By M.C. Beaton
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Diarmuid looked at him with the sorrowful eyes of a whipped dog, but said nothing. Hamish made a clicking noise of impatience. He went back outside and round the house to the peat stack and collected some peats. He chopped kindling and took the lot back indoors and proceeded to light the fire. When it was crackling merrily, he swung the smoke-blackened kettle on its chain over the blaze and then went to a shelf in the corner and found mugs, a carton of milk, and a jar of instant coffee. When the kettle was boiling, he made the coffee, put in plenty of sugar, and, fishing in his pocket, produced a flask of whisky and poured a generous measure in one cup.
He went into the kitchen. Diarmuid Sinclair sat beside the cold hearth wrapped in a tartan blanket. He looked like one of the minor prophets or the Ancient Mariner seeking one of three to stoppeth. He had a long white beard and glittering eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a rosy, wrinkled face. “Blowing up outside,” said Hamish. “Cold in here. ” Diarmuid looked at him with the sorrowful eyes of a whipped dog, but said nothing. Hamish made a clicking noise of impatience. He went back outside and round the house to the peat stack and collected some peats.
Hamish took the central heating off the timing regulator and turned up the thermostat as high as it would go and started to examine the contents of the kitchen cupboards to see if there was any coffee. But the cupboards were bare; not even a packet of salt. ” He went through to the office and examined the files in a tall filing cabinet in the corner. It was full of sheep-dip papers and little else. Not dipping one’s sheep seemed to be considered the major criminal offence in Cnothan. There came a crashing and rattling from the kitchen.