arms and legs even before we’ve said a word to anyone. I don’t know who tells them these things! Seem to breathe it in the air.” He pushed the door open and Monk followed behind him, tasting the sweet-and-sour odor of death, which was always made worse by carbolic and wet stone. He saw from the tightness in Runcorn’s face that it affected him the same way.

The police surgeon was a dark, stocky man with a voice like velvet. He shook his head as soon as he saw Runcorn. “Too soon,” he said, waving a hand. “Can’t tell you any more than I did this morning. Think I’m a magician?”

“Just want to look,” Runcorn replied, walking past him towards the door at the other end of the room.

The surgeon regarded Monk curiously, raising one eyebrow so high it made his face lopsided.

Runcorn ignored him. He chose not to explain himself. “Come on,” he said to Monk abruptly.

Monk caught up with him and went into the room where bodies were kept until they could be released to the undertaker. He must have been in places like this all his professional life, although he could remember only the last five years of it. It always knotted his stomach. He would not like to think he could ever have come to such a place with indifference.

Runcorn moved over to one of the tables and pulled the sheet off the face of the body, holding it carefully to show only as far as the neck and shoulders. She was a tall woman, her flesh smooth and blemishless. Her features were handsome rather than beautiful, and the bones of her cheek and brow suggested her eyes had been remarkable, and now her lashes stood out against the pallor of her skin. Her thick hair was tawny red-brown and lay about her like a russet pillow.

“Sarah Mackeson,” Runcorn said quietly, keeping his face averted, his voice catching a little as he tried to keep emotion out of it.

Monk looked up at him.

Runcorn cleared his throat. He was embarrassed. Monk wondered what thoughts were going through his mind, what imagination as to this woman’s life, the passions that had moved her and made her whatever she was. Artists’ models were by definition disreputable to him, and yet whatever he meant to feel, he was moved by her death. There was no spirit, no consciousness in what was left of her, but Runcorn seemed discomforted by her closeness, the reality of her body.

A few years ago Monk might have mocked him for that. Now he was annoyed because it made Runcorn also more human, and he wanted to retain his dislike for him. It was what he was used to.

“Well?” Runcorn demanded. “Seen enough? Her neck was broken. Want to look at the bruises on her arms?”

“Of course,” Monk replied curtly.

Runcorn moved the sheet so her arms were shown, but very carefully held it not to reveal her breasts. Without wishing to, Monk liked him the better for that, too. It didn’t occur to him that it could be prudery rather than respect. There was something in the way Runcorn held the cloth, the touch of his fingers on it, that belied the idea.

Monk bent and looked at the very slight indentations on the smooth flesh, barely discolored.

“Dead too quickly for it to mark much,” Runcorn explained unnecessarily.

“I know that,” Monk said. “Looks as if she fought a bit.” He picked up one of the limp hands and looked to see if she might have scratched her killer, but none of the nails were broken, nor was there any skin or blood underneath them. He put it down and looked at the other, finding nothing there either.

Runcorn watched him silently, and when he had finished, pulled up the sheet again and walked over to the next table. He lifted the sheet from the face and shoulders of the woman there.

Monk’s first reaction was to be angry that Runcorn had made such a disturbing mistake. Why couldn’t he have been careful enough to have got the right body? This could not be Kristian Beck’s wife. She was very slender, and must have been almost as tall as Kristian. Her cloud of dark hair was untouched by gray, and her face, even without the spark of life in it, was beautiful. Her features were delicate, almost ethereal, and yet haunted by an element of passion that remained even now in this soulless place with its damp air and smells of carbolic and death.

He did not care in the slightest what Runcorn thought of her, yet he had to look up at him to see.

Runcorn was watching him. Through the trouble and the uncertainty in his eyes there was a sudden spark of triumph. “You didn’t know her, did you? You were expecting someone else. Don’t lie to me, Monk!”

“I didn’t say I knew her,” Monk replied. “I know her husband.”

The momentary satisfaction died from Runcorn’s face. “He’s still too shocked to make any sense, but we’ll have to question him again. You know that?”

“Of course!”

“That’s why you’re really here, isn’t it? You’re afraid he did it. Found her with Allardyce and killed her. . ” His voice was harsh, as if he were angry with his own vulnerability, and deliberately hurting himself by saying something before anyone else could.

But she had the kind of face that affected people in such a way. It was that of a dreamer, an idealist, someone intensely alive, and it twisted some secret place inside to see her broken. He looked up and met Runcorn’s angry gaze with an equal anger of his own. “Yes, of course I’m afraid he did it! Are you saying you’ve only just realized that?”

Now Runcorn had to say yes, and look stupid, or no, and leave himself no reason to change his mind about seeking Monk’s help. He chose the latter, and without a struggle, betraying just how worried he was, how far beyond his depth. “She died of a broken neck also,” he said flatly. “And two of her fingernails are torn. She put up more of a fight. I’ll bet someone has a few bruises and maybe a scratch or two. . and. .” He indicated her right ear and pulled back the hair to show the torn flesh where an earring must have been ripped from her. “And this.”

“Did you find it?” Monk asked.

“No. Searched the place, even the cracks between the floorboards, but no sign of it.”

“And you’ve searched Allardyce?” Monk said quickly. He found himself shaking with anger that this woman had been destroyed, and confused by how different she was from anything he had imagined.

“Of course we have. Nothing. At least nothing that counts. He’s got the odd cut and scratch on his hands, but he says he has them all the time, from palette knives, blades to cut canvas, nails and things to stretch them, that kind of thing. He said to ask any artist and they’d say the same. He swears he never even saw her that night, much less killed her. He looks shattered by it, and if he’s acting, then he should be on the stage.”

The chill of the morgue began to eat into Monk and the smell of it churned his stomach. He reminded himself he had known men before who had killed-in rage, jealousy or wounded pride-and then been as horrified as anyone else afterwards. And a woman as hauntingly beautiful as Kristian’s wife might have woken all kinds of passions in Allardyce, or anyone else, especially Kristian himself.

“Seen enough now?” Runcorn’s voice cut across his thoughts.

“Clothes,” Monk said almost absently. “How were they dressed?”

“The model had on a loose kind of gown, a sort of. . shift, I suppose you’d call it,” Runcorn said awkwardly. His embarrassment and contempt for her style of life and all he imagined of it were sharp in his voice. His lips tightened and a faint color washed up his cheeks. “And Mrs. Beck wore an ordinary sort of dress, high neck, dark, buttoned down the front. It fitted her very well, but it’s not new.”

“Boots?” Monk asked curiously.

“Of course. She didn’t go there barefoot.” Then understanding flashed in his face. “Oh-you mean had she them on? Yes.”

“Actually, I meant were they old or new?” Monk replied. “I assumed that if she had taken them off you’d have mentioned it.”

The color deepened in Runcorn’s face, but this time it was irritation. “Oldish-why? Doesn’t Beck make a decent living? Her father’s Fuller Pendreigh. Very important man, and bound to have money.”

“Doesn’t mean he gave any of it to his daughter,” Monk pointed out. “Now that she’s a married woman, and has been for. . do you know how long?”

Runcorn raised his eyebrows. “Don’t you know?”

“No idea,” Monk admitted testily. Except that it had to be longer than he had known Callandra, but he would not say that to Runcorn.

“I suppose you want to see them. They won’t tell you much. I’ve already looked.” But Runcorn did not argue.

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