The third novel in the much-loved Anna Travis series reissued in B-format in Lynda's stunning new look.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked with the National Theatre and RSC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing - and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series Widows. Her novels have all been international bestsellers. Her original script for the much-acclaimed Prime Suspect won awards from BAFTA, British Broadcasting and the Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Award. Lynda La Plante was made an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and was given the BAFTA Dennis Potter Award in 2000. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2008 and was inaugurated into the Crime Thriller Writers' Hall of Fame in 2009. Visit Lynda at her website: www.lyndalaplante.com Twitter: @LaPlanteLyndawww.facebook.com/LyndaLaPlanteCBEExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Anna was in a foul mood. He had not turned up for dinner. Work commitments sometimes took precedence, obviously -- she knew that -- but he only had to call and she would understand. In actual fact, she had put understanding of their profession right at the top of the pluses on her list. It was a Friday and she had a long weekend due; they had planned to drive out to the country and stay overnight at a lovely inn. It was unusual for them both to have time off, so it made it even more annoying that he had not phoned. She had left messages on his mobile but did not like to overkill, as it was possible he was on a call out; however, she knew that he was meant to be winding down the long and tedious inquiry he had been on for months.
Anna scraped the dried food off the plate into the bin. Tonight had not been the first time by any means and as she sat, tapping her teeth with a pencil, she tried to calculate just how often he had missed dinner. Sometimes he had not even turned up at all, but had gone to stay at his own flat. Although they did, to all intents and purposes, live together, he still kept his place in Kilburn; when he was on a particularly pressing case and working round the clock, he used it rather than disturb her. It was not a bone of contention; sometimes she had even been relieved, although she never admitted it. He also liked to spend quality time there with Kitty, his stepdaughter from his second marriage. All this she could take in her stride, especially if she was also up against it on a case of her own.
They did not work together; they had not, since they became an item. This was partly due to the Met's once unspoken rule that officers were not to fraternize, especially if assigned to the same case. It had bothered Langton more than Anna, but she had understood his reservations and was quietly relieved that, since the Red Dahlia case, they had been allocated to different inquiries. They had a tacit agreement not to bring work home to each other; she adhered to it, but Langton was often in such a fury that he started swearing and cursing as soon as the front door opened. She had never brought this up, but it had become very one-sided. As he ranted and railed about his team, about the press, about the CPS -- about anything that had got under his skin that day -- he rarely, if ever, asked what her day had been like. This went onto the list of minuses.
Anna went to stack the dishwasher; God forbid he ever considered moving his cereal bowl from the sink to the dishwasher. He was often in such a rush to get out in the morning that she would find coffee cups in the bedroom, the bathroom, as well as something she had grown to really detest: cigarette butts. If there wasn't an ashtray within arm's reach, he would stub his cigarettes out in his saucer or even in his cereal bowl; to her knowledge, he had never, since they had been together, ever emptied an ashtray. He had never taken the rubbish out to the bins either, or washed a milk bottle and put it out; in fact, he almost used her Maida Vale flat like a hotel. She was the one who sent the linen to the laundry, collected it and made up the beds with fresh sheets; then there was the washing and the ironing. He would leave their bedroom like a war zone: socks, underpants, shirts and pajama bottoms strewn around the room, dropped where he had stepped out of them. There was also the slew of wet towels left on the floor in the bathroom after his morning shower, not to mention the toothpaste without its cap. She had brought up a few of these things and he apologized, promising he would mend his ways, but nothing had changed.
Anna poured herself a glass of wine. The list of minuses was now two sheets long; the pluses just a couple of lines. Now she got onto bills. He would, when she asked, open his wallet and pass over a couple of hundred pounds, but then often borrowed it back before the end of the week! It wasn't, she concluded, that he was tight-fisted; far from it. It was just that he never thought. This she knew: often he was complaining about his flat being cut off because he'd forgotten to pay his own bills. When he was at home, he ate like a starving man, but had never once accompanied her to do a grocery shop. The plus, if you could call it a plus, was that he did say anything she placed in front of him was good, when she knew her culinary expertise left a lot to be desired. He also downed wine at a rate of knots, and never went to bed without a whiskey; this particular minus was underlined. Langton's drinking had always worried her. He had, on various occasions, gone on one of his drying-out periods; they usually lasted a week or so and were often done to prove that he was not, as she had implied, bordering on alcoholism. He could get into quite an angry mood if she brought it up, insisting he needed to wind down. She kept on writing, however; the drinking at home was one thing, but she knew he also hit the pub with his cohorts on a regular basis.
Anna emptied her wineglass and poured another; she was getting quite piddled herself, but was determined that when he did come home, it was time for a long talk about their relationship. She knew it was unsatisfactory: very obviously so, when she read through her list. What invariably happened when she had previously attempted to try to make him understand how she felt, was that the plus side of their life together made it never the right moment. He would draw her into his arms at night, so they lay wrapped around each other. She adored the way he would hold her in the curve of his body and nuzzle her neck. His hair was usually wet from the shower and he smelled of her shampoo and soap; many nights, he would shave before coming to bed, as his dark shadow was rough to her skin. His lovemaking left her breathless and adoring; he could be so gentle and yet passionate, and was caring and sensitive to her every whim -- in bed...
Langton's presence filled her small flat from the moment he walked in the front door until the moment he left, and without him there was such an awful quiet emptiness. Sometimes she enjoyed it, but never for long; she missed him, and loved to hear him running up her front steps. She was always waiting as he let himself in, opened his arms and swung her round as if he'd been away weeks instead of a day. He then dropped his coat and briefcase, kicked off his shoes, and left a trail of discarded garments all over the place as he went into the bedroom to shower. He always showered before they had dinner; he hated the stink of cells, incident rooms and the stale cigarettes that clung to his clothes. After his shower, he would put on an old navy-blue and white dotted dressing-gown and, barefoot, go into the lounge to put the television on. He never settled down to watch any single program, but would switch between news items and the various soaps that he hated with a vengeance. As she cooked, he would yell from the lounge what a load of crap was on TV, then join her to open the wine. Perched on a stool, he would talk about his day: the good, the bad and, sometimes, the hideous. He always had such energy and, in truth, when he did discuss his cases, she was always interested.
DCI Langton had a special gift; anyone who had ever worked with him knew it and, on the two occasions Anna had been assigned to work on his team, she had learned so much. In fact, living with him made her even more aware of just what a dedicated detective he was. He always looked out for his team and she, more than anyone, knew just how far he had gone to protect her when she had not obeyed the rules. Though he often bent them himself, he was a very clever operator; he had an intuitive mind, but his tendency to be obsessive made him tread a very dangerous line. During the eighteen months they had lived together, even when he had been hard at work all day, she had often seen him working into the early hours, going over and over the case files. He never missed a trick and his prowess at interrogation was notorious.
Anna sighed. Suddenly all her anger over him missing dinner and her urge to make lists evaporated; all she wanted was to hear his footsteps on the stairs and then his key turn in the lock. After all, she knew he was wrapping up a murder inquiry; doubtless he had just gone for a celebratory drink with the boys. She finished her wine and took a shower, getting ready for bed. She wondered, as it was so late, whether he had gone to his own flat. She rang, but there was no reply. She was about to call his mobile again when she heard footsteps on the stairs. She hurried to be there waiting for him, when she froze, listening. The steps were heavy and slow; instead of hearing the key in the front door, the bell rang. She hesitated; the bell rang again.
"Who is it?" she asked, listening at the door.
"It's Mike -- Mike Lewis, Anna."
She hurried to open the door. She knew instinctively something was wrong.
"Can I come in?"
"What is it," she asked, opening the door wide.
DI Lewis was white-faced and tense. "It's not good news."
"What's happened?" She could hardly catch her breath.
"It's Jimmy. He's over at St. Stephen's Hospital."
Langton and his team had just charged the killer of a young woman. When the man had put in the frame two other members of his street gang, Langton, accompanied by Detectives Lewis and Barolli (close friends, as well as members of his murder team), had gone to investigate. As they approached the two men, one had knifed Langton in the chest, then slashed his thigh. He was in a very serious condition.
By the time the speeding patrol car reached the hospital, Anna had calmed herself down: no way did she want him to see her scared. As she hurried through the corridors leading to the Intensive Care Unit, she was met by Barolli.
"How is he?" Lewis asked.
"Holding his own, but it's touch and go." Barolli reached out and squeezed Anna's hand. "Bastard knifed him with a fucking machete."
Anna swallowed. The three continued to the ICU.
Before Anna was allowed to se...
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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0743295730