Nick called in at the surgery to catch up with Kate. She was very intrigued with the Gilligan story.
"So any idea why he's here?" she asked him as she drank a welcome cup of tea.
"Working on it. I haven't got long though before he works out who the village bobby is."
"He's bound to find out." Kate put down her mug. "Nick, is Gina all right having him stay in the pub."
"She's safe from him. He's not violent. He went down for deception. You think of a scam, he's operated it. And slippery as an eel."
"Wasn't that when you were attached to CID?"
"Yeah that's right. It was a good result pinning him down." Nick sighed. "Anyway he's just come out of Pentonville. I know that much. And then he's straight up here."
"And you don't think he's here for the reasons he says?"
"Not in a million years. He's up to something Kate I just need to find out what."
In Greengrass' house Carter stared at Claude, narrowing his eyes.
"So why can't we go and dig for this tonight?"
"I told yer – if this is where I reckon it is, that's right on the edge of Ashfordly's land. They've got a shoot on tomorrow – his gamekeepers will be out tonight. And the next night. Night after that's best."
"You'd best not be pulling a fast one Greengrass."
"I'm not! You have ter be careful you know – can't go attracting attention to yerself. Village bobby's sharp as a tack."
"Village plod! Yeah, right!"
"Well he's not your average plod is he? From your neck o't woods as it goes. Talks like yer an' all."
Carter narrowed his eyes. "Bit out of his territory ain't he?"
"Well I wish he'd go back ter it!" Greengrass snorted. "I'll give young Rowan that much. Not much gets past him."
Carter visibly jumped. "Rowan?"
"Yeah. Know him?"
"If it's the same one – he helped put me away last time. I did four years thanks to him."
"Well, well," Claude sniggered. "Small world innit?"
"Look seriously. I can't have him know I'm here Claude."
"He'll soon find out if you're perched at the bar in the Arms every night!"
"But not if I stay here." Carter leaned back in his chair, smiling. "Cheers Claude. Thank you for your hospitality."
Nick was sitting at his desk in Ashfordly nick waiting for a return call from the Guvnor at Pentonville. Blaketon came out of his office.
"Any news Rowan?"
"Not yet Sarge."
"Right. Well I don't want you wasting too much time on this! I need you and Bellamy up on the Estate tomorrow."
"I've a day off tomorrow Sarge," Phil mumbled.
"Leave cancelled," Blaketon said tersely. "Ventress is off sick and I want that shoot covered tomorrow. I've promised his Lordship nowt will go wrong and I want you two on hand to make sure it doesn't."
The phone rang at that point and Nick snatched it up. It was the call he was waiting for.
Claude lumbered out of his front door and over to the barn. Gilligan followed.
"Great so I get the cow shed right? What's wrong with staying in the house?" He paused. "Actually I'm probably better off staying in the shed."
"Well if you don't like it you can bugger off back to the pub then can't you?" Claude was getting fed up with his visitor even if he did come with the promise of a lucrative reward.
"All right, mister, keep yer hair on." Jonny sighed as he looked around the shed. "Only fer a couple of nights innit?"
Back at the police station in Ashfordly Nick put down his phone slowly.
"Well?" Phil looked at him intrigued.
"I spoke to the guv'nor at Pentonville. Gilligan shared a cell and was hand in glove with David Patterson. Now, Patterson was busted for a series of armed robberies in the North Yorkshire area. He ended up in Pentonville because he applied for a transfer - his missus moved down to London to be with her Mum. He and Gilligan ended up inseperable. Until Patterson died of a heart attack not in prison not long before Gilligan was released." Nick tapped his pen on his desk thoughtfully.
"Who was the second call from?"
"Oh that was Gina. Telling me Gilligan has been back and collected all his stuff. He's going to stay with Greegrass apparently."
"So we need to –" Phil began
"Speak to Greengrass," they both finished.
That night Kate was reading in bed. It was getting late and she wondered where Nick had got to. He appeared at past midnight.
"You'll be exhausted, you're covering the shoot tomorrow!" she remonstrated. "Where have you been?"
"Keeping an eye on what Claude Greengrass is up to. Although whatever he's planning with Gilligan it ain't happening tonight. They've been drinking their own bodyweight I reckon. Then Gilligan turned in for the night – he' sleeping in Claude's barn."
"Rather him than me." Kate frowned. "How are you going to find out what they're up to?"
"Pay Claude a visit after the shoot tomorrow if I can get in without Gilligan knowing. Although I'm thinking he's already worked out who the village bobby is. Why else would he move from the pub to live in Greengrass' hovel?"
"To lie low," Kate said promptly. "Except he doesn't know that you already know he's here! Still." She leaned over and switched off her bedside lamp. "I'm glad he's not at the pub any more. I was worried about Gina."
The shoot went off without any problems and Blaketon was pleased.
"You can get yourself off now lads," he told Phil and Nick as they leaned against their car outside the impressive façade of Ashfordly Hall. "But before you go – Rowan. I believe you're paying a social call tonight. On our friend, Greengrass."
"Yes Sarge. Unless he and Gilligan make a move first."
"Aye. Well, minute you know owt you tell me."
As Nick and Phil got into the car Nick looked at Phil. "You don't mind coming with me tonight do you?"
"I don't mind the overtime pay," Phil said brightly. "No, its fine Nick. Doesn't do no harm to give Claude a bit of a shaking up now and then." He paused. "But won't you have to get past Gilligan to speak to Claude?"
"Either wait until he settles down in the cow shed for the night or if they head off somewhere – follow 'em."
As it happened it was clear whatever the two were planning wasn't happening that night either. The night followed the same pattern – a drinking session then at about twelve fifteen rather unsteadily Gilligan/ Carter staggered over to the barn.
At twelve thirty Claude let the dog out and lumbered down to his gate, leaving his front door open. He leaned on the gate for a few minutes. Probably trying to clear his head.
He whistled for the dog but it didn't come. Which was because Alfred the lurcher was with Phil Bellamy who was crouched down behind a wall and stuffing the lurcher with biscuits.
"Stay out then you daft bugger!" Claude wheezed and ambled back into the house. He kicked his door shut and then reared back in shock. Nick Rowan was stood behind the door.
"Bloody hell!" Claude staggered over to his chair and sat down, clutching his chest. "You need to phone yer Missus you've given me a heart attack."
"Pull the other one Claude." Nick stepped forward and stood over him. "Right start talking and fast. What the hell are you up to with Tommy Gilligan?"
"Get away I don't know anyone called Gilligan!"
"Johnny Carter he calls himself to you."
"He reckoned you didn't know he was here!"
Nick leaned over Claude. "He reckoned wrong."
"Well he's not planning owt is he? We just got talking and he wanted to see a bit o' t' place an' –"
Nick threw a folded piece of paper on the table. Claude swallowed.
"Yeah, it's a warrant. It lets me and the lads – who are just up the lane by the way – turn over every inch of this place. House, barn, lorry –" Nick grinned. "Hen house."
"How do you know about –" Claude stopped.
"What you keep in your hen house?" Nick tapped the side of his nose. "You'd be amazed at what I know Claude."
"You tell me what you and Gilligan are planning and me and this piece of paper will go away. But, you tell him that I was here tonight and I'll be back Claude and I will tear this place apart I swear."
"So if I talk, you'll go after him and I'm out of it?"
Claude blinked furiously but realised his options were very limited indeed.