Short story

‘Many happy returns’: an exclusive Jack Reacher story by Lee Child

Tony Jackson had worked 30 years for MI5. He was a grammar-school boy recruited straight out of his redbrick university, after sitting a fast-track civil service exam. His results had not impressed the civil service itself, but clearly something in his psychometric paper had caught someone’s eye. Two weeks after his formal rejection he received a plain and enigmatic letter inviting him to an appointment at a hotel near Regent Street. Just after his arrival he had been required to sign the Official Secrets Act. Just before his departure he had become a government agent. Thirty years later he still was, now an Assistant Director, in charge of all his

I Live Here Now: a short story by Ian Rankin

Ever since his daughter’s death, John Bates had all but given up. Eunice had been 17, bubbly and surrounded by friends, keen to leave school behind to study history at university. She’d been a passionate cook and hockey player, not yet ready for a steady boyfriend, and loved absolutely by both her parents. But then one night she had consumed almost an entire bottle of vodka before climbing on to a parapet and leaping into a river swollen by over a week of near-constant rain. John and his wife Emily had sat numbed for days on end as relatives and neighbours passed through the house, offering solace and paying tribute.