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.Also by Claire RaynerA STARCH OF APRONSTHE MEDDLERSA TIME TO HEALMADDIECLINICAL JUDGEMENTSPOSTSCRIPTSDANGEROUS THINGSLONDON LODGINGSPAYING GUESTSFIRST BLOODSECOND OPINIONTHIRD DEGREEClaire RaynerFOURTH ATTEMPTA Dr George Barnabas Mysteryebook ISBN: 978-1-84982-027-1M P Publishing Limited12 Strathallan CrescentDouglasIsle of ManIM2 4NRUnited KingdomTelephone: +44 (0)1624 618672email: info@mpassociates.co.ukM P Publishing LimitedFirst published 1996Copyright © Claire Rayner 1996, 2010All rights reserved.Without limiting the rights under copyrightreserved above, no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the priorwritten permission of both the copyright owner andthe above publisher of this bookISBN 978-1-84982-027-1The moral right of the author has been assertedFor Judith and Kim,Katy and Amy,with loveACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThanks for advice and information about death, detection, fires and sundry other topics are due to: Dr Trevor Betteridge, Pathologist of Yeovil, Somerset; Dr Rufus Crompton, Pathologist, St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London; Dr Azeel Sarrah, Pathologist, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire; Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Malton, Metropolitan Police; Dr Hilary Howells, Anaesthetist of Totteridge, Hertfordshire; the London Fire Brigade; many members of the staff of Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex; and many others too mumerous to mention; and are gratefully tendered by the author.1The gossip spread around Old East like oil on a marble slab, oozing into every corner of the hospital until not only were the staff talking about it, so were the patients.‘I said to Sister when she was doing my dressing this morning, I said, “Well, Sister, what’s going on here then? And who’ll be the next? Is there anything worrying you?”’ The rather fat woman in the peach chenille dressing gown, sitting awkwardly festooned with drainage tubes and IV lines in the shabby dayroom on Annie Zunz Ward, shook with pleasure at her own wit and then grimaced as her operation site gave her a twinge of pain.‘Ooh, you take your life in your hands when you laugh, don’t you? Still, you’ve got to laugh, haven’t you? It’s the best medicine, I always say.’The woman sitting on the other side of the dayroom, who had heard enough of Peach Chenille’s opinions on everything upon which it was possible to hold an opinion, forbore to answer, but later, when she went back to her own bed, she too spoke to her immediate neighbour about it all, wondering what was going on at Old East and who might be next.‘Three suicides in as many days, so they’re saying,’ she said.‘If it was the patients, you’d understand, what with worrying about yourself the way you do, but the staff … Well, it makes you think about there being something wrong in the place, doesn’t it? You read a lot in the papers about morale being low in the NHS and all that, but this is really too much.’Her neighbour, who knew herself to be dying of her liver disease and already detaching her mind from other people’s interests in consequence, managed a faint smile.‘People don’t choose to die because of the way everyone feels,’ she murmured.‘It’s always because of something personal.’ She closed her eyes and wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to die now herself rather than a few weeks down the line when she’d probably feel even sicker than she did at present — if that were possible.She’d always promised herself she’d choose when to go; but since she no longer had the strength either emotionally or physically to take action on any decision she made, she wisely chose not to think at all any more.But others did: most of all, the staff.They, after all, were most affected.If people they worked with were choosing to hurl themselves prematurely and to an extent violently out of life at Old East, didn’t that mean they should look a little more closely at what life in the hospital entailed? As the patient in Annie Zunz had surmised, morale was indeed low, and the implication that you might be driven to commit suicide at any moment did nothing to raise it.Sheila Keen, the senior technician in the path.lab and famous throughout Old East for her passion (and great gift) for gossip, seemed excited rather than depressed by what was going on.She was displaying a bright-eyed relish for it all that irritated her colleagues immensely, not least her boss Dr George Barnabas.George had been sitting in her cubby hole of an office, looking over the notes that had been sent down with Pamela Frean’s body and the post-mortem request, when Sheila came in, smiling sweetly and bearing a tray with a pot of freshly made coffee and biscuits.Since Sheila was often loudly on record as not being part of Old East’s staff in order to make coffee for the head honcho (a piece of outmoded slang which in itself set George’s teeth on edge), and the two of them had had a row only last week, the sight of her made George scowl.‘What are you after, Sheila?’ she said bluntly.‘And try not to be so obvious about it, for Pete’s sake.I’d prefer you to come right out with it and ask instead of all this best buttering-up stuff.’Sheila’s fixed smile became a little more brittle but didn’t falter.‘Oh, Dr B.,’ she said indulgently as she set the tray down on the desk and set about pouring the coffee, which smelled wonderful to George, who had as usual missed her breakfast.‘You did get out of the bed on the wrong side this morning, didn’t you?’‘I did not,’ George said, managing not to clench her teeth.‘What do you want?’Sheila opened her eyes wide.‘I just thought I’d see if there was anything special you wanted done.I’m bang up to date with everything — even the cardiac clinic stuff is ready a day early — so I’ve got a little time available.I could take your PM notes for you maybe? Just to take some of the weight off you?’‘Oh, balls!’ said George.‘Who do you think you’re kidding? You just want to be there when I do it.’‘Well, why not?’ Sheila dropped her air of innocence and looked avid.‘You can’t blame me, Dr B.! I mean, what a carry on! Three suicides among the staff and —’‘Who says they’re suicides?’ George snapped.‘I don’t believe I made any such suggestion about the last two.And as I recall,’ she added with heavy sarcasm, ‘I think I did do the PMs, didn’t I? Not you?’‘Oh, Dr B., come on! They can’t just be accidents.Not three times in a row.You might as well expect your lottery tickets to come up as that.’‘The first two were accidents.I can’t say what this one is.Not till I do the PM.And I don’t need your help with it, thank you.I can cope perfectly well with Danny’s assistance.’Sheila flushed.Danny was, after all only the mortuary porter and as such well below Sheila’s regard.‘Well, if that’s the way you want it.I was only trying to be helpful.’‘Oh, sure,’ George said.‘You always are, aren’t you? If you’ve got that much free time, you can help Jerry catch up.He’s overloaded with the extra histology I gave him.He needs someone to cut his specimens for him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]