Chapter 17

This new arrangement suited Mrs McGillicuddy perfectly – now she had not only the book, but Lucy to help her plan to deal with Jane and her drinking! They spent the evening talking about the
culture of addiction that the Crackenthorpes inhabited.

The Crackenthorpes were involved with all the issues of criminality that go with drugs, but Mrs McGillicuddy learned that in all sorts of other ways the Crackenthorpe addiction culture was entirely in line with the addiction culture in St Mary Mead. Similar distorted values were at work. They had some of the same roles in the community, from Dr Quimper, a ‘Protector’, Emma a ‘Mark’, Alfred, an ‘Ambassador’ perhaps, and old Mr Crackenthorpe seemed to be the ‘Jailhouse lawyer’.
Cedric, Lucy thought, was a ‘non addicted hustler’, more excited by the criminality itself and careful to control his drug use. Harold was a sort of mixture – ‘High Priest’ but not above using gangsters to maintain the business?

It was difficult to know how far this family was just a bunch of criminals who happened to be involved in drugs or whether it was the drugs that was a spur to their criminality. The truth no doubt was a bit of a mixture. Cedric, she thought was just a wrong-un but Brian Eastley was a troubled unhappy person and seemed to have become trapped by the drugs. But then, it probably suited Cedric to play the part of a criminal – his life seemed empty and pointless behind the bravado.

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