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'Is it yourself?' Detective Inspector Joseph Aloysius Rafferty winced as his mother's voice threatened to pierce his eardrum, and although briefly tempted to plead not guilty, he had to agree that yes, it was himself. Surely, he demanded of his reflection in the hall mirror, a hangover, a murder and his mother all in one morning were more than any man should be expected to cope with? Especially at six thirty and after less than four hours’ sleep. 'I can't stop, Ma. Sergeant Llewellyn will be picking me up any minute.' 'I won't keep you then, son, but I didn't know who else to turn to and what with the wedding and all…’ Rafferty frowned. News of the murder had already taken their toll on his hung-over wits, but the word "wedding" on his Ma's tongue was even more worrying and he struggled to get his brain into gear. 'What wedding?' 'I know Jack's only a distant cousin,' she remarked briskly, 'but surely you haven't forgotten that he's over from Dublin to marry my niece, Deirdre?' That wedding. How could he have forgotten that Jailhouse Jack, the world's most incompetent criminal was preparing to plight his troth and pass his genes on to the next generation? What a wonderful addition to a policeman's close family the bridegroom would be. Thank God the happy couple would be going back to Ireland straight after the wedding and surely even Jack could stay out of trouble for the few weeks he'd be— 'He's in a spot of bother, Joseph.' After shattering his hopes, his mother didn't pause for either of them to catch their breath, but went on to explain that his troublesome cousin was being held at the Harcombe nick on suspicion of lifting a lorry load of whisky. 'I know what you're going to say,' she continued before he could get a word in, 'but this time I'm convinced he didn't do it.' That would be a first, thankful that between them, the Irish Sea and a three times removed cousin-ship, usually kept Jack from embarrassing him. 'It would be a shame if he got put away right before the wedding. Can you go and see him and sort it out, son? I wouldn't ask, only I've had Deirdre here half the night crying her eyes out. She's scared she'll have to cancel the wedding.' Rafferty snorted. Wasn't a murder enough, he wondered, without being expected to sort out Jack's little problem? Especially as he knew that as soon as he set foot in the Harcombe nick and revealed his mission of mercy, the shit would hit the fan. His relatives were the limit, especially as some of them thought that if they must have a copper in the family, he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. He consoled himself with the thought that he hadn't made a firm date with the looming fates. Jack could cool his heels for a bit. After a lightbulb moment, he recalled the wedding was still two weeks off. He had plenty of time. 'It would be a shame if he got put away right before the wedding. Can you go and see him and sort it out, son? I wouldn't ask, only I've had Deirdre here half the night crying her eyes out. She's scared she'll have to cancel the wedding.' Rafferty snorted. Wasn't a murder enough, he wondered, without being expected to sort out Jack's little problem? Especially as he knew that as soon as he set foot in the Harcombe nick and revealed his mission of mercy, the shit would hit the fan. His relatives were the limit, especially as some of them thought that if they must have a copper in the family, he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. He consoled himself with the thought that he hadn't made a firm date with the looming fates. Jack could cool his heels for a bit. After a lightbulb moment, he recalled the wedding was still two weeks off. He had plenty of time. 'It would be a shame if he got put away right before the wedding. Can you go and see him and sort it out, son? I wouldn't ask, only I've had Deirdre here half the night crying her eyes out. She's scared she'll have to cancel the wedding.' Rafferty snorted. Wasn't a murder enough, he wondered, without being expected to sort out Jack's little problem? Especially as he knew that as soon as he set foot in the Harcombe nick and revealed his mission of mercy, the shit would hit the fan. His relatives were the limit, especially as some of them thought that if they must have a copper in the family, he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. He consoled himself with the thought that he hadn't made a firm date with the looming fates. Jack could cool his heels for a bit. After a lightbulb moment, he recalled the wedding was still two weeks off. He had plenty of time.