The White House Connection
'You can stay in one of the spare bedrooms, Chief Inspector, I don't want to turn you out again in the rain at this time in the morning.'
     
     
'Thank you, sir.'
     
     
He turned. 'You, of course, can walk home, Dillon. I mean, you Irish are used to the rain, aren't you?'
     
     
'God save your honour, 'tis the grand man you are. I'll take
     
     
my shoes off at your door, tie them round my neck and walk barefoot to Stable Mews to save the leather.'
     
     
Ferguson laughed out loud. 'Just go, you rogue, go,' and Dillon went out.
     
     
In the study at South Audley Street, Lady Helen sat at the desk examining the file, and Hedley came in with tea on a tray. He put the tray down and poured tea into a cup.
     
     
She added milk, English style, and sipped it. 'Lovely.' She leaned over the file. 'Strange. Tim Pat Ryan was the last on the list, but the first to go.'
     
     
'Lady Helen, this can't go on.'
     
     
'Oh, yes, it damn well can. What's my money buy me that's worth anything, Hedley? Those bastards, all of them, were directly responsible for the butchery of my son. As a result, my husband died an early and unnecessary death, and I'll tell you another thing, old friend. I don't have much time. The pills I've been taking — I have a damaged heart.'
     
     
He was deeply shocked and sat down. 'I didn't realize.'
     
     
'You do now, so are you with me or against me? You could phone Dr Ingram and tell him I've gone mad. You could call Scotland Yard and they'd arrest me for murder. It's up to you, isn't it?'
     
     
He stood up. 'You've been good to me, more than anyone else in my life.' He sighed. 'I still don't like it, but one thing's for sure. You need someone you can count on, and I'll be there for you, just like you were there for me.'
     
     
'Bless you, Hedley. Get some sleep and we'll leave for Comp-ton Place in the morning.'
     
     
He left the room and she sat there, wondering how Dillon was getting on, then she went and lay on the couch and pulled a comforter over herself.
     
     
LONDON
     
     
WASHINGTON
     
     
ULSTER
     
     
THREE
     
     
At the Ministry of Defence, Hannah Bernstein's efforts at trawling the computer proved useless. She even tried Dublin and British Army Headquarters at Lisburn, in Northern Ireland, but nothing. So, the matter was shelved. Ryan's death was a seven-day wonder; the newspapers spoke of rivalry between gangs in the East End and other parts of London. No one at Scotland Yard was shedding tears, underworld contacts proved useless, the case was shelved. Left open, of course, but shelved.
     
     
At Compton Place, Helen ate well, took long walks and got plenty of fresh air. She also practised at the pistol shooting range in the old barn, a reluctant Hedley giving her the benefit of his expertise. She had never realized how good he was until one afternoon, after supervising her, he picked up a Browning, one of many handguns her husband had accumulated over the years, and loaded it. There were seven cardboard targets at the far end of the barn, each a facsimile of a charging Chinese soldier, a legacy of the old colonel's time in the Korean War.
     
     
'I want you to watch.'
     
     
He was about thirty feet away. His hand swung, he fired rapidly and shot each target through the head. She was amazed and showed it as the sound died away.
     
     
'Incredible.'
     
     
'But I'm a trained soldier. Now, you, you're good, but handguns are unreliable unless you get close.'
     
     
'How close?'
     
     
He slammed a fresh clip into the butt of the Browning and handed it to her. 'Come with me.' He led her to the large centre target. 'Right, put it against his heart and pull the trigger.' She did as he ordered. 'Now you get it, that close.'
     
     
'I was about twelve feet away from Ryan.'
     
     
'Sure, but you could have missed and he might have got you.'
     
     
'All right, but I'd still like to return to the table and try again from there.'
     
     
'Be my guest.' The mobile phone on the

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