Chelsea Mansions

Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland Read Free Book Online

Book: Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barry Maitland
Tags: Fiction
themselves.
    Among them were a few army veterans resident at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, in whose grounds the flower show was held, wearing the scarlet coats and black caps of the Chelsea Pensioners. She spoke to one who gave her directions to the organisers’ office. Inside, a brisk woman finished a phone call and showed Kathy to a table in a corner of the tent.
    ‘Yes, I spoke to a detective yesterday, Inspector,’ she said. ‘He wanted a printout of the names of all the people who bought tickets for Thursday, but he baulked a bit when I told him there were forty thousand of them. And I doubt it would help anyway. Thursday’s tickets were sold out two months ago, so he probably didn’t pre-book.’
    ‘Then how did he get a ticket?’
    ‘Probably from a scalper at the gate. I’m told the going rate is as much as two hundred and fifty pounds at the moment. The detective did try to speak to one of them, but I don’t know how much success he had.’
    There had been no mention of that in the officer’s report. ‘Are there cameras at the gate?’
    The woman shook her head. They discussed the security at the show and the information on volunteers held in the computer, until Kathy decided there was no more she could find out. She thanked the woman and left. Outside she stood for a while at the entrance, watching the visitors streaming through. She saw no one trying to sell tickets, and after a while she returned to Queen Anne’s Gate.
    A number of messages had come in while she was away. A situation report had arrived from Tottenham Green profiling known associates of Danny Yilmaz and other possible criminals in the area. There were quite a few of them, but so far no connections to Thursday’s events had been established. Peter Namono was not known to the police in Uganda, and appeared to be an unauthorised migrant. Apparently he had been in touch with a refugee advisory service in South London.
    The Home Office had forwarded a request from the American Embassy for an update on the case, with a cover note demanding urgent attention. And a preliminary report from the coroner’s office had been delivered. The autopsy had been completed and blood and tissue tests carried out in record time. Nothing new had been revealed and it was proposed to release the body to the family for return to the United States on Monday. Kathy sensed an all-round official desire to move on, to see a rapid and tidy end to an embarrassing and incomprehensible affair.

SIX
    T ucked away in one corner of Cunningham Place was a small, rather plain brick church. Built eighty years before the square was laid out, its modest spire had once stood out among the fields and hedgerows of the western edge of London, but was now overshadowed by its neighbouring housing blocks. On most Sundays its congregation amounted to barely a dozen elderly people, but today they emerged through the porch to find a small crowd assembling outside in the sunshine.
    As the vicar shook the hand of the last parishioner, Toby Beaumont mounted the steps with his two employees, Garry the silent concierge and Jacko the limping bellboy, all dressed in suits and ties, and introduced them to the priest as the ushers for the memorial service. Garry was carrying a poster-sized photograph of Nancy’s smiling face, enlarged from a snapshot Emerson had provided, and received permission to tie it to one of the porch columns. Deb, Julie the cook and Destiny the maid followed, carrying huge bunches of flowers, and disappeared inside.
    Kathy stood in the background in the shade of one of the large plane trees of the central gardens, watching the gathering. A few looked as if they were residents of the square, setting aside their Sunday papers to show their respect or see what was going on; some were media, including a TV camera crew and van; and others, lone men in suits mainly, appeared to be there in an official capacity. Several of these were clustered around Emerson and she speculated on

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