $a"ing it out of a #ro)incial air#ort before being "illed in
our increasingly )iolent country9 That &as no $ugger. ,nd that &as no ordinary tourist but a to#
dollar hit3$an flo&n in to &hac" McTeague.
The o&ner of a string of la#3dancing clubs throughout South 1or"shire > that's right. The $an
&ho &ent do&n in a hail of bullets fro$ a con)erted Mac310 's#ray3'n'3#ray' $achine3#istol as he
crossed the #a)e$ent fro$ his club to his &aiting li$o one rainy night9 There &ere t&o #eo#le in
blac" leathers on a stolen 1a$aha -J su#erbi"e. The #illion rider shredding the club o&ner li"e a
S&iss cheese before the bi"e 7oo$ed off into the night. The bi"e &as later found burned out a $ile
a&ay. *ut the dri)er and the shooter still ha)en't been found. Nor &ill they e)er be.
That club o&ner shouldn't ha)e thought he could get a&ay &ith 6oining forces &ith !heelan by
bringing so$e 'anadian hit3$an in on his ne& friend's behalf. (e'd #robably still be ali)e and
en6oying the nightly stri# sho&s to this day.
Then there's the t&o Koso)an so3called asylu$ see"ers dee# underground in Sher&ood %orest.
T&o hard3$an chancers in leather 6ac"ets &ho thought they could $uscle in and ta"e o)er &hilst
the ?ast Midlands &ent u# in s$o"e. No &ait. They ha)en't been found yet. ,nd . ho#e they ne)er
&ill be. 1ou $ess &ith one Koso)an ,lbanian and you $ess &ith the$ all. No &ay do . &ant their
brothers cousins uncles ne#he&s in3la&s and out3la&s all after $e in one of their unending
Df course this couldn't s#in on out of control for e)er. The to# brass at 2incolnshire Folice $ust
ha)e been leaned on by so$e of the high $andarins at the (o$e Dffice to get this sorted before the
red to# #ress started another $oral #anic about *ritain's cri$e rate &hich &ould cost the
go)ern$ent the 'la& and order' )otes at the ne4t election.
Su#erintendent Conelan of the 2incolnshire Folice as"ed to see $e. (e &as res#ectful but $ade
it crystal that not $eeting &asn't on the cards. !e $et in that sa$e $oc" Tudor gastro#ub on the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
,18 that .'d been in at the start of all this. !here . got $y ,udi "eyed. The #re)ious chef had since
$o)ed on and the ne& chef see$ed to be ha)ing so$e trouble as se)eral of the dishes &ere off the
Conelan ca$e in out of the rain &earing a ci))ie 6ac"et o)er his unifor$ but he still loo"ed li"e
a #lug3ugly co##er. (e ordered a freshly s5uee7ed orange 6uice and brought it o)er to $y table as .
folded u# $y co#y of the Telegra#h. (e held out his hand and after a $o$ent's hesitation . shoo".
,lthough Conelan &as o"ay for a co##er . still don't li"e sha"ing their hands. Ma"es $e feel dirty
so$eho&. (e sat do&n and glanced at the bac" #age headlines.
=.ndia's doing &ell. -ec"on &e'll dra& the series9= he as"ed. =Dn the radio 6ust no& it said
&e're currently t&o hundred and eight in re#ly.=
. nodded. =. thin" so. The forecast's for rain but &e $ade a $ista"e by not as"ing the$ to follo&
on in the %irst Test. !e should ha)e &on that easily and then &e'd ha)e the u##er hand= . said.
!e discussed the su$$er's cric"et so$e $ore as the dri77le hit the &indo&s. Dutside so$e
fa$ilies dodged the rain under the #arasols and a fe& hardy "ids $ade the best of the s$all #lay
area. , &o$an called out for Dli)er darling to be careful.
S$all tal" o)er Conelan got to the #oint. .t &as short and s&eet. =(ennessy. Tell McTeague to
cal$ it do&n. ,s for you: get out of the country for a &hile. Dther&ise you're going do&n for a long
stretch. ,nd don't cry if it's a fit3u# 6ob. 1ou')e ruffled too $any feathers of #eo#le &ho don't li"e
ha)ing their feathers ruffled.=
Conelan stood u# to lea)e. =.f you go do&n forget any a##eals e)en if you can afford to hire
the best barristers out of your offshore accounts. The big&igs in !hitehall &ill ha)e a 5uiet &ord
&ith the 6udges to laugh any a##eals out of court.= Conelan $ade a strange gesture &ith his hand
&hich . too" to be so$ething fro$ the %ree$asons' rituals. Not that .'d e)er be allo&ed to 6oin0 (e
couldn't ha)e been any clearer. The (o$e Dffice $andarins and to# 6udges all drin" in the sa$e
Conelan loo"ed do&n at $y ne&s#a#er. =Three do&n. %orbidding ,lbert and Ciana to 6oin
royal fa$ily9 The ans&er's /ri$aldi.=
. loo"ed do&n at $y cross&ord. That &as one of $y fe& blan" ans&ers but . should ha)e got
that. . &as annoyed that Conelan had co$e by before .'d had chance to co$#lete the cross&ord.
=%inished &ith this9= Conelan said as he too" $y Telegra#h &ith hi$ as he left. 'o##ers.
They're as light fingered as e)eryone thin"s they are.

+ + +

Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
(o&e)er McTeague too" ad)antage of $y enforced absence by sending $e to ha)e a &ord
&ith %innigan. . trac"ed the old e43Fro)o bo$ber to his lair in ,nt&er# after s#ending too long
loo"ing for hi$ in his old sta$#ing grounds around -otterda$'s ?uro#oort area. That is a story in
itself< but one for another ti$e.
. found hi$ &ith his Thai $ail order bride > &ell &ho else &ould loo" at a $an &ith %innigan's
face9 > in a coffee sho# o)erloo"ing the $edie)al cathedral. . e4#lained that it &ould be far better
for hi$ to cut ties &ith !heelan and resu$e business &ith McTeague. Df course %innigan
#rotested that he &as #rotected by the -o$anian.
Ta"ing $y ti$e . loo"ed around the coffee sho# and told hi$ that . couldn't see any -o$anians
in here but . &as sitting o##osite &ith a ra7or shar# /erber co$bat "nife stra##ed to $y thigh and a
(onda %ireblade su#erbi"e ca#able of hitting one hundred and fifty $iles #er hour &ithin 5uarter of
a $ile's distance #ar"ed outside for $y geta&ay.
=Not in these streets it's not doing one hundred and fifty= %innigan said &ith a s$ile. *ut that
&as bra)ado and nothing else. *oth of us "ne& .'d found hi$ once and . could find hi$ again. Cid
he still feel so #rotected no&9 %innigan got the $essage loud and clear and said he'd cut off
!heelan's su##ly routes.
. later found out that the old fo4 #layed off both ends against each other and su##lied both $en.
. can't say . bla$e hi$.

+ + +

(o&e)er McTeague didn't ha)e it all his o&n &ay and &hilst . &as out of the &ay hunting
%innigan throughout *elgiu$ and the Netherlands things &ent &rong for $y boss. (e &ould ha)e
li"ed to "ee# $e by his side but &e both "ne& that &as i$#ossible for the ti$e being.
McTeague called $e one e)ening as . &as resting in a 5uir"y hotel on Kei7ersgracht canal in
,$sterda$'s bohe$ian @ordaan district. Not the sort of #lace . nor$ally use > not a high enough
star rating > so that's &hy . chose it. The sound of tourists 6ostling &ith cyclists ca$e fro$ belo&
$y bedroo$ &indo&. McTeague told $e that there had been a conference in 2ondon about the
situation. Most of the big gangland fir$s &ere re#resented.
To cut to the chase McTeague told $e that the big fir$s had let hi$ "no& that his acti)ities
&ere bang out of order and he &as affecting all their businesses. *asically he had to lea)e !heelan
alone for the ti$e being > and #ush through his di)orce before letting 'laire ha)e her o&n life bac".
McTeague &asn't ha##y but &hat could he do9 These capos &ere the real hea)y hitters of organised
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
.f the Serious Drganised 'ri$e ,gency could ha)e charged the $en in that roo$ &ith
e)erything they had co$$itted these capos &ould be loo"ing at sentences of about a thousand
years each. *asically their great grandchildren &ould die inside. (o&e)er and because of that
&hat they said &ent. Enless you &ere really stu#id and had a death &ish. , &ish to die a
#articularly nasty death.
Strangely McTeague didn't sound too u#set by the ulti$atu$. . thin" e)en he had beco$e fed
u# &ith the chaos and uncertainty but he couldn't let 'laire go )oluntarily no& &ithout losing too
$uch face. Not after ha)ing started a big gang &ar 6ust to get his &o$an bac".
,lso McTeague had by no& co$e to the conclusion that he could ne)er $a"e 'laire lo)e hi$
again. (e bought her #resents: a -ole4 &ith dia$onds inset on the ri$ a $in" coat filled his ho$e
&ith hot3house flo&ers s#ecially brought in fro$ (olland. %innigan organised that for hi$ > a
change fro$ his usual co$$odities. Fa$#ering sessions at #lush s#as. 1ou get the idea.
She li)ed &ith hi$ in his far$ outside of... if . told you .'d ha)e to "ill you. Dnly 6o"ing but
you really don't &ant to "no&. *ut &ithin &ee"s they &ere bac" to sni#ing at one another and the
at$os#here at ho$e beca$e tense and un#leasant )ery 5uic"ly. . heard that they had se#arate roo$s
&ith se#arate en3suites > &ell their far$house &as $ore than big enough.
McTeague should ha)e listened to $e in the first #lace. . could ha)e told hi$ that and sa)ed all
the trouble. !hat do they say9 So$ething li"e be careful &hat you &ish for. 1ou $ight get it. No&
that things had cal$ed do&n McTeague #ut out so$e feelers to Conelan Nand $aybe $ade a cash
donation to the #olice &ido&'s fundO and . &as allo&ed to co$e ho$e. . can't say . &as sorry as .
&as fed u# &ith eating fries &ith $ayo > it &as #laying ha)oc &ith $y &aistline.
McTeague hi$self $et $e outside ?ast Midlands ,ir#ort. This ti$e he &as dri)ing an
anony$ous %ord Mondeo 1.J2. .t had tinted &indo&s but other&ise &as #lain )anilla. @ust li"e you
see countless sales re#s belting u# and do&n the $otor&ays in. Things $ust be bad for McTeague
to be dri)ing those &heels because he &as a $an &ho lo)ed his $otors.
!e shoo" hands and on the &ay bac" to his far$house . filled $y boss in on ho& .'d got on
&ith %innigan. (e see$ed #leased at the result. (o&e)er on the &ay bac" . realised that &as the
only good ne&s.
McTeague's hands gri##ed the &heel his "nuc"les &hite and he changed gears &ith shar#
cho##y $otions. (e lo&ered his &indo& lit u# and ble& s$o"e into the sli#strea$.
=. need you to $eet &ith !heelan. Thrash out a fe& details out &ith hi$. . can't face seeing that
6u$#ed u# fool= McTeague said. (e sla$$ed his #al$ onto the &heel hard. S$o"e drifted into
the Mondeo and . coughed.
=Sorry. . forgot you don't s$o"e (ennessy. No res#ect > . taught that fool e)erything he "no&s.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
.f it &asn't for $e he'd still be 6oyriding around the estates &ith his teara&ay $ates< a baseball ca#
on bac" to front and thin"ing half a "ilo of blo& and a do7en tabs of ? is so$e big deal.=
McTeague sla$$ed the &heel again. .t &as rare to see $y boss in such a foul $ood. . "e#t $y
silence and &aited to hear &hat he &anted $e to do. So$eho& . didn't thin" .'d be sitting &ith $y
feet u# on the sofa &atching the coo"ery or #ro#erty reno)ation sho&s on dayti$e TG any ti$e
soon. McTeague sounded off about !heelan so$e $ore. (is $ain the$e &as !heelan's lac" of
=. &ant you to $eet &ith !heelan. .')e decided he can "ee# that bitch 'laire. .'$ gi)ing her a
no3contest di)orce and a decent #ay3off but only fro$ &hat $y legit businesses can afford you
"no& &hat . $ean9=
. "ne& &hat McTeague $eant. ,s a front he o&ned lots of legiti$ate businesses through $ost
of &hich he laundered his less "osher sources of inco$e. 1ou "no& the "ind of things > ta4i fir$s
an a$use$ent arcade a chain of #i77a ta"ea&ays. Fubs and clubs. ,s al&ays anything &here cash
&as "ing. (e'd e)en been in)ited to 6oin the -otary 'lub of the nearby city. (o&e)er his illicit
inco$e d&arfed that and there &as no &ay he &anted the .nland -e)enue or the G,T #eo#le getting
a sniff of that.
. &as sur#rised. Ces#ite &hat the 2ondon capos had told hi$ . had thought McTeague &ould
try and hang onto 'laire if only to sto# !heelan gloating o)er her. (o&e)er on second thoughts it
loo"s a little $edie)al to "ee# t&o e43&i)es in seclusion. ,nd unli"e Melissa there &as no &ay a
young &o$an li"e 'laire &ould "ee# herself out of the &ay. Maybe he &as doing the right thing by
letting the &o$an go. .f McTeague #resented it right he could $a"e it loo" li"e a gesture fro$ a
#osition of strength rather than &ea"ness. . told hi$ this and he s$iled.
=Trust you to see it in the right light (ennessy= McTeague said &ith a s$ile.

*ac" at McTeague's far$ . found $y ,udi &hich had been collected fro$ Sleaford after .
dro)e a&ay fro$ the little to&n in Mulhearn's @ee# 'hero"ee. .t had been res#rayed )aleted and
loo"ed good as ne&. . collected $y "eys fro$ McTeague.
'laire McTeague ca$e out of the far$house. She &ore co$fortable 6eggings and a cerise
cash$ere s&eater that clung tight to her slender fra$e $a"ing the &o$an loo" li"e she &as
s$uggling out a cou#le of #eanuts under her to#. Dne of McTeague's $en follo&ed carrying se)eral
suitcases and bags &hich he loaded into the ,udi ,8's trun".
. glanced o)er at McTeague.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
=Ta"e her a&ay= he said. (e loo"ed sad. Cefeated. . didn't thin" his lo& $ood &ould last for
e)er as of course McTeague could ha)e his #ic" of al$ost any &o$an in the life and being a $an
&ith both needs and $oney he &ouldn't slee# alone for long. ,ll the sa$e . "no& 'laire had been
so$eone s#ecial to hi$ at least at first.
. slid behind the &heel and 'laire got in beside $e. She didn't loo" at $e. . don't thin" she &as
ha##y about the &ay . snatched her a&ay fro$ !heelan se)eral $onths ago. Dr about the &ay that
ulti$ately !heelan sho&ed he )alued his daughter $ore than her. *ut &hat did 'laire e4#ect9 Not
that .'d "no& #ersonally but . guess a $an's lo)e for his daughter is so$ething )ery s#ecial.
. dro)e a&ay fro$ McTeague's far$house. The last . sa& &as McTeague standing all forlorn
outside his hand raised in a half &a)e. 'laire didn't res#ond but stared ahead through the
&indscreen. She didn't s#ea" to $e &hich &as fine as far as . &as concerned so . s&itched on
-adio H and listened to ?ddie Mair on the FM sho& before the Ne&s at Si4.
, cou#le of hours later . &as #ulling into !heelan's $oc" Tudor $ansion on Dld Flace. ?)en
before .'d sto##ed !heelan's $en &ere #iling out of the house. Mulhearn -iordan and cou#le of
others. Standing tall behind the$ &as !heelan hi$self.
Mulhearn &renched o#en the dri)er's door and loo"ed li"e he &as going to haul $e out and gi)e
$e a #asting. -iordan loo"ed li"e he &ould 6oin in. . felt a little li"e that cha# in the *ible > the one
&ho got thro&n into a lion's den or so$ething. ?4ce#t these lions didn't loo" li"e they &anted to
$a"e friends.
!heelan #ushed his &ay through his $en and held out his hand. !e shoo" and his $en ste##ed
bac" but li"e a #ac" of &ild beasts they circled around us until !heelan ordered -iordan to fetch
'laire's bags fro$ out of the trun". !heelan escorted 'laire and &e all &al"ed into his house.
=.'$ gonna $ess you u#= -iordan &his#ered as he #assed $e &ith the bags. -iordan hadn't
before so . too" no notice. That annoyed hi$ $ore than anything else . could ha)e said or done.
There &as no $usic blaring out fro$ u#stairs so . guessed ,le4a &as either not at ho$e or hiding in
her roo$. ,nother one &ho &asn't so "een to $eet $e. . can't say . &as sur#rised.
!heelan sho&ed us into his front li)ing roo$ and crossed to his drin"s cabinet.
=.'$ dri)ing. 'o"e for $e #lease= . said.
!heelan #retended to $isunderstand. =Fe#si or china &hite9=
. &asn't in the $ood to #lay along. =Ciet Fe#si if you')e got it.= ?)eryone "no&s . don't do
drugs. Ne)er ha)e and ne)er &ill. . "ee# $y body clean > &hy #ollute it9
!heelan unca##ed the bottle and handed it to $e together &ith a tu$bler filled &ith ice. The
at$os#here &as hea)y and the con)ersation li$#ed along until it died. .'d hurt !heelan's $en and
both McTeague and !heelan had da$aged each other's e$#ires. Not long after !heelan stood and
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
sho&ed his $en the door lea)ing $e alone &ith the gang boss.
. #ut to !heelan &hat McTeague had authorised. 'laire he already "ne& about as the &o$an
&as under his roof. . e4#lained the di)ision of territories that the 2ondon capos had agreed. .t &as
$ore than McTeague &anted to lose and !heelan couldn't hide the #leasure on his face. (e grinned
li"e the 'heshire cat. Elti$ately it &as a cli$b3do&n a hu$iliation for McTeague. (o&e)er .
dressed u# the deal. ,nd !heelan "ne& it.
=.'ll need to confir$ that &ith your boss (ennessy= !heelan said. =Ma"e sure he's cool &ith
that Ma"e sure there's no co$ebac"s.=
. nodded and "eyed in McTeague's latest nu$ber into $y *lac"*erry. . handed the #hone o)er.
!heelan s#o"e and &al"ed into his conser)atory out of earshot. . sat bac" and si##ed $y drin"
&atching !heelan #ace to and fro as he s#o"e &ith $y boss. ?)entually !heelan #ressed the end
call button on $y #hone and ca$e bac" into the lounge. , big grin co)ered his face.
=2oo"s li"e .')e &on (ennessy. McTeague says he's gi)en u#. (e can't > &on't "ee# 'laire. (e
e)en says he's no ob6ections to us getting $arried.=
=That's good !heelan. .'$ #leased for you. *est ne&s .')e heard all year= . said.
=Con't be li"e that (ennessy. 1ou should be #leased. ,ll the fighting's o)er. ,nd .')e &on > .')e
got all 2incolnshire the %ens e)en #art of east Nottingha$shire...=
=,s &ell as 'laire of course.=
!heelan s$iled again. Sur#risingly gentle. =1es and 'laire.=
, thought ca$e to $e. =Entil McTeague ta"es it all bac" again.=
*ut nothing . could say dented !heelan's good hu$our. (e'd &on and he "ne& it.
(e laughed. =No &ay (ennessy. McTeague's yesterday's $an. (e's losing it > &hilst you &ere
running around (olland .')e ta"en control of the su##ly routes fro$ *ostongrad and Kings 2ynn
no&. 1ou "no& $aybe .'ll $o)e into the !est Midlands at so$e #oint. That's $ore than McTeague
e)er $anaged. (ey li"e . said you should thin" about thro&ing in your lot &ith $e. . could use
so$eone li"e you (ennessy in s#ite of &hat you')e done.=
=Than"s for the offer !heelan but .'ll #ass. .'ll stic" &ith McTeague's outfit.=
!heelan stood and offered $e his hand. !e shoo". . &asn't to see hi$ again until the &edding.

+ + +

The &edding &as the social e)ent of the year in Slea7eford as .'d co$e to thin" of the #lace
no&. !heelan had boo"ed St. Cenys #arish church in the centre of the to&n. The ancient t&elfth
century church &as filled &ith bloo$s &hich turned out to be su##lied by %innigan. The e43Fro)o
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
&as $a"ing a nicely legit sideline e4#orting flo&ers no&. !heelan had s#ared no e4#ense. 1ello&
and &hite garlands &ra##ed around the #illars co)ered the altar and filled big )ases in full )ie& of
the congregation. The brides$aids loo"ed gorgeous in $au)e dresses.
,nd as for 'laire McTeague herself9 Sorry 'laire !heelan as . should call her no&. !ell she
&as si$#ly beautiful. She loo"ed stunning as she &al"ed do&n the aisle on McTeague's ar$. 1es
e)en in these days . su##ose it's unusual for the e43husband to gi)e a&ay the bride. *ut if that's
&hat McTeague &anted to do &ho &as going to argue9
There &ere $en there fro$ *ir$ingha$ 2eicester< hell fro$ all o)er the country and as far
a&ay as Scotland. Dne face e)en too" a chance and had sli##ed bac" into the country fro$ the
S#anish 'ostas. Men &ho &ouldn't nor$ally be seen sitting together in the sa$e roo$ shared the
sa$e #e&. Their &i)es and girlfriends all dolled u# li"e birds of #aradise. . don't su##ose the
sy$bolis$ &as lost on the assorted faces in the congregation. The handing o)er of the #ri7e by the
older gang head to the leaner $eaner younger boss.
. can't say . #aid $uch attention to the ser)ice or the )icar's ser$on and forty $inutes later &e
&ere all outside. That flat unending east &ind ble& off the fens $a"ing the s$o"ers huddle together
against the sheltered side of the old &hite stone church. ,fter the #hotos had been ta"en > as you
&ould e4#ect there &ere a nu$ber of faces there &ho declined the o##ortunity to a##ear >
McTeague dre& !heelan and $yself to one side.
=. $ight not get chance to catch you during the rece#tion !heelan so let $e congratulate you
no& and &ish you e)ery ha##iness and success in the future.=
=Than"s McTeague= !heelan said sha"ing the older $an's hand. =That's really good of you.=
=.')e arranged for your &edding #resent to be deli)ered Monday the t&enty3third. ,fter you t&o
get bac" fro$ your honey$oon. , truc" load of 'hinese cigarettes at least fifty thousand cartons
&orth. To# 5uality #ac"aging. No3one &ill s#ot the difference.=
!heelan did the su$s in his head. (e s$iled and thre& his ar$s around McTeague's body in a
bear hug.
.'d had enough so . didn't stay on for the &edding rece#tion. S#eeches and toasts follo&ed by
drun"en dancing ne)er a##ealed to $e. .nstead . &al"ed alone do&n the churchyard #ath #ast the
$ossy gra)es cli$bed into $y ,udi and dro)e ho$e.


Today &as the $orning of Monday the t&enty3third.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
. &as #ar"ed further do&n ?ast -oad fro$ !heelan's industrial unit. . &asn't in $y ,udi ,8 as
that &as too &ell "no&n round here by no&. .nstead . &as in a C,% tractor cab3o)er the obligatory
hi3)i7 coat co)ering $y suit #ulled u# by the side of the road as if &aiting for $y tachogra#h to
gi)e $e #er$ission to start dri)ing again.
!here's the best #lace to hide9 .n #lain sight. ,lthough $y cab3o)er &as huge< on an industrial
estate it &as totally incons#icuous. The cab's heater &as on and a #a#er bea"er of Starbuc"'s s"inny
latte stea$ed in the cu# holder ne4t to a half eaten lo&3cal $uffin.
, red truc" dro)e do&n the road leading to the co$#le4 of industrial units. . stirred in $y seat.
The truc" &as $ar"ed u# &ith the logo of a furniture hire co$#any. Must be a regular as the dri)er
bantered &ith the security guard leaning out of his hut before the guard raised the barrier. .t &as a
different guard than the $an .'d tied u# $onths before. . guess that first guard had got the sac".
?)entually the truc" s&ung into the forecourt shared by the units. . &atched as the truc" turned
into the si4th unit. This truc" &asn't for !heelan.
. settled bac" in $y seat and carried on &aiting. ,nother truc" turned into the co$#le4 but this
ti$e . didn't e)en bother stirring in $y seat. .t &as 6ust a flat3bed co$e to collect for recycling a
load of blue #lastic dru$s filled &ith dirty "itchen oils.
There &as a long ga# before the ne4t lorry arri)ed during &hich . listened to @ohn (u$#hrys on
-adio H's Today sho& tell $e all about failed breast i$#lants. ,s if he "ne& anything about the$.
My eyelids droo#ed so . &ound the cab's &indo& do&n a fe& inches allo&ing fingers of cold air to
"ee# $e a&a"e.
,nother goods )ehicle turned in also #ausing at the barrier. This see$ed $ore li"ely. .t &as a
battered &hite 2uton bo4 truc" &ith no $ar"ings on the side. The old )an loo"ed li"e it had been
round the &orld and bac". The security guard raised the barrier and . &atched the 2uton turn left
and #ull u# in front of !heelan's de#ot. The dri)er bee#ed his horn once t&ice before the
#edestrian door inset in the $ain gate o#ened.
T&o $en ste##ed out. . recognised -iordan and his friend. The $an .'d once sla$$ed into a
bric" &all. The second $an's face loo"ed li"e he had recently lost a bout in a bare "nuc"le #ri7e3
fight so he &asn't ha)ing $uch luc" recently.
The t&o $en as"ed the dri)er to ste# do&n fro$ his cab. The dri)er did so &al"ed to the bac"
of the truc" and then unloc"ed the doors. -iordan cli$bed u# into the bac" and disa##eared fro$
$y sight. *attered3%ace "e#t his eye on the dri)er. ?)entually -iordan re3e$erged fro$ the bac".
(e nodded to the dri)er and they shoo" hands.
E# in $y cab3o)er . felt a little li"e the guy the /ree"s left behind &ith their Tro6an (orse. *ut
that guy had $uch the harder 6ob as he'd had to #ersuade the sus#icious Tro6ans to unloc" the gates
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
and let the hollo& &ooden horse filled &ith /ree" soldiers into their city. Me all .'d had to do &as
&atch and &ait. !hich &as 6ust as &ell as $y #resence &ould')e $ade -iordan and his $ate $ore
sus#icious rather than less.
. s$iled to $yself. McTeague's #lan had &or"ed #erfectly. %inally the large )ehicular gate slid
u#. ?)en fro$ $y high u# #osition in the road outside . couldn't see the inside of the unit. .
&ondered ho& !heelan's $en had got on &ith the clear3u# after $y fire3bo$bing.
,fter all although the industrial unit &ould ha)e had a $odern s#rin"ler syste$ . $ust ha)e
done a lot of da$age to the distillery e5ui#$ent. .n s#ite of the bree7e blo&ing in . thought . could
s$ell the blac" stench of old s$o"e but really . "ne& it &as only $y i$agination running a&ay
&ith $e. ,ll the sa$e $y nostrils t&itched at the &ell re$e$bered s$ell of burning.
,s soon as the 2uton &as inside the $etal unit the )ehicular gate rattled do&n. The industrial
estate once again beca$e a ha)en of #eace bro"en only by a grou# of s$o"ers so des#erate to
satisfy their needs that they &ere #re#ared to stand outside in the &ind tunnel bet&een t&o of the
$etal units. Their laughter floated o)er to $e as they loo"ed at so$ething in the fluttering #ages of
the Caily Star. , bro&n EFS courier )an $ade a deli)ery but other than that the #lace &as as 5uiet
as it had been at three in the $orning.
. &atched and &aited. Maybe t&enty certainly no $ore than t&enty fi)e $inutes later the
2uton bo4 truc" e$erged fro$ the unit and the gate slid do&n in its trac"s i$$ediately after. The
2uton dro)e out #ast $y #ar"ed cab3o)er and the dri)er ga)e $e a little nod but &ithout slo&ing
do&n. ?4cellent. . too" Mulhearn's $obile #hone fro$ $y #oc"et.
(o& co$e . had Mulhearn's ne& #hone9 Too easy. %or rela4ation the e43s5uaddie li"ed to )isit
that $assage #arlour abo)e the scruffy salon &ith the tac"y #oster of a bi"ini3babe and Folish signs
in the &indo&. -egular as cloc"&or" he &as. Cid he ta"e ad)antage of the 'e4tras' on offer9 !hat
do you thin"9 So the other day . sli##ed bac" into Slea7eford and had a &ord &ith the E"rainian
$asseuse &ho #ro)ided $uch of these ser)ices.
?)en . could see &hat Mulhearn and her other clients sa& in her. She had long blonde hair and
legs u# to her chin her ass barely co)ered by the shortest tunic .'d e)er seen. . handed her a foil
&ra##ed #ac" of strong slee#ing tablets and told her to s#i"e Mulhearn's drin" on Sunday night and
to let $e "no& &hen the $an &as aslee#. . had to e4#lain it a fe& ti$es as her ?nglish &asn't that
good but she soon gras#ed &hat . &anted. The s$all &edge of t&enties . also ga)e her hel#ed her
?nglish i$#ro)e.
='all $e= . said $i$ing a #hone call. Then all . had to do &as &ait for Mulhearn to )isit.

+ + +
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon

%irst . $ade a call to the $assage #arlour. , tired )oice &ith a strong east ?uro#ean accent told
$e that yes Mulhearn &as still fast aslee#. No sur#rises there. The a$ount of "eta$ine in his )eins
&ould')e "noc"ed out the entire field at Mar"et -asen races. !ith so$e left o)er for Concaster the
ne4t day. !heelan's $an &as going to slee# until Tuesday &ee".
Esing Mulhearn's #hone . sent a te4t to !heelan. 2i"e . said earlier !heelan had learned
enough fro$ McTeague to "ee# hi$self a cou#le of ste#s re$o)ed fro$ anything incri$inating. 2et
the s$all fry and $iddle$en ta"e all the ris"s &hilst you $a"e the big buc"s. Ne)er get caught in
the sa$e building &ith anything that could get you in any trouble.
.f the co#s do co$e for you loo" &ide eyed and innocent and deny e)erything > $a"e the
'ro&n Frosecution Ser)ice #ut in the night shifts #ro)ing you "ne& anything about it. ?)en if they
"no& you're in)ol)ed they still ha)e to #ro)e it before a 6ury. ,nd if it co$es to trial there you
stand in the doc" in a good suit > but not too e4#ensi)e as you don't &ant to get the 6urors' bac"s u#
> &hilst your brief #aints a #icture of an innocent business$an &ho &as so ti$e3#ressed he had no
idea &hat his associates &ere u# to behind his bac".
,nd if e)en that doesn't &or" you send so$eone li"e $e to ha)e a 5uiet &ord &ith so$e of the
6urors in their o&n ti$e. 2i"e late at night on their doorste# or outside their "id's school. *ut
so$eti$es there are e$ergencies &hen you ha)e to brea" that cardinal numero uno rule. ,nd the
te4t . sent fro$ Mulhearn's #hone &ould ha)e !heelan flying do&n here. The cigarettes had been
#artly #aid for on !heelan's cloned credit card and a transaction sli# had been left for the $en to
find. !heelan &as lin"ed to the hoo"y cigs no&. That's &hat $y te4t said any&ay.
, $o$ent later Mulhearn's #hone bee#ed. . loo"ed at the ans&ering te4t. !heelan had risen to
the bait. ,s he had to. (e &as on his &ay o)er. . s$iled but it lasted only for a fleeting second. .
didn't li"e &hat McTeague had as"ed $e to do. .t &ent against the grain against e)ery fibre of $y
being. *ut the &ay McTeague e4#lained it . had to agree this &as the best &ay for&ard. Then .
$ade $y ne4t call. To Su#erintendent Conelan of the 2incolnshire Folice.
=.t's all ready for you. !heelan's on his &ay. .'ll call &hen he actually lands o"ay9=
Conelan said so$ething but . closed the call before he started tal"ing cric"et. . hate tal"ing to
the co#s > they $a"e $e feel dirty. . "ne& that if the circs &ere different if !heelan had #layed
his cards $ore cle)erly Conelan &ould ha)e no hesitation in dragging $yself and McTeague do&n
the fun factory for a cou#le of days solid interrogation.
Slea7eford's only a s$all #lace after all and not long after $y first call !heelan ca$e bo$bing
do&n the road. (e &as dri)ing 'laire McTeague's > sorry . "ee# forgetting her na$e's !heelan
no& > yello& Forsche A11. Dn the dull blac"ish3grey road in the dull greenish3grey industrial
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
estate under the dull &hitish3grey s"y the s#orts car stood out li"e the sun. No &ay could
Su#erintendent Conelan and his boys in blue $iss that.
The Forsche $ade a hard left !heelan 6a$$ed on the bra"es &hich bla7ed red hot and the
security guard raised the barrier. ,s soon as the barrier &as high enough !heelan shot for&ard and
6er"ed to a sto# 6ust outside his o&n unit. (e thre& o#en the Forsche's door and an instant later he
&as inside.
. $ade that second call.
=!heelan's on3site. 1ou &ant hi$< he's yours= . said before ending the connection. That's it.
My 6ob done.
. don't "no& &here the co#s had been hiding although . guessed it &as #robably behind the
abandoned #a#er $ill on the other side of the estate because only a fe& $inutes later they arri)ed
in force. Their blac" and yello& cho##er s&oo#ed do&n and then clattered in the air abo)e the unit.
, fleet of #ale grey D#erational Su##ort Enit carriers &ith $esh &indo& shields s&ung #ast $y
#ar"ed C,% cab3o)er and into the industrial co$#le4.
%ro$ $y cab's high u# )antage #oint . sa& their identifying roofto# nu$bers and letters. They
&ere closely follo&ed by so$e co# cruisers and e)en one or t&o on #o&erful $otorbi"es. Their
blue lights bounced off the $etal sidings of the industrial units. The grou# of s$o"ers stood o#en
$outhed their nicotine addiction forgotten for the $o$ent. The security guard leaned out the hut's
&indo& and stared at the fast a##roaching carriers.
?)en fro$ $y distance . heard the dri)er of the lead carrier as he bello&ed at the guard to
=o#en u# no&0 no&0= The security guard $ust ha)e leaned on the o#en button as .'$ sure the
barrier lifted 5uic"er than usual and the #olice ar$ada &as barely delayed. Most of the$ s#ed to the
front of the unit but a cou#le of DSE carriers raced around to the rear as &ell. !heelan and his
cre& &ere caught li"e rats in a tra#. No &ay out.
The DSE could ha)e "noc"ed #olitely on the door of !heelan's unit but that's ne)er been their
style. .nstead a hea)ily ar$oured lead #air holding a t&o3$an enforcer battering ra$ lea#ed out of
the first carrier. They too" ai$ and s&ung the ra$ at the inset #edestrian door. No &ay could it
&ithstand that blo&. !ith a $etallic crash the sto)ed in door s$ashed o#en. The t&o &ith the ra$
ste##ed to one side and instantly $ore hea)ily ar$oured DSE co#s ste##ed o)er the threshold and
into the unit. These carried )icious loo"ing (ec"ler P Koch sub3$achine guns.
. al$ost felt sorry for !heelan. ,l$ost but not 5uite. . &ould ha)e heard shouting co$ing fro$
inside the unit as the DSE co#s raided the #lace but the cho##er had descended to a fe& hundred
feet and its rotors dro&ned out e)erything else. Su#erintendent Conelan hi$self ste##ed out fro$
the bac" of one of the cruisers. (e rubbed his hands in the cool air and he loo"ed #leased &ith the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
result. (e too &al"ed into the chaos inside the unit.
So$e ti$e later !heelan and his $en e$erged into the daylight each &ith an ar$oured co# by
their side. The #risoners' hands &ere bound behind their bac"s &ith lengths of cable ties the #lastic
ends stic"ing out into the cold air. None of the$ &ere s$iling. Dther co#s follo&ed clutching
e)idence bags. Dne grinning li"e a 'heshire cat held a bin bag. They'd found McTeague's little
e4tra gift. . "ne& they &ould.
The co#s bundled the #risoners into the bac" of the DSE carriers #ulled out of the yard and
accelerated out of the industrial estate. Maybe they thought their #risoners' $obster $ates &ould
$a"e a rescue atte$#t< $aybe they'd 6ust &atched &ay too $any of those 'Folice 'a$era ,ction'
ty#e sho&s that litter the high nu$bered satellite channels. Dr both.
The cho##er hung about a bit longer until it too &as su$$oned bac" to base and in the sudden
silence . could hear $yself thin". , fe& co#s &ere left on guard and told to &ait for the forensics
tea$s to sho&. ,s they &aited they uns#ooled blue and &hite cri$e scene ta#e o)er e)erything
they could see.
Su#erintendent Conelan &as one of the last to lea)e. (e s#o"e to those co#s re$aining and
cla##ed the$ on the bac". , 6ob &ell done. (e had his dri)er sto# near $y cab. . #ulled off $y hi3
)i7 6ac"et and then s&ung do&n fro$ the &ar$ interior. Conelan lo&ered his &indo&.
=(ennessy= he said. =. "no& ci)ic duty isn't your or McTeague's strong suit but than"s for the
ti#3off. No &ay is !heelan &al"ing free fro$ that lot.=
=,l&ays a #leasure to hel#= . said.
=!e also found t&o thousand yello& tablets in &ith those hoo"y cigarettes= he told $e.
My eyebro&s lifted as . re$e$bered to loo" sur#rised.
=. don't "no& &hat they are but one of $y sergeants &ho bet&een you and $e li"es to go
clubbing in .bi7a she tells $e they're $ost li"ely $andies > ecstasy in other &ords. ,nd of a
#articularly high 5uality. They're "noc"ed out by so$e -o$anian outfit in 'onstanta . belie)e. .
don't su##ose you "no& anything about the ?9= Conelan shot $e a loo" fro$ under his bushy
=Me9 . &ouldn't "no&< . don't deal in drugs. 1ou "no& that Conelan= . lied. (e let $y lac" of
res#ect to his ran" slide.
=!e')e got !heelan's #rints all o)er the bags= Conelan said his finger ho)ering o)er the button
to raise his electric &indo&.
=(o&'s that9= . blurted out before shutting u#.
Conelan shot $e a loo". =1es got so$e nice #rints on the drugs. (is brief &ill clai$ in court
&e #ressed the bags into his hands but &hat chance has a $an li"e !heelan got of a 6ury belie)ing
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
such #al#able nonsense9= Conelan s$iled li"e a fo4.
=Not $uch > sounds thin to $e= . said returning his grin.
=Dh. *efore . go (ennessy. Co yourself a fa)our and lea)e 'laire !heelan alone= he said 6ust
before raising his &indo&. =@ust go ho$e to McTeague and lea)e it at that.=
!e discussed our #ros#ects in the forthco$ing Test $atch for a fe& $inutes and then . touched
$y fingers to $y forehead in a brief salute as Conelan's cruiser #ulled a&ay. No& !heelan &as off
the scene . still had to deal &ith 'laire. . loc"ed the cab and &al"ed out of the estate to #ic" u#
Mulhearn's @ee# 'hero"ee. .t's not li"e he &ould be using it in the near future.


.n the end it &as all too easy. Esing Mulhearn's #hone . sent a te4t to 'laire telling her that her
husband had been #ic"ed u# by the la&. She &ould ha)e found out shortly any&ay > as soon as
!heelan's solicitor had been briefed. ,l$ost i$$ediately she sent a return te4t. , brief s$ile
crossed $y li#s.
.t's easier no& than it used to be in the old days. . don't ha)e to s#ea" to #eo#le unless . &ant as
$ost #eo#le on a $obile #hone contract get gi)en fi)e thousand free te4ts. Enless you're a teenage
girl li"e ,le4a &ith a &ide circle of friends $ost #eo#le ne)er use the$. (o&e)er nobody li"es to
thin" that they are &asting their free te4ts so they use the$ &hene)er #ossible.
. chec"ed 'laire's te4t. She &ould be &aiting for $e at ho$e. . engaged first and dro)e the long
&ay round o)er the (oldingha$ roundabout and then do&n through the congested centre of
Sleaford onto *oston -oad and then loo#ed u# Dld Flace. ,s soon as $y 'hero"ee #ulled into the
dri)e&ay 'laire ca$e running out of the door clutching her handbag. She &renched o#en the
#assenger side door and only then #ulled u# in confusion.
=(ennessy9 !hat are you doing here9= 'laire as"ed.
=Mulhearn's busy dealing &ith the arrests. ,s .'$ sure you can a##reciate. ,s . &as in the area
he as"ed $e to ta"e you do&n the co# sho# instead.= . s$iled and tried to loo" friendly.
This &as the tric"y #art. .f 'laire !heelan s$elled a rat then . &ould ha)e to use force. . didn't
&ant that. *ut soft li)ing and &orry for her ne& husband had &ea"ened her sense of danger and
'laire got in beside $e her handbag on her la#.
=. didn't "no& you &ere &or"ing for $y husband no&= said 'laire. =(e ne)er told $e.=
. edged out into the traffic. =. didn't &ant it s#read all o)er but McTeague's yesterday's $an. So
. s&itched sides= . lied.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
'laire nodded. Feo#le in $y line of business usually ha)e as $uch loyalty to their boss as an
o)er#aid Fre$ier 2eague club footballer has to their tea$. That is: 7ero. ,s soon as a better deal
co$es along they're off e)en if the in" is barely dry on their old contract. She should ha)e "no&n
better. *ecause .'$ li"e one of those old fashioned one3club #layers you so$eti$es still get.
=Mulhearn said !heelan needs so$ething #ic"ing u# fro$ his tanning studio. !e'll s&ing by
there on our &ay to the co# sho#. D"ay9=
. #ar"ed outside the *eauticians. .t had been reno)ated since $y fire3bo$bing raid and
e)erything &as brand ne& &ith a lu4urious #ur#le and blac" interior. The #lace &as closed and the
to&els &ere #iled u# in neat fluffy hea#s. Not sur#rising the #lace &asn't o#en. ?arlier using
Mulhearn's #hone . had sent te4ts to all the staff telling the$ not to co$e in today. Enloc"ing the
salon . sho&ed 'laire inside.
=.t's a ES* $e$ory stic" hidden in the sun3bed roo$. .t holds so$e docu$ents !heelan &ill
need for his defence. /i)e us a hand to loo" for it #lease= . said. 'laire &as &ay too trusting. She
follo&ed $e into one of the sun3bed roo$s. 'laire #eered around &ith a #u77led loo" on her face.
There &eren't $any #laces you could hide e)en so$ething as s$all as a $e$ory stic". She turned
to $e 6ust as . too" a fresh bottle of chlorofor$ out of $y 6ac"et #oc"et that .'d sourced fro$ Cr.
=(ennessy9 !hat are...9= &as all 'laire said before . cla$#ed a hand to&el o)er her face and
#oured out a dose of the (alothane. The fu$es filled the air $as"ing the s$ell of tanning lotion.
'laire struggled frantically and her $anicured nail scratched $y hand dra&ing blood. Slo&ly
slo&ly her struggles di$inished and her li$bs stilled.
(o&e)er before 'laire &ent under co$#letely . too" a&ay the rag. She loo"ed u# at $e. .t's
funny but .'d ne)er before noticed ho& #retty 'laire's eyes &ere > a sort of tur5uoise blue. . half
led half dragged her o)er to a chair and sat her do&n.
=McTeague sent $e to gi)e you a &arning= . told her. =-e$e$ber he can reach out and ta"e
you &hene)er he &ants.=
'laire nodded but .'$ not sure if she &as ca#able of ta"ing it in. =2et $e fetch you a glass of
&ater.= 2ea)ing the sun bed roo$ . crossed to the s$all bac" "itchen for the staff's use and fetched
a bottle of &ater fro$ the fridge before returning to 'laire. She still loo"ed groggy and ill. %ro$ $y
6ac"et #oc"et . too" out a cou#le of #ills that $y friend Cr. Fer)ert had also gi)en $e.
=These &ill hel# you reco)er faster= . lied holding the$ out. 'laire shoo" her head &ea"ly but
. #ut the$ in her $outh and then held the bottle of &ater to her li#s gi)ing her no chance to s#it
the$ out or refuse. She 6er"ed her head around but . ta##ed her throat forcing her to s&allo&.
=%eel better9= . as"ed.
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
Terror filled 'laire's eyes and they o#ened &ide. She "ne& . &asn't there to hel# her es#ecially
&hen . #laced the stin"ing rag bac" o)er her face. . dri##ed a fe& $ore dro#s of (alothane onto the
cloth. 'laire could no longer struggle as $uch as earlier and &ithin $inutes she &as as li$# as a rag
doll. . gently let her slide do&n onto the tiled floor.
. loo"ed do&n at 'laire for a $inute as she breathed. . felt no sy$#athy for her. .f she hadn't
ta"en u# &ith !heelan none of this gang &ar &ould ha)e ta"en #lace. McTeague &ould ha)e "e#t
on 5uietly running the ?ast Midlands &ith !heelan as one of his lieutenants. *ut !heelan had
&anted it all and no& he &as going to lose it all.
Kneeling by 'laire . stri##ed her na"ed and then lifted her u# and #laced her on the sun3bed.
She loo"ed li"e she &as slee#ing. . lo&ered the coffin3li"e lid #ut in the to"ens and turned the dial
to the $a4 > a full hour's &orth of high tan. ,s . &aited . folded her clothes neatly &i#ed do&n all
the surfaces .'d touched and then brought in a cou#le of $aga7ines fro$ rece#tion. . &ondered
about #o##ing out to Mulhearn's @ee# for $y Telegra#h but that &ould ha)e been an unnecessary
'laire stirred and $uttered thic"ly until . ga)e her another dose of chlorofor$. ,t this #oint
he#atoto4icity &as the least of her &orries. The rest of the hour #assed slo&ly. ,nd so did the
second after . turned 'laire o)er onto her bac" fed the slot &ith $ore to"ens and then ga)e her
front an hour's full tan.
%inally at long last the sun3bed's dial turned full circle until it reached the off #osition. . stood.
*ig fluid filled blisters &ere already for$ing on her breasts sto$ach thighs and u##er ar$s. There
&ould be $any $ore later. . dreaded to thin" &hat her bac" and buttoc"s &ere li"e.
'laire &as a dead &o$an. Not no& but &ithin a fe& days &e &ould be attending her funeral.
The #ills .'d forced do&n her &ere #soralen &hich greatly enhances the effects of light thera#y. .n
$edicine they are $ostly used for the treat$ent of s"in conditions such as #soriasis before a #atient
goes under the la$#. (o&e)er in 'laire's case they &ould gi)e her #hototo4icity. Together &ith the
o)erdose of EG rays fro$ the sun3bed she &as &ell on the &ay to getting $assi)e third degree
burns leading to se#sis > blood #oisoning. This is &hat Cr. Nabi3Khan e4#lained to $e &hen .'d
)isited hi$ a fe& days before.
,nd the great thing &as that no3one &ould sus#ect a thing. ?)eryone "ne& that 'laire &as a
high3$aintenance "ind of girl addicted to the sun beds and beauty #arlours. !hat could be $ore
natural that she &ould ta"e a short cut by using blac" $ar"et #soralen sourced fro$ so$e dodgy
&ebsite and then fall aslee# on the sun3bed9 *ecause it &as such a rare cause of death . already
"ne& the coroner's )erdict: ,ccidental Ceath. That &ould do $e and McTeague fine.
'ollecting $y gear and $a"ing sure . didn't touch anything else . let $yself out of the
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
*eauticians salon. The sun had bro"en through the clouds and it #ro$ised to be a beautiful day. Dn
a bench o)er the road three youths sat #assing a bottle of !hite 2ightning cider bet&een the$
&hilst a girl tried to cadge a s$o"e fro$ the$. Their *M; bi"es &ere #ro##ed u# against an
abandoned retail unit. !elco$e to Slea7eford . thought recognising t&o of the yobs as the lads
&ho had "eyed $y ,udi cou#: $onths before.
,s . crossed the road to&ards the$ $y *lac"*erry rang. !ondering &ho &as calling $e .
loo"ed at the dis#lay. .t &as $y husband. S$iling . too" the call.
=.')e been trying to reach you all $orning honey. (o& &as the conference9= he as"ed.
=/reat. My #resentation &ent &ell and the chair$an's only 6ust finished &ra##ing the &hole
thing u#. 2isten .'ll #ic" u# a nice bottle of ,ussie Shira7 on the &ay ho$e and #re#are a beef
casserole for dinner= . told hi$. (e "no&s nothing of &hat . really do.
(e than"ed $e. My husband's a good $an. Enli"e $e > .'$ a bad &o$an to "no&. ,s those
youths &ere about to find out.



+ S!"#$%&' N%(& 2: 3 Dne slee#y %enland to&n. T&o Folish chancers eager to $a"e a fast buc"
&ith no 5uestions as"ed. , grou# of business$en &ith funny handsha"es &anting to ra"e off big
buc"s fro$ to&n #lanning contracts. , neo3Na7i bigot &ho'll 6u$# at the chance of beco$ing
Mayor as his first ste##ing stone to total #o&er. (is bunch of thuggish s"inhead hangers3on. ,dd a
huge abandoned industrial co$#le4 on the edge of to&n ri#e for rede)elo#$ent. Fut the$ all
together and &hat could #ossibly go &rong9 ?4ce#t that $atters soon escalate &ay beyond anything
any of these grou#s e4#ected.
!elco$e to Slea7eford...

.f you en6oyed this story you $ight en6oy $y longer boo"s featuring -o$anian cri$inal
Nicolae 'ara$arin:

+ 200 S)"*+ D%,-: 3 !hen his cri$e boss in Ddessa E"raine decides to u# his ga$e by
getting in)ol)ed in #eo#le traffic"ing Nicolae 'ara$arin $ust $a"e a choice. Should he turn a
blind eye to the horrors he &itnesses and carry on being a good soldier for the gang< or ta"e his
Sleaford Noir 1: by Morris Kenyon
stand and bring the$ all do&n in the only &ay he "no&s ho&9

+ L%%.(-/ F%& T&%01!": 3 !ith little choice but to flee his ho$e city of Ddessa Nicu 'ara$arin
$ust reco)er a gang boss's $issing )aluable #ainting if he e)er ho#es to return. (e follo&s the trail
to the &indy and rainy city of Manchester. There he soon falls into his bad old &ays &ith the local
under&orld. *ut things soon escalate out of control. !ho can he turn to for hel#9 !ho can he trust9
Soon 'ara$arin finds hi$self relying on his strength and &its in a battle for sur)i)al &here 6ust
staying free is a bonus.

+ T,% 2#3+ O0): 3 (a)ing fallen on tough ti$es hardbitten e43con Nicolae 'ara$arin is lying
lo&. (o&e)er he's thin"ing of going bac" to the only life he "no&s > cri$e. !hen an old fla$e
sho&s u# as"ing for a si$#le fa)our he has no idea of the trouble he'll soon be in. (ours later he's
standing in front of a $urdered Frosecutor's body > and dead centre in the sight of co#s fro$
-o$ania's *lac" Sea #ort of 'onstanta.
Dnly 5uestion is: ho& &ill Nicu 'ara$arin get out fro$ under and clear his na$e9

1ou can connect &ith the author Morris Kenyon on %aceboo" and follo& on T&itter &here you
&ill find regular u#dates. Than" you.

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DT(?- *DDKS *1 T(? ,ET(D-: 3

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