فصل 01

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 01

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter one

A Shot in the Night

How good it is to be on holiday with my daughter, thinks Detective Inspector Rush. He is happy to be away from his job in Leeds in the north of England for a few days. His job is very important to him, but he also likes to spend time with his daughter, Sally. A week in Kent on the south east coast will be enjoyable for both of them.

“Drive a little slower, Dad,” says Sally. “You aren’t driving a police car now. I would like to enjoy the view. It’s so beautiful.”

They are driving along the coast road between Folkestone and Hastings and there is a beautiful view of the sea.

“Okay,” says her father. “We have a few hours yet. We must arrive in time for the evening meal, though.”

They are quiet for a few minutes, and then he speaks again. “I’m so pleased that you have come on holiday with me,” he says. “There are not many 24-year-old daughters who want to go on holiday with their fathers.”

“No,” she laughs. “You really are very lucky to have me with you.”

He laughs as well. “Yes, I know I am. It’s so long since we spent some time together. I think that the last time was two years ago. Then we went on the Aikido course in Birmingham. I’m sorry that I always seem to be so busy.”

“Don’t worry about it, Dad,” she replies. “It makes the time that we do spend together really special.”

“Thanks,” he answers. “I’m really looking forward to this week. Especially the open-air classical concert at Leeds Castle. That should be really good.”

“Yes,” she agrees. “The 1812 Overture with real cannons and fireworks should be amazing.”

After a moment, she asks, “Do you know why it’s called Leeds Castle? It can’t be anything to do with the city of Leeds where we live, can it?”

“No,” replies her father, “it isn’t. I read somewhere that the Saxons called the area ‘Esledes’. Over the years it became ‘Leeds’.”

“You’re so clever, Dad,” says Sally, proudly. “Sometimes I think that you know everything.”

Detective Inspector Rush smiles, but says nothing.

Sally looks at her father. He is 47 years old, but he looks younger. His brown hair has some grey at the sides. He is not handsome, she thinks, but he is good-looking. He is also still a fit man. They used to do Aikido together, but now her father practises yoga.

Twenty minutes later they drive past St Mary’s Bay and after a few hundred metres see a sign at the side of the road. “Littlestone Farm, Bed and Breakfast,” reads Sally. “That’s it.”

DI Rush turns left down a narrow lane. He drives slowly, as the road is uneven. After a few minutes they arrive in the yard of a small farm. There is a house with a thatched roof, and a barn stands at the end of the yard. DI Rush parks his car at the side of it. They both climb out of the car and stretch.

A dog is barking and as they turn towards the house, the door opens. A man dressed in old jeans and a dirty, blue shirt stands in the doorway. He is about forty years old, small and wiry with brown hair. As they approach, Sally can see that his eyes are a beautiful blue.

‘Good afternoon,” he says. “Mr Rush, is it?” He holds out a grubby hand. “I’m Alan, Alan Larkin.”

They shake hands.

“And you must be Sally,” he says as he turns towards her.

She shakes his hand reluctantly, because she doesn’t like the fact that it is dirty.

“Come inside,” he says. “Brenda will make you a cup of tea, and then you can bring in your cases and unpack.”

They follow him into the house.

“How was your journey here?” he asks.

He doesn’t wait for an answer, but calls, “Brenda, Mr Rush and his daughter are here.”

DI Rush and Sally walk behind him down the hall and into the living room. There are two large settees, a television, a dining table with six chairs and other pieces of furniture. Sally is surprised to see that the room is clean and tidy. Not like Mr Larkin, she thinks.

Brenda appears from the kitchen. She looks a little older than Mr Larkin and is also a few inches taller. She is quite large and has a round face with red cheeks. She wipes her hands on a towel before she shakes their hands.

“I’m just making the evening meal,” she says. “I hope you like meat and potato pie.”

“Yes, that will be fine, Mrs Larkin,” says DI Rush. “Sally used to be a vegetarian, but she started to eat meat again last year.”

“Please call me Brenda, Mr Rush,” she says. “Well, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my pie, Sally. Everyone does. Now sit down and I’ll bring you both a nice cup of tea. You must be ready for a drink after driving all that way.”

She goes back into the kitchen and Mr Larkin follows her.

I wish that my mother and father were still together, thinks Sally. DI Rush has been in the police for twenty-five years. Twelve years ago he became a detective inspector, and two years later her mother left him because he was never at home. He was always working. Since then, Sally has lived with her mother. I love them both, she thinks. Sometimes life is so difficult.

They sit on the settee and look around at the pictures on the walls.

“What do you think so far?” asks the inspector.

“Well, it’s not The Ritz, but it seems okay,” replies Sally. “Mr Larkin looks a bit grubby, though. I’m glad he’s not cooking our evening meal.”

They both laugh.

Just then Mr Larkin comes through the kitchen door. Behind him is Mrs Larkin with a tray in her hands. She places the cups and teapot on the table.

“Did you have a good journey here?” she asks as she pours the tea.

“Yes, thank you,” answers DI Rush, as unlike Mr Larkin, Mrs Larkin waits for an answer.

When they all have a cup of tea, Mr Larkin asks, “What job do you do, Mr Rush?”

“Please, call me David,” replies DI Rush. “I work in a bank, the same as Sally,” he lies.

When he is on holiday, he never tells people that he is a policeman. People always want to talk about police work or complain about the police.

Is this actually a farm or do you just have the bed and breakfast business?” he asks.

“The only animal we have here is a dog,” replies Mrs Larkin.

“I run the bed and breakfast. Alan has a large van. He carries things about for people. It brings in a little extra money.”

“What kind of dog do you have?” asks Sally. “I like dogs.”

“I don’t think you would like Brutus,” says Mrs Larkin. “He’s a large Rottweiler and he’s not very friendly. We keep him locked in the backyard when we have visitors.”

They continue talking until they have finished their tea. Then Mr Larkin helps DI Rush to bring in the suitcases from the car. He takes them up to their rooms. Both rooms are at the front of the house and look out onto the yard. In each room is a single bed, a wardrobe with drawers and a chair. Each room also has an en suite bathroom with a shower.

“If you want to go for a walk before dinner, the beach is not far from here,” says Mr Larkin. “If you go down the path between the house and the barn, you’ll arrive at the sea in twenty minutes.”

“Thanks,” answers DI Rush.

“It would be nice to go for a walk. My legs are stiff after the journey from Leeds.”

DI Rush unpacks his case and hangs his clothes in the old, wooden wardrobe. After a hot shower, he feels refreshed.

When he has dressed in blue jeans, a blue short-sleeved shirt and a leather jacket, he knocks on Sally’s door. She is still in the shower, however, just like her mother, he thinks to himself and smiles. She used to take hours to get herself ready to go out. He goes down into the living room to wait for her.

He looks up from the newspaper that he is reading when Sally eventually comes down the stairs. She is also wearing blue jeans, but she has on a yellow T-shirt. Her long, blonde hair is tied back in a ponytail.

“Are you sure that you’ll be warm enough?” asks her father. “It may be windy down by the sea.”

“Of course I’ll be warm enough, Dad. You worry too much,” she laughs.

They leave the house and follow the path between the house and the barn. It goes through fields and a small wood. When they come out of the wood, they can see the sea.

“Oh, the English Channel,” says Sally. “Can you see France?”

“I can see something,” replies her father, “but it’s probably just a low cloud.”

They walk on in the evening sunlight to the top of the cliff. Then they stop for a moment to look at the sea and watch the large ships out on the water.

“Shall we go down to the beach?” asks Sally and begins to go down the steep path. Dl Rush follows her carefully.

“Not too fast,” he calls. “My legs are older than yours.”

They spend some time on the beach, where they walk by the sea and throw pebbles into the water. Then they climb back up the path.

“You’re very quiet, Dad,” says Sally. “Is anything the matter?”

“Not really,” he replies. “I was just thinking that the path from the farm is very easy to follow. It looks as though lots of people use it. I think that’s strange when there are only a few guests each week.”

He bends and picks up a cigarette packet from the ground. French cigarettes,” he says. “Perhaps they have had French guests.”

“Really, Dad,” laughs Sally. “Don’t you ever stop being a detective? I have a friend who smokes Russian cigarettes and she’s not Russian.”

They make their way back to the farm, and as they enter the yard, they see that a large, new BMW is parked in front of the barn. As they go into the house, Mrs Larkin is serving the evening meal.

There is already a man sitting at the dining table.

“Hello, you two,” calls Mrs Larkin. “You’re just in time. This is Mr Dalton. He’s staying here for the night.”

DI Rush and Sally introduce themselves to Mr Dalton. He is about thirty years of age, slim and has short, blonde hair. He is dressed in an expensive suit, and the inspector sees that he has a Rolex watch on his wrist. Sally thinks he is quite good looking, and during the meal, she tries to talk to him. Mr Dalton, however, doesn’t want to talk.

He answers her questions with “yes” or “no” and eventually she gives up and talks to her father instead.

After the meal, Mr Dalton goes upstairs to his room. Mrs Larkin clears the table and returns to the kitchen.

“Mr Dalton doesn’t say very much, does he?” says Sally when they are alone.

“No,” replies her father. “He didn’t want to talk about himself, did he? I wonder what his job is. That was a very expensive Rolex that he had on his wrist, and new BMWs aren’t cheap”

“Well, I don’t think we’re going to find out,” says Sally. “Mrs Larkin said that he’s only here for one night.”

They sit on the settee. Sally watches the television and DI Rush reads a book that he has brought with him.

At 9 p.m., Mrs Larkin makes a cup of tea for them, and at 10 p.m. they decide to go to bed. They are both tired after the journey.

DI Rush lies awake for a little while. He thinks about what they will do in the morning. He also thinks about Mr Dalton. Why is a man with so much money at a bed and breakfast?

He should be in a four-star hotel, thinks DI Rush as he falls asleep.

It is still dark when he suddenly wakes up. He is sure that the noise that woke him was a gunshot He switches on the lamp at the side of his bed and looks at the clock. Half past three. He switches off the lamp again and gets out of bed. He looks out of his window, but the yard below is completely black. Since he is awake, he decides to get up and have a look outside. He puts on his trousers, shoes and a jumper and quietly goes down the stairs. He unlocks and opens the front door. Suddenly, the light in the hall is switched on.

“It’s a little early to be going out for a walk, isn’t it, Mr Rush?” says a voice behind him.

DI Rush’s heart is beating like a drum. He turns and sees that Mr Larkin has come out of the living room. Behind him stands a large, black Rottweiler. The dog growls deeply when DI Rush looks at it.

“Be quiet, Brutus!” says Larkin.

The dog stops growling, but it doesn’t take its eyes off DI Rush.

Something woke me,” says the detective. “It sounded like a gunshot.”

“Yes, I heard it, too,” says Mr Larkin. “I was in the living room. I must have fallen asleep while I was watching the television.”

“What do you think it was?” asks the DI.

“It’s probably poachers,” replies Larkin. “They are often around here at night. Don’t go out when they are about. You could be injured or even killed. You wouldn’t be the first person to be killed by a poacher’s bullet.”

“No,” he replies. “You’re probably right. I think I’ll go back to bed and see if I can sleep.”

DI Rush starts to climb the stairs and then turns to look back. Mr Larkin has returned to the lounge, but Brutus is standing there watching him with cold, black eyes.

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