When The Devil Drives

When The Devil Drives by Christopher Brookmyre Read Free Book Online

Book: When The Devil Drives by Christopher Brookmyre Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christopher Brookmyre
operative that even the most hardbitten subjects never saw coming.
    Serving papers was a particular speciality. Jasmine was able to get an instant result with guys who wouldn’t answer their front door to a middle-aged male but were eager enough when a fresh-faced young woman came striding up their garden path.
    ‘It’s okay, I’m not selling anything, I promise,’ was her standard opening, accompanied by a friendly, slightly self-conscious and therefore all-the-more innocent smile. It was Harry’s suggestion, a cute little piece of misdirection because it made the subject think that the worst he ought to be worried about was being asked to make a donation or sign up for something.
    ‘Do you get a lot of junk mail?’ she’d ask, almost unvaryingly receiving a response in the affirmative. ‘We’re offering a free opt-out service that will get your details removed from mailing lists. It doesn’t cost anything: we’re funded by Royal Mail to try to cut down on unnecessary carriage. Would you be interested, or are you content to keep receiving mail shots?’
    That was when the mark was only too happy to give his name, which she would then ask him to confirm, whereupon she would flip over the top sheet on her clipboard and hand him the papers that had been tucked underneath.
    In the early days her nervousness accounted for a few dismally faltering performances at front doors, but even her worst efforts yielded results. It had long been a source of grief to Jasmine that she looked younger than her years, sufficiently so that she anticipated being carded in pubs and clubs until she was pushing thirty. On the job, however, it worked like a force-field, deflecting all suspicion.
    As well as donning a suit to look like a particularly earnest (and crucially guileless) young professional woman in order to serve papers, she could dress up or dress down according to the circumstances. She could play the student, the clubber, the jogger, the teenage daughter: just whatever it took to blend into the background for surveillance or allay suspicion when someone had to be made to identify themselves. Hell, she could pass for a schoolgirl if she needed to, though she had resisted doing so. She felt a little iffy about the ethics of it, but rather than rule it out completely she decided she’d keep it in her locker for just in case.
    And, of course, she could play a newly recruited clinical support worker when Galt Linklater needed someone to go undercover at St Mungo’s General. This was precisely the kind of job they’d have struggled with or even had to pass up altogether before Jasmine became an available resource.
    The South Glasgow NHS Hospitals Trust approached Galt Linklater with a view to gathering evidence against Liam O’Hara ahead of their planned sacking of him, reckoning that if they amassed enough damning material it would preclude an industrial tribunal. It wasn’t just theatre staff who referred to him as Eliot: hospital management were aware that he had worked long and resourcefully to make himself virtually unsackable. There was never any evidence against him other than individual testimony, which, as well as being uncorroborated, had a habit of being recanted the closer it came to a grievance hearing. Large institutions generally ended up simply having to tolerate individuals like Liam, having learned that attempting to get rid of them was more trouble than it was worth, particularly when it was doomed to failure.
    What forced the South Glasgow Trust’s hand was the impact on manpower. It wasn’t just the nurses who had made complaints against him who ended up going off on long-term sick leave. Those who had incurred his bullying and intimidation for whatever other reason often decided that the best way of avoiding further harassment was to get their GP to sign them off with stress. The Trust was shelling out a lot of sick pay to people who would be perfectly fit for work if Liam O’Hara could be removed

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