Language of Lies
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A thrilling debut novel from exciting new author Polly Bradshaw. There is a terrorist bomb plot being set in motion against London banks; Terrorists have been brought into Britain by the mysterious Mr Smith, who can procure passports as easily as he can do away with people he doesn't care for. But where does the plot start? In Aldershot, an unsuspecting Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, named Sasha, finds herself the target of a man, Kit Hatton, hell-bent on getting some bogus birth certificates from her, by hook or by crook. But by the time the terrorists have found their way into Britain, both Kit and his accomplice, Gary, are dead, and Gary has Sasha's name and address in his back pocket.


Publié par
Date de parution 11 mai 2010
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781849891134
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0300€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Title Page
The Language of Lies
Polly Bradshaw
AUK Books

Publisher Information
The Language of Lies published in 2010 by
Andrews UK Limited
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The characters and situations in this book are entirely imaginary and bear no relation to any real person or actual happening.
Copyright © Polly Bradshaw
The right of Polly Bradshaw to be identified as author of this book has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988.
For Jamie, Jem and Tatiana
Dear Reader.
Immigration is a big issue in Britain at the moment. Whilst delivering a lecture to Somali refugees, I realized the volume and diversity of the people coming and going through the 'swing doors' of this country are phenomenal.
And then I thought about what we know as ‘good people’, and whether they are corruptible - and about ‘bad people’, and how the distinctions are more fluid than we ever dare imagine.
To what extent do people ever feel part of a community? The assumptions we make about class and nationality – how can we justify them, when all we ever do is look for evidence to reinforce them?
And finally, I thought of a woman I know who can never see the bleak picture of humanity.And because she never looks for it, she (almost) never finds it.

27th March 2009
Sasha tilted forward on her chair, her face creased with the effort of enthusiasm she wished to convey. Not that it wasn’t real. But it was hard to look as if you were really, genuinely sympathetic. If you weren’t careful it came off as creepy. And she had other things on her mind today. For example, she had only this morning caught a fleeting glance of herself in one of the mirrors in the loos and wondered, vaguely, who that woman was, trying for a Michelle Pfieffer effect with her silver glasses perched on top of her head. As she peered more closely, she nearly had a fit – blinking myopically back at her was a careworn nurse, roots and all. Her lightened shoulder-length hair constantly escaped both the glasses which doubled as a kind of Alice band and the claw clip at the back of her head – an attempt at a business-like bun. She glanced down at her raggedy nails on pale, attenuated fingers, and sighed, deeply.
But the men just leaving – a couple who were seeking a civil partnership and had come in to ask about giving notice of it, had arrived looking nervous and uncertain and left, half an hour later, their faces wreathed with adoring, grateful, relieved smiles. They had sensed at first that this woman was someone whose glamour had faded, and therefore, perhaps, was old-fashioned, prudish, lacking in modern sensibility. But they had realised, over the course of their interview, just how wrong appearances could be. She’d reassured them. She’d understood them. Talk about kind, they said afterwards. They’d felt sick with nerves, but she’d somehow got them, eventually, to laugh. Talk about lovely. What a great person to conduct the ceremony. She would certainly become a life-long friend.
Since Sasha managed her own diary, it was up to her how long she kept people waiting. She could take as long as she liked to go to the loo, have a coffee, take a walk. But there was always a conveyer-belt feeling in her domain – people arriving, being dealt with and slipping away to make space for the next one. Same old, same old. Oh look, there’s something n………ew………. ….oh, sorry. Fooled for a second there. It was the same old stuff again.
So, in an attempt to speed things up, more as a moral choice than anything else, she would make a coffee and drink it quickly. And to go with it, a chocolate-coated crystallised ginger. She opened the new packet and popped one in to her mouth, noting, with pleasure, the sensation of hard, bitter chocolate giving way to the softer, mouth-tingling spice root. The combination in her mouth, washed down with a gulp of coffee was exquisite, she always thought. But one was enough. Sod it, she thought. Who the hell wants one of anything. Better make it an even two. All right then, four. Obviously. And who wants a ridiculously tiny bum, anyway. Next.
A couple of different men now arrived and one of them took a seat opposite her. She discerned a faint whiff of body odour and fags, but she was used to people in grief and doubted that she would have had a shower herself if she was going to apply for a death certificate, which they undoubtedly were. There was something similar about the men, as if cut from the same cloth. It was a look which had resulted from too little of some things and too much of others. Too little sleep, nutrition, and perhaps, Sasha suspected, kindness or care. Too much was easier – food, alcohol, cigarettes. And all probably late into the night. They looked like pub landlords. One man was more corpulent than the other, and it was he who took a seat. He was perhaps 50 years old and a slight wheezing and puffing at the hint of exertion suggested that he was not only a smoker (don’t throw stones, Sasha thought as she had only given up herself a week or so ago – again) but tired, worn out. Standing next to him was a burly man of about the same age. The standing man was evidently uneasy. ‘Is it all right?’ he asked in what Sasha took to be a Dublin accent. Anyone could tell it was Irish – but it was the ‘royt’ for ‘right’, with the suggestion of the guttural ‘cc’ at the back of the throat, before the ‘t’ that enabled her to pinpoint the place. She’d have to try to make him say the word ‘blue’ or ‘true’, she pondered, if she really wanted to know. But he seemed quiet, and in any case she assumed that he wasn’t here on his own mission, but as moral support for his friend or brother next to him. She replied, smiling : ‘Um, yeah, sure. Are you here to help your friend?’ and she looked around the room, screwing her eyes up, her short sight impeding her, as ever. ‘Sorry about this. I always have three chairs in here, but one of my colleagues must have taken one out when I went to the loo. Um ………… I’ll get you one.’
‘I’ll get it’, he mumbled, unable to meet her eye. ‘Back in a minute, mate’, he said to the seated man. Maybe he was closer to 60. Hard to tell with smokers, she thought. She’d probably added a few years to her own face and voice by all the smoke she had inhaled. Why do we do it, she asked herself, but without a trace of real disapproval. Being human – warts and all – this is all she wanted to be. Not Miss Bloody Sober, Thin, Immaculate, Impeccable.
‘Can I have your name, sir’ she asked him, using her standard polite but neutral tone. This form of address genuinely took the man aback. No-one had called him that in a very long time. Unless they were about to ask a favour or use it ironically, about to chuck him out of a pub.
He eased himself back a little in his chair, willing now to address her face, something he had been reluctant to do when he first entered the room. ‘Yes. It’s Kit. Christopher. Hatton. Christopher Hatton’.
‘And your address, please?’ she asked him, pen poised, inclining her head as if hanging on his every word. Mm, he liked that. ‘Yeah. It’s 11 Coldfield gardens. Aldershot. GU11 9TR. I think. No – it’s GU11 9RT’ he said. ‘Sorry’.
‘That’s ok, Mr Hatton. We all get nervous at a time like this. I know I would. Coldfield Gardens. That’s lovely over there, isn’t it?’ she asked brightly. Meanwhile he was trying to get a look at her tits. Maybe when she got up. He adjusted his jumper, awkwardly, and Sasha saw that he was trying to stretch the fabric over his bulky body , as if suddenly seeing, like Adam and Eve after the serpent incident, how his body might appear to others. Flab and lard. Wobbling, rippling flesh overhanging the last-notch belt of his trousers. There were bobbles on the sweater from the cheap fibres of its weave and had a triangular pattern that reminded her of pub carpets, in red and brown. Those round necked jumpers, Sasha shuddered, without a shirt collar, just emphasised the Adam’s Apple – or in this case, the double chin. After a tiny pause, she looked at him expectantly. ‘But you’re not from there…..? Are you..?’ Her smile was playful. Kit felt nervous. Was this a game? How did she know stuff like that? ‘I’d say …… Staffordshire, maybe – somewhere up there?’ she said, and stretched her arms out in front of her with joined fingers. They both heard the joints click. A gesture of apparent intimacy, as far as Kit was concerned, but in fact a gesture of fait accompli, since she was almost always right about such matters..
Kit knew that he might sound ‘northern’ to people. In fact only the other day he had broken the jaw of a man outside The Stag and Hounds for calling him ‘a Northern git’. But how could this woman know he was from Staffordshire – how could she, a southerner, narrow it down to a county – he’d never met anyone else who could do that. He frowned at her, but found the corners of his mouth beginning to twitch grudgingly upwards as he looked at her again. Her face was illuminated with pleasure. ‘You don’t mind?’ she asked. ‘I can’t help it. I listen to people’s voices and I hear the tone, the inflection…… and I just have to know …. I’m usually right’
‘Yeah. Well as it happens, I am. Cheadle, as it … um…. goes.’ And he fumbled with his key-ring – hoping that she couldn’t see how impressed he was. Or how disturbed.
‘Now, Mr Hatton. Let’s get on with the sad task. I know that your mother has died. I

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