Wee Hamish smiled at her. ‘Now you run along, and I’ll call if I need you.’

‘But, Mr Mowat, I-’

‘Chloe.’ A glint of the old steel sharpened his voice. ‘I said, run along.’

She nodded. Sniffed at Logan. Then turned and lumbered from the room, thumping the door behind her.

Wee Hamish shook his head. ‘My cousin Tam’s little girl. Well, I say “little”. . Her heart’s in the right place.’

Logan took two crystal tumblers from the display case. ‘Not Tam “The Man” Slessor? ’

‘I promised I’d look after her when he was done for that container of counterfeit cigarettes.’ Wee Hamish fumbled with the top of the whisky bottle. ‘If you want water, there’s a bottle in the fridge.’

‘So how is Tam the Man doing these days? ’

‘Not too good: we buried him a month ago.’ A sigh. ‘Look, can you get the top off this? My fingers. .’

Logan did. ‘Do you know anything about the body we found out by Thainstone today? ’ He poured out one generous measure and another small enough to drive after. Passed the huge one to Wee Hamish.

‘Thank you.’ He raised the glass, the dark-amber liquid shivering in time with his hand. ‘Here’s tae us.’

Logan clinked his tumbler against Wee Hamish’s. ‘Fa’s like us? ’

A sigh. ‘Gie few. . and they’re a’ deid.’ He took a sip. ‘Unidentified male, chained to a stake and, I believe the term is: “necklaced”.’

‘We think it might be drug-related.’

‘Hmm. . What do you make of the whisky? Forty years old, nearly a grand and a half a bottle.’ A little smile pulled at the corner of his pale lips. ‘Can’t take it with you.’

Logan took a sip. Rolled it around his mouth until his gums went numb and everything tasted of cloves and nutmeg and burned toffee. ‘Is there another turf war kicking off? ’

‘I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Well, one does, doesn’t one: when time’s running out? What’s going to be my legacy? What am I going to leave behind when I go? ’

‘We need this to stop before it gets even worse.’

‘Don’t get me wrong: I’m not ashamed of the things I’ve done, the things I’ve had other people do, but. . I want. . something. Got my lawyers to set up bursaries at Aberdeen University and RGU, helped people become doctors and nurses, sponsored vaccination programmes in the Third World, paid for wells to be drilled, mosquito nets for orphans. . But I don’t feel any different.’

He sipped at his drink. Then frowned up at the ceiling. ‘Perhaps I should try a big public works project? Like Ian Wood and his Union Terrace Gardens thing, or the boy Trump and his golf course? Leave the city something to remember me by. .’ A grin. ‘Other than the horror stories your colleagues tell.’

‘Do you know who did it? Can you find out? Because as soon as the media get hold of this it’s going to be all over the news and papers.’

Wee Hamish stared out into the dark expanse of garden. Or perhaps he was staring at his own reflection in the glass. Difficult to tell. ‘To be honest, Logan, I’ve rather let my attention waver on that side of the business. Once upon a time I knew the operation inside out, but. . well, I get a lot more tired than I used to.’ A shrug, bony shoulders moving beneath the cardigan. ‘Reuben’s been looking after our pharmaceutical arm. Like he’s looking after many things. .’


‘Logan, you know I love Reuben like a son — bless his violent little cotton socks — but he’s a foot soldier, a lieutenant. He’s not a leader.’ Another trembling sip. ‘If I leave him in charge it’ll end in war.’

‘I’m not taking over.’ Logan put his glass down on the coffee table.

‘I know, I know. But if I can’t trust Reuben to run things, what can I do? You don’t want it, he can’t handle it; do I sell up to Malcolm McLennan instead? ’

‘Malk the Knife’s dangerous enough without handing him Aberdeen on a plate too. He’s already got everything south of Dundee.’

The wheelchair bleeped, then whined back a few feet, before spinning around to face Logan. Wee Hamish wasn’t smiling any more, instead a frown made hills and valleys in the pale skin of his forehead. ‘I shall endeavour to find out who is responsible for your burning victim. And don’t worry, if whoever did it is on my team, they’ll be getting a. . disciplin-ary hearing. This isn’t the kind of legacy I want to leave behind.’

Outside, Logan’s fifth-hand Punto was bathed in the glow of a security light. A huge man leaned back against the bonnet, tree-trunk arms folded over a great barrel of a chest. His three-piece suit looked brand new — the waistcoat straining over that vast belly. Shiny black brogues. Face a patchwork of scar tissue and fat, knitted together with a greying beard. A nose that was barely there any more.

Logan nodded. ‘Reuben.’

No response.

OK. . Logan took his keys out. ‘Thought you were more of an overalls and steel toecaps kind of guy.’

Reuben just stared at him. Then slowly hauled himself off the bonnet.

The Punto’s suspension rose about three inches.

Logan drew his shoulders back, brought up his chin. ‘Go on then, out with it.’

But Reuben just turned and lumbered off into the darkness, brogues scrunching on the gravel. Didn’t say a word.

Logan stood there until the huge man disappeared, then slid in behind the wheel. The world was full of bloody weirdoes.

The windows of the caravan next door glowed pale yellow in the darkness and Logan climbed out of the Punto, engine ticking and pinging in the silence. On the other side of the River Don, the lights of the big Tesco glittered through the trees.

A noise, behind him. .

Logan spun around, hands balling into fists.


Grove Cemetery was a mass of silhouettes, reaching up the hill to the railway line and the dual carriageway at the top. The first three rows of headstones were just visible in the orange streetlight. Beyond their reach everything was black and silent. Just the faint rumble of late-night traffic working its way through the Haudagain roundabout.

‘Hello? ’

Stand very still, don’t breathe, listen. .

Nope, he was on his own. Which was just as well — no one about to see him acting like something out of a cheap horror movie.


Logan found his house key and- Stopped. Another knot of bones hung from the door handle. More bloody chicken bones, wrapped up in a ribbon that was stained a greeny-grey by the sodium glow.

‘Very funny.’ He unhooked the bundle and chucked it into the bushes that separated the tiny caravan park from the riverbank. ‘Little bastards.’

Just because the Grampian Country Chickens factory used to be across the road, didn’t mean people had to be a dick about it.



. .sometime in the next week. And we’ll have more top eighties hits between now and nine, but first here’s the weather. .

‘Unggg. .’ Logan rolled over and peered up at the bedroom ceiling. A slice of golden light jabbed through the gap in the curtains, making motes of dust shine against the scarlet walls. He reached out a hand, but Samantha wasn’t there — her side of the bed a rumpled mess of duvet and pillows. Always was a restless sleeper.

The alarm clock blinked ‘06:15’ at him in cheerless green.

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