In the Silence

Murray's Day

In the process of the journey from its initial genesis to publication, In the Silence underwent numerous revisions, with characters, scenes and even entire chapters ending up on the cutting room floor.

One of these chapters, written from the point of view of Anna's nemesis, Detective Sergeant Rob Murray, remained in the manuscript until the final round of revisions. It is presented here in its final form prior to deletion, and would originally have appeared between Chapters 29 ("White Knight") and 30 ("Hell"). In the process of removing it, certain elements of the narrative were streamlined, resulting in some minor inconsistencies between the text below and the published novel.

Needless to say, the following chapter contains major SPOILERS for In the Silence.

In the Silence: Murray's Day


Murray’s day had begun in much the same fashion as the previous two: at 06:30, with his alarm clock trilling in his ear. A whole three hours’ shut-eye.

He arrived at the station at the back of 07:45. The remainder of what was laughably referred to as the day shift were trickling in in dribs and drabs, offering up a variety of weather-related excuses, while the night team – most of whom wore the same hollow, sleep-deprived expression as their diurnal counterparts – gamely struggled to stay awake for the handover. One of his junior colleagues was singing ’Ere we go, ’ere we go, ’ere we go in the locker room, and indeed the mood all round was one of belt-tightening and grim determination. It was all right for the DCs: unlike him, they at least qualified for overtime pay.

09:00 came around and, in the face of Norton’s failure to put in an appearance, Murray kicked off the morning briefing himself. Poor sod was being raked over the coals by the DCSI for his failure to apprehend what was now officially a double murderer. The scuttlebutt was that he was liable to be pulled from the case at any moment. Some would no doubt be glad to see the back of the old curmudgeon, whose thinking often seemed opaque at best, but not Murray. Norton had always been a good boss to him: fair, even-handed and commendably unwilling to let shit run downhill.

At 09:21, just as he was wrapping up, word came in that a third victim had been found. An employee at the Anytime Fitness Gym in Rutherglen had arrived for work to find the doors locked from inside. Taking it upon himself to do some exploring, he’d discovered that one of the ground floor windows had been forced, and promptly called the manager. Said manager, a Mr Allan Macdonald, had arrived with a set of master keys and access had been secured. Fifteen minutes later, they’d tripped over the body in the male changing room and pandemonium had ensued.

Leaving word for Norton, Murray set off for Rutherglen, taking with him a couple of uniforms whom he knew to be of a sturdy disposition. Shortly afterwards, he was standing in the changing room, taking in the gruesome sight of the corpse – for which the phrase ‘bollock-naked’ seemed thoroughly inappropriate given the pronounced lack of the requisite bollocks.

Once the duty pathologist and Procurator Fiscal Depute had both been and gone, and the body removed to the mortuary, Murray set about interviewing both the manager and the employee who’d discovered the break-in, a mop-haired dunderhead by the name of Liam Sinclair. From there, a cursory look at the deceased’s employment records (which the effusive Mr Macdonald was only too happy to provide) revealed him to be one Edward ‘Ted’ Renfield, DOB 14/4/1980, formerly of Willow Bank Academy. On hearing this, Murray collared one of the uniforms and ordered him to come with him immediately. Leaving the others to wrap things up, they headed with all haste to re-interview Anna Scavolini.

As they drove to Ruchill, Murray ruminated on the previous day’s encounter with the Professor (as he’d taken to calling her), of which he’d said nothing to Norton. The DI and Guilfoyle went back a ways, and Murray had seen little point in burdening him with the spurious accusations Scavolini had been throwing around about the old fellow. He now thanked his lucky stars Norton wasn’t joining him on this particular jaunt: it meant he wouldn’t have to answer any awkward questions if she brought up her previous visit.

* * *

It had gone 12:30 by the time they reached Astley Street. The door was answered by the male specimen of the Callahan brood, looking bleary-eyed and dishevelled, as if he’d just got out of bed. When he saw who was at the door, he briefly looked so frightened that Murray thought he was going to break down in tears.

They invited themselves in and escorted Victor through to the living room. There he sat, perched on the sofa, eyes fixed firmly on the floor, bottom lip protruding in sullen defiance. Murray gazed down at him, shaking his head. He couldn’t figure him or his sister out at all. Both of them adults, and yet still living together – neither of them, as far as he could tell, contributing to society in any worthwhile way. Freaks, the pair of them. Especially the brother. One of life’s no-hopers. The sister wasn’t much better in that regard, but at least she didn’t act like she was constantly apologising for her own existence.

He turned to the uniform, clearing his throat. ‘Perhaps some refreshments would be in order?’

It was a ruse he’d used successfully before in situations like these: one of them stayed to talk to the witness while the other, on the pretext of going to brew a pot of tea or make use of the facilities, took the opportunity to go for a mosey around in the hope of uncovering something interesting. Murray listened as the uniform’s footsteps receded, then turned to Victor. Smiled at him disarmingly. The brother returned the smile unenthusiastically and averted his eyes.

‘It’s Victor, isn’t it?’ He tried to keep his tone light, wishing this sort of fake bonhomie came to him half as easily as it did to Norton. ‘You mates with Scav— with Anna as well?’

Victor just stared up at him blankly, eyes wide and apprehensive.

‘Must be nice, having her staying over the holidays. How long is it since you saw her last?’

‘Z–Zoe’ll be back soon,’ said Victor, his expression reminding Murray of a child in a dentist’s chair.

‘So? She’s not your minder, is she?’ He perched on the arm of the sofa. Victor shrank back instinctively. ‘You know, sometimes a couple of blokes can talk more easily when they’re alone than when there’s a bunch of other people in the room. You ever find that?’

Victor stared at him, blinking rapidly, mouth hanging slightly open. Christ, he’s pathetic. It’s a wonder he even manages to tie his shoelaces.

‘She’s not in any trouble, you know. Not yet, anyway. But this business we’re investigating, it’s serious stuff. About as serious as it gets. And Anna… well, I’m not sure yet where she fits in, but she’s mixed up in it somehow. And that means there’s a good chance she’s in danger. The sort of people who do stuff like… you know.’ He gave Victor a meaningful look. ‘They wouldn’t think anything of bumping her off if they felt she was getting in their way.’

Victor shifted uncomfortably. He was beginning to sweat. He stared steadfastly at the carpet, his moist palms squeaking as he rubbed them together.

‘Look,’ Murray went on, in the same oh-so-reasonable tone, ‘you care about her. That’s as plain as day. And I know you think that, by refusing to talk to us, you’re somehow helping her. That you’re protecting her. Well, I want you to put that idea out of your mind right this minute. The longer she’s out there, the more danger she’s in. If you care about her, if you care about her at all, you’ll tell us everything you know.’

He paused to let it sink in. After a moment, Victor lifted his head. His eyes were wide, distrustful.

‘You… you won’t hurt her?’

Murray placed a fatherly hand on his shoulder. ‘We won’t lay a finger on her, son. You’ve got my word.’

In the end, Victor talked. And boy, did he talk. Much of it Murray had surmised already, but until now he hadn’t realised the scope of Anna Scavolini’s personal investigation or her flagrant disregard for the rule of law. Housebreaking, impersonating a police officer, inveigling her way into an ITU suite to interrogate a vulnerable – now dead – patient… They had enough to throw the book at her.

Victor had just finished spilling the beans when the uniform appeared in the doorway. He hadn’t brought any tea, but he had brought a post-it note, which he handed to Murray. Murray read it, then turned to Victor, who looked for all the world like he hoped the ground would open up and swallow him whole.

‘Victor, who’s Paul Docherty?’ [*]

* * *

Murray reached the law centre at 13:35, and found Docherty to be extremely reluctant to cooperate. After wasting an inordinate amount of time treating him with kid gloves, Murray ramped up the pressure and, with a great deal of scowling and snivelling, Docherty talked. Scavolini had been and gone, and she’d been asking about the Guilfoyles. Docherty claimed to know nothing. It was all rumours, he said. He couldn’t think what Scavolini had thought she’d get from him, but he hadn’t been able to tell her anything. Murray was left with the sense that there was more Docherty wasn’t telling him, but he doubted he’d be able to wheedle it out of him without taking him in, and time was of the essence.

Leaving the miserable wretch with a warning that things would go badly for him if it transpired he’d been less than honest, Murray took to the road once more. By now, it was 15:05 and his stomach was beginning to growl. He’d had nothing to eat since the mouthful he’d wolfed down that morning while the rest of the civilised world was still slumbering. Stopping at a newsagent on his way back to the station, he picked up a sandwich and was queuing at the checkout when his phone rang. The caller was a Detective Chief Inspector Lauder, of Gallowgate Police Station. A Dr Anna Scavolini (he said) had walked in with a tall tale about Guilfoyle and his supposed involvement in the attacks on Andrew Foley and Ross Garvey.

‘I’m doing this as a courtesy to DSI Guilfoyle,’ he explained. ‘I’m pretty sure this girl’s got the wrong end of the stick, but I figure it’s your patch, and I don’t want to tread on any toes. Fortunately, I think I have a solution to this little dispute.’

‘Shoot,’ said Murray, simultaneously trying to extract money from his wallet and keep the phone glued to his ear.

‘We arrange a sit-down with the girl and Guilfoyle. Get it all out in the open, clear up any confusion. Call it mediation if you like. I can put her in a car and have her taken over there now, provided you and DI Norton are amenable to this scenario.’

Murray was. Personally, he’d have preferred to bang Scavolini up for being an infuriating little bitch, but Lauder’s proposal was rather less messy. He hurried back to his car, sandwich clamped between his teeth, and set off for the Guilfoyle house.

As it turned out, however, it wasn’t so simple. What, under normal circumstances, would have been a fifteen-minute drive was thwarted by the heavy snow and the even heavier traffic. He wasn’t even halfway to Woodlands Hill when his phone rang again. It was the station, informing him that, on reaching Linwood Crescent, Scavolini had done a runner, and the two officers tasked with delivering her had lost her trail somewhere in Kelvingrove Park. Murray put the phone on mute for long enough to scream every obscenity he knew, as well as a few he made up on the spot. Having got that out of his system, he asked to be put through to Norton, only to be informed that the poor sod had been stood down and ordered home on grounds of ill health.

It smelled suspiciously like a coup, but Murray quickly realised he could turn this to his advantage. He returned to Yorkhill with all haste, whereupon he secured an audience with the Chief Super himself. A decisive man with a marked aversion to pussyfooting, DCSI Monkhouse agreed that the softly-softly approach favoured by Norton had proven woefully inadequate. An all-points warning was circulated, ordering that Dr Anna Scavolini be apprehended on sight, and that if she could not be compelled to come voluntarily, then reasonable force should be used. For Murray, who’d relished the prospect of exacting ‘reasonable force’ against her more or less since he’d first laid eyes on her, this was manna from heaven. It was also agreed that the media should, for the time being, be kept out of the loop. The last thing they wanted was her discovering her likeness plastered over every TV screen in the land and going to ground.

Feeling a good deal more confident that things were moving in the right direction at last, Murray retired to the staff lounge. He loosened his tie and shirtsleeves and settled on the sofa. He expected to be too wired to actually sleep, but at least he could give his stinging eyes a rest if he closed them for twenty minutes.

* * *

Next thing he knew, he was waking up to his phone trilling in his ear. He rubbed sleep from his eyes and squinted at his watch. 23:47. So much for twenty minutes. He reached for his phone and examined the screen, blinking forcibly until it came into focus. He didn’t recognise the number. He sat up slowly, his neck stiff from the awkward position he’d lain in.


‘Detective Murray, it’s Mark Westmore. We spoke yesterday, remember?’

Murray did remember: the short, slightly scruffy man with the beakish nose who’d been with the Professor when she’d come in spouting her crackpot theory about Guilfoyle. At the time, he’d wondered if they were shagging. If they were, the man must have the patience of a saint. After the Professor had stormed out, Westmore had remained behind and attempted to explain away her behaviour, claiming she had a lot on her plate. For Murray, who fancied he had rather more on his own plate than some jumped-up brainbox who hadn’t done a day’s real work in her life, none of this washed, but he’d given Westmore his card and told him to ring him if anything came up. Now, it seemed, something had.

‘I’ve just this minute come off the phone with a colleague of mine, Gavin Price. Apparently, Anna left his apartment at Glasgow Cross about twenty minutes ago after acting – as he put it – “decidedly erratically”. He tells me he saw her and a man getting into a taxi from his window.’

Murray stretched, feeling his neck give a satisfying click. ‘Can you describe this man?’

‘My colleague said he thought it was one of the people she’s staying with. Uh, Victor – Victor Callahan? Look, I hope I’m not overreacting, but I’m really concerned about her state of mind. She’s not… well, I’m worried about what she might do.’

‘Don’t worry. You did the right thing.’

‘Will you let me know—’

Murray hung up, cutting him off.

He eased himself onto his feet, tapping the phone against his chin pensively. He was extremely tempted to jump in the car and head straight to the Callahan house, but he knew he had to tread carefully. Rather than go in all guns blazing and risk further embarrassment if it turned out Scavolini wasn’t actually there, he decided to do his homework first. Working from a list provided by one of the DCs, he began to ring around the city’s various taxi firms, asking each of them if any of their drivers had picked up a man and a woman from Glasgow Cross at around half past eleven. Fifteen minutes later, he had his answer: Alexandra Cabs Ltd. car number A426Y had collected two passengers at the bottom of High Street at 23:26 and deposited them at 58 Astley Street at 23:58.

Murray now moved with lightning speed. He assembled four uniformed officers – tough, no-nonsense lads on whom he knew he could rely – and set off for the Callahan house. When they arrived, just before 01:00, he dispatched two to the door and ordered the remaining two to stay in their vehicle to await further instruction. He himself crept round to the back garden and hid in the shadows at the side of the house.

He was soon glad he’d done so. He’d not been there more than a couple of minutes when his pocket radio crackled to life and a frantic voice informed him that their quarry was making a break for it. A moment later, the door flew open and Scavolini burst out, going like the clappers. He rushed towards her, intending to either capture her or drive her back towards the house and into the arms of the uniforms. Too late, he saw the glint of metal in her hand and felt a sharp, burning pain in his neck. Momentarily thrown off kilter, he halted, clutching his neck and feeling hot blood on his fingers.

But even as he watched, his quarry missed her footing, slipped and fell, going down hard on her side. Cursing under his breath, he trod across the lawn towards her, still trying to staunch the flow of blood. He came to a stop and gazed down at her, the burning sensation in his neck only slightly dampening the profound sense of satisfaction he now felt. Neither the pain nor the oath he’d sworn to faithfully discharge his duties as an officer of the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality, mattered a jot now. The enemy lay subdued and helpless at his feet, and all he could think about was the immense satisfaction he was going to derive from teaching the uppity little cow a lesson she’d not soon forget.

Got you, you bitch. Got you.

* In the corresponding version of Chapter 27, Anna left a post-it note on the fridge door for Zoe, explaining that she was going to Summerhill to talk to Paul Docherty. [Back]

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Anna Scavolini hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years – and she’s not short of reasons. On her first night back in town, she stumbles upon an old flame bleeding to death on the snow-clad slopes of Kelvingrove Park...

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