Dedication

For Patricia.


Dead Jimmy and the Ghost

We found the woman exactly where the police told us she would be, standing at the side of the road looking forlorn, with her blonde hair and heavy winter clothes soaking wet, even though it was summer and it hadn’t rained in weeks.

“Ghost,” Uncle Jimmy said, pointing a slime encrusted finger in her direction. He’d found some road kill in the ditch and was chomping into it with relish.

The girl shivered and wrapped her arms around herself. Now that I looked at her more closely, the liquid that dripped from her rat tails of hair didn’t land on the baked pavement, and her skin was bleached pale under the midday sun.

“It’s okay, we’re here to help,” I said.

Judging by her expression, I don’t think she believed me. Maybe it was the sight of Uncle Jimmy chowing down on a decomposing badger, or perhaps it was being an incorporeal entity that put her off.

She held out her hand and pointed a trembling finger at Uncle Jimmy.

“What is that?” she said.

I was surprised. For some reason, I thought ghosts couldn’t talk. This was going to make solving the case so much easier.

“That’s my Uncle Jimmy, he’s a private detective. He’s a bit hungry. He skipped lunch,” I said.

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