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Authors: Alex Grecian

The Yard

BOOK: The Yard
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THE YARD

THE YARD

ALEX GRECIAN

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
Publishers Since 1838

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Copyright © 2012 by Alex Grecian

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Published simultaneously in Canada

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Grecian, Alex.

The Yard / Alex Grecian.

p.     cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58857-4

1. Murder—Investigation—England—Fiction.   2. Detectives—England—Fiction.   I. Title.

PR6107.R426Y27     2012        2011050663

823’.92—dc23

Printed in the United States of America

1   3   5   7   9   10   8   6   4   2

BOOK DESIGN BY MEIGHAN CAVANAUGH

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For Christy,
who will inspect this dedication
for plot holes.

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,

Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.

Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie.

Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

—Rudyard Kipling, “A Smuggler’s Song”

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROLOGUE

DAY ONE

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

DAY TWO

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

DAY THREE

63

64

65

66

67

68

69

70

71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

79

80

81

82

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

98

99

100

101

102

103

104

105

106

107

EPILOGUE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PROLOGUE

L
ONDON
, 1889.

N
obody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found.

A black steamer trunk appeared at Euston Square Station sometime during the night and remained unnoticed until early afternoon of the following day. The porter discovered it after the one o’clock train had departed, and he opened the trunk when it proved too heavy for him to lift.

He immediately sent a boy to find the police.

Detective Inspector Walter Day was first at the scene, and he directed the many bobbies who arrived after him. He had come to London only the week before. This was his first crime scene and he was clearly nervous, but the blue-uniformed bobbies knew their job well and did not require much from him. They pushed back the commuters who had gathered round the trunk and began to scour the station for possible weapons and other clues.

An hour later, Dr Bernard Kingsley entered the station all in a rush and headed for the knot of people gathered on the gallery of the booking office. The trunk had been left against the railing overlooking the platform. Kingsley brushed past Inspector Day and knelt on the floor.

He opened his satchel and drew out a cloth tape measure, snaked it between his fingers, moving it up and across. The trunk was a standard size, two by three by three, glossy black with tin rivets along the seams. He closed the lid and brushed a finger across the top. It was clean; no dust.

With his magnifying glass in hand, he scuttled around the trunk, scrutinizing the corners for wear. He licked his finger and rubbed a seam along one side where black paint had been applied to cover a crack. He was aware of Day hovering over his shoulder and, less intrusive, the bobbies at the station’s entrance pushing back fresh onlookers who had arrived from the street outside. The lower classes were always out for a spectacle, while the better-off walked briskly past, ignoring the to-do.

His preliminary examination out of the way, Kingsley opened and shut the trunk’s lid several times, listening to the hinges, then eased it back until the edge of the lid rested against the floor. He peered into the trunk for a long moment, ignoring the sickly sweet odor of death. The body inside was folded in on itself, knotted and mashed into the too-small space like so much laundry. One shoe was missing, and Kingsley presumed it was somewhere at the bottom of the trunk, under the body. The man’s suit was gabardine, the hems lightly worn, dirt pressed into the creases. His arms and legs were broken and wrapped around one another.

Kingsley took a pair of tongs from his satchel and used them to move an arm out of the way so he could see the man’s face. The skin was pearl grey and the eyes and mouth were sewn shut with heavy thread, the pattern of parallel stitches like train tracks across the man’s lips. Kingsley looked up at Day. When he spoke, his voice was low and measured.

“Have you identified him yet?”

Day shook his head no.

“It’s one of you,” Kingsley said.

“One of me?”

“The body is that of a detective. This is Inspector Little.”

Day backed away to the railing and held up his hands, warding off the unpleasant thought.

“It can’t be. I spoke with Little just last evening.”

Kingsley shrugged.

“It’s not that I doubt you,” Day said. “But Inspector Little . . .”

“Come and see for yourself,” Kingsley said.

Day stared at him.

“I said come here. Please.”

“Of course.”

Day approached the trunk and swallowed hard before looking down.

“Breathe through your mouth, Mr Day. The odor isn’t pleasant.”

Day nodded, panting heavily.

“I suppose it is Mr Little. But what have they done to him?”

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